This week we take another trip “down under” to Australia to catch back up with multi-talented author Rita Chapman. Rita is the author of the popular Anna Davies Mystery Series. Sit down,relax, and read about Rita’s humble beginnings and her advice to aspiring authors.
4-U-Nique Publishing: Hello Rita. You recently released you 3rdbook in the Anna Davies Mystery Series. For those who are new to your writings, can you tell us more about your newest releases, as well as your Anna Davies Mystery Series?
Rita Chapman: Hi Vid. Thank you for this opportunity to tell you more about my books. The Anna Davies Mystery Series started with my first book, Missing in Egypt. Australian Anna Davies travels to Egypt with her lover to help him search for his brother, who disappeared whilst on holiday. The Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel and the Temple of Karnak are amongst the settings for their search. Will they be able to track him down and find him alive – or is Ramy already dead?
The second book in the series in Missing at Sea which is a mystery set on a cruise ship. Anna takes the cruise with her best friend and in the middle of the night, a passenger disappears overboard. Was it suicide, murder or an accident?
In my latest book, Missing in London, Arthur Hambledon, Anna’s best-selling author, has just finished his latest book, which he says, “will raise some eyebrows.” Then Arthur disappears, along with the manuscript.
Set around London and the Epsom Downs Racecourse, Missing in London will intrigue you as Anna searches for her missing author and his latest manuscript. She is drawn into investigating whether there is a link between Arthur’s latest book and his disappearance, a possible murder and a horse racing scam.
In between writing this series, I released Dangerous Associations, a crime mystery, and Winston – A Horse’s Tale, which was written for horse lovers from teenagers upwards.
4UNP: Give us some insight into your main character. What do they do that is so special?
RC: Anna Davies is my main character in this series. She is Australian and always seems to be sticking her nose in where it’s not particularly wanted! Once Anna sees a mystery she can’t help herself – she has to try and solve it.
4UNP: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
RC: As always, the editing! Promoting and editing are much harder than writing.
4UNP: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
RC: My favorite character out of all my books is Winston from Winston – A Horse’s Tale. The story is told by Winston and he is definitely my favorite.
4UNP: Who is your least favorite character and why?
RC: My least favorite character is Geoffrey in Dangerous Associations – he is a cheat and a liar and I don’t like weak characters.
4UNP: If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?
RC: I would like to see Kate Winslet cast as Anna in my mystery series.
4UNP: What is your next project?
RC: My next writing project will be a mystery but separate from the Anna Davies Mystery Series.
4UNP: Who inspires your writing?
RC: I think the desire to write comes from within but I would love to be able to write as well as Kate Morton or Rebecca Bryn.
4UNP: Where do you come up with your stories? Where do your ideas come from?
RC: Reading voraciously and watching too many crime stories on TV! I believe everything you absorb contributes to your writing – it goes into a giant washing machine and eventually a story evolves.
4UNP: Why do you write? When did you decide to become a writer?
RC: Writers are usually born. The desire to put pen to paper comes from within. I wrote long stories at school but it wasn’t until I retired that I finally wrote the book that is supposedly within all of us.
4UNP: What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
RC: I had just retired and it was raining. I live in a beautiful part of the world but it is an outdoor life and the rain kept me inside.
4UNP: How long does it usually take you to complete a book?
RC: Usually close to a year because I only write when it’s raining! No, not quite true, but I only write when I have the time – until I get towards the end, then I make an all-out effort.
4UNP: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
RC: I don’t write at night, like some authors and I don’t have structured writing time. If the book hits a sticky patch then I might ensure I write at least a page a day to get me over it. Usually, once you start to write the story takes over and you write more than one page. As has been said by many, you can’t edit a blank page so I try to put something down.
4UNP: Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?
RC: No, I need absolute peace and quiet.
4UNP: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?
RC: When I wrote my first book I worried and stressed over the storyline but now I’m more relaxed the story seems to write itself.
4UNP: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
RC: I do think my writing has improved (I hope so anyway). Winston – A Horse’s Tale is my favorite book but I think Missing in London is my best book.
4UNP: What is the hardest thing about writing?
RC: Editing and formatting! But for anyone writing their first book, it’s getting started. Even if you change it around, delete chapters or re-write segments, it doesn’t matter; you just have to write that first chapter.
4UNP: What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
RC: You have to believe in yourself, that you can write a book and that someone will read it.
4UNP: Which writers inspire you? Who are your favorite authors and which of their books is your favorite?
RC: So many! Australians Bryce Courtenay, Kate Morton, Colleen McCullough; Dick Francis, Rebecca Bryn, J.H. Fletcher. I keep finding more great authors all the time. Indie author, Rebecca Bryn, has written several books but I particularly like her For Their Country’s Good series.
4UNP: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
RC: It would have to be The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. It gave me goosebumps.
4UNP: What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?
RC: I think there is room for both. A traditional publisher probably still carries more credibility, as it’s true some self-published books are badly edited and/or badly written. However, unless you are very successful most of the marketing and promotion still falls back on the author. Self-publishing has enabled first-time authors to put their work out there instead of leaving it on a shelf or computer and it gives you total control. I liked that!
4UNP: Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?
RC: I don’t believe there is now – so many great authors self-publish.
4UNP: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
RC: Just do it! With self-publishing, you can guarantee you will see your work in print so it becomes very satisfying and worthwhile.
4UNP: What do your readers mean to you?
RC: Readers are everything to an author. Although I write mainly for my own pleasure to have someone tell you they enjoyed your book is a huge thrill.
4UNP: Tell us something unique about you.
RC: I love chocolate and champagne.
4UNP: If there were one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
RC: To bring peace to the world is my only wish and sadly it seems so unlikely at the present time.
4UNP: Thank you, Rita, for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. How can readers discover more about you and your works?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rita-Lee-Chapman/e/B00B5OS2Q4/
Missing in Egypt
Book 1 in the Anna Davies Mystery Series
Missing in Egypt will intrigue you with its twists and turns, romance and adventure as well as its insights into Australian and Egyptian cultures. Australian Anna Davies travels to Egypt with her lover to help him search for his brother, who disappeared whilst on holiday. The Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel and the Temple of Karnak are amongst the settings for their search. Will they be able to track him down and find him alive – or is Ramy already dead? What tragedies await Anna and Kareem as they come closer to retracing his footsteps? This fast-paced action plot will keep you guessing until the end.
LARGE PRINT EDITION: http://www.amazon.com/dp/149121872X/
Missing at Sea
Book #2 in the Anna Davies Mystery Series
Three years on from Egypt, Anna Davies embarks on her first cruise with best friend Sandra. A few days into the holiday they are woken by three blasts from the ship’s foghorn, indicating that someone has fallen overboard. A woman is lost at sea; the ship turns around to search for her, but she has disappeared into the night.
Was it suicide? Did she lose her balance and fall – or was there foul play involved? Did her husband push her? Would anyone be able to prove whether this was murder or an unfortunate accident?
What a perfect place to stage a murder!
Missing in London
Book #3 in the Anna Davies Mystery Series
Arthur Hambledon, Anna’s best-selling author, has just finished his latest book, which he says, “will raise some eyebrows.” Then Arthur disappears, along with the manuscript.
Anna Davies is working in London as a Senior Editor for a respected Publishing Company. When her most famous author goes missing, Anna is determined to find out what happened to him.
Large Print edition: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1718658842/
An ex-husband, a new love, a stalker. Cathy Thompson’s link to her ex-husband fills her life with threats and intimidation. She must either trap her stalker or find Geoffrey to put an end to her life of fear.
Large Print Edition: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1507554915/
Winston – A Horse’s Tale
One for horse lovers from teenagers upwards! Winston is a good-looking palomino horse whose life involves several different owners and many adventures. As you read his story, told by Winston himself, you will appreciate horse ownership from the horse’s point of view. Born on a country property in Australia, Winston tells of his breaking-in and education and the different people he encounters – good, bad and ignorant. As well as his own story, Winston includes the experiences of other horses he meets along life’s way.
Whether it’s jumping, eventing, hunting or just hacking, Winston tries hard to please his rider. Follow his successes and his failures from his breaking-in to his show jumping win. It is an eventful life – the story of one Australian horse out of thousands, but one that you will remember.
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