Interview with Mystery Writer – Anita Rodgers

Hello Anita!

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It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

First, thanks so much for inviting me to meet your readers, I’m honored that you would ask. My name is Anita Rodgers. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I was very shy when I was young and writing down my thoughts was always easier than telling people. I grew up in Michigan with two brothers and two sisters but have lived in Los Angeles for most of my adult life.

I love gardening and grow some pretty darn good tomatoes. I love animals and have a little terrier mix named Lily and two weird cats, Boodie and Bitzi. I also love to cook, which may be apparent to anyone who has read any of my books.

I also worked for many years in the restaurant biz so had lots of experience to draw from in writing the Scotti Fitzgerald books.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

As I said, it was a solution to extreme shyness when I was a child. But I also really loved to read and just love words. Sometimes for fun, I read dictionaries. I love to discover new words. 

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

I have several favorites but probably my number one fave is Michael Connelly and his specifically his Harry Bosch novels. I’m also a big fan of Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Diane Dickson and others. In terms of inspiration, there are two writers who really get me when it comes to craft: Steven Pressfield and Chuck Palahnuick. I read anything they write about the craft of writing. I think they are both geniuses.

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

My favorite is mysteries/thrillers. I can’t seem to get enough of them. I also enjoy true crime, some romance, sci-fi, psychological horror, and action stories.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It made me more mindful of what I was writing and why. It inspired me to learn more about craft, to read more, to explore new things as a writer.

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

Currently, I have the Scotti Fitzgerald Mystery Series published. It is about a waitress/pastry chef who solves crimes.

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What was it like creating back to back stories that link?

It was exhilarating and maddening at once. You have to keep track of all the characters, their backstories, and so forth, which can be daunting from book to book. But it’s also a lot of fun and kind of like going to visit friends you really love.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?

I dabble a little in psychological horror (in short stories) but also enjoy writing literary fiction.

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Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

I’m a hybrid of both. I write, take notes, and I guess that’s my version of plotting. It almost always starts with characters. One just sort of shows up in my head and starts talking to me. If they interest me, I listen. I’ll write down snatches of dialogue or little stories about them. If they hang around long enough, I’ll start thinking about what kind of story to put them in and try a few things out. Eventually, something fleshes out, and I start writing. Usually, once I know how the story will end. But what happens in between the beginning and the end is often something I discover as I write.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?

I don’t know. I put them in far too often. So a lot of my editing is about deleting them.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?

Read a lot. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read good and bad books. See what’s out there.

Study craft. No matter how good you are and how much you know about writing there is always more to learn. Make it part of your routine. There are some amazing teachers out there who’ve written books that are worth their weight in gold. And as writers, we always want to give our readers the best book we can. We can’t do that if we aren’t evolving and learning too.

Find other writers to become friends with. Writing is a lonely job sometimes and having friends who know that and understand that will be priceless to you.

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

I am working on a thriller trilogy called the Dead Dog Trilogy. It’s about a former FBI agent who is currently the Chief of Police in a small California town, and has a string of murders to solve. The kicker is that the MO is the same as a dead serial killer who she caught while an FBI agent. I expect to publish the trilogy in the next few weeks.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I think if you want to succeed at anything you have to have self-confidence in what you are doing. In terms of big or small egos, not sure. I have seen both in writers and have seen both types of writers succeed. The one thing I think that can harm a writer though is arrogance. It turns off writers and readers alike.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It depends on the story. I write about crime so I have to research procedure, law, and so forth. I have several good reference books, and also use several blogs and websites for information. I don’t however, write historical fiction or things of that nature so months of research isn’t something I do.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes, I read them. It’s always fun to see a good review and you do get a thrill from it, let’s be honest. It’s always going to make you happy when something you’ve created has pleased someone else. In terms of the bad ones…I don’t know, they don’t make me suicidal or anything like that. It comes with the territory, right? You can’t please everyone, so everyone isn’t going to like what you write. And sometimes they are helpful too, such as pointing out errors in the text or formatting.   

What was your hardest scene to write?

A love scene in one of the Scotti Fitzgerald books. I wanted to do it right but didn’t want to venture into erotica. But also didn’t want it to come off as silly. A fine line to dance between.

Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

Some of it, though each story has its own process. The characters often dictate the process. Generally, I write pretty quickly, although this trilogy has taken much longer than anything I’ve ever written before.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

Sure, as supportive as they are able to be. It’s an odd occupation for someone that most people don’t really understand. Once I got a handle on that, I didn’t worry too much about it.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I suppose it’s a combination of both. I don’t think you can ever completely invent a character from scratch. I think that as you live your life, people impress you both in good and bad ways, things stay with you, perhaps a quirky behavior, a habit, figure of speech, tone of voice…that all gets incorporated in your writing I believe.

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

The main character in the Dead Dog Trilogy, Lottie Stark is my favorite because she is kind of broken. Flawed. And her journey is tougher than other characters I’ve written.

What would you like readers to know?

That I love to write. That I will write for as long as I draw breath. That nothing makes me happier than knowing that a story of mine has helped, inspired, cheered or otherwise given something to a reader.





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About eve culley

Children's Author, micro-farmer in the great state of Texas
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