I am very pleased to have Rita Lee Chapman joining us here at Nothing Any Good. Rita is the author of three novels: Missing in Egypt, Winston—A Horse’s Tale, and her most recently published Dangerous Associations. She hails from the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.
I was lucky enough, once upon a time, to spend the better part of a year on the West Coast of Australia. I was even able to spend a week living in tents with an Aboriginal community in Northwest Australia in the outback of the Kimberly region. It was incredible. We were brought to the site of one of the oldest fossils of man, a footprint estimated to be 20,000 years old. (It is one of three such footprint sites to have been found in Australia.) I loved my entire time down under, as it were. It is with this love and admiration of the country that I welcome Rita Lee Chapman.
Thank you Dan. I’m very pleased to be interviewed on Nothing Any Good.
It seems you have seen parts of Australia that I haven’t seen! I was actually born in London and came to Australia in my early twenties. I spent my working life in Sydney and then retired to Queensland, where I wrote my first book – something I’d always wanted to do.
The Sunshine Coast is possibly one of the loveliest places on earth. How are you staring at a computer right now?
Yes, Dan the Sunshine Coast is absolutely beautiful. Sometimes I have to drag myself away from the pool and the sunshine and sit in front of the computer. Other times I take it outside with me. We have lakes and the Noosa River nearby, as well as the beach, so we have plenty of lovely places to enjoy.
“Not every author is capable of writing a bestseller. I am lucky that writing is just one part of a very satisfying lifestyle.”
You love to travel whenever you can, what has been your favorite place to visit?
Yes, I do love travelling but a favourite place….that’s a hard call. I would have to say that Egypt made the biggest impression because it is so different to anywhere else in the world. The emptiness of the Valley of the Kings is something to experience and many of the temples and statues are almost complete, as compared to those in Greece or Rome. Last year we travelled to Germany and Austria and the scenery there was very pretty. Some of the medieval towns in Germany are untouched and quite unique. Apart from Europe, Bora Bora in Tahiti is also very special to me.
Clearly your love of travel and culture has influenced your writing. Are you always on the lookout for good stories or does that happen after the fact?
When I was considering a subject for my first book, Egypt came to mind. It seemed an ideal place to stage a mystery. I think memories of your travels flood back to you when you start to write and seek out a setting but I don’t look at places or events and think ‘that would make a good story.”
Your three books are in three entirely different genres—romance with some adventure, a tale from the point of view of a horse, and now with the publication of Dangerous Associations, crime mystery. How did you end up writing in such diverse genres?
I guess it says a lot about the way my mind works! I’ve had a lifelong love of horses and started Winston some time before Missing in Egypt, whilst I was still working. I re-read the first few chapters after I had written Missing in Egypt and thought it was worth continuing on with. I always wanted to write from the horse’s point of view. My latest book, a crime mystery, came about because I had been reading quite a few crime books and watching a lot of crime shows on TV and I thought it might appeal to a wider readership.
Have you found it difficult to market your books with such diversity? Has it been tough to keep a readership and fan base from one book to the next with shifting genres?
Marketing isn’t really my forte – I’d rather be playing tennis or swimming! Missing in Egypt still sells more than the other two books, although I believe my writing has improved going forward. I write about things that interest me without really thinking about ‘who is going to read this?’ I probably wouldn’t recommend such mixed genres to someone who is trying to establish themselves.
Every author has dreams of being a bestseller, (whether she’s willing to admit it or not). I find it important to not only have dreams, but also have goals that are attainable in the shorter term. You mention that you write without worrying to much about who might buy your books. What’s your goal for your writing? How many readers do you want to reach? What would be a satisfying conclusion to look back on?
Of course we’d all love to be a bestselling author! My goal was to write and publish a book, and I am happy to have achieved that target. I probably will write another, because I enjoy it, but I think you have to realize your limitations and understand that not every author is capable of writing a bestseller. For me, I am lucky that writing is just one part of a very satisfying lifestyle.
Thank you for your time, Rita. It has been a pleasure. If you have a question for Rita, please provide them in the comments section below.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
Rita Lee Chapman was born in London and moved to Australia in her early twenties. It was only when she retired that she wrote her first novel, Missing In Egypt, a romantic travel mystery. Winston – A Horse’s Tale followed, written for horse lovers like herself. “It was the book I had to write,” she says. Her latest book, Dangerous Associations, is her first foray into crime mystery.
PURCHASE A COPY OF RITA LEE CHAPMAN’S BOOKS NOW
Missing in Egypt
Winston – A Horse’s Tale