A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
Quote From Author:
“I'm a widow, my soul mate died in 2006. He was truly the love of my life. I have two daughters both grown, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. For twenty years I was a day care provider in my home. I watched all my grandchildren while their mother's worked, and half the neighborhood.
I've done many odd jobs, the last job I had was a school custodian in my home town of Wylie, Texas. I did that for seven years, it was hard work, but it had its moments. I've been a file clerk, a PBX operator, I worked for Bell Telephone, a saleswoman for Sears, I worked at Texas Instruments, The Resistol Hat Factory. Like I said I've done a lot of different jobs which has helped create a lot of background for some of my work. All the while I had the same life as most, except when I was a kid.
Back then I traveled the USA with my pipelining father and my mother who was a hair-dresser. I've been in almost every state. I went to school for a short time in Canada, learned to shoot marbles there. Fun. I was an only child, and although I had plenty of toys, I didn't think I was spoiled. However, I realize now, I was. But my life was different from many kids and I got very tired of changing schools all the time. I didn't seek a higher education until I was grown when I took some college courses.
I love bowling, I like to smell a bowling alley, man something is wrong with me. LOL I liked to roller skate, only I'm talking the old fashioned kind with four round wheels. I taught myself how to skate. I could play poker with the best of them by the time I was ten. I hated athletics. I loved History. I have a passion for the "Alamo".
My favorite color is blue. My favorite movie is "almost any western made in the late 50's and 60's. I love John Wayne. I love movies really. I can watch the same movie over and over and never tire of it. You see, I was around when TV's first came out and wow, what an experience that was. I was hooked.
I love to go out and eat with my grandkids, and spending time with them. I love shopping when I'm up to it. And I pray to go on writing until it's time to meet my maker. That's my dream. Although….I'd love to be here for the Rapture.
That's me, in a nutshell. Probably not much different than a lot of others. However, I must say I did grow up in the 50's and 60's and loved it. You didn't have to lock your doors all the time. Kids could ride their bikes in the street, as long as it wasn't a main street. You could trick or treat safely back then. They had dances back then they were called 'sock hops'. I did walk to high school about a mile and half every day. I would say that was the extent of exercise I got too.”
What makes you proud to be a writer from Texas? I'm from Texas and like all Texans proud of it. I'm also proud that we still have the freedom to write basically what we want. I hope that never changes. I am a proud Texan, I'm proud to say I'm a writer, because writing is not one of those careers that you usually aim for, it takes you over and you realize you don't have a bit of choice, what with the voices in your head, and the constant describing things, like how a person walks, or what their habits are. All of these things are part of being a writer. Most of all, I'm proud to be a writer because it is what I want to do with the rest of my life. And I can, right up until the end. It's a choice and it's not for everyone, but it is for me.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? My father inspired me. He was a natural born storyteller. He could tell a story to one person and before he was through, others stopped by to listen to him too. He could create a crowd wherever he wanted just by telling stories. So I wanted to try. Although I never got the hang of orally telling a story, I can read a book with plenty of character in my voice. I can also write that story like my father used to tell when I was younger. That makes me feel as though I am carrying on a tradition, I like that.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Back in the eighties I really began reading a lot of romance. And although they were good. I felt I could put a different slant on things and write my own. So I began. Up until then I had wrote things and stuck them in a drawer. I submitted and got plenty of rejection but after that I never left my dream to become a published writer.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage. You know what, I think being an only child had a great deal to do with it. I talked to myself a lot, and I played imaginary people all the time. I think it began way back, I just didn't know how to put it to paper back then, I was only about four years old. But not having a constant playmate had a lot to do with make-believe.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? Sometimes something hits me and I go with it. Other times I am stumped. And sometimes I talk to my daughter and grand-kids and they come up with a snappy title. I love it, because finally after so many years of having no cheer-leading in the family, my family gets involved and I love it.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Oh now here is where I differ. I used to only write, short, contemporary romance. That is for the first ten years. After that I began to tire of it. So finally I branched out into historical romance, loved it, it gave it more depth to me, but then I went a step further and started writing thrillers. Now that was a real challenge, and I loved it. It keeps me from getting bored. Now I write, contemporary and historical romance, thrillers ( Better Off Without Her my first thriller) and to top it off children's books(Jojo the One Eyed Puppy). All of which I love. I dabble in short stories, but I must confess they aren't my strongest point. Although, The Far Side of Lonesome is one short story I really enjoyed writing.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Well, when computers came out, I had no idea how to run them. But I learned with the help of my husband. He taught me so much, and I wish he was still alive so I could tell him what a help he had been. So learning to operate the computer was new and I felt I had accomplished something. Learning to write better with each book has been a slow process but rewarding. When someone writes to you and tells you they love something you wrote it always thrills you.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided. I've been with the wrong critiquing groups before where encouragement was not something they offered. I proved them wrong. This group was one I just jumped into without doing some research. I was sorry for that. I think one of the most negative things about my career as a writer has been trying to break into the biggies as I call them, the New York publishers. I never could sell myself and or my books to them. It is such a negative process usually for the beginner that it is surprising enough writers don't just hang up the pen. I think if I had gone to college it would have helped my self-esteem a lot, and I would have had an easier time of it. I have learned almost everything from the seat of my pants. And some were very hard lessons to learn. But the one thing I did accomplish in the long run. I stuck with it, no matter. And I succeeded.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Pleasing others and especially children's books. Children's books don't sell as well unless you have a big publishing company pushing you, but it is rewarding when the children themselves write to tell you how much they loved something. I had a grandmother write me once and I will always remember what she said. She had found one of my books and read it to her granddaughter. She said she learned to read with that book, and she loved it so much she read it every time her grandmother would read to her. When you have someone that really does well from something you did, it makes you prouder than making a million bucks. I was a day care provider for twenty years so children have been a big part of my life. But that letter really made me feel good inside. It was worth the struggles.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? You will always have people who complain and say they hate your work, or they don't think you can write. However, I am living proof that you can. Persistence is so important. Stay with it. Don't listen to the naysayers they are only one person. You write for many. Never give up if this is your passion. Never let anyone put you down so that you want to give up. Everyone is not going to like your work, but stick with it, because one person is not what you write for. You write for the world. Keep your chin up, no matter the obstacles. And someday, you will succeed.
Who is your favorite author? I tend to like James Patterson, I like a good mystery. I like a lot of the romance writers, especially the ones that can be humorous. Humor is to me the hardest thing to write. I like Lorraine Heath, I respect the works of Tina Donahue, although I don't care for the genre, her writing is spectacular. She uses the senses better than anyone I know. Lorraine Heath writes like I'm there. Tina fills me full of feelings, tastes, and touches. James makes me squirm to get to the end of the book.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I've been at this business a long while. But now that I am coming full circle, I realize it is the reader that means the most to us. Despite the fact that money pays the rent, without those little notes of affection for our work every now and then, it would hardly be worth it. It's hearing from them that makes the day, and the difference.
Elmer Martin becomes John Conroy in an attempt to turn his life around from crime and sin to upstanding citizen. But can he accomplish it with a new murder in his life, a wife expecting their first child, and his sister who is in trouble because of him in Cross Timbers. Can you change your destiny? Or is it in the eyes of the beholder?
Genre: Historical, Western Romance
Author Rita Hestand’s Published Books:
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