Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a country girl who lives in the wilds of the Kiamichi Mountains in SE Ok. I have 12 adult children, 33 grandchildren, of which 1 is also an adult , and I have 3 more grandkids due this year. I rescue abandoned, abused, and neglected animals, ride motorcycles, and I’m a member of The Patriot Guard. We are the group of motorcyclists who escort the coffins of fallen soldiers from airports, and we stand between protesters and the families during funeral services.
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
I don’t have a day job, thankfully. I am a full time writer, freelance editor, review coordinator/editor for The Pagan & The Pen Book Reviews, and I write a couple of monthly columns. The first is on domestic violence and the second in on relationships.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I was born with a pencil in my hand. I’ve been writing ever since I could make letters. I wrote my first book in the 8th grade, though it wasn’t published.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write romance in a number of sub-genres, and sometimes all in the same story! I’ve been reading romance since I was about 11 and stole my mother’s True Romance magazine. (That might not be the correct title, it’s been a lot of years)
Where do you get your ideas? Do you work with an outline, or just write?
My ideas can come from just about anywhere. Blood Line, my werewolf shifter book, came from a dream my husband had, and the sequel Ancient Blood came from a secondary character in Blood Line demanding her own story.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Writer’s block has been kicking my butt since last June when our house burned down. I always joke the only fatality was my muse – but now it’s not so funny.
Do you work with an outline, or just write? Most of the time I just write but occasionally I’ll write out an outline on paper just to see where I’m going.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I don’t know about influence, but I have always been drawn to the classics like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paul Theroux, John Steinbeck, and Gabriel Marquez. I love James Patterson’s Alex Cross series, and I read Lynsay Sands, Karen Marie Moning, and Alyssa Day.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Oh yes. I would have begun marketing myself long before I was published. I really didn’t realize how much of an author’s life is in promotions. It’s one of the things I detest, but I am learning to make friends with it.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I think joining forces with other authors, being in as many places as possible, and using whatever is available at any given moment.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No, but I do have a book out that I was afraid to send in because I loved it so much I was afraid of getting rejected. It was like one of my children being rejected and I wasn’t sure I was up to it. Not that I can’t handle rejection, I get a lot of rejection letters and it’s no big deal, but for this book, it was a big deal. I spent five years researching and writing this book and it was such a big part of my life, I almost never sent it out. It did get rejected 5 times before being accepted, but now it’s published and getting amazing reviews. It’s called Cross The Line (eXcessica Publishing) and is set just after the American Civil War during a time known as the Indian Wars. The heroine is a young woman who was the daughter of a plantation owner and after their home was destroyed, her mother and older sister killed, her father takes her and her youngest sister to Indian Territory and stakes a claim and builds a small cabin. The first year takes the life of the youngest daughter, and the next summer, her father dies of a heart attack. The hero is a runaway slave who was rescued by and Indian tribe who took him in and taught him to survive in the wild. On a hunt one day his horse is spooked by a mountain lion, throws him and he breaks a leg. Dragging himself through the forest, he finally spot smoke from a small cabin, and our characters meet. The rest of the story is rich in historical facts with my characters thrown into the mix. There is plenty of adventure, intrigue, and of course, romance.
Calen is book one in the My Soul To Keep Trilogy, released 5/14/2011 from Silver Publishing. This book was originally written as one book but due to length, the publisher decided it would be more beneficial to break it into three parts. So the titles are Calen, Caleb, & Arion, three brothers of Clan MacLeod. This fantasy/paranormal/time travel romance has all the elements a good fairy tale should have. I call it my bedtime stories for big girls. Growing up I loved to read fairy tales, Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast, Rumplestiltskin, and decided there’s no reason to give up fairy tales. So I wrote one for those of us who want a little more than the kiss that woke Sleeping Beauty.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
This one is all imagination. There’s the hero on a white stallion, fairy castles in the sky, unicorns, good witches, a demon, time travel, and of course saving the princess.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Actually, my favorite part is Arion, the last instalment. Arion is an orphaned child found by Calen & Caleb and grows up in the first two instalments, but in the third book, he’s a grown man and coming home to marry Calen’s daughter, in an arranged marriage. He’s not really thrilled with the idea and is trying to come up with an idea that will get him out of the marriage. Little does he know, his betrothed isn’t too happy with the idea either. This instalment was fun to write, wraps up all the loose ends and has a lot of humor.
How did you come up with the title?
Titles are the worst part for me. Sometimes I just write the first thing that pops into my head, or sometimes, I’ll get into the romantic mood (alcohol induced, of course) and come up with these cheesy titles!
What project are you working on now? Will you have a new book coming out soon? Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
As soon as Caleb & Arion are published, I will be working on a story yet untitled. This one is the result of a contest I had called, You’re Such A Character. Readers were able to answer questions and send them in to me and I received so many entrants I was really surprised. The winner, Michelle Herzog was picked at random by a third party. She and her friends will star in my next book, help develop the plot, and Michelle will be the heroine. So far it’s coming along fabulously. The story will be set in 1920 era France and that’s all I’m saying for now!
I’ve had criticism from reviewers who don’t “get” me, and I understand that I am an acquired taste. lol I write some seriously evil villains, I don’t pull punches with details of the “crimes” committed in my stories, and sometimes people don’t understand me. The best compliment I ever had was a reviewer who told me they had nightmares after reading Deadly Dreams (Noble Romance Publishing). And when Champagne Books accepted my suspense/serial killer thriller book Closure, the editor said she accepted it because she wanted to know how “twisted” I really was.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Promo, promo, promo! Even before your book is published, PROMO!
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I love getting feedback from my readers, so feel free to contact me any time and let me know what you think, or if you have a suggestion, anything at all! There’s a contact button on my website that will allow you to email me, and I always answer fan mail.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, the darker the better
The light side or the dark side? Both – in real life, the light side – in my books, the dark side
If you were a superhero (or villain!) what would your power be? Invisibility Would you wear a cape? I do, in fact wear a cape with a big hood like the one in Red Riding Hood except mine is black velvet lined in red satin, I made it myself.
Do you have deep dark secret? How about a shallow grey one? No, I don’t have any secrets. I do have things I don’t tell people because I’m a very private person and I don’t really think there’s much in my life that would be interesting to other people.
What does your main character think about you? Are you best buds or have you tortured them so much you’d run if you actually ever met? My characters love me, after all, I gave them life, love, spirit, and sex.
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would you order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
I do not drink anything from Star Bucks. (There is a story why) But I do drink grande breve with an extra shot, no foam, and a sprinkle of chocolate, usually from Panera Bread. Since I live out in the boonies far from any signs of civilization, the nearest Panera is in Sherman, TX, about an hour and a half away.
Is there any food you refuse to eat? Macaroni and cheese, and hotdogs
Drink of choice? Coffee
If you could live off of chocolate would you? Absolutely
What kind? Dark chocolate, Xocai from author William Maltese.
What pets have graced your life? Which was your least favorite? What do you think the coolest pet to have would be?
I love all animals and have been a rescuer for about twenty years or more. As long as they have 4 legs, I love them all. Anything with more than 4 legs needs to keep a wide berth or be destroyed! Horses are my favorite. I love everything about them. I currently have 9 dogs, with 3 more coming to live with me from other states, where I’ve adopted them from shelters that were closing, or from places where they were in danger of being euthanized.
If you could visit any world ever written about, where would you go?
I’m good right here on planet Earth. I have no desire to leave terra firma, but I would love to travel around the world and see all the places I never have. I want to visit Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Israel.
Thank you so much for having me today, Jen. I’ve enjoyed our chat so much.
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Rie McGaha was born and raised in northern California along the shores of Humboldt County where her grandmother often took her to dig for clams and watch the whales migrate. Being raised with the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, gave Rie a deep love for nature. She has resided in the Kiamichi Mountains of SE Oklahoma for more than ten years where she rescues animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find homes for them. She is the mother of 12 and Nana of 33.