Please welcome on my next Author’s Gold (A.U.) segment, Ms. Rita Stradling. I am honored to be one of the stops on her blog tour for her latest book, “Rex.” Please welcome her and this amazing interview and an exclusive excerpt!
Author to Author Interview:
Hi! Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog! It’s great to be here!
1. Where did you grow up? Did your childhood have any impact on your writing?
I grew up in Palo Alto, one of the big hubs of the information age. I’d have to say that my childhood had a very big impact on my writing; growing up amongst artists and scientists in a society that highly valued both has inspired many aspects of my books.
2. Tell us about the first story you ever wrote, published or not?
The first book I ever wrote was titled ‘Colorless’ in 2008. Colorless was a middle grade fantasy novel about a girl whose color dripped off her body, making her invisible but also gifting her the ability to travel through paintings. Unfortunately, I never published Colorless and probably will not.
3. What are you currently working on, writing wise?
I’m actually working on four projects! I’m working on the next installment in my three ongoing series, as well as I just finished Ensnared, a sci-fi romance Beauty and the Beast retelling. Oh my goodness, that sounds so scary. But, each project is in different stages of development and some are in their editing stages.
4. What is your favorite character you have ever created and why?
Oh, goodness, that’s a really hard one. Can I pick my favorite character in the Dakota Kekoa world, instead? My favorite character in Dakota’s world might be her uncle Bobby. He’s light-hearted and crass, and unquestionably loyal to Dakota and her sisters. He goes through a very hard time in Rex and I found myself not wanting to continue writing at times.
5. Do you have to write in order or do your ideas just come to you and you put them in order later?
My technique is definitely just to write and let my brain sort out the connections later. Sometimes, if I run into a big obstacle, I’ll take a break and distract myself, letting my brain figure it out on its own.
6. What was your path like until you found writing?
Before writing, I studied art and art history at Humboldt State. After graduating, I worked for a short time in fine art sales in Hawaii before I became pregnant and took time off to be a stay at home mama. In the first six months after having my son, I spent a lot of time stuck with him sleeping on me. As a new mother, having a restful baby was precious, and so I would stay put for the duration of his naps. I began writing in these times, starting with Colorless, and eight years later, I’m still writing.
7. Tell us about your covers.
The covers for the Dakota Kekoa series were created by Yvonne Nikolova at Ammonia Book Covers.
8. What inspires you to write?
I’m often inspired by my dreams or nightmares. I’ll take a central concept and just start living their lives, the details work themselves out on the way.
9. How do you get book reviews?
Several ways: I run giveaways, have the book featured on NetGalley, send out ARCs to the subscribers of my website, and once in a while, I’ll query bloggers who I think might be interested.
10. What is harder: writing, editing, or marketing?
Marketing, definitely, marketing. Writing and editing are relatively easy, I have an awesome editor and fantastic beta readers, so while time consuming, both are fun and not intimidating. There’s a reason that marketing a book is not just a job, it’s a huge industry, it’s because a single person could do it all day, every day and it still might not cut it.
11. If you could publish every book idea you’ve ever had, how many books would you have out right now?
I would likely have hundreds of fully thought out books, but most will never be typed onto a keyboard.
12. Have you ever considered co-writing a book or series with another author?
Definitely! I would love to co-author a book in any fiction genre.
13. What do you do to relax?
Does reading count? I guess it really depends on the book but I’m a huge book and audio book addict.
14. If you could tell your 14 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Start marketing now ;). Kidding, kidding. I’d probably tell myself to write and read every day, and not only what the teachers had told me to.
15. What advice would you have for this upcoming generation?
I’d probably tell them advice others gave me, but I didn’t do the best job of following: start building a following early and find like minded authors to build a network of support. Also, I’d say that they should just write; it’s easy to be your own worst critic, but remember that you’ll have plenty of time to fix the writing when the story is complete.
16. Have you ever read a book that changed your outlook on life?
Definitely, I’d go so far as to say that hundreds of books changed my outlook on life. Some books that inspired me earlier in life were The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and still one of my favorite re-read books, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.
17. Do you have a classic piece of literature or a classic author you are fond of? How about one that is overrated?
Jane Austen might be my favorite classic author, she definitely was when I was growing up. The books I read now have a much darker bent, but I still love sweet, innocent romantic stories.
18. Any type of music that gets your writing juices flowing?
Max Richter is a particular favorite of mine right now; I like dark, intense modern classical music. I also enjoy soulful pop singers like Sia, Florence (and the Machine), and Skylar Grey.
19. Dog or cat person?
I love my dog, Stewie, but I’d love a cat too and maybe a big lop bunny.
20. What do you want to eat right now?
A salad, I’m actually really hungry and probably will eat a blue cheese and apple salad the moment I’m finished with this interview … yum.
21. If you could be in any movie that has already been made, which one would it be?
Kill Bill, I’d love to die dramatically as an extra in a kung-fu movie. Or maybe a slasher film where all I had to do is run around and then die.
22. What is your favorite holiday or time of year?
I love the fall! Fall is the time of hot tea and apple cider, rainy days and warm showers. Also, of course, I love Halloween, dressing up and stealing candy from my kid’s basket (I call it the mom tax). Happy Halloween!
Excerpt of “Rex:”
The look Wyvern turned on me was full of heat and interest, as if I’d shut the door hoping for a make-out session. I needed to squash that right now.
“Wyvern,” I snapped. “No more kissing, hand holding, or holding me for more than like a minute, okay? This is getting out of hand. We’re friends.”
“But a minute is okay?” he asked, with a mischievous smile. In an instant he had his arms wrapped tightly around me and I was pressed to his chest. “Because a minute is a pretty long time to hold you, let me show you: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand…” His arms moved up and down my back as he spoke.
“Ugh, ten seconds, you can hold me for no longer than ten seconds,” I said.
He leaned back, looking down at me, “What if it was ten second kisses instead.”
I swallowed hard. “No kissing.”
“Are you sure?” he asked, leaning in so close I could smell his sweet, spicy breath.
I nodded, glancing between his eyes and his lips.
“Not even for this long?” he asked as his lips came down and brushed gently against mine for one second.
When he pulled back, I nodded again, then remembering what he asked, and I shook my head instead.
“How about for this long?” His lips met mine with a sudden hungry intensity that I wasn’t expecting. His hands buried in my hair while his lips pushed against mine, sucking on my lower lip before his tongue entered my mouth.
I lifted to my toes, unable to stop myself from kissing back. I grabbed onto his jacket and opened my mouth to his kiss. My lips were as hungry on his as his were on mine.
My breaths were coming hard and fast when he broke away. “You play so dirty,” I whispered.
“I always will.” He grabbed me, holding me tightly against him. “I’ve missed you so much, Dakota,” he whispered into my hair.
It was like I could literally feel him reeling me back in. And it wasn’t with one of those cheap plastic fishing lines either, he was reeling me in with a giant net. It didn’t matter how much I struggled, the net would always win.
The Blurb for “Rex:”
Author: Rita Stradling
Genre: YA Fantasy
In seventeen year old Dakota Kekoa’s line of work, a job can go bad in a split second.
And when a job goes bad, people die.
Suspended from working as a tax collector in her draconic family’s protection racket, Dakota is assigned a secret mission from her grandfather. A foreign queen has offered a grave insult to Dakota’s grandfather by running a vampire dinner cruise off the coast of the Mabiian Islands, and his retribution must be swift.
Yet, when Dakota infiltrates the ship ‘Crimson Sunset’, nothing is at it seems. In a split second, not only is Dakota in deathly peril, all of New Anglo is on the road to war.
About the Author:
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.
Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.
She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.
Author Website: http://ritastradling.wixsite.com/rita-stradling-books