Monday, May 28, 2012

In the Spotlight with Linda R

Today’s In the Spotlight features the award winning author Linda Rettstatt. Linda writes women’s fiction and mainstream romance novels, though she is currently working on a paranormal romance involving a writer, a ghost, and a murderous sea captain. That sounds fun. Her work is published with Champagne Books, Class Act Books, Wings ePress and is coming soon to Turquoise Morning Press.

She is a Pennsylvania Yankee currently residing in Northwest Mississippi, not far from Memphis, where she has yet to report an Elvis sighting, but I hear she continues to be hopeful. Her books have been in the finals four times for EPIC e-Book Awards, and this year her book, Love, Sam won the 2012 EPIC eBook Award in Mainstream Fiction. She was named 2010 Author of the Year by Champagne Books.

Good morning Linda, how are things in Mississippi?

Hot and getting hotter. We're headed into the 90's by the end of this week. Gotta love the south. I do, especially int he winter when I don't have to dig my way out of a foot of snow to get to work.

You have quite a list of accomplishments Linda, with quite a few books under your belt, so we’ll start here with a two-fold question. How many books do you have published and which is your favorite?

I have twelve books currently published with three different e-pubs, and four more are under contract for next year. Oh, it's tough to choose one because each story and its characters are unique. But...(whispers--don't tell the others) if I have to pick one, I'd say Shooting Into the Sun. Probably because the main character is a nature photographer and I love experimenting with photography. And I had so much fun writing the interactions between Rylee and her younger sister, Lexie. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the story contains a hunky and somewhat mysterious doctor named Josh.

Of all the accomplishments you have met as an author which one gave you the most thrill?

 Two stand out--being named Author of the Year at Champagne Books and then, this year, winning the EPIC eBook Award. I feared I was on my way to becoming the Susan Lucci of the EPIC Awards after four finals. :)

Please tell us something about you, who is Linda Rettstatt, beyond being an author? Your likes, dislikes, hates maybe.

I'm much more of a small-town girl than a city girl, but I need to live withing a short driving distance of a bookstore and a Starbucks. Not that I go to either one very often, but I have to know I can. I love to travel. I was supposed to go to Greece earlier this month, but the trip had to be postponed. So I went to Alabama. I know, not quite the same thing, but I met some really nice people and my friend and I had a great time. As I mentioned earlier, I'm an amateur nature photographer. I hate rules (again a theme in Shooting Into the Sun) and defy them every chance I get. And that's when I usually get the best and most unusual photograph. Here in Mississippi I live not far from a whole row of casinos and enjoy playing penny slot machines now and then. I share my apartment with my cat, Binky (who was originallynames Minnie by her former owner, then Olivia by me--but she refused to respond to that--so now it's Binky. I've since learned names don't matter with cats. They respond when they want to.)

What brought you to become an author?

Since high school, I've had a dream of writing. I actually started saving money so I could move from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and become a tortured writer living meagerly in some attic apartment while I churned out the Great American Novel. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your perspective), I walked into a music store one day and walked back out with a new guitar paid for with my savings. For the next several years, my creative passions were fed by music, both composing/writing and performing. But the question--could I write a novel?--always plagued me. I finally took a step forward and explored that questions eight years ago. I put my fingers to the keys and, with a title and a character but no fully thought-out plot in mind, began to write. It was like shaking a bottle of champagne and releasing the cork. The words flowed and the plot came together and I fell in love with the characters as they developed and... Well, I ended up with a novel. The rest, as they say, is history. Writing if like breathing and I have discovered my true passion. It seemed natural to me to write women's fiction. I loved reading authors like Elizabeth Berg and, having worked as a psychotherapist, I had worked with women who were stuck in their lives, facing conflicts and circumstances that blocked them from being truly happy and truly themselves. It was a good fit. But, discovering I am also a romantic at heart, it was easy to slip over into writing romance.

Please tell us something about your books and why we should buy them.

When I sit down to write, I have only one agenda--tell a compelling story with which the reader can identify and about characters that are engaging. My women's fiction novels are stories about strong women who find themselves in situations that could break them or make them. They have to dig deep to find the courage and resources to not only survive but thrive. My contemporary romance is always a feel good story with a hero and heroine you can root for and range from sweet to a little spicy. Some have a measure of heat in them when passions ignite. Overall, I like to think my stories are true to life, real, but with enough fiction to take us away from the mundane. Whether it's women's fiction or romance, my stories are about relationships.

I think my readers have said it best. One woman wrote to me to say that my books give her a sense of hope. Another said she felt that in one book I was telling her story and she didn't feel so alone. Another reader said she saw much of herself and her family in one of my books and just had to laugh. So, why should someone read my books? Because you just might find I've told your story. You may find a bit of yourself in my characters. And you just might laugh.

Love, Sam (2012 EPIC eBook Award Winner - Mainstream Fiction)

Trish Garrity has learned to be a survivor. She has survived the loss of her father and the rejection of her mother. And then she found Sam, who loved her unconditionally. Now she faces losing Sam and living an uncertain future alone. But Sam finds a way to bridge the chasm of death and continue to give Trish the encouragement, love and support she needs to go on with life.

Love, Sam is a story of the universal experience of love, loss, grief, and healing.

Wake-Up Call (contemporary romance)
Social worker, Candace Hudson wants a baby; Texas cattle rancher, Griff Calhoun needs a consultant for a special project. But neither one suspects that their collaboration will give them both the wake-up call they need.

I see you’re switching in a little different direction with your paranormal romance, when can we look forward to that one?

This one is currently my back-up book. Let me explain that. I never write just one book. I'm always working on two or three at the same time. The upside is, I never have writer's block. I have one main book I'm working toward completing. But I have one or two stories I'm developing and switch off to those when I need a break to reorganize the main story. It will probably be a year or two before the paranormal romance is ready (unless I get a burst of inspiration on it and just run with it. It's happened. I wrote one novel in seventeen days and a novella in eleven days. :)

Thank you so much Linda, I find you always willing to help out other authors, like me for instance. I wish you all the success . . . you deserve it. Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for having me here today. As for helping other authors, I think that's something we all can do. People helped me at first and still do at times. If I can offer a hand to someone else in this business, I'm happy to do so. I hope folks will stop by my website at and my blog at I can also be found on Twitter @linda_rettstatt And please stop by and 'like' my Facebook page at

Buy Link: (for both books) These books and others are available at Champagne Books at:

They are also available at for Kindle.


J.A. Garland said...

I am absolutely amazed that you wrote a novel first as music. That's so interesting!

Carol McPhee said...

I've enjoyed watching you develop your skills as an author. To have that many books under contract in a relatively short time is stupendous.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Lovely interview. I greatly admire your prolific output, Linda, and the way you have several ideas on the go at once. I agree that's the way to beat writer's block!

Cathy Coburn said...

That was a fun interview Linda. I found out stuff about you I'd have never guess. I love that! I thank you for all the help your always will to give, like all the bookmarks you sent me so i could design mine. Your the Best!