Rita Lee Chapman
The Poinciana Tree
Missing in Egypt
Missing at Sea
Missing in London
Winston - A Horse's Tale
What inspired your most recent book?
The beautiful Poinciana trees which are prolific in the area where I live. I thought what a wonderful cover a Poinciana tree would make.
Do you remember the moment (or person who inspired it) in your life that you knew you were going to be a writer?
In primary school I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs Jolly, who encouraged me even at that young age.
Tell us your favourite character you’ve created.
Winston from Winston - A Horse's Tale. He is a horse of course and tells his own story.
How do your books differ from each other?
The Anna Davies Mystery Series is about Anna Davies. who goes through life attracting mysteries, which she feels compelled to investigate. Australia's Miss Marple perhaps? Dangerous Associations and The Poinciana Tree are crime mysteries and Winston - A Horse's Tale is for horse lovers from teenagers upwards.
Do you use a lot of personal experience in your books, or do you try to write objectively?
I think there is always some personal experience involved in your writing. For me, I like to incorporate places I have travelled to but other books and television shows influence the crime aspects.
Have you ever written a story from a dream?
No, my dreams don't make a lot of sense!
Do you do a lot of research and why, or if not, why not?
I am indebted to Google for a lot of my research, which makes it so much easier these days. Most of my writing though is pure fiction.
Did you ever consider a pseudonym?
I added Lee to my name because there was already an author Rita Chapman, writing vampire stories. I didn't want us to be confused.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
No - sorry!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Love the good ones! Try to learn something from the bad.
Do you prefer fiction, non-fiction or both?
I prefer fiction, but I do enjoy autobiographies.
Do you try more to be original or pander to readers’ wants?
I write for my own please and hope that someone else will enjoy them too.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
The Anna Davies Mystery Series can all be read as stand-alones.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It gave me the confidence that I could do it.
How do you feel when you start a book, in the middle, and when you finish?
Starting off is a big adventure, the middle is when you usually know where you are going and finishing is always a good feeling.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Usually the first name that comes into my head! If I'm using characters in a different country, such as in Missing in Egypt, I'll often Google say, Egyptian men's names.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I try to publish once a year.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I would have taken some creative writing courses.
Who are your favourite indie authors?
Rebecca Bryn and Sarah Stuart
Do you always give books not your own a chance right up until the end, or are you quick to DNF?
I rarely fail to finish a book - I always hope there will be a twist at the end to redeem it!
Do you think writer’s block exists?
Definitely. I think you have to find work-arounds, such as editing or starting another book, until you are ready to continue.
Have you ever done a pilgrimage or visit far away specifically for research?
No, but my travels have been invaluable to my writing.
How do you feel about book pirating?
Like all authors, I am horrified by book pirating. Stealing someone's thoughts and hard work is a pretty awful thing to do.
Have you ever Googled yourself?
Yes, haven't you?
If your book was turned into a musical, who would you ask to write the music and lyrics?
Andrew Lloyd-Webber, without a doubt. I'm a big fan of his musicals.
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