|Photo by Brianne Boulton|
Welcome to my virtual dock in the wilds of Muskoka, where it’s always sunny and warm no matter what time of the year it is. Please pull up one of the dock chairs, sit your butt down, and be prepared to be entertained and enlightened. Today, I’ve got middle-grade author, Rita Monette stopping by for a visit. If you’ve never heard of this awesome author, here’s a little background information about her:Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her “real” job as an administrative assistant, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write and paint. Five long years later, Musa Publishing offered her a contract for her debut middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, which also includes her artwork. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. Rita now resides with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.
Hmm, seems Ms. Monette is running a little late, it’s almost half-past noon. Hopefully she’ll get here before the brownies I just made get too cold. Mmm…these Caramel-Pecan Brownies are to die for, loaded with 2 cups of pecans and at least 51 caramels! BTW – there’s no calories allowed on my dock, so feast away! If you think you’d be interested in the recipe, please click HERE. And if you stick around after my chat with the author, there just might be some left! Okay, so while we’re waiting for…oh here she is now! Please sit, Rita, you look flushed from your long journey! Have a brownie and a chilled glass of milk compliments of our local dairy Kawartha Dairy, who also happen to produce a variety of kick-ass ice cream!
While I’m serving up the brownies and milk, please check out the blurb on Rita’s newest release The Legend of Ghost Dog Island:
Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her fisherman father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crab fishing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels like something is watching her and her beloved dog Snooper from a nearby island. But when Papa tells her about a local legend that something sinister might be living nearby and stealing the souls of dogs, she fears for her constant companion’s life. Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the truth behind the legend…before it’s too late.
Love it! So, Rita, tell us where you got your idea and inspiration to write The Legend of Ghost Dog Island?
The idea for my book was to tell the story of my childhood...of being a levee rat and moving all the time. My characters began taking on lives of their own. They ended up doing things and going places I'd never dreamed of...and thus, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island was born.
What sets The Legend of Ghost Dog Island apart from other books in the same genre?
My middle grade novel is set in the 1950s. A few editors passed on the idea, and thought kids could not relate to a time before cell phones, video games, and computers. But a little research showed me that kids are indeed interested in that time. What DID kids do with themselves back in the old days? It is set in the bayous of Louisiana, which is not unique in that there are other books with that setting. However, my story is based on a real life character and a real place. So, does all that make it historical? Technically yes. But I don't actually market it that way. Historical fiction doesn't seem to be a selling factor for middle graders, as much as it's a story about a young girl, her dog, and a mysterious howling creature on a nearby island.
You had me at a mysterious howling creature! How long did it take for you to start and finish The Legend of Ghost Dog Island?
It's hard to tell. It took me a year to begin thinking it might be ready to submit. But after about three more years of rejections, and quite a few revisions, it became really ready and really finished.
I don’t think newbie writers realize the process it takes from a seed idea to an actual published book. Do you have any advice for writers wanting to write in your genre?
LOL! Now that’s tried and true advice! So, what's next for Rita Monette the author?
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