Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Renting To Own by Linda Rettstatt
Today's guest is Linda Rettstatt. Linda, thank you so much for coming.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in the small town of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, but I now reside in Mississippi. I've worked as a semi-professional musician, amateur nature photographer, retail sales clerk, clerical office staff (where I acquired my highly-developed keyboard skills ), a case manager/social worker, and a psychotherapist. Whew, no wonder I'm tired! But all of these experiences have given me useful information for my books. I wanted to write from time I was a teenager, but didn't have the encouragement or self-confidence at that time to pursue a writing career. I started writing seriously about eight years ago. I now have eight novels published (with three different publishers) and a ninth scheduled for release in November. I have a day job in social services four days a week (to pay the bills), but I enjoy that three-day weekend for writing. I love to travel when I have the chance. Two of my guilty pleasures are dark chocolate and playing penny slot machines. Last summer I took the leap and adopted a cat who now has me fully trained to attend to her every need and whim.
Ha, ha. I'm trained too. We have three cats. How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
There is probably a lot more of me in my books than I would like to admit. My friends will often tell me parts of a book are autobiographical. I tend to write stories that are heavily character-driven, and I'm sure my work as a psychotherapist helps me get inside the characters head and emotions. I don't hold to the notion of only 'writing what you know'. But I don't think any of us can divorce ourselves from our personality, our past, our dreams for the future, or our quirks. So I'm sure I appear regularly in all of my books in one form or another.
Most people think authors live glamorous lives. (We wish!) Describe a typical writing day for us.
On the days that I work my social service job, I don't get home until after 5:30, so I don't get a lot done those days. I generally try to critique or work on marketing and promotion in the evenings. Sometimes I'll go over a chapter or scene I'm trying to sharpen up. But Friday through Sunday is writing time. I tend to sleep a little later those days and work into the wee hours of the next morning. I'm a pantser, so I can write straight through for up twelve or thirteen hours with few breaks. I get absorbed in my story and in my characters and can forget to eat (but not as often as I need to) and become a bit of a hermit. I have to remind myself to take breaks and socialize. I usually have two or three works in progress running at the same time. If I hit a sticking point on one, rather than get frustrated, I just switch gears and write something else for a while.
You're a girl after my own heart! We have some of the same characteristics except I never forget to eat. When writing a new book, how do you decide on a theme, genre, or topic?
I primarily write women's fiction, though my stories almost all have a romance subplot, some stronger than others. My theme is generally within the women's fiction realm—female character is faced with some challenge, obstacle, loss, or opportunity and has to overcome blocks to achieve her goal. My characters are mostly women who find the inner strength they need to pursue some goal or dream as yet unrealized. Most of my characters have been middle-aged, though the character in my latest book, Renting To Own, is a twenty-three-year-old single mother.
That sounds good to me. If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
Lisa Scottoline because I think she's brilliant at crafting characters who draw you into their world and at developing stories with tension that makes you want to stay up all night and read. She also seems like both a nice person and someone with a hilarious sense of humor. I think she'd be fun. I'd also like to meet Kris Radish because she has such deep insight into the psyche and emotions of women. Her characters are so well-drawn and the predicaments she puts them in so creative, yet believable. And she'd know how to order a good bottle of wine for us to share while we chat. (I'm terrible at choosing wine, and not much of a drinker. She could have most of it.)
Would you share your links with us?
My web address is: http://www.lindarettstatt.com
My blog address is: http://www.onewomanswrite.blogspot.com
We’d love to read an excerpt from one of your books. Don’t forget to leave us a buy link.
I'd love to share this excerpt from my latest release from Class Act Books – Renting To Own.
Lily took Chelsea's hand and Rick moved to the other side of the child. Chelsea reached up and took hold of his hand. He didn't seem to mind. The three of them walked hand in hand down the block for ice cream, just like any family. The scene brought a lump to Lily's throat. It had been hard raising a child alone. She was often concerned about the effect it had on Chelsea, not having a father or a grandfather in her life. Rick cannot be Chelsea's father figure. Get that out of your head. Though it is time I dove back into the dating pool and found a suitable candidate. The last thought made her shudder.
Chelsea kept busy with a huge banana split made with fudge swirl ice cream that was sure to destroy any plans of dinner. But it allowed Rick to explain the realty business to Lily and outline her job duties—something that probably should have occurred that morning.
She set down her spoon. "I know I got off to a rough start today with phone messages, but I really am competent and a fast learner."
"I believe you. It takes time. I should have oriented you before throwing you to the wolves. So, tell me about yourself."
Lily gulped a mouthful of ice cream, giving herself a brain freeze headache. She squinted one eye. "Myself?"
"Yes. Where'd you grow up? What about family? Why are you winking at me?"
"Brain freeze." She fluttered her eyelid a few times and pressed her fingertips above her right eyebrow. "I grew up in Lakewood, near Cleveland. My mom died when I was seven. That left my dad to raise me and my older brother."
Rick shook his head. "Wow. That must've been tough, being so young and without a mother, and the only girl in the house."
"My Aunt Natalie, my mother's younger sister, helped us out. But she got married when I was ten. She and her husband moved to California, then to England. My dad didn't cope with things very well, so I kind of raised myself."
She watched his eyes move from hers to glance at Chelsea, and back again. The question hung between them.
"First and only boyfriend. He got college, and I got… I'm not complaining." She ran her fingers lovingly through Chelsea's curls. "She's a blessing."
Chelsea looked up, ice cream covering most of her face. "Me?"
"Yes, you," Lily said, taking a napkin and wiping the child's face. She looked back at Rick. "We've managed fine. It's been hard at times. My high school English teacher took me in. She probably saved my life and Chelsea's."
"My Auntie Helen's coming to stay with us for the summer," Chelsea announced.
"Well, I'll have to meet Auntie Helen some time." He glanced at his watch. "I'd better get you back to the office. Don't want to be charged for overtime. You all finished, kiddo?"
Chelsea nodded, wiping her mouth and dropping the napkin into the empty plastic boat-shaped bowl. "Thanks."
"You're very welcome." He cleared the table, then held the door while they exited. He reached for one of Chelsea's hands as if he'd done that very thing every day of her life.
Lily's chest tightened and she cleared her throat. "You're good with kids. You have any?"
"Me? No. Oh, no. I'm not the family type. I have nieces and nephews, though."
"Did you always live here in Leesport?"
"Yep. Born and raised. A small-town boy. My grandfather started Gardner Realty before my father was born. He passed it on to my dad and, now that Dad's retired and he and Mom are living the good life in Florida, it's all mine."
"Did you ever want to do something else?"
"Nope. Well, I played football in high school, but I wasn't that good, just big. I guess because I grew up around the real estate business, I love it. I'm a natural born salesman, so I've been told."
Lily made note of his self-proclamation. What might he try to sell her on?
Buy Link: http://www.classactbooks.com/Renting-to-Own-_p_170.html
Linda, thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your excerpt and look forward to reading your book.