Interviewing an author is one of the most fun parts of this job. Interviewing one of my favorites is the pinnacle! I pinned Rusty Rhoad down for an interview. Not an easy thing to do, getting a few minutes of this author’s time!
Here’s how it went down!
How many books have you published?
Two . . . so far.
When is the next one due out? Can you share any details?
Providential timing for that question: my second book is came out Wednesday, March 5th. Strange Bedfellows is another novel that defies a tight genre definition: funny but doesn’t qualify as humor, fantasy elements but not a fantasy, some romance and a little sex but definitely not a romance. And like everything I’ve written so far, it has an Arthurian tie-in. Fun, surprising, and a touch outrageous. Anybody have a good name for that?
Can you tell us the process of how this happens?
By “this,” I’m guessing you mean “how does a writer go about getting a second book published?” Well, in my case, I sent in a finished, polished manuscript to my editor/publisher who loves what I write, and she affirmed that she still loves what I write by sending back a contract.
What’s the most difficult part about getting published?
In my case, it was finding that editor/publisher who loves what I write, which in truth is pretty offbeat and not for everybody—only the most intelligent and discerning of readers. After that, everything has been rosy.
What’s the one thing you regret about your writing career?
In the early 1990’s I was a brand new writer with one very creative but extremely raw manuscript, Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail. I attended a writing workshop sponsored by Rice University and entered my novel in the fiction contest. Holy shit, I won first place, which included a full read by an editor at Little Brown and Company. Little Brown told me that they would be interested in publishing Bradley Schuster if I would cut the length by a third (it was an daunting 190,000 words). Cut a third? Having no concept of what a rare and fantastic opportunity I’d been handed, I never managed to do it. It took 20 more years before I got a novel published; Bradley Schuster remains a work in process. That equals all of the other writing regrets totaled.
What are your publishing goals? What do you want from a writing career?
I want to be recognized, appreciated, and loved for what I write by a relatively wide audience. I want a core following who go to my web site to see when my next book is coming out because they can’t wait to read it. A dozen book groups who read one of my novels and discuss it. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? I’m not sure how to get there from here, but those are my goals (note that “make a lot of money” isn’t among them).
Other things on my writing bucket list? I had “write a book with a sidekick in it” on my list, but the novel that’s in edit now does that, so I can check that one off. My friend Bruce suggested writing a book where the sidekick is the hero; I’ve added that to my list now. Here’s a couple more: 1) a first person novel with a female main character, 2) a book with a colorful pet.
What is Rusty Rhoad’s latest book about?
The newly released Strange Bedfellows interlaces love, mystery, a bit of suspense, and the Bermuda triangle.
Commentators bombast that politics make Strange Bedfellows. Politics? Hah. I heap scorn on such an ill-considered opinion. For you and I both know: it is love that makes the strangest bedfellows.
Here. Let me give you just one example. A strange tale that begins with . . .
Walter—a loveable middle-aged accounting nerd. Crappy job, boss from hell, loveless marriage—who gets a do-over when he hits a big lottery. He hits the road only to find . . .
Amy—Sweet, Southern gal stuck in Cincinnati, stripping for a living because it pays better than Wal-Mart. Seems an unlikely candidate to do-over with, but stranger things have happened. It might work out, except she’s got this crazy . . .
Aunt Morgan—everybody has a crazy aunt, but this one is special. Engaging, seductive even . . . how old is she, anyway? And how can she always be around?