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Friday, May 21, 2010

Author Interview - Linda Rettstatt

Joining us today is Linda Rettstatt. Here is Linda’s Bio: Linda began her writing career while clerking at The Brownsville Telegraph, her small Pennsylvania hometown newspaper. Though hired to take classified ads, Linda eagerly agreed to assume the task of writing reviews for community theater productions, for which her sole compensation was a by line. (It was a job no one in the newsroom wanted.)

Her passion for writing led Linda into the world of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Writing about heroines who had to draw upon their inner strength to overcome loss or adversity seemed only natural given her years of work as a psychotherapist.

Linda’s first novel, And the Truth Will Set You Free, was published in July, 2007 by Wings ePress and was the publisher's best seller for the first month follow its release. And the Truth Will Set You Free finaled for a 2008 Eppie Award.

Three other novels—Pieces, The Year I Lost My Mind, and Finding Hope—followed in the next eighteen months with Wings ePress. Finding Hope has finaled for a 2010 EPIC e-book Award. Her fifth novel, The Restoration of Abby Walker, was released by Wings ePress in September, 2009. Next Time, I’m Gonna Dance was released on January 2, 2010 by Champagne Books. Shooting Into the Sun was published on May 1 in e-book, and Love, Sam is contracted by Champagne Books for 2010 publication. In addition, Renting to Own will be published in the coming year by Class Act Books. Linda's short stories have received recognition from Pennwriters, Inc., Writer’s Digest, and Long and Short Romance Reviews.

Of her writing, Linda says, “I write for women—stories of love, strength, humor, and hope.” Readers have compared her work to that of Elizabeth Berg, Nicholas Sparks, and Sherryl Woods.

Linda is the owner and moderator of The Women’s Fiction Writers Exchange, an online critique group of women writers from across the United States and Canada. She has served as contest judge for the River City Romance Writers and EPIC’s New Voices and EPIC Award competitions. Linda grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania and currently resides in Southaven, Mississippi. Excerpts and reviews can be read at www.lindarettstatt.com and her blog can be viewed at http://www.lindarettstatt-author.blogspot.com/.

[Anne] When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

[Linda] From the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to write. But at that time I had neither the self-confidence nor the encouragement to follow that dream. Over the years, I've written poetry, short stories, plays, and song lyrics. But seven years ago I sat down to write my first novel. I've not stopped writing since.

[Anne] Tell us about your latest book.

[Linda] Shooting into the Sun is about a young woman, Rylee Morgan, an accomplished photographer. She's good at what she does because she works by the rules; her life, on the other hand, is dull because of the rules and boundaries she's constructed for herself. When she believes she may have found her estranged father on the other side of the country, she takes a summer photo assignment that will eventually land her in northern California. What she had not planned on was having her younger sister, Lexie, accompany her on the trip and then invite a hitchhiker to join them. Rylee's rules are bent to near breaking and her boundaries severely stretched by her sister's free spirit and by Josh Bradley, the hitchhiker who leads Rylee to face her own demons.

[Anne] Whew!  Sounds very intriguing.  What inspired you to write this story?

[Linda] Nature photography has long been a hobby of mine, and I learned the rule that you never shoot into the sun. However, I have a hard time with rules. They stifle me. And some of the best photos I've taken were shot against the rules. I started to think of this as a metaphor for how some people live their lives and what it might mean, metaphorically, to shoot into the sun.

[Anne] How did you go about researching your book?

[Linda] I have a friend who is a trained photographer who gave me a few tips on technique. The story takes my characters on a journey from Pittsburgh to northern California by way of a stop on Mackinac Island. I had never visited Mackinac Island, the Sonoma Valley, or Bodega Bay. I had to rely on the internet and various visitors' guides for details. I have since spent a week on Mackinac (since I fell in love with the place during my research). I have to say their Visitor's Bureau does a fantastic job of capturing the island in their guidebooks.

[Anne] Do you have anything new in the works?

[Linda] I have four books in various stages of progress. Unconditional is in a final rewrite stage. The premise of the story is that when you think you know unconditional love, that love will be tested. I'm also working on a paranormal romantic suspense with the working title of Ghostwriter (which will probably change). Two others are women's fiction with some romantic element: Act of Contrition and The Promise Tree.

[Anne] What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a panster?

[Linda] I am totally a panster. I've learned along the way to write out brief character sketches as I begin a new work so I can at least easily recall a character's eye color, etc. without having to go back from chapter twenty to chapter two. But I write best when I'm not really thinking too hard about what I'm writing.

[Anne] Same here. I love being a panster. If you could be anyone of your characters, which one would you chose to be and why?

[Linda] Oh, jeez. Tough choice. I love Kate Reynolds (And the Truth Will Set You Free) because she ended up living my dream. But I might choose Rylee Morgan (Shooting into the Sun) because she's only twenty-eight!

[Anne] Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go? (Okay so maybe this isn’t very likely to happen but since I’m asking the questions…)

[Linda] Tuscany. Hands down, I'd go to Tuscany. And since we're dreaming here, I'd have at least a full month in a fully-staffed villa overlooking olive groves, within walking distance of some little village with narrow cobblestone streets and smiling, friendly natives. And then there's the wine.

[Anne] LOL. I love your imagination! Okay, here’s another one for you. You’ve just been informed that your latest release was a NY Times bestseller and Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie. What actors would you choose to play your main characters?

[Linda] Oh, this is tough. I am so out of touch with who's who in Hollywood right now. I haven't seen a movie in over a year.

[Anne] What type of books do you like to read when you’re not writing?

[Linda] My tastes range from women's fiction to contemporary romance to mystery. I can best answer that by saying 'who' I like to read Elizabeth Berg, Kris Radish, Lisa Scottoline, Janet Evanovich, Claire Cook, Elin Hilderbrand, Diane Mott Davidson, Nevada Barr, Sherryl Woods, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Whew!

[Anne] Name three things you can’t live without (excluding spouses and family because that’s a given).

[Linda] My friends; my laptop; chocolate.

[Anne] What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?

[Linda] Learn the craft. Trust me, we all think we can write when we sit down and finish that first draft of our first manuscript. But most of us don't have a clue what we're doing. I've learned so much since writing my first novel because I listened to the feedback of readers, of critique partners, and even that of rejection letters. Read, read, read, and study what you read for technique and style. But write in your own voice.

[Anne] Great advice, Linda. Where can we find you on the web?

[Linda] At my web site: www.lindarettstatt.com or on my blog, One Woman's Write, at www.lindarettstatt-author.blogspot.com. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter. (And sometimes I worry about where else I might be found on the web. *grin*)

[Anne] Where can we purchase your books?

[Linda] Five of my novels are currently available in both e-book and trade paperback from Wings ePress www.wings-press.com. Two are available from Champagne Books (though Shooting into the Sun is currently only available in e-book, but will be out in paperback in a few months.) My web site has all the clickable links. My books are also available on Amazon.com and in Kindle format.

[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Linda] Just this: If there is any woman out there who thinks she has a story to tell and has always wanted to write it down—do it now. I held the passion to write inside for a very long time before I trusted myself enough to let it out. And it's been a glorious ride, so far. Take hold of your dreams and live them. This life is not a dress rehearsal.

[Anne] I love that! It’s so true.

[Linda] Thanks so much for having me here today, Anne. It was truly a pleasure.

[Anne] It has been fun. I’m glad you could make it.

7 comments:

Marie said...

I enjoyed the interview, Linda and Anne. It's interesting to read how authors differ. Your book sounds wonderful. I'll add it to my list.

Blessings to both of you.
Marie

linda_rettstatt said...

Thanks, Marie for your comments. I have to say this book was the hardest one to finish because I hated to say goodbye to Rylee, Lexie, and Josh. I do hope you enjoy it.

Sandra Cox said...

Nice interview, ladies:)

linda_rettstatt said...

Thanks, Sandra.

Rhobin said...

Good interview. Always interesting to learn how an author approaches her craft.

linda_rettstatt said...

Thanks, Rhobin, for stopping by. And thanks to you, Anne, for having me here.

Linda

Anne Patrick said...

Thank your for all the wonderful comments, ladies!

Linda, it was a pleasure having you visit and I hope you'll come back sometime. Best of luck to you in all your writing endeavors.

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