I had the privilege of chatting with a wonderful
author who took time out of her busy schedule to share a little bit
about herself. So, without further delay….
It sounds like you
have always wanted to be a writer. Tell us how it felt the first
time you were published.
such a THRILL! I couldn’t believe this dream had finally come true
and I was living it. Unfortunately it was also difficult to share my
new-found success and enthusiasm because I was working full-time and
my employer didn’t know anything about it. Being an erotic romance
writer wouldn’t have gone over too well with them. My husband knew
and he was very happy for me, as well as a few close friends. But I
did most of my celebrating online with my crit partners.
What made you
choose graphic design during college and do you miss the world of
graphic design since you gave it up?
Actually, no, I don’t miss it at all. When I graduated from KSU in
1987 with my degree, computers were not part of the business.
Although we had an Apple IIc in our apartment, and my then
fiancé/now husband was majoring in computer science, graphic design
was still a “hands on” art. I used the little computer to write
papers for other classes and printed them off on a dot matrix
printer. It was novel stuff at the time.
JBut graphic art was done with airbrush and
watercolor, fineline pens, colored pencil, straight edges, press on
text, camera and photography. It was a real craft back then. Now,
anyone with a computer and some software can create posters and
websites. By 1997, when computers had “taken over” graphic design
and made it faster/easier/cheaper, I’d lost that touchy-feel for the
art. I designed websites for a few years, but that really didn’t
give me the same pleasure as real art. I still do some oil painting,
I love landscapes and portraiture and I enjoy throwing pots from
time to time when I can find a ceramics shop.
Tell us what makes
Rita, well, Rita.
a tough question. Like most writers, I’d say I’m a complex
individual with many facets that even I haven’t explored. With only
2 books out, I know I’m still very new at this and learning buckets
full each and every day. The industry is also rapidly changing and
clearly e-book format is cutting a strong path. I feel very
fortunate to be here. But what makes me, me, is difficult to
pull out of my head in one easily digested clump.
my writing, I love animals – especially dogs and horses. I
originally wanted to be a veterinarian. Horses have always been a
big part of my life. In school I never skipped a day or once played
hooky. I loved school! …well, except for math. I enjoyed art most of
all and excelled in history, geography, biology and English. I speak
fluent German, my parents are naturalized German-Americans. I love
to cook and bake and experiment with new recipes. I love chocolate
and marzipan, but hate licorice. I devour seafood, especially crab
and lobster. I actually enjoy grocery shopping. I wasn’t much
of a daydreamer as a kid because I was usually either drawing,
painting, or at the barn with the horses. My mom taught me to read
at age 4 (while teaching herself English), and I still love it. I
can lose myself in a good book for hours and forget the real world
exists. When we lived in
Texas, I was the 4th Grade Spelling Bee champion in our
school district – my winning word was ‘silhouette’. Geez, I’m still
proud of that! I’m a morning person and I rarely take naps. I hate
to exercise just for fitness, but love to be active and outdoors. I
love to sing, but can’t hold a tune. I love to dance, but can’t do
that very well either. I love to go the movies and don’t mind going
by myself to a matinee. I love to travel, and crave adventure. It’s
not a problem for me to be spontaneous and leave at the drop of a
hat – I know how to pack light. I have an excellent sense of
direction and rarely get lost…and if I do I’m not ashamed to ask for
directions. I like spiders or snakes, but ticks and centipedes
really creep my out. I never wanted kids, and still don’t regret not
having any. For the longest time I didn’t think I was “old enough”
to have kids of my own! Even though I love to swim and snorkel my
biggest fear is deep water and drowning. I still cringe whenever I
hear the theme from “Jaws”.
Tell us some of
your favorite foods, authors, books, movies, music, and anything
see – foods I mentioned above: anything chocolate is always good, as
is anything seafood.
& books: too many! I started reading Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary
Rogers in high school, they’re still some of my favorite books and I
have the originals. Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, Heather Graham,
Catherine Coulter – great writers, great books. I have a ton of
e-book authors who I really enjoy, and a lot of them are online
friends. But I’m afraid to mention one and accidentally forget
another – so I won’t. Suffice it to say most of them write for EC
also love adventure/action books by James Rollins, Dan Brown,
Lincoln & Child, Clive Cussler. My most favored mainstream books are
the suspense/gem-inspired stories by retired author Gerald A.
Browne. He wrote big, heavily detailed, extravagant stories peppered
with really interesting characters, some romantic elements and all
surrounded by the danger and drama of the gem world.
action, adventure, scifi, fantasy, drama, thriller, romantic, and
comedy. Just about anything, really. I do have 2 movies that are on
my ‘hated ‘em’ list – “Open Water”, and “Reservoir Dogs”. They were
awful in my opinion, not because they weren’t done well, but because
they played upon my most primal fears.
love modern country, and some pop rock. I listen to the radio in my
car mostly. I’m not an Ipod kind of person and I don’t buy music.
How does the
writing process work for you? Do you outline or know the whole story
before you begin or do you just take it page by page?
my first book, Evening Star, completely by the seat of my pants.
Honestly I didn’t know where that book would go from chapter to
chapter. I’d wake up in the morning with an idea of what should
happen next and wrote that. Then all day long at work I’d be
thinking about it and rewriting scenes in my head until it all fit
together. My second book, Family Jewels, required a lot more
research and some plotting, but still wasn’t completely plotted out.
Those characters talked to me all the time and directed the story to
I’m a plotting-pantser. If I try to plot a story from beginning to
end, it usually bores me and I’m going to drop it. I like the thrill
behind not knowing what’s supposed to happen next until that very
moment when my creativity sparks the idea.
What is you perfect
writing environment? Do you like quiet or can you write anywhere?
usually write almost anywhere – so long as there is no loud music
playing. Coffee shops are good because the noise level is like a
constant buzz that lulls your brain into a rhythm. I love taking my
laptop to the library and finding a hidden corner booth to write in.
Being surrounded by all those books, and the people who love them,
it feels good and gets my creative juices flowing. But most often I
write in my home office with just the window open for the sound of
birds and crickets. I must have a cup of coffee, tea, or Diet Dr.
Pepper at hand, and gum to chew.
I see your love of
animals has continued through your life. Tell us about your dogs and
loves of my life. My horse, Stetson, is a 6-year old Tennessee
Walking Horse gelding. He’s a gold champagne, which is a rare color,
similar to palomino but much brighter. And he’s so much fun to ride
and just be around. He loves to play ball – seriously! I have a 36
inch inflated ball that he loves to bump, chase, and kick around in
the pasture. He makes me laugh. He’s also a very adventurous boy and
loves to go off to find new trails with me. I tell him all my
secrets and he keeps them. My husband owns Deuce, a 10-year old
solid black Tennessee Walking Horse gelding. He is very much
‘daddy’s horse’ and has bonded to my husband. I don’t ride him much,
but the two boys together with us are a lot of fun.
are my kids in so many ways. We own Vizslas, which are Hungarian
Pointers. We show them in AKC dog shows, do hunt tests (hubby is a
Judge), as well as field trials which require the horses too. So far
we’ve bred one litter from our Champion/Master Hunter girl and kept
her best puppy, who is also now a Champion/Master Hunter. My oldest
girl just turned 10, our Australian import girl is now 7, and our
current show dog/field trial girl is now 4. Vizslas are a relatively
healthy breed, and require a lot of exercise. But they are sweet and
very affectionate and so darned cute!
How much time do
you spend traveling each year and does traveling inspire your
does inspire my writing. I grew up as an Army brat and we traveled
Europe extensively. I’ve either lived in or visited 23 US states so
far. My husband’s job as a consultant means we travel about 9 months
out of the year, so we’re always on the go somewhere. I enjoy the
Star was written after we took a trip to NYC and out west to Utah,
Wyoming and Montana. I wrote Family Jewels from my memories of being
in Amsterdam and Europe, and NY. I love seeing new places and can’t
help but incorporate that into my books. I think that adds a
dimension of newness, adventure and reality for readers.
It sounds like your
husband is very supportive. Does he read your work? How does your
family feel about your writing career? Do they read your work?
no, no… They don’t! Hubby knows what I write, but has never read
any of my work. He says he’s afraid to find out what really goes on
in my mind. (now, why would he think that??) My sister and brother
don’t enjoy reading romance and although they support me and my
brother says it’s “cool!”, they aren’t interested. My mom, well,
she’s excited to have a daughter who is a published author, but is
also afraid to read what I write. I think the erotic aspect is what
really scares mom away. Come to think of it, I *am* afraid to let
her read one of my books!
You write in
several genres. Do you have a favorite and if so, why?
think one genre is my favorite over others, but I seem to be better
at contemporary overall. Suspense is so much fun to write, as well
as SciFi. And paranormal – oh what a blast! I like being able to
stretch my imagination and be outrageous, yet believable.
How do you promote
the first to admit I suck at promotion. I do the chat loops,
maintain a website
blog with a group. I also love to do interviews and author list mom days. But that’s
where I draw the line. When it becomes more work than fun I lose
interest. I’ve toyed with doing things like postcards, and pens,
pins, etc., and I plan to do those for book signings in the future.
Do you have any
advice for aspiring writers?
what you want to write, and write what you’re good at. Join an
author’s support group and a crit group. Have fun and don’t be
intimidated. We all started out by crawling first, then walking
before we could run.
Do you ever get
writer’s block and how do you overcome it?
god, yes. I seem to be plagued by it mostly during the summer months
when I really want to be outdoors. I deal with it several ways:
ignore it and have fun doing something else; put that work aside and
pull up another story or start a new one; go to the movies; bake
something; go to the library or do online research; read. Eventually
the spark ignites again and I’m fighting fire with fire once more.
If you could bring
one of your characters to life, who would it be and why?
would have to be Lilly Wilcox, my first heroine from Evening Star.
She is a lot like me and writing that book, her character, was an
exercise in self-analysis in so many ways. I poured my heart into
Lilly and she gave it back ten-fold! So, I’d like to meet her in
person and say thanks. She’s a vulnerable but tough, creative,
sweet, modest woman.
Is there anything
else you would like to share with us?
say THANK YOU for the interview and the chance to share a bit of
myself with readers. I’ve enjoyed it!