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Tale-spinner. Revealer of secrets. A dog's best friend. Cornbread and fried okra country girl.
Leta McCurry grew up in Texas and California. She wrote "in her head" and sometimes in long hand until she was about 12 years old and persuaded her parents to buy her a manual typewriter (a long time ago).
As an adult, life, family and career kept writing simmering in the back of her mind until Prentice Hall, New York, published her college textbook, Introduction to Commercial Real Estate in 1990. She confesses she was an "accidental author" in this case because she never intended to write non-fiction. Her heart was always with fiction and once she retired, she was able to focus on her first love and recently published her first novel, High Cotton Country, a story set in the Texas hill country where she grew up.
Her greatest joy in telling Cazzie's story in High Cotton Country was to watch as Cazzie found the courage to face crushing adversity with dignity and honor. As Cazzie's friend, Bama Tapp, championship bull-rider says, "No matter how mean the bull you draw, you just get on and ride."
Leta says the most fun about writing comes from getting to know the characters and seeing what they will do in the course of the story. Sometimes they don't behave as expected. She feels she relates to the characters in such a way that their unfolding ends up being a growing experience for her as well.
She lives in Prescott, Arizona, and enjoys writing, reading, a large, fun-loving family, the open road on a motorcycle (trike - as a passenger), good food, and travel Favorite destination: Ireland.
Leta has published two novels, High Cotton Country and A Shadow Life. She is presently at work on a third novel, Dancing to the Silence. She says she loves the fascination of new characters and the fun of getting acquainted with them and seeing what they will do as the story develops.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Arizona? I am proud to be a writer from Arizona. I live in a small town and it is amazing the number of writers in this area. Makes for good fellowship.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I’m not sure who or what inspired me to write. I think I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I did have an English teacher in high school, Rosemary Bell, who gave me a lot of encouragement and helped me believe I could be.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes, my upbringing and the cultural and social environment played a great role in shaping me as a writer. The Texas Hill Country, where I grew up, is prominent in my first book, High Cotton Country, and figures significantly in my work in progress.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I started writing with publication in mind about 1985.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? The most rewarding experience from writing is when a reader tells me the story resonated with them and they think about it long after they finish the book.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? The moment I held that first book with my name as the author in my hand.
How many published books do you have? Two.
Please list the titles of all your books: High Cotton Country and Commercial Real Estate: An Introduction to Marketing Investment Properties.
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? Usually before. Then I change them.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Women’s fiction. I write about strong women and their struggles because I am fascinated by ordinary women who accomplish the extraordinary.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write High Cotton Country? A newspaper story I read when I was about nine years old.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Sit down at the keyboard and let’er rip. Edit later.
Who is your favorite author and why? Goodness. I can have only one? I could list at least a couple of dozen. If I can have only one, I would say, Ayn Rand because she was a visionary.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? High Cotton Country.
Secrets. Hidden they can destroy from within. Revealed they can explode her world.
A message that her father is dying sends a reluctant Cazzie Randle to his bedside but not to reconcile a lifelong estrangement. This is her last chance to make him reveal the secrets behind the memories that haunt her. He must answer questions of "Why?" Why did he abandon her? Why did her mother commit an act of such unspeakable horror?
An explosion of truth in a dusty Texas hill country town reveals old secrets and demands choices. But will she be able to choose or will she be paralyzed by all the old hurts, cruelty and betrayals that have driven her all her life? To find the answer, Cazzie must confront the very essence of who she has become and question whether the price was too high.
You may read the first chapter of High Cotton Country at http://www.letamccurry.com/free-read