Today, we have Contemporary Women's Fiction Author Linda Rettstatt visiting us at Just Write! Let's ask Linda a few questions . . .
~ What kind of stories/books do you write?
I write women's fiction with a romantic sub-plot. I've also completed a contemporary romance novel and am working on a paranormal romantic suspense manuscript.
~ How long have you been writing?
I've been writing, in some form, since high school, but seriously began to write in 2003.
~ How long have you been writing and seriously pursuing publication?
I completed my first novel in 2004. I submitted that novel, And the Truth Will Set You Free, to Wings ePress in 2005. To my surprise and delight, I was offered a contract. That book was published in 2007 and finaled for an EPIC e-Book Award in 2008. Four other novels followed in 2009 and 2010. I have two more books published with Champagne Books, and a third coming out in November. In addition, Class Act Books will publish my novel, Renting to Own, in the coming year.
~ How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?
I sold my first manuscript, rather quickly, I might add.
~ Please tell us about receiving “The Call.”
From the time I was in high school, I've written poetry, short stories, short plays, and song lyrics. I dreamed of becoming a writer, but at the time didn't have the courage or the self-confidence to pursue the dream. Now that I'm…er…more mature, I've reclaimed that passion to write. In 2003, while working as a psychotherapist for a non-profit organization, I found myself with an entire day of canceled appointments. I sat and whined about this to the receptionist who said (I think just to get me out of her office), "Why don't you go to your computer and write that book you keep saying you're going to write?"
Well, I did. At least, I started my first novel. And once I'd started, I couldn't stop. It was like shaking a bottle of soda and twisting off the cap. The story exploded and flowed.
I finished that novel and, with complete naiveté, sent off queries to major agents whom I was certain were just waiting for my manuscript. When I received one, then two, then five rejections, I decided to pursue a more direct route and queried publishers. Wings ePress responded immediately and contracted my book.
~ To expand on your "Call Story"— What did you do when you got the call or read the email? Scream? Faint?
I distinctly remember the day. A friend had just flown into town for a visit and we stopped at my townhouse before meeting another friend for dinner. I checked my email and discovered the offer of a contract for my book. I'm not a screamer and I doubt I've ever fainted, but I did do a happy dance. (It probably wasn't pretty. I'm not much of a dancer, either.)
~ How did you feel when you found out you sold?
I was ecstatic. I had finally taken hold of the passion for writing that I had possessed for so long, and literally, felt like a door had opened, a bright light shone through, and angelic voices welcomed me to the other side. And I hadn't even started drinking yet to celebrate!
~ Who was the first person you told?
My friend, Sue Ann, who had just come from Pittsburgh to visit. She has been a constant support and encouragement, and is one of my beta readers.
~ How did you celebrate?
Now that's a funny story. Most people would pop open a bottle of champagne, have a party, or go out for fancy dinner. We met up with my roommate and the three of us went to CeCe's Pizza Buffet—$3.99 a person for all you can eat. What can I say? I'm a cheap date. What was important, though, was the spirit of the evening and sharing my excitement with friends.
My newest novel, Shooting into the Sun, was released on May 1st in ebook format and will be released in a few months in trade paperback by Champagne Books. It's women's fiction with a strong romance subplot. Here is a blurb and short excerpt:
Nature photographer Rylee Morgan has created an orderly, settled life for herself. 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, in tow following the breakup with her fiancé, Rylee is focused on two things: finding the man who may be her father and doing her job. 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 to join them on their journey. Rylee learns that sometimes the boundaries we construct to keep ourselves secure also keep us lonely.
Shooting into the Sun
by Linda Rettstatt
When people know they’re about to do the wrong thing, they don’t look you in the eye. Parents were no different.
~ * ~
“Never shoot into the sun.” Her father repositioned
himself to pose for the photograph.
“Why not?” Rylee Morgan lowered the camera and
squinted at him.
“Because it’s a rule. If you follow the rules, you’ll avoid trouble, and you’ll create beautiful pictures.” He stood in the back yard, the white aluminum siding of their house providing a backdrop.
She wanted to believe him. Rylee snapped the
photograph, capturing his image.
He motioned to the camera bag he’d set on the ground
beside her. “You remember how to switch the lenses?”
“How about one more picture of us?” He pulled the
camera from her hand and drew her close to his side. At
twelve years of age, she was nearly his height. Extending his arm, the camera lens reflecting their images, he pressed the shutter release.
He handed her the camera, then hugged her against
him. “I love you, angel. Don’t ever forget that."
She choked on her words. “You don’t have to leave,
“Yes, honey, I do. I’ll talk to you soon, though.”
“Take me with you.” She knotted her fingers in his
A muscle twitched along his jaw. “I can’t.” He held her for another moment, and then pried her hands free. Bolting to the car without a backward glance, he pulled from the drive.
“Daddy!” Rylee chased after him. At the curb, she
raised the camera and clicked the shutter frantically until she heard the whirr of rewinding film. Tears blurred her last glimpse. His car turned and disappeared from her view.
She hugged the Nikon against her chest and cried.
~ * ~
Never shoot into the sun—the voice played in her
head. The rules she had learned early in her career never
failed to produce flawless photographs. The rules she had
developed for life had not served her as well. In the sixteen years since her father’s departure, Rylee had kept herself busy, focused on her career, and safe inside her well-constructed boundaries.
Rylee resituated the tripod and checked the sun’s
position. She stepped behind the camera, looked once again
through the lens and waited, watching the slight movement
of the leaves. Water bubbled over rocks. Slowing the shutter speed, she could create a smooth cascade effect. Blue sky and white clouds reflected on the stream’s surface. This stretch of the rapids where the Youghiogheny River ran through Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania was her favorite spot for shooting.
Her thumb rested on the shutter release, prepared for
just the right moment. The breeze subsided and the shadows
shifted. Then, just as she pressed the button, some jerk
decided to walk on water.
Rylee lifted her head and stared. A hiker made his way
across the exposed rocks and into the middle of the narrow
river—directly into the center of her view. She walked to the water’s edge and, with hands on hips, shouted, “Excuse me! You’re ruining my shot.”
He raised his arms and stretched, his face turned
toward the sun. His shirt pulled up to expose a narrow waist and flat stomach.
Rylee dragged her eyes away from his body, cupped
her hands around her mouth and shouted again, “Hey!
You’re in the way.”
The hiker turned and shielded his eyes with his hand.
# # #
Please visit my website at www.lindarettstatt.com and my blog, One Woman's Write, at www.lindarettstatt-author.blogspot.com. Please be sure to sign the guestbook so I know you've stopped by and, if you'd like to receive my quarterly newsletter, there is a place there to email me and I'll add you to the mailing list.
Thanks so much, Anne Marie, for having me here today. It was truly a pleasure.
Thanks for visiting, Linda!!! Great interview!!!