It's my pleasure to interview Rita Lee Chapman. Thank you for joining us. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers and share something about your life.
Thank you for having me on your Blog-spot, Roseanne. I was born in the UK and moved to Australia in my early twenties. Although I loved writing, it was not until I retired that I published my first book. Since then I have written another five books; there are three in the Anna Davies Mystery Series and the others are completely different.
When did you write your first book and how did it come about?
When I retired I wanted to write the book I had always felt was within me. But where to start? When you can write about anything it is not easy to settle on a subject. Then I remembered our holiday in Egypt – a mysterious land where anything was possible. Where better to set a mystery? And so Missing in Egypt was born.
Do you always write in the same genre or do you mix it up?
I write mysteries mainly, although some are romantic travel mysteries, others crime mysteries. I have also written a book for horse lovers, from teenagers upwards, Winston – A Horse’s Tale.
When you write, do you start with an idea and sit down and let it evolve, or do you make notes and collect ideas on paper beforehand?.
Being a very organised , I would love to sit down and plot my books in advance! Unfortunately, I can’t. Sometimes I know the ending, sometimes I don’t. As every writer will tell you, quite often the characters take over the writing and take the story in a completely different direction to the one you had in mind! My latest book, The Poinciana Tree, started with the idea that the amazing Poinciana tree would make a splendid book cover. I wrote the story from there.
Would you like to give us a short excerpt from one of your books?
Yes, I’d love to. Here is the Prologue from The Poinciana Tree.
“She looked out of the kitchen window at the spreading branches of the Poinciana Tree. She gazed at the familiar limbs, dotted here and there with lichen, which formed a canopy over the grass. She thought of the picnics she had enjoyed under its shade as a child and then, later, as a mother. It was summer now and the tree was covered with the huge red flowers for which it was famous. So beautiful. It was a tree she had loved ever since she was a little girl – right up until that dreadful day. Now it only reminded her of the things she most wanted to forget. She let out a long, deep sigh and turned away.”
Who is your favourite character and why?
My favourite is Winston from Winston – A Horse’s Tale. He tells the story himself.
Which of your books gave you the most pleasure to write?
Again, it was Winston – A Horse’s Tale because the story flowed so easily.
What is the best marketing tip you have received?
Write more books – particularly a series.
How would you describe yourself?
Determined and creative, in the face of a challenge.
What do you do when you are not writing or reading?
I enjoy playing tennis, walking along our amazing beaches, swimming and entertaining. My husband and I have made some great friends through our tennis club and we socialise regularly.
If you could holiday anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
I love travelling and have been fortunate to have visited many countries, but there are always more you would like to explore. Sicily and more Greek islands appeal at the moment.
If you have owned pets, do you have a funny story you would like to share with us?
The tap on the horse trough was always being left on by someone filling it up and then forgetting about it, so a sign was put above it, stating that it was not to be left unattended. Every horse that came up for a drink stood and looked at that sign as if he was reading it!
What is the biggest factor for you when selecting a book to read?
The cover has to appeal – I don’t like dark covers. Then I look at the blurb and read the first page to see if I like the writer’s style.
Do you have your own website?
Yes! www.ritaleechapman.com. Here you can learn more about my books, see photos of my latest travels and read an interview from writers of all genres.
Are you working on a new book at the moment?
No, The Poinciana Tree only came out in September and I’m busy promoting it. I’m sure it won’t be long before I pick up my pen again (metaphorically speaking) especially if we have some wet weather.
Do you have any events or book promotions coming up that you would like to tell us about?
I have combined the Anna Davies Mystery Series into one ebook and it is on Kindle Unlimited for $3.99 until 11 April. I would also like to mention that all of my books except the horse book come in a large print version as well.