Author Rita Herron is an award-winning author of more than fifty suspense, paranormal, and contemporary romance novels including: A Breath Away, Her Eyewitness, In a Heartbeat, Last Kiss Goodbye, Say You Love Me, Don’t Say a Word, Marry Me Maddie, Collecting Evidence, Under His Skin, Undercover Avenger, Epiphany, Silent Surrender, Silent Night Sanctuary and Up In Flames. In 2007, she was nominated for two Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards, including a Career Achievement Award.
Thanks for being here, Rita. It’s a pleasure.
Thanks for having me! And I appreciate your great review on Bookpleasures!
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
I was born in the South so storytelling was a way of life, and live in Georgia with my long-time wonderful husband and a cat named Jack Bauer (yes, after Jack on 24.) I have three children, young adults now, with my first grandson on the way! (No, I can’t be old enough...)
As a child, I was infatuated with books and actually wrote my first book when I was twelve -- a 120 page handwritten mystery!
I have a degree in Early Childhood Education, taught kindergarten for 10 years and at one time was a professional storyteller, traveling to bookstores, schools, and libraries to entertain kids. But once I got hooked on romance, I gave up the day job and began to write full-time.
In my spare time (did I say spare time? LOL.), I like to read, hang out with the family, do crafts, decorate, sew and quilt. I’m also a beach fanatic and fantasize about having my own beach house one day where I could write. Of course, I’d probably wind up just sitting and staring at the ocean all day!
#2- You write in several different sub-genres of romance. What prompted this and what challenges have you faced in doing so?
I like to read a variety of genres so that led me to write in different genres. Also, when I first started writing, one publisher wasn’t putting me out as often or quickly as I could write, so writing in another genre offered another creative outlet and source of income. It was also nice mentally and creatively to switch genres – after writing a really dark book, it was cathartic to write something light and funny.
There are challenges though. In order to build a following and a career, editors and agents suggest focusing on one genre, so recently I have been focusing on the romantic suspense genre, although I’ve added paranormal to the mix. But if you read some of my other titles (especially the HQN books), I had sprinkled paranormal elements into those. I’m also an idea person – I’m constantly thinking of ideas I want to write in different genres (women’s fiction, comedies, etc.) and actually have to stop and tell myself to focus – that I can’t write everything!
#3- As you know, I reviewed your title DARK HUNGER for Bookpleasures and loved it. But how do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
LOL. Of course, I LOVE getting good reviews. And thank you, thank you, thank you, Kelly.
The positive ones I keep, post, tell everyone about, show my editors, agent, friends and use to battle the constant dragon on my shoulder. Unfortunately, the older I’ve gotten and the more experienced, I’ve realized that you can’t please everyone.
In fact, my very first review was not good at all. I was devastated, certain my career was over, and that my editor would never buy another book. But my agent pointed out that the review was one person’s opinion, didn’t necessarily affect sales, and that my editor wouldn’t drop me. Then that book hit the Walden’s list!
The negative reviews still hurt, especially ones where it feels like the person was intentionally vicious. And sometimes I just avoid going on line and looking at reviews, because it’s a self esteem killer.
Mostly I’ve learned to try to let the negative comments roll of me, remind myself that everyone can’t like me, and that everyone has different tastes. In fact, I’ve found that people either really like my work or don’t, that sometimes I push a button.
I’ve also heard that’s a sign of strong storytelling and writing on the edge – so I choose to believe that.
#4- Being an award-winner and accomplished author, what advice would you give to other aspiring authors?
First, never give up. And never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If it’s your dream, follow it, chase it, and go after it.
That said, there are ways to better your chances of publication. Read, read, read, what’s out there. Study the market, publisher guidelines, take craft classes, attend workshops, join your local writing groups and network.
And last, learn to take feedback. Distancing yourself from your work, getting into a critique group and learning how to take constructive criticism, and rewriting prepares you for working with an editor. Because you will be asked to revise!
#5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites?
I still love to read and read like a fiend as a child – it was my escape.
Childhood favorites were Pippi Longstocking and the Trixie Belden Mystery series.
Tami Hoag was the first author I read where the lightbulb went off and I knew that was the type of book I wanted to write. I also like Karen Rose, Beverly Barton, Debra Webb and Lisa Jackson for suspense. Other favorites across genres: Stephanie Bond, Jennifer LaBrecque, Haywood Smith, Jennifer St. Giles, Wendy Wax, Wendy Etherington & Jacquie D’Alessandro.
#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
Yes. Look for book 3 in the Demonborn series, FORBIDDEN PASSION, next April 2010! I also have several more books from Harlequin Intrigue out over the next few months, and more planned.
Please check for updates at www.ritaherron.com and www.thedemonborn.com. (You can also find extras on the Demonborn and the characters here. And look for a surprise soon – letters from the Dark Lord’s mother, the Angel of Light!)
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I’m working on a new romantic suspense trilogy (possibly paranormal) and a YA paranormal series for the future. And I have a paranormal romantic suspense screenplay that I’m dying to write!
I love to hear from readers and fans so please visit me on my websites, facebook, Myspace.com/ritaherron and you can follow me on Twitter.com/ritaherron!