Welcome to my special guest today, Rita, pull up a chair and I’ll get you a drink. Rita has been wonderful enough to sit through a rather lengthy round of questions from me. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview.
ME: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
RITA: To visit the Change of Hobbit sciFi and Fantasy bookstore in Los Angeles, CA. I do hope that Amazon.com hasn’t put it out of business. There is also the Other Change of Hobbit in Berkeley, CA.
ME:What is the first book that made you cry?
RITA:I don’t remember a book that I’ve read that made me cry, but one of the books I’m currently preparing for publication did bring tears to my eyes. One of the characters in Love on the OtheR Side of the Sun II was raped by one of the invaders, and bore a child the old-fashioned way. She did not love that child, neglected him, and although his 2 “aunties” loved him, took care of him, and were very affectionate towards him, he wasted away. I wept when I was writing it, and when I was telling my SO about poor little Radu, I wept again.
ME: What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
RITA: Agents charging their would-be clients a reading fee.
ME:Does writing energize or exhaust you?
RITA: Energizes me because I’m doing my True Will.
ME: What are common traps for aspiring writers?
RITA: Thinking you have to have an agent.
ME: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
RITA: A big ego never helps anything. A medium sized ego, however, often helps in the gathering fame part.
ME: What is your writing Kryptonite?
RITA: Writer’s block. I fight it constantly. But I have a few remedies. One is thinking about what I’m going to write in the evening, then writing it the next morning. Another is keeping an “ugly notebook.” Like any sport or dancing, it helps to warm yourself up before writing for the day.
ME: Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
RITA: I don’t know what that is, so I don’t know whether I’ve ever gotten it or not.
ME: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
RITA: I’ve written under a pseudonym since I was first published, 11 years ago.
ME: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
RITA: I like being original, and hope my readers will want what I’m saying.
ME: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
RITA: Yes, but maybe fiction isn’t the thing for them, especially romantic fiction.
ME: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
RITA: I’m friends with 2 other authors, both of them in the romance field. One is the daughter of a deceased friend of mine, and she helped me meet my publishers. We discuss our stories constantly. The other I know from Renaissance. She helps me put more romance into my stories,and is often a virtual cabin mate in Camp NaNoWriMo.
ME: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
RITA: It stimulated me to write more, and keep a writing discipline.
ME: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
RITA: Several books on writing: Outwitting Writer’s Block, Structure and Plot, Dialog, and Pirate Speak. The Element Encyclopedias.I have 10 of these. They all are chock-full of ideas.
ME: What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
RITA: 2 Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King.
ME: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
RITA: The Writer and Writer’s Digest.
ME: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
RITA: A group, actually. The other books about the Dune universe by Frank Hrbert’s son Brian and Kevin Anderson.
ME: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
RITA: The black panther or jaguar.
ME: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
RITA: My methods of research vary, depending upon the kin of story I’m writing. For one story, a story about vampires, I watched movies about vampires, the original 1931 Dracula, and all the Hammer films about him. From them, I derived the rules having to do with defense against them, and destroying them. For the story I’m writing in November’s NaNoWriMo, I’m going back in time to The Magdalenion period, which is a bridge between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. Through Jean Auel’s series that started with Clan of Cave Bear, which is very well researched, by the way, I’m researching Paleolithic culture and technology. I also do research on the Internet. Wikipedia is a stalwart resource, but the key to that resource is to read the sources the authors of the different entries used.
ME: What did you edit out of this book?
RITA: When Takuhi’s Dream was first published, it was published as a Young Adult book, so I had to edit out all the sex scenes, and replace them with people playing 4D chess, so when the rights were returned to me, I put the bedroom scenes back In. Also, my publisher dislikes the word “that”, so I either remove them all and replace them with “which,” or I rewrite the sentences so they won’t need the word. It is, after all, a four-letter word.
Thank you so much Rita for stopping by. Looking forward to the next book!