Dr. Rita Garcia writes inspirational romances. Although the stories are contemporary, they’re set in small-town America, where life is a step back in time, blending the best of both worlds. Each story contains an element of romance blended with a larger element of hope. Life, lit by the flame of hope, is the theme that permeates her fiction.
Rita loves living in Southern California with her husband, Joe, her life partner and best friend. They have four adorable daughters and seven fantastic grandchildren who fill their lives with love. Each phase of life has been an awesome journey for Rita, and her life as an empty nester is no exception. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Christian Counseling and has a passion for helping others achieve their most important life goals.
When Rita isn’t spending time in the fictional town of Mariner Cove, she enjoys making cloth dolls, stuffing them with love and giving each one a unique personality with the addition of little stitched faces. She loves surprising people with a new friend as they transition through illness or other life changes. Her greatest joy in life is just hanging out with her husband. Spending time with family and friends keeps her spirit free and nourishes her creativeness.
Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
My imagination was creating stories before I knew how to write them down. Among my mother’s things I found stories I had written, in that awkward printing letters stage children go through. The stories were complete with illustrations, usually roses. I’ve always loved the idea of romance and happy ever afters. I was definitely a soft touch for all of the fairy tales. I watched them with my daughters and now how exciting to get to watch them again with my granddaughter.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
Writing my first novel was a grand adventure. The first draft only took a few weeks to write—the rewrites have taken longer. To quote Michael Crichton, “Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten.” With each step of the journey the novel has emerged much like a rose bud blooming into a full honey scented rose.
What sparked the idea for your Mariner’s Cover series? Did you begin with a name or place? Did scenes start playing in your mind? Or perhaps your characters began chatting?
The characters who reside in the fictional town of Mariner Cove first appeared in a weekly challenge entry, on a website called FaithWriters. The character of a deaf young woman stayed with me. Like pulling on a loose thread, her story kept unraveling in my head. One morning I opened my computer and felt an intense prompting to write her story. Less than six weeks later I typed the end on an eighty thousand-word manuscript as the second Mariner Cove novel begun unfolding.
Most writers tell me that although they might be alone much of the day, they all have a cast of real life characters who support them in many ways. Who are the people on your team, and how do they uphold you?
Although writing demands much alone time, it often feels like I need a village of people so I can write. Everyone needs cheerleaders, and I am blessed with a whole family of them, and they are a constant source of encouragement.
My husband reads my stories and cheers me on, and my stories are so out of his preferred reading genre. My critique partner, Seema Bagai shares ideas and inspiration. A sweet and dear friend, Joanne Sher, edits my errors and encourages my soul. Another special friend, Patty Wysong keeps me blogging. And my FaithWriters and Facebook online friends—a terrific group of supporters—hugs all around.
Rita’s Published Pieces
You’ve already seen your name in print, although not on the cover of a romance novel. Please tell us about your published works.
I would love to share my published works with you.
Daily Pursuit, an award winning short story included in Abundant Life, a FaithWriters’ writing challenge anthology. Forty-eight award-winning authors share their hearts and imaginations with such topics as Love, Hope, Inner Strength, Peace, and Purposefulness.
Struggle Creek – A Peculiar People Collaboration
I was honored to write a chapter in this small town mystery novel. This mystery story about a small Tennessee town was created with twenty-seven authors from all over the US, plus Canada and Australia. Each author wrote a chapter from the viewpoint of a different town member, but all the chapters tie together to make one novel.
Delivered – A Peculiar People Collaboration
A contributing author with the short story Heaven’s Gate, Delivered is a collection of short stories that intertwine to deliver a single message. Delivered was by created by twenty-five authors from six different countries.
Coming in November 2011:
Defining Character – Living Life in Harmony by God’s Design
A non-fiction ebook, published by Heart of God International Ministries Once we define the character traits God desires for each of us, they will in return define who we are. As we surrender our will to Him, we become like clay in the potter’s hands. He molds and shapes us according to His divine destiny, allowing us to live life and live it in greater abundance—a life in harmony by God’s design.
Based on your publishing experiences, what advice would you have for a writer eager for a byline or to see her name on a book cover?
Writing articles and short stories is a fantastic way for new writers to start getting their work known. FaithWriters has been an awesome experience for me. Entering the weekly challenge helped me see my strengths and weaknesses and also provided constant support and encouragement.
Something I have heard from so many authors, I now find myself repeating. The most important thing a new writer can do is to write. For me, writing my first novel has been exhilarating, and also a great learning experience. If I’d waited until I felt ready, the characters would most likely still be bouncing around in my head. Like the Nike commercial says, “Just do it.”
Let’s Learn a Little More About Rita
Cake, cookies, pie, or. . .?
God says he will never give us more than we can handle. Sometimes I wonder about this sweet tooth of mine. Cake, cookies, pie or chocolate—I love them all. Ah, but my favorite dessert is a luscious crème brûlée. Perhaps it’s a favorite because my husband and I are usually on vacation when we indulge in this particular delight.
Tennis shoes, strappy sandals, dressy heels, or. . .?
Like most women I have my share of shoes: tennis shoes, strappy sandals, heels and a collection of boots. I must confess, however, I don’t have what some might call a shoe fetish. It’s quite the opposite: my preferred footwear is none. Barefootin’ it is sheer bliss. I love the feel of the soft carpet indoors or the cool green grass outside, but nothing compares with sitting on the beach and pushing my bare toes into the warm grains of sand.
Minivan, sedan, SUV, or. . .?
I enjoy my roomy SUV, but lately I’ve had an urge to return to my pre-mommy car, a little red Porsche. Driving with the top down on a fresh summer day. Love it! Although, it tends to go faster than the SUV, just saying …
Beach, mountains, desert, or. . .?
A picnic by a cool mountain stream is awesome. Driving through the desert is lovely. Blame it on the fact I grew up surfing and frolicking in the ocean—I love the beach. The ocean is one of the many reasons I adore living in southern California. And Maui with its wonderful beaches is my favorite vacation spot. I’m thinking I need to be in Maui, barefoot on the beach eating a fabulous crème brûlée. **sigh**
Dogs, cats, fish, or. . .?
Animals, I am enamored with them all. Given the space I would probably adopt a whole menagerie. For now I adore my two furry writing muses, my dog, Lucky, and my gorgeous Himalayan, Sassy.
Rita’s Question for You
The Mariner Cove novels are set in a small seaside community. The novels are contemporary mixed with the flavor and charm of small-town America. The summer visitors create a bustle of activity that energizes the town. What type of setting do you prefer when reading a romance novel?
Rita has generously offered to give away a copy of Abundant Life, a FaithWriters’ writing challenge anthology. A collection of 80 inspirational stories, poems, devotions and articles that will bless, inspire, challenge and delight you. FaithWriters—Abundance of Life is a selection of the very best Christian writing from FaithWriters.com. Full of heart-stirring messages, it will leave you with a fresh desire to embrace God’s gift of life and to live it as Christ intended—abundantly.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Rita by midnight July 11th (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.
On July 12th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.
Congratulations to Kiersti, winner of the drawing.
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Learn More About Rita
Visit her website ~ www.ritagarcia.com
Visit her personal blog ~ Rita’s Random Ramblings
Visit her group blog ~ Jewels of Encouragement
Friend her on Facebook ~ Rita Garcia
Follow her on Twitter ~ @drritagarcia