Author RITA CLAY ESTRADA is RWAâ€™s first president and the co-founder of OCC whose contributions to the romance genre led the national organization to name its highest honor â€“ the RITA Award â€“ in her honor.
Join us at our 25th Anniversary Party on Oct. 14 for a chance to thank this romance legend.
For the complete interview with Rita, look no further than the October issue of Orange Blossom.
Today on A Slice of Orange, Rita talks about her writing.
Q â€“ A lot has been said about your book, THE IVORY KEY.
According to Debbie Macomberâ€™s and Paula Eykelhofâ€™s article, Romancing The Store, â€œThe first paranormal romance read by many contemporary readers was Rita Clay Estrada’s The Ivory Key, a Harlequin Temptation published in the early 1980s. The hero was a time-traveling ghost. Any other publisher would have laughed at the concept. But no one’s laughing anymore. Stories about vampires, ghosts, werewolvesâ€”they’re all selling.â€
And a reader review states, â€œThis book has intrigued me since I first read it over 10 years ago. She writes with such reality it made the book so believable. I wore out the copy of this book many years ago but continue to read it again and again. It is worth the search to find a copy. I am trying to find out if she wrote a sequel.â€
Will there be a sequel to The Ivory Key?
A â€“ No. I thought of it at one time, but it would never be as powerful as the first, so why bother? I donâ€™t want to compete with myself, I want to do something new and different and make it the best I can.
Q â€“ What inspired it?
A â€“ Originally, the Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
When I first decided to write out of the closet, I went to work in a B. Dalton Bookstore. I was manager and worked with two awesome women: Nicole Ball and Anita Solomon. Both are still in the business and Nicole is now in corporate Headquarters. Late at night I would start talking, attempting to work out that plot. Anita would throw in a thought and it spurred me on. However, it was the first story I thought of before I sold my first book. It didnâ€™t come out until much later in my career â€“ nobody wanted to touch it.
Q â€“ What is it that you love about this story?
A â€“ The endless possibility of those parallel worlds Einstein believed existed.
Q â€“ What else can you tell us about it or the writing of it?
A â€“ By the time I started writing it for real, I was in the middle of ending a 29 year marriage and it was not a pleasant time. I think I buried myself in the writing.
Q â€“ What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?
A â€“ I just finished a story that has rattled around in my brain for a while until I finally put it on paper. The working title is Sweet Charity, the story of a spoiled woman who lost her way into womanhood and has to get back on path again.
Q â€“ Which of your heroes is your favorite? Why?
A â€“ Armand in Ivory Key was so wonderfully chauvinistic. Ben in Too Wicked to Love was so badly damaged by his parents. Both were redeemable by the love of a good woman. What more could they want?
Q â€“ Which of your heroines is your favorite? Why
A â€“ Dianne in Wise Folly or Catherine in A Womanâ€™s Choice. Both had hang-ups and had to change or dry up.
Try 26 years ago. There was no easy way to find reliable information about the craft or editors and agents. Or to find other writers to share your joy, support and knowledge.
It took one hell of a strong lady to change all that. Her name is Rita Clay Estrada. For the complete interview with Rita, look no further than the October issue of Orange Blossom.
But because she had so many fascinating and insightful things to say that we didn’t have room for, every weekend in October we will have interview extras. Today Rita talks about RWA.
Q – What is your favorite part of attending the RWA National conference? Why?
A â€“ The people. The classes. The free-flow of information all around you. The late night chats in hotel rooms and bars. The celebration of our career-life choices. My head spins all the way home â€“ but I also have had my creative cup filled again.
Q – What do you attribute RWAâ€™s success and longevity in the industry to?
A â€“ RWA began as a dream and sharing experience for the benefit of all and not just one group or another. In the beginning it was tough to keep it that way, but our stubbornness willed out.
I honestly believe that the act of sharing with our fellow writers is the one force that gives us staying power AND strength. Strong women are the most awesome creatures on the face of the earth. We celebrate that fact all the time, not only in our writings but in our actions. RWA allows us all to shine and share. Goodness. Weâ€™re also our own best audience!
Lastly: we metamorph into anything the publishing world wants or thinks it wants. And if they havenâ€™t thought of it, weâ€™ll supply them with it anyway.
Author RITA CLAY ESTRADA is RWAâ€™s first president and the co-founder of OCC whose contributions to the romance genre led the national organization to name its highest honor â€“ the RITA Award â€“ in her honor. Join us at our 25th Anniversary Party on Oct. 14 for a chance to meet this romance legend.
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