Please welcome Rebecca Winters to the virtual offices this morning! Rebecca is here to discuss her Daddy Dude Ranch series, which is published by Harlequin.
[Manga Maniac Café] Please tell us a little about yourself.
[Rebecca Winters] I’m a mother and a grandmother and have been a student all my life which means I’ve been a reader first. Victor Hugo is a favorite author. I have a great love of Europe because I went to school both in Paris and in Switzerland and did a lot of traveling. Because I had to learn French, I found myself wanting to learn Spanish and Italian. It seems like every step I’ve taken in my life has led me to a new place. When I turned my hand to writing, I was able to go everywhere in my mind. I love the British comedies, Days of Our Lives, politics, canasta, great art (The French Impressionists) I played the piano and love classical music. My favorites are the piano concertos of Brahms, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Tchkaikowsky. I love opera: Aida, Carmen, Tosca. I’m an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about your Daddy Dude Ranch series? How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the series?
[Rebecca Winters] I was reading about some military men in a magazine who developed a coughing problem while they were deployed and it gave me an idea about 3 vets who are in a hospital at a low point in their lives. They have to leave the military and go home. TO WHAT? Their therapist suggests they find a way to serve others so they won’t feel so empty. One of the vets comes from a ranch in Wyoming, but with his grandfather gone, he’s going back to an empty ranch house. He and his buddies start talking about turning the place into a dude ranch for kids who’ve lost a father in the war. They can be dads and bring a little joy into their lives. Maybe for a week?
[Manga Maniac Café] What traits best define the heroes of these books?
[Rebecca Winters] These guys are pretty selfless. Although they’re ill and down for a while, they have this wonderful desire to be of use and never give up hope. Their compassion for their comrades who died in battle and left wives and children at home takes them out of their despair. They are steadfast and indomitable in their desire to make a difference.
[Manga Maniac Café] Why did you choose to have the series set in Wyoming?
[Rebecca Winters] The Tetons are my favorite vacation place in the West. You can’t see them without it taking your breath. It’s glorious scenery and air, the perfect place for a son or daughter to enjoy nature in God’s country. That’s what I call it.
[Manga Maniac Café] What motivated you to write about former marines?
[Rebecca Winters] They have a reputation for being in there first during war and they’re fearless. I wanted to use them for the great example they are.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you enjoy best about writing for Harlequin?
[Rebecca Winters] They encourage me to write about the subjects and places I know best. I love Europe and I love the West, so I’m very happy.
[Manga Maniac Café] You are so prolific! What’s your secret to keeping your stories so fresh?
[Rebecca Winters] I’ve done a lot of genealogy in my life. As you study the stories of those who have passed on, you realize every living soul has his or her own story to tell. Keeping that in mind, I find I never run out of ideas. Each person is precious and has a unique history. Like snowflakes and grains of sand, not one is alike. That’s what makes it fun to write.
[Manga Maniac Café] What has changed the most in publishing since you started your career as an author?
[Rebecca Winters] Technology! I used to hand write, then write on an old black typewriter, then an electric typewriter, then a keyboard and computer. I used to have to go to the library to look up all the research. It took hours, days, weeks. Now I can get answers to a hundred different questions in one day on the Internet. Because of the speed, you can write more books at a time and there are new avenues with the digital printings and of course ebooks with the Kindle and Nooks. The public’s appetite for more stories is greater than ever before. We lucky authors want to meet those needs. Don’t forget I’m a reader first and I look forward to one of my favorite author’s next books as much as the next reader does.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Rebecca Winters] Due to my marvelous mom who opened my eyes to this wonderful world, I’m influenced by: music, movies, art, theater, opera, nature itself, travel, family. Everything!
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Rebecca Winters] An idea.
Something to help me get it down.
Energy to keep at it!
[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Rebecca Winters] THE HELP. A few years ago I took my children on a driving trip to the South and we toured several plantations and tried to get a feel for the past. I only recently read THE HELP and it opened my eyes to so much!
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Rebecca Winters] I spend time with my children and grandchildren, read, watch movies, spend time at the park, the mountains, travel to the beach.
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
[Rebecca Winters] Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!