MLM: The holidays are fast approaching and things always seem to get busier during this time of year. Do you have a relaxing technique that helps you de-stress? If so, please share, because this is advice we all need!
Rita: I like to listen to either soundtracks from musicals, or easy listening music. Have a cup of coffee, a muffin and sit back and relax for a few minutes. Sometimes I take a short nap to rejuvenate me.
MLM: Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but most of us still have traditions we participate in, such as attending holiday parties, decorating your house, baking cookies, etc. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Rita: I am definitely into making cookies, in fact, some years I bake and put in cute little tubs and give gifts to friends. They always seem to appreciate it. We also put up the tree together an all day event because we have Santa dolls and all kinds of spaces to decorate. I like to get a Christmas Angel when I can and try to fill everything on their wish list. But the true gift is not telling anyone you are giving anyone anything. Only God knows.
MLM: In the south, holidays are centered around food, with huge meals and lots of baked sweets. Do you have a favorite holiday recipe you'd like to share with us? If not, how about an all-year-round favorite recipe?
Rita: Pecan Pie is a favorite here in the south and in Texas. Here's a quick and easy recipe, but the secret is the freshness of the pecans.
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of Karo white syrup
Several pats of butter.
1 cup of either crushed or whole pecans
Mix it all up pour into a unbaked pie shell at 350 for an hour or until it is set (which simply means it doesn't giggle as much)
One of the best treats for Christmas or Thanksgiving
MLM: Ooo…yeah, we love pecan pie and make it every year as well. The holidays aren't the holidays without pecan pie! Have you ever made your own holiday presents and/or decorations? If so, what were they? Were they successes or failures? Did you have fun while making them?
Rita: One year we had an especially hard Christmas and the kids wanted to give their friends something but there was not enough money to go around for presents and so we made cookies and put them in mason jars and tied pretty little curled ribbons (that we curled by hand) onto the lids. Then the kids painted the jars and put names on them. Their friends thought this one of the most novel and nicest gifts they got. Mainly because some thought and work went into it. The girls never forgot that Christmas, it was truly one of the best. They had no idea their friends would love this…especially now days when gifts are rather expensive.
MLM: If "Santa Claus" could bring you any gift you wanted, what would be your ultimate gift? (Please refrain from saying "money" because who doesn't want more of that!)
Rita: Okay, this is a real secret, I am not a jewelry person, never have been. And admittedly I only own one piece of jewelry now. But if Santa brought me a beautiful necklace or bracelet I'd be thrilled. (Even though I believe in Santa, it'll never happen)
MLM: Odd question, but my 9 year old thinks Rudolph and the reindeers "guiding Santa's sleigh" have GPS navigation. So, if you could give Santa and his sleigh any one modern technology, what would it be and why?
"Santa needs a cell phone, and the reason…(you won't believe this) if Santa were to get sick, he'd need a phone to call 911 and let them know, likewise if the reindeers were hurt or sick they would need immediate attention. " Don't you love kids?
MLM: Aww…what a perfect answer! I love it and yes, kids are the greatest! Now, let’s get to your writing, Rita(author name)...what genre do you write and what is the draw for you?
Rita: For years I wrote contemporary romances. I never thought I was good enough to tackle the historical. But then my husband died, and I went through a deep depression and couldn't write. Well, when I finally began again, it was a historical, and I've been writing them ever since. I love the research, it's so much fun to learn something new.
MLM: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.
Rita: Love of family, goodness, loyalties, that get down home fuzzy feeling that all is well.
MLM: With the current movement to encourage people to give books as gifts, what, in your opinion, makes your story unique? What makes it stand out among all of the other books out there?
Rita: My books concentrate on heavy family themes, of doing what's right even when it hurts, and I hope I instill that same down home fuzzy feeling after reading them. So when someone is depressed, lonely, or just not feeling well, they could pick up my book and get a little lift out of life.
MLM: Do you prefer throwing snowballs or serving hot cocoa? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?
Rita: I like the snowball thing, only Texas doesn't offer much snow. Entertaining isn't my cup of tea as I tend to be such a hermit, and get flustered in the kitchen if I cook for many people. But a game is always fun.
MLM: If you could give any of your characters a holiday gift, which character would it be and what would you give them? Why do they deserve this gift?
Rita: I would give Maggie a beautiful dress and home. Because Maggie was an escaped slave who survived only by her wits during the civil war. She was courageous and bold and did what she had to do, but she survived on very little and didn't complain. She certainly would have deserved better. Maggie is the heroine in Love Rules.
MLM: Who decides what your characters do, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one stuffing the stocking?
Rita: My voices lead me all the time. If I try to get out of line with them, they always correct me telling me, this won't work. I listen, because usually they are right. Be true to your characters, it's a rule with me.
MLM: What character did you have the most fun creating and why?
Rita: Jeb and Hoot in my short story, The Far Side of Lonesome. And I'll tell you why. Jeb and Hoot are two black men, but not just any two black men. They are Christian black men, who know right from wrong, it's built into them. They are put in a dangerous position in The Far Side of Lonesome, which is also a historical short story set in the 1800's west, and I got a kick out of figuring out how to get them out of it. It seems the Indians stuck them with a white captive woman and her Indian baby, and they were in a hot spot to figure out how to get out of that one. Well…just check it out on Smashwords.com. One of the best pieces I've ever written.
MLM: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why?
Rita: Not one but four, brothers, The Travers Brothers series. It's contemporary but these four boys know right from wrong, good from evil and are true examples of what a man should be. Honest, loyal and all great looking. But then….most of my men are like this…aw….that's a hard one.
Find them on Smashwords.com
MLM: Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?
MLM: If you were interviewing yourself, what is the one question you would ask yourself and please give us the answer to that question?
MLM: Proof you should never, ever give up on your dreams! Thanks so much for joining us, Rita Hestand(author name)! It's been a treat getting to know you better!
Buy Link: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/productinfo.php?productsid=169&osCsid=ttbovt0t5re2f6je9g284vfup5
Any other links/sites you wish to offer readers so they can find you on the world wide web, such as buy links for other books, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.
Thank you so much for having me, and hope I haven't bored anyone to death. Happy Holidays everyone!
"I come from Texas,” she said breathlessly. "I'm on the Butterfield's Stage Line." Chase pondered the information, intrigued by her proud nature. It made no sense to him. The Butterfield Stage Line, created by a dreamer, Mr. Butterfield, was a death trap the Comanche intended to destroy.