Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Author Interview: Rita Chapman
I was born in the UK and migrated to Australia in my early twenties. It was only when I retired to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland that I wrote my first novel “Missing in Egypt ”.
This fulfils a lifelong ambition for me. In primary school I wrote long stories but since then my writing had been restricted to business correspondence, press releases and letters home to my family! Having read repeatedly that you should write about things of which you have personal knowledge, I drew on my own time in Canberra working for a Federal MP and my travels to Egypt for this story.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I tried to plan my first book but with my second one I'm just letting the story develop by itself.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Sometimes - but I'm in charge!
What is your favourite food?
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely morning, particularly where we live in Queensland where it is hot and the sun rises at 4.45!
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I’d love to do the cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest . I like cruising because you only have to unpack once and I like to explore somewhere new each day.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Egypt is where most of the story taks place. As my main character lives in Australia , Sydney and Canberra are also featured.
Do you listen to music while writing?
No, I don't like to be distracted.
Set in Sydney, Cairo and Luxor, Missing in Egypt tells the story of Anna Davies who is employed as a Personal Assistant by an Australian Federal MP in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. Anna is approached by a constituent of Egyptian descent to assist him in finding his brother who is missing in Egypt . Anna falls in love with Karim and travels to Egypt with him to help look for Ramy. The storyline includes vivid descriptions of several Egyptian antiquities such as Abu Simbel, the Temple of Karnak , The Valley of the Kings and the Pyramids. Anna endures entombment, grief and betrayal.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Heaps! You hear that its not as easy as you think and that is certainly true. It’s a huge learning curve. You worry with your first book whether you will be able to finish it. Writing it is only the beginning though - trying to find a publisher is so hard and because I self-published through Amazon I now have to try and promote it as well. I'm also editing my next book.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Next time I'll publish the paperback before the ebook. Its somehow easier to promote a physical copy.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Finish your book! You can do it and if you can't find a publisher, self-publish with Amazon.
What are three words that describe you?
Persistent, committed, driven.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
Colleen McCollough's "Thorn Birds" is still my favourite book. It still gives me goose bumps.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
My next book, Winston - a Horse's Tale, is one for horse lovers and will be out later this year. As you read Winston’s story, told by Winston himself, you will appreciate horse ownership from the horse’s point of view. Set in Australia it tells of his own experiences as well as those he hears about from other horses he meets along life’s way.
List of previous books if any
Missing in Egypt is my first book.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.
The Writer's Shack
Thank you, Rita and good luck with your books!