Friday, September 30, 2016

Introducing Rita Chapman

My guest today is Rita Chapman, an Australian writer whose work includes several mysteries and an unusual horse novel. Welcome, Rita.
Tell us a little about you and the place where you live.
I was born in London and moved to Australia in my early twenties. I spent my working life in Sydney, the most beautiful city in the world and moved to Queensland when we retired, for the warmer weather.  We live on the Sunshine Coast, a popular tourist destination and enjoy walking on the beaches and around our pretty river and lakes. 
 When did you begin to write and what got you started?
I didn’t finish my first book until I retired.  I had often started when I was working (mostly on a typewriter) but never found the time to actually finish.  Some my earlier writing I used in my first couple of books.  In Queensland we often go weeks without rain and then it can pour for two or three days.  It was during this first downpour that I sat down to write. 
You've written in several genres. Do you have a favorite?
Horses have always been my passion, so Winston – A Horse’s Tale is my favourite book and genre.
You're second book, Winston-A Horse's Tale, is written (uniquely) from the horse's perspective and first-person viewpoint. Your latest, Dangerous Associations, is also first-person. Is this your favorite viewpoint?
Are your stories plot or character-driven?
My books are plot based.  I usually have an idea of the main story before I start.
Pantser or outliner?
I’d love to be an outliner.  Normally I’m pretty organized but I can’t seem to plot out my chapters and characters.  I find it easiest to just sit down at the computer and let the story evolve.
What are you working on now? Care to give us a peek?
I’m working on a “Missing” series, following on from my first book Missing in Egypt.  This one is called Missing at Sea and follows Anna on a cruise some years later, where a woman goes overboard. 
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about writers?
That they make money!
 What do you like to read? Any favorite authors?
My reading tastes are quite varied.  I love Australian authors Kate Morton and Bryce Courtenay as well as Wilbur Smith, crimes, mysteries, autobiographies and of course anything to do with horses.  My favourite indie authors are Rebecca Bryn and Sarah Stuart, who formed Worldwide Authors, to which I belong.
Do you have any advice you'd like to share for other writers?
For a would-be writer, just do it.  Now that you can self-publish your work doesn’t have to stay hidden in your computer.  Until you try you don’t know what you can achieve.  For other writers,  I think we all know we have to edit, edit, edit!
We all know the importance of marketing today. What are some of the methods you prefer for introducing yourself to the reading community?
I’m not too keen on the marketing side.  I have a website,, where I interview a different author each week.  I’m lucky enough to have a local bookshop stock all three of my books and I like to distribute bookmarks featuring my work.
What do you do for fun and relaxation?
I play tennis at a wonderful social club close to home, swim, walk and of course read.  We also love to travel and have just returned from a month driving in the USA and Canada, seeing Yellowstone National Park and The Rockies.  I even saw a couple of bears!
Missing in Egypt
Winston – A Horse’s Tale
Dangerous Associations

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Book Release

Shares The Darkness, my fifteenth novel and the seventh in the Sticks Hetrick crime series, was released today by Torrid Books, division of Whiskey Creek Press/Start Publishing.

The series is set in Swatara Creek, a fictional community near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the characters frequently visit sites in the capitol. Hetrick is a retired police chief who now works as a county detective. The protagonist in this latest book is one of Hetrick's protegees, Officer Flora Vastine, though Sticks is involved in the events.
Sticks is the focus of the series, but others like Flora and her boyfriend, Cpl. Harry Minnich as well as a few town characters get their stage time. Fans seem to like that I offer this approach and reveal the lives and concerns of ordinary officers and their families in addition to the procedural and forensic detail. The bits of humor (dark, of course, in keeping with the theme)and romance hasn't turned any off to my knowledge.
I conceived the premise for the series in a short story while living in Lebanon PA, hence the location of Swatara Creek near Harrisburg. There is a Swatara creek and even a township with that name, but the town in the books is entirely my invention.
Though a series, the novels can be read as standalones. Titles, in order, are: Something In Common, Cruel Cuts, Corruption's Child, Being Someone Else, Practice To Deceive, A Burning Desire and Shares The Darkness. Here's a blurb for Shares The Darkness:
Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Officer Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.
When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman's life, which opens personal wounds.
And a short excerpt: Harry’s attitude was more optimistic when he called her cell later that night.
“Peg’s group only got through part of the game-lands and you guys didn’t cover everything either,” he told her. “There are some thick woods out there. Fresh growth on the trees and brush. Deep leaf cover on the ground. You said yourself, her knapsack was half-buried and you didn’t see it till you kicked it free.”
“I was so sure we’d find her after that.”
“I’ve heard hunters telling all my life how difficult it is sometimes to find a wounded deer—even in the season when most trees are bare. Even in a small area like the Preserve, nature can conceal more than you might think.”
“I hope you’re right, honey.”
“If she’s out there, we’ll find her. The Staties have promised two search dogs for tomorrow morning. Aaron said one of the Boy Scout troops is going to pitch in, too.”
Flora lay back on her bed. Despite the shower and rest, muscles in her legs ached from the strain of tramping over the rough landscape. “Before I found the pack I was almost ready to agree with Fred and think she’d gone somewhere else.”
“Well, now you know she must be out there. Fortunately, the weather isn’t frigid like it was last month. She’s young and healthy. If she isn’t too bad hurt and we find her...”
“Oh, God. What if we’re too late, Harry? We...”
“Think positive, babe. Think positive.”
But Harry’s optimism couldn’t obliterate Flora’s fears. Despite her tiredness, it was a long time before sleep came as Flora kept visualizing scenarios of Jan lying in the muck in the darkness, wild animals circling round her, no one responding to her desperate cries for help as the dampness of the night sucked away her strength and will to live.
Buy links:
And other major booksellers.