We’re very happy to welcome author Rhea Rhodan to e-Books India. Read on to find out about Rhea, as she tells us about her background as a writer, the types of books she writes, and her approach to writing stories. We also learn about her latest book entitled Melting Shadows.
Please tell us about you. Where are you from? What is your professional background and how did you become an author?
I’m a native Minnesotan who’s only strayed from the Twin City area (Minneapolis/St. Paul) to travel extensively around the U.S. for work (software marketing) and to meet my husband (in Germany, where I lived for a few years).
I began telling myself stories long before I could write—some fan-fiction from TV shows and movies, lots from my own over-active imagination. They were series I added to before I fell asleep and when I daydreamed. Sometimes I’d have several running at once. As I learned to read, books became another inspiration for my internal story-telling.
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In middle school, I took up journalling with a passion. I went on to study Journalism at the U of M.
It didn’t occur to me to combine the two (write fiction) until one of my internal stories began intruding into my days, and keeping me up at night. I caved to my muse’s pressure and wrote a full-length novel.
I studied the publishing business for a year and a half after I completed that first manuscript while continuing to write and hone my craft. I finally submitted my novel (not the one that started all this) to a publisher in 2011. Finding Grace was published in June of 2012. My next novel, The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing was published in November 2014.
My publisher, like so many of late, went under last year. But they did so with grace and returned my rights immediately. At that point, I decided to take the plunge into self-publishing.
What types of books do you write?
Some years ago, I lost my enthusiasm for “literature.” Yes, the prose is pretty, but it’s often slow, with unsatisfying and rare happy endings. On a friend’s suggestion, I turned to romance. I have never looked back.
Contrary to hearsay, they are not all alike. The choices range from dark, urban fantasy to witty historical, mystery/suspense, sci-fi, and contemporary—sometimes a mix of several. As in all industries, there are popular trends and major publishers hop on them. But if you check out indies, you’ll find an endless variety of fresh ideas to suit every taste.
I need variety. This means I don’t write series, or even stick to the same sub-genre. That makes marketing a challenge, and is bound to leave some fans disappointed. On the other hand, I can promise my readers refreshingly different reads.
Although my stories are character-driven, I like a lot of plot—because, well, nobody’s relationship is that interesting. I also like paranormal and fantasy twists. In Finding Grace, a romantic suspense, the heroine receives psychic visions. The heroine of The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing is a witch in a contemporary setting. I hesitate to call it an urban fantasy, as it does NOT offer shape-shifters or vampires. And my latest release, Melting Shadows, is a romantic suspense with a paranormal/fantasy twist.
Could you please tell us about your most recent book, its overall plot, and the main characters in it?
Melting Shadows begins with Dr. Prudence Marsh forced to flee after a brutal attack. Painfully withdrawn, she buries her emotions under numbing logic. She thinks the fantasy world she created to survive her hellish past is nothing more than a guilty pleasure. But the host of the safe house, Max Delaney, turns out to be a dead ringer for her fantasy prince. Unfortunately, her inexperience with social situations and an utter lack of self-esteem make her seem prickly to Max. That she’s still in shock when she meets him only aggravates the situation.
Max is an ex-SEAL blackmailed into baby-sitting plain, nerdy Prudence in his hidden bunker while she completes a top-secret project. He likes his women friendly, easy, and simple-minded, everything she is not.
Their romantic plot is fraught with obstacles. The suspense plot—merciless enemies, shifting alliances, and the eerie coincidences Max discovers between the books Prudence writes and real life—only adds to their troubles. In the end, both are forced to resort desperate measures. Risking their lives is far less frightening than the leaps of faith required of them.
A few of the Blackridge Security team from Finding Grace make cameo appearances, and a couple are secondary characters.
Are you working on any other books(s)? If so, can you please tell us what we can expect to see from you in the future?
I’m in early edits of a fantasy with a strong romantic element. This one takes place in a magical realm. It’s still very much character-driven, but a definite departure from my other books. And, just to be contrary, my muse has delivered a partial draft of a second book with the same main characters and some of the others—sort of (no spoilers here). I am thus considering making this into a trilogy, though each will stand well alone.
Percolating on the back-burner is a time-travel romance I’ve been developing here and there for a couple of years now.
Can you please tell us about your approach to writing? For example, do you follow structures and writing rules? Or do you write in a free flow way? Do you have any particular time of the day you like to write? Or any specific environment you prefer to sit down and write in?
I’m usually a morning writer, though I’ve been known to grab my laptop at odd hours too. I have a fantastic studio separate from our (small) house with windows on three sides and both a fireplace and air conditioning (Minnesota weather is extreme).
My process for each book has been a little different. Finding Grace came to me as a screen play. My WIP also arrived in that fashion. Translating it is proving an entertaining challenge.
One consistent element in the creation of all of my books is that they begin with the characters. For example, Clint McAllen in The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing languished in a folder with his issues for a year and a half until Cayden Sinclair came along to rescue him. Their plot developed from there.
I write what comes to me—be it backstory, plot, bits of dialog, or story ideas—when it comes to me, no matter where I might be in that manuscript (or another). Not confining myself to writing in a linear fashion leaves me free to indulge my muse. I’ve found this to be more rewarding and productive than fighting it. I can, to paraphrase Nora Roberts, edit anything but an empty page.
However, I do usually pave a basic plot path. It’s the first place I start after I’ve become well acquainted with my main characters. It’s important to build and release tension throughout a story. Having a plan helps maintain the pace. That said, I rarely know how the story will end (beyond happy and satisfying) when I sit down to write it.
Do you have any favourite authors? If so, who are they and what do you like about their work?
I’m too eclectic a reader to have true favorites or “must read” authors. I rarely last beyond a third or fourth book in a series. I will tell you I favor an engaging story over beautiful prose; well-developed, consistent characters who demonstrate growth, believable dialog; more plot rather than less; and some degree of depth or layers of meaning to the story.
What other things do you like to get up to when you’re not writing?
I’m an avid knitter and yarn hoarder, reluctant gardener, animal lover (am owned by two gorgeous, naughty Malemutes), music lover (rock, all flavors; jazz, not too disorganized, please; blues; R&B; symphony, dramatic, not la-la; acoustic guitar; and fusions of these), swimmer, walker, and of course, reader.
How can people find out more about you?
The first place to look for up-to-date news and information about my books is my website, https://www.rhearhodan.com/. My (very occasional) newsletters offer updates and drawings for great prizes (everything from gift cards to articles I’ve knit for my characters and cool jewelry). You can subscribe direct from my website.
Most of my social media time is spent on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhearhodan. You can Like my page to follow me. I enjoy meeting new people and readily accept genuine friend requests on my private page: https://www.facebook.com/rhearhodan1.
I love Goodreads and go through my entire feed almost every day, so that’s another great place to connect with me and check out what I read: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6152084.Rhea_Rhodan. Friend me so I can see what you’re reading too!
Twitter is still relatively new for me: https://twitter.com/RheaRhodan. I tweet as eclectically as I read. My tweets include: beautiful photographs from around the world, inspirational (non-denominational) messages, recipes, fiber/knitting photos, posts/photos about space and science, magic, art, and music rather than just promo, promo, promo. I greatly appreciate follows and will follow back.
Finally joined Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rhearhodan/, though I haven’t posted many photos yet.
I don’t have my Pinterest account listed on my website because I haven’t had time to put together the boards I envision. But if you do a search for me there, you’ll find my book covers and some of the promo I’ve done in the past.
Thank you, Dr. Vyas, for the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers. I do hope you and they will choose to connect with me.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]