Rocco welcomes author Rebecca Adler/Gina Nelson!
Rebecca grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.
Prior to writing, she always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life from dinner theatre in Mississippi to playing a giant Furskin in the New York Toy Fair, plus plays and musicals.
She's currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing the Taste of Texas cozy culinary mystery series set in far West Texas filled with sweet, Southern-fried flavor, delicious suspense, and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Rebecca's alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson writes sweet contemporary romance.
- Welcome Rebecca! Tell us a little about your background
Thanks ROCCO! Prior to writing, I always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to my life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, flower shop in Germany, acting school on Broadway, video series in Jersey, and playing a giant Furskin at the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical. I grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast, studied acting in New York, and raised three boys in Texas. I started writing as a creative outlet before I found theatre education.
- As Rebecca Adler, you write the “Taste of Texas” series. Can you tell us the inspiration for that?
I absolutely love the high desert of Texas' Big Bend Country located in far West Texas. The mountains, the vast desert, the big sky. Add to that the fact I eat Tex Mex at least twice a week; and this series was a perfect fit for me.
- Tell us about your latest release:
Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery.
Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Opening the celebration at Two Boots dance hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Josie’s best friend, Patti Perez. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up as just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.
To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua, Lenny, pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark face down in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double dips....
- How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
Getting to know my characters is a process. I have a general idea of the main character, her inner struggles, and outer conflicts before the story begins. I surround her with a few supporting characters and then begin to write. It's not until I write those first few chapters that I begin to discover more about those characters. As I'm not a seat of the pants writer, I'll usually stop at that point and figure out the personality traits of the characters and their strengths and weaknesses.
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I do both! I'll come up with three turning points, a black moment, and a resolution and then start to write. If I get stuck, I'll outline. In my second draft, I'll add and cut scenes as needed to hone subplots and relationships.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
That's a tricky question because both are so important! If I had to pick one, I'd say character. Readers, myself included, fall in love with characters.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
I work long hours at my day job as a theatre teacher, which makes time management my biggest challenge. I'm inspired to keep writing because I enjoy the challenge of bringing characters to life in my own style and voice.
- Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
My agent is the fabulous Kim Lionetti with Bookends. My agent story is dear to my heart. I had just decided to take a break from writing romance and was even considering taking an extended break from writing and submitting, when an author friend represented by Bookends told me Kim was looking for a certain kind of mystery. I sent her a proposal and the rest, as they say, is history.
- What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I'm currently working on the final draft of my third book in the Taste of Texas series, Cinco de Murder. My future writing plans are creating more books set in Broken Boot, Texas--a place that's starting to feel a lot like home.
- What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I write long hours over school vacations, holidays and weekends. When I'm on deadline I write a couple of hours a night on two or three weeknights, plus the weekend.
- If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
Uh, that's tough! That means I'd have to be willing to read them over and over. Let's see. I recently reread the Arthurian Trilogy by Mary Stewart, so lovely and heart-wrenching; The Bible, spirituality, history, romance, and prophecy rolled into one; and To the Hilt by Dick Francis, painter and bagpipe player Alexander Kinloch is my all-time favorite Francis sleuth.
- What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Don't write in a vacuum. Join writers groups like Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, or your local writers group. Find someone to hold you accountable for writing, finishing, and submitting. It truly has made all the difference in my writing career.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Hmm. In my early twenties I attended acting school in NYC and worked late hours at a dive restaurant/bar. Looking back, riding the subway home at 2:30 in the morning from the Lower Eastside to Queens was probably taking my life in my hands.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I write my books while listening to Zydeco and Bluegrass. The driving rhythms and the twang of the guitars keeps me focused on Broken Boot, Texas.
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Who's your favorite mystery writer? Dick Francis was the king. I long to write with his wit and efficiency. During his lifetime, he had two very different but successful careers. I figure if he can do it, why not me?
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Facebook: @Author Rebecca Adler
- Just for Fun:
- Night or Day? Day
- Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) In spite of my cover…both!
- Beach or Pool? Beach -- born and raised in Florida
- Steak or salad? Both--just saying.
- Favorite Drink? Sangria
- Favorite Book? The Crystal Cave
- Favorite TV Series? Sherlock
- Favorite Movie? Last of the Mohicans
- Favorite Actor: Matt Damon
- Favorite Actress: Ann Hathaway
- Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Sangria
- Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska
- Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be:
- If I had just one wish, it would be:
To have one more conversation with my father who died this year.
- If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be:
- List all the places readers can find you
Rebecca will give one lucky commenter a copy of The Good, The Bad and the Guacamole!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight Nov. 4. US/Canada residents only please