Monday, May 24, 2010

Q&A with Linda Rettstatt!

1. Tell us about your newest release.

Shooting into the Sun (Champagne Books) is women's fiction with a romance subplot. Nature photographer Rylee Morgan has created an orderly, settled life for herself. In addition to her teaching job at the Pittsburgh Art Institute, she is creating a name for herself with her freelance work. When she finds an advertisement that might lead to her estranged father, she takes a photo assignment to the west coast to investigate. With her younger sister, Lexie, is heartbroken after a breakup with her fiancé, Rylee invites her along. The two sisters could not be more different. Lexie lives life by her own set of rules, or lack of rules, and Rylee's plans are further unsettled when Lexie invites a hitchhiker, Josh Bradley, to join them on their journey.

Rylee learns that sometimes the boundaries we construct to keep ourselves secure also keep us lonely.

2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?

That's a tough question. I fell in love with my characters in this book, and there are so many scenes that just grab me. If I had to choose one, I'd say Chapter Six, where the trio has made their way to Mackinac Island. Josh, who is familiar with the island, takes Rylee off on a bike to shoot pictures of the sunrise. He also challenges her, and we see Rylee's defenses begin to crumble.

3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

As a senior in high school (a long time ago), I harbored the dream of moving to Westport, Connecticut after graduation and becoming a writer. Why Westport? That's where the Famous Writer's School (a correspondence course in writing) was headquartered, and it was something of a writers' mecca at the time. I had the dream, but didn't have the courage, then, to pursue the dream. I eventually became a clinical social worker. About seven years ago, as I sat in my counseling office with no clients to see, I began to write. Mostly, I wanted to see if I could write a novel from start to finish. That's when And the Truth Will Set You Free (2007, Wings ePress) came into being. I haven't stopped writing since. I just contracted my ninth novel for publication and have three more in the wings and three others in progress.

4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?

I write primarily women's fiction, but generally with a romance sub-plot. My stories tend to be character-driven. Some of my books started with the title. I then imagined what story that title would tell and the type of character who might tell the story. I like to write about women who are forced to reach deep inside to find inner strength or have to let go of false notions about themselves in order to claim their truer identities.

5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I always find a song that resonates for me with the story I'm telling. If I get stuck, I will go for a drive, listen to that song over and over, and then have a conversation with my character to get past the sticking point. I'm grateful for cell phones because now other drivers who pull up beside my car don't look at me like I've lost my mind when I'm sitting there talking to…no one.

6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Well, first of all, that I was able to write a complete book—that others wanted to read. I know I learn more about myself through every book I write. By pushing my characters to dig deeper into themselves, I have to do the same.

7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

I think my greatest influence has been the writing of Elizabeth Berg, followed by Kris Radish, Lisa Scottoline, and Janet Evanovich. Now, you might wonder how the works of Scottoline and Evanovich influence my writing of women's fiction. All of these writers, regardless of genre, create amazing, engaging, three-dimensional characters, and that's what I aim to do as well. The encouragement of my friends and my critique partners keeps me going.

8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

My family is very supportive. They buy my books and encourage their friends to buy them, too. I think they think I'm more famous than is the actual case. And, since I'd hate to burst their bubble, I let them believe that. 

9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

I love to travel when I can, and nature photography has been a long-time hobby. This made the writing of Shooting into the Sun much easier. I enjoy losing myself in a good book, when I can find the time to read apart from writing, editing, and critiquing. When I'm lounging at home (a rare occasion), I appreciate the company of my cat, Binky. She helps with my writing by sitting up on the back of the chair and batting me in the ear with her tail. Well, sometimes it's a help, reminding me to stop and take a break.

10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?

My eighth novel, Love, Sam, will be released by Champagne Books in November, and my ninth novel, Renting to Own, has been contracted by Class Act Books for publication in this year. My contemporary romance novel, Wake-up Call, is currently under the representation of Anita Melograna, with Crosswind Agency. I just completed the rewrite on a new manuscript title Unconditional. I always have at least three works in various stages of progress at any given time. That's my way of waging a war against writer's block!

Thanks so much, Patti. All of my books with excerpts can be found on my website at, and everyone is invited to visit my blog, One Woman's Write, at Shooting into the Sun is currently available in a variety of e-book formats, and will be available in Trade Paperback in the coming months.

Linda Rettstatt
Writing for women—stories of strength, love, humor, and hope.


Victoria Roder said...

Great interview, Linda. Three different books in different stages all the time. Do you ever loose track of which book and what characters you're working on?

linda_rettstatt said...

Hi, Victoria. I've managed to keep the stories and characters straight--so far. There is usually one manuscript that is my primary focus, but I switch off to one of the others if I need time to mull something over on the primary work or if I hit a sticking point. It's much easier than getting frustrated with writer's block.


Infogypsy said...

You are so Norah Roberts - or James Patterson! Four different publishers, nine books! Amazing - good going.

linda_rettstatt said...

Thanks, Lynn. Actually, it's three publishers--but I'm open for a fourth.:)