Interview by Catharine Bramkamp
Bev Scott is one of our newer WNBA members. Bev’s earlier careers included a role as an organization consultant and leadership coach for over 35 years. She has published three non-fiction books in her field and her first fiction book, Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness, is slated to be released this year.
Rather than write a memoir about her family, Bev chose to create a fictionalized story.
“I have had a long-held desire to pursue a rumored family secret about my grandfather. I began my genealogical search by interviewing remaining family members and researching documents in the National Archives, County Clerk’s offices and visiting cemeteries. Although I confirmed the rumored secret, I could not find all the information about my grandfather to complete a documented story.
“Among the challenges were the timeframe and the fact that my grandmother did not reveal the secret to any of her children. My grandfather was born in 1840 and fought in the Civil War. He was fifty-two and my grandmother twenty-two when they married in 1892. He died in 1911 when my father was four. My grandmother did not reveal the secret to any of her five children so there was no one alive to give personal information or tell stories from their perspective.
“I had the fortunate experience of finding depositions in the National Archives from multiple people which enabled me to piece together as much ‘truth’ as possible and to confirm the family secret. It was a fascinating story, yet there were major missing pieces which would need to be created to tell an interesting story. As I explored the options, I was encouraged to turn it into fiction using the known facts as a framework.“
All stories are influenced by the perspective of the teller. We have learned that through psychological experiments and we know that a sibling’s birth order influences how they see the ‘truth’ in any family. If one wants to write a family story or history, discovering what really happened can only be told either through multiple perspectives or the single acknowledged biased lens of the writer.
“I created my book to leave an intentional legacy. I initially felt that my book Consulting on the Inside was my intentional legacy to those younger professionals who came after me because it captured much of my learning and experience as a consultant.
“Then I founded The 3rd Act, a program to promote positive aging which I turned over to a business partner. I believed that the concepts embodied in that program also served as an intentional legacy for the bulging baby boom population that followed me. Finally, Sarah’s Secret is my legacy for my family and heirs who want to know about their ancestors.
“I think anything can be an intentional legacy. It could be a memoir, a book of fiction or a book of non-fiction. It could be a series of personal stories or family history that a Grandparent writes or records to pass on to grandchildren. It could be a creative piece of art. I think what is important is the intention, the desire to give a legacy and the way it reflects the person making the legacy.
“I encourage all of us to think about what we would like to leave to our heirs, to those who come after us that is a reflection of who we are. That requires some intentional choices.
“I have always been a part of organizations which supported my professional interests and pursuits. I appreciate the community support such organizations provide. Hence, when I discovered WNBA, I wanted to be a part of an organization that supported women writers. I hope and expect to learn from others, to meet other women authors and to make a contribution to the organization.“
Bev Scott served as an organization and leadership consultant and coach for almost forty years in the private, public and volunteer sectors. Her best seller Consulting on the Inside was first published in 2000. The second edition, co-authored with B. Kim Barnes, was published in 2011. She created The 3rd Act, whose mission is the promotion of positive aging and edited Vision/Action, the professional journal of the Bay Area Organization Development Network. Additional information on her first novel is available on her website