After retiring from her administrative assistant job for the State of Michigan, she decided at that it was time to put all the stories in her head on paper. She attended a few classes and made several attempts at writing picture books before plunging into a children’s novel, which is based on her childhood living as a “levee rat.” The result was The Legend of Ghost Dog Island.
And excerpt from The Legend of Ghost Dog Island won second place in the “Writing for Young People” category of the annual Tennessee Mountain Writer’s contest, where she also walked away with first place for her WIP, Zone of Fear, another middle grade novel, still in revisions.
Rita is now living in the beautiful state of Tennessee with her husband and four rescue dogs and a rescue cat. Well, the cat thinks he rescued them.
The Legend of Ghost Dog Island will be released November 16, 2012 from Musa Publishing.
Now on to the FIVE QUESTIONS
1. What was the spark of inspiration for The Legend of Ghost Dog Island?
Oh, that one is easy. My childhood. I grew up in the bayous of Louisiana, and the story takes place in an area I know well. My father was a fisherman/trapper, just like the one in the story, and he used to tell us many spooky tales of things living out in the swamps. My main character, Nikki, takes those legends a step further, and acts on them.
2. Which character most resembles you in your story?
Nikki Landry, the main character is me. The only difference is that she is feisty, brave, adventurous, and a tomboy. Hey, that’s not me at all.
3. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
My advice is to never give up. I won’t say never get discouraged, because you will. You will many times if you are human. You will feel like you’re not meant to write. But give yourself a cooling down period and jump back in. Also, study your craft. Go to conferences and learn from the pros. Get critique partners that are hard on you and that hurt your feelings. And last, but not least, read. Read everything in your genre, especially award winning books, then read everything else. It gets the creative juices flowing.
4. If you could go back in time, where would you go?
There are so many places I’d love to go if time travel were possible. But one era that fascinates me is the 1800’s, when people were trying to make a life in the western United States. I’d love to visit my ancestors and see what they were up to.
5. Finally, Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Gee, that’s a hard choice. I love them both. I guess the Beatles.
About The Legend of Ghost Dog Island
Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry.
Her fisherman father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better fishing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels like something is watching her from a nearby island. But when Papa tells her about a local legend that something sinister might be living near her new home stealing the souls of dogs, she fears for her beloved beagle’s life.
Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the truth behind the legend…before it’s too late.