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Rita Clay Estrada – On Publishing Industry And Favorites

October 23, 2006 by in category Archives tagged as ,


Author RITA CLAY ESTRADA is RWA’s first president and the co-founder of OCC whose contributions to the romance genre led the national organization to name its highest honor – the RITA Award – in her honor.

Today on A Slice of Orange, Rita talks about the Publishing Industry and some of her Favorite Things.

Q – What has changed for the good in the industry since you formed RWA?

A – American writers can sell to the romance industry in America. American writers can take their name with them from publishing house to house. No one else can write under their pseudonym. They can check on the reputations of editors, agents and publishing houses before submitting manuscripts. They have a base in which to share ideas and contract clauses. They have a variety of sources both in chapters and in published reviews in which to use to promote and embellish their works. They have a cadre of writers to find information, seal friendships and feel a camaraderie for which there is no equal.

Q – What is your favorite book of all time? Why?

A – The Wolf and the Dove. Yet I understand it sold the least of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss first six or seven books. It was the relationship between the hero/heroine that I enjoyed most. That characterization spoke to me.

Q – Which is the favorite of your books? Why?

A – The one I love and hate at the same time is the one I’ve got the idea for and haven’t written yet. It’s in a pristine state of mind and will stay that way until I put it to paper. That’s where it turns to a pile of manure and I have to mold it into something that will allow the growth of a garden of characters and strong plot. But until it’s on paper, it’s perfect and brilliant!

Q – What do you look for or love to see in a hero?

A – It’s evolved into a good heart, a sense of humor and the ability to talk as well as listen. Come to think of it, it’s the same thing I love to see in any man…

For more of the interview with Rita, see the October issue of Orange Blossom.

Dana Diamond is the OCC/RWA Secretary, a columnist for OCC’s award-winning newsletter Orange Blossom, a contributor to A Slice of Orange, and hard at work on her next book.

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Rita Clay Estrada – On The Rita

October 14, 2006 by in category Archives tagged as ,


Author RITA CLAY ESTRADA is RWA’s first president and the co-founder of OCC whose contributions to the romance genre led the national organization to name its highest honor – the RITA Award – in her honor.

Today on A Slice of Orange, Rita talks about The Rita.

Q – When we think of The Rita, we think of you, but when I told you how honored I was to watch this year’s ceremony with you, The Rita, you said, “It’s really my mom.”

When you see RITA, who do you see? Or, what is RITA to you?

A – My mother was a very strong and vibrant woman in her youth and at a time when travel wasn’t the norm, she had me from one coast to another several times. In later years, she became my best friend. I will always admire and miss her but I must give her credit for making me being who I am and doing what I do.

The Rita Award is the reward for best of writing for everyone – readers and writers alike. I see The Rita and recognize the honor bestowed upon me for it having my name. But that’s now the award’s name.

I see Ms. Clay’s thoughtful design (no relation) I see all the winners and I’m humbled by what five women accomplished and nine thousand plus women all over the world continue to embrace and sustain.

I’m no different than any other writer, I’m awed by “The Rita.”
Q – Which was your favorite RITA ceremony? Why?

A – I love all of them. The first conference awards – not yet the Rita but the Golden Medallion –was my own brainchild and so I walked through it with nerve endings singing.

I’m most thrilled with that one because it was our first and it went off without too many hitches considering we had no script to follow. That year everything was done on a wing and a prayer.

Q – What did you love about this year’s RITA ceremony?

A – Nora Roberts did an excellent job. Doesn’t she always? But I loved the acceptance speeches. Winner shared their glory with friends and families. They kin to dedications in books – they’re so telling!

And I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips as a person, a teacher and one of my favorite writers. She has given so much and deserved receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award years ago.

For more of the interview with Rita, see the October issue of Orange Blossom. And join us at our 25th Anniversary Party on Oct. 14 for a chance to thank this romance legend.

Dana Diamond is the OCC/RWA Secretary, a columnist for OCC’s award-winning newsletter Orange Blossom, a contributor to A Slice of Orange, and hard at work on her next book.

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Rita Clay Estrada – On Writing

October 8, 2006 by in category Archives tagged as ,


Author RITA CLAY ESTRADA is RWA’s first president and the co-founder of OCC whose contributions to the romance genre led the national organization to name its highest honor – the RITA Award – 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 – A lot has been said about your book, THE IVORY KEY.

According to Debbie Macomber’s and Paula Eykelhof’s article, Romancing The Store, “The 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, werewolves—they’re all selling.”

And a reader review states, “This 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.”

Will there be a sequel to The Ivory Key?

A – No. I thought of it at one time, but it would never be as powerful as the first, so why bother? I don’t want to compete with myself, I want to do something new and different and make it the best I can.

Q – What inspired it?

A – 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 didn’t come out until much later in my career – nobody wanted to touch it.

Q – What is it that you love about this story?

A – The endless possibility of those parallel worlds Einstein believed existed.

Q – What else can you tell us about it or the writing of it?

A – 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 – What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

A – 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 – Which of your heroes is your favorite? Why?

A – 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 – Which of your heroines is your favorite? Why

A – Dianne in Wise Folly or Catherine in A Woman’s Choice. Both had hang-ups and had to change or dry up.

Both did.

Women rule…

Dana Diamond is the OCC/RWA Secretary, a columnist for OCC’s award-winning newsletter Orange Blossom, a contributor to A Slice of Orange, and hard at work on her next book.

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Rita Clay Estrada – On RWA

October 7, 2006 by in category Archives tagged as ,


You think the publishing industry is hard now?

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 – 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 – but I also have had my creative cup filled again.

Q – What do you attribute RWA’s success and longevity in the industry to?

A – 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. We’re also our own best audience!

Lastly: we metamorph into anything the publishing world wants or thinks it wants. And if they haven’t thought of it, we’ll supply them with it anyway.

Author RITA CLAY ESTRADA is RWA’s first president and the co-founder of OCC whose contributions to the romance genre led the national organization to name its highest honor – the RITA Award – in her honor. Join us at our 25th Anniversary Party on Oct. 14 for a chance to meet this romance legend.

Dana Diamond is the OCC/RWA Secretary, a columnist for OCC’s award-winning newsletter Orange Blossom, a contributor to A Slice of Orange, and hard at work on her next book.

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