Roxanne Rustand’s interview

» Posted on May 5, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Roxanne Rustand’s interview

This week I’m hosting Roxanne Rustand with her book, Deadly Competition and Teri Wilson with her book, Love, Lilies and the Unbroken Straw. If you want to enter the drawing for the book, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (May 10th) evening.

Roxanne Rustand’s interview:

1. What made you start writing?
After college, I read mostly nonfiction for years–I love biographies and books on history. One day, my friend Judy gave me a novel by her favorite author and dared me to put it down. I was immediately hooked, bought everything that author had written, and was hungry for more. When this dear friend later asked if I’d like to write articles for her magazine and offered me a computer, I found out what a joy it was to use a word processing program! I just kept at it, writing articles and eventually toying with a story…wishing I could create the kind of magic I read on the pages of my favorite novels. I never dreamed that I could ever actually sell a book! I owe Judy a great deal, for guiding me towards a part of my life that I now enjoy so much.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I’ve been writing since 1993, and sold my first book in 1998. I’ve sold twenty-three books, though the first amateur effort is exactly where it should stay–in the deep, dark recesses of my closet!

3. How do you handle rejections?
I remember thinking that the validation of making a first sale meant everything–that afterwards, it would be much easier to sell again. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Readers change, editors change, publishers evolve. After selling fifteen books, I received a rejection on a trilogy. I re-wrote it, and was rejected again. For a good six months, I struggled to find my confidence, and dithered about what direction to take. With the support and advice of a dear friend, I ultimately realized that this was an opportunity for growth, not a dead end. Since then, I’ve heard stories about the incredible determination of some aspiring authors who have overcome many, many rejections. Who persevered and ultimately, succeeded. I guess the saying I used to have above my computer is true: God doesn’t give the desire without also giving the ability. We just have to keep the faith, hold on to our dreams, and never let go!

4. Why do you write?
If I suddenly had a million dollars and the freedom to do anything–or nothing–I would still write. There’s a sense of satisfaction in creating a world, creating the people who inhabit it–and seeing that world “come alive” on the pages of a book.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
Spending time with my family has always been at the top of my list, though I also love cooking, spending time with our horses, dogs and cats, travel, and photography.

6. What are you working on right now?
I have a book due in a little over a week, so I’m a bit nervous about that. It’s been one of my toughest deadlines–four months for the book, and during that time I have had carpal tunnel surgery, rotator cuff surgery, bronchitis, and pneumonia…and we had various construction folks working on remodeling projects in our house. Whew! Now, I’m back to great health, and am typing like mad!

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
I don’t think an author can help it. An author’s “voice” comes from who he or she is–life experiences, beliefs, morals, every aspect of the author’s background. Beyond that, one thing I intentionally do is to frequently incorporate our menagerie. Horse, dogs, cats, cockatiels–even our son’s pet albino corn snake, Ssssid, who appeared in my very first book. We’ve had just about every kind of pet in our household…though I had to “borrow” a few, too…such as Dolly the llama, who had a big role in A Montana Family.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
Deadly Competition is the fifth book in the six-author “Without a Trace” series. In this story, my heroine is on the run and ends up in the small town where all of the stories are set. She is hired by the hero to help take care of his young niece…in a town where danger is already lurking, and where murders have taken place in recent months. The entire series will wrap up with the final book by Terri Reed, in June. This romantic suspense series provided an opportunity to work with the five other authors, who are all wonderful people and excellent writers!

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Definitely. Finish your book! Make it to “The End”, polish it, and submit it. Then start another…finish it, and start over. Too many people just fiddle with the first few chapters for years, or fail to actually submit their work.

Don’t give up on your dreams–because you never know if your first sale will be just around the next corner. Whether you’ve had one rejection or ten, keep writing. Keep working at developing your craft, and be open to advice.

10. How important is faith in your books?
I write for Love Inspired Romantic Suspense, so faith is a definite element in each book I write for them. You’ll see a broad spectrum of how intense that element is, if you read a variety of authors for the line. Something I hadn’t realized, though, was something that a friend pointed out to me not long ago: even when I was writing steadily for just Harlequin Superromance, my characters were people of faith, and there were light inspirational elements in many of those books, too.

I have an Everlasting coming out in August (Save the Last Dance, which will be distributed with the Superromances) which also involves a heroine of faith, who counts on her heavenly father when disaster strikes. I guess it all comes back to question #7, above–who an author is, and what she believes, is part of her voice.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
I have always loved to incorporate intergenerational relationships in my books–it’s a universal theme that runs through our real lives, whether we are dealing with children, older parents, or are caught between both. Themes involving the importance of communication, caring, forgiveness and understanding. The richness of life when we can overcome interpersonal conflicts, as well as those within us…and the importance of faith for achieving a full and abundant life.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
I loved writing the Snow Canyon Ranch series (Hard Evidence, Vendetta, Wildfire) for Love Inspired Suspense, because it involved one of my favorite settings (the Rocky Mountains), I was able to include some of my favorite themes, and it was also my first chance to write for an inspirational line. Being able to more fully incorporate a faith element in these stories gave me such joy, and a sense of freedom!

13. What is your writing schedule like?
I work part-time as a dietitian in a residential psychiatric facility. On my days off during the week, I try to focus on my writing.