Q: How much of your bio is true?
A: All of it. I’m a Gemini in constant motion. Since I sleep only five hours each night, I have time for activities beyond the mundane work required to survive. I enjoy doing research for my books and blogs when the world around me has settled down for the night.
Q: Do you spend a lot of time researching for your books?
A: Many hours. If someone is going to pay for one of my historical novels, they deserve a well-researched read. I like to include information from primary resources often written by contemporaries of the characters in my stories. For instance, when Emeliese (the heroine in His Obsession, my first historical novel with Siren-BookStrand) arrives in the pirate Republic of Bou Regreg to be sold in the slave market, I used original captive accounts of ransomed Barbary slaves to describe what she encountered.
Q: So you’ve gathered all this research, what are you going to do with it?
A: Most of it doesn’t make it into my books. I dread information dumps that pull you out of the story. My goal is to weave my research into the fabric of the story to provide color and depth to enhance the reading experience. My heroine Emmy, for example, was a student at an elite school for girls in Paris before she landed in a pirate’s harem. Her experiences there adversely affected her relationships with those around her and were a serious source of conflict when she was offered the opportunity for a new life with a man who loved her. What I don’t use in my books, I save for my blogs.
Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A: You’re asking this of someone who stores the cans in her pantry in rows by contents and chronologically? Before I sit down with my laptop, I’ve mapped out my characters and their stories and their happily-ever-after. I mull over the story for months before it’s written. When I start to write, it’s a series of marathons with the dialogue evolving as I write. Occasionally, a subplot demands to be explored–like Tariq, the Tuareg harem master who is a eunuch.
Q: Do the writing marathons disrupt your family life?
A: I prepare well in advance. House is cleaned, food is cooked. Meals are on your own except for Bruiser, my daughter’s boxer/pit rescue, who gets feisty when he’s hungry. He rings a bell when he needs to go outside but tends to nip when meals are late. A half-dozen or so intense three-day marathons will yield a basic story. I set the manuscript aside for a while, complete a major edit, then the critiques and edits begin.
Q: After you have polished your manuscript, what do you do?
A: Until 2011, I filed them away in a safe place. Members of my new critique/support group gave me a hard shove towards submitting. As a successful grants/technical writer, I dreaded the rejections but they didn’t come. I’m not a big giver of advice but I would have to say, “If you don’t submit, you won’t be rejected, but you won’t be published either.”
Q: Why did you submit to Siren-BookStrand?
A: I’ve written both historicals and paranormals. Print pubs want an author to write within her genre and to sign with an agent, so submitting to an e-pub was an easy choice for me. An author friend who is multi-published with Siren-BookStrand recommended them.
Q: What do you see in your future as a writer?
A: I’ve completed the sequel to His Obsession. In His Desire, book two of the Montclair Chronicles, Robbie and Emmy’s son, Will, returns from the war with Napoleon. He is determined to find a bride of a certain sort—one who will tolerate his beloved mistress who has accompanied him to London. (I must complete one additional major edit before submitting it.) The third book, a prequel, is plotted and being mulled over.
I’m currently researching Roman and Pictish history for Amazona. In the waning days of the British Empire, a Pictish noblewoman, while masquerading as a gladiatrix to rescue her abducted brother, strikes a bargain with a Roman nobleman that she might come to regret.
My website, ritabay.com, features blurbs and excerpts of some of my stories and Rita Bay’s Blog. Readers are invited to subscribe, sign up for publication notices or leave a comment.
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