Recently, I had the great fortune to visit with one of my favorite authors and luckily a pretty awesome friend, Linda Rettstatt. She agreed to be interrogated...er...interviewed for our blog here at Murder by 4. Please visit Linda and get to know her. She's fun and has many wonderful books. Here is the interview:
Hello and welcome to Murder by 4! Are you ready for some really tough questions? Just kidding, I’ll go easy on you.
Fire away! I am sitting down, recently fed, and reasonably relaxed.
Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
I’m an import to the south, having grown up in SW Pennsylvania. I always thought I’d write, but did seriously begin until 2004. In the past ten years I’ve had 18 books published and have 3 more under contract for 2014-15. Prior to pursuing writing, I worked as a musician for my creative outlet and I still work in Social Work to pay the bills. I like to push the boundaries and take on different sub-genres. I started writing Women’s Fiction, expanded into Contemporary Romance, then wrote a Paranormal novella with both romance and mystery and, now, my first Romantic Suspense, Protection.
What made you want to become a writer? I’ve always loved writing in some form, but funneled my creative interests into music for a long time. As soon as I started my first book, I knew without a doubt I’d found my passion.
Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents? Other than tying cherry stems in knots? Well, I play guitar. But nothing so very unusual.
What gives you inspiration for your book(s)? That’s a tricky question. Sometimes the idea for a catchy title gets me thinking about the story behind it. People are great inspiration so, be careful, or you might end up in my book!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? Most of my characters come to life on their own, though there are a few that have qualities or quirks of people I know or have met. I try to keep them well-disguised.
Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read? My newest novel, a romantic suspense title Protection, was borne out of a brief conversation with my cousin. She mused that she and friend thought perhaps their priest was really someone in witness protection. That caught my ear. But realizing that would never fly, I turned it around and asked the question: What if a priest had to go into the witness protection program and simply live as a man? The story took off from there and the book practically wrote itself. Here’s the back cover blurb that introduces the main characters:
Jake Garber is a new man after being placed in the witness protection program pending a Federal child-trafficking case in which he’s a witness. Shannon Chase is the identity stolen by a young woman escaping her past to protect her child. A foggy night, a hairpin turn, and a car crash throw Jake and Shannon into one another’s lives where each struggles to protect a secret.
What do you love most about the writing process? Oh, the freedom to create stories and the characters I meet along the way, the ability to take my readers somewhere else, to let them know they aren’t alone. All of it.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why? My favorite character continues to be Rylee Morgan from Shooting Into The Sun. Perhaps I identify with some of Rylee’s personality quirks. I do love the way she does a 180 turn by the end of the book, letting go of the things from her past that hold her back and opening herself to happiness.
What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer? That agents weren’t just sitting at their desks waiting for my book to show up!
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day? I work in social services. My background is in social work and clinical social work. I’ve done everything from case management to psychotherapy. These experiences have given me a lot to work with in terms of understanding how people look at life and cope with stress and still come out the other side stronger, which is what usually happens to mt characters.
Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? Do you have any other books in the works? Oh, I can’t think five years ahead. I kind of take things a year at a time. I have two new books coming out this year and a re-publication of a previously published book coming out in 2015. And, of course, there are at least six stories percolating now, some closer to completion than others.
And now, just some little random questions!
Favorite TV show? Castle
Favorite movie? Young Frankenstein
Favorite city? Mackinac Island, Michigan
Favorite food? Anything chocolate
Favorite book? Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish
To conclude, is there anything you would like to say to your readers? Don’t be shy. Let your favorite authors know you’re out there. We love to get emails and most of us have an email option on our website. And, of course, there are always places to leave reviews and quotes about the books you love, like Amazon, B&N.com, Goodreads.
It was a pleasure hosting you on Mb4 today. I wish you all the best in your career!
Thanks so much for the chance to be here. You made me think about a few things.
Where can we find you online? (please cut and paste links):
Barnes noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Linda-Rettstatt?store=allproducts&keyword=Linda+Rettstatt