An Interview with Rebecca Forster
I love to read and although I haven’t read all of Rebecca Forster’s books, I have enjoyed many of them. If you don’t know who Rebecca is please allow me to introduce you.
Rebecca is a USA Today best selling author with more than 25 books under her belt. She teaches at UCLA Writers Program and works with The Young Writers Conference, a program that helps motivate middle school children to explore the power of words. She is particularly drawn to kids and writing because both of her sons have always had a passion for it. Eric is a playwright and Alex is in film. She is married to a Superior Court judge.
Rebecca is also a genuinely nice person who agreed to answer some questions for me.
1. What’s the first thing you got published and how did you go about it?
A. My first book was a Harlequin Romance, In Passion’s Defense. That was the first thing I had ever written and the first thing I had published! I was inspired to write by Danielle Steel – she was married to my client when I worked in an advertising agency. I flippantly told my colleague that, “I could write a book”. She dared me to do it and a passion was born. Because of my marketing background I did a lot of research on how books are published. I think separating the creative part from the business part was a big plus for me. I was stunned when that first book was published. Looking back, these 28 years as a writer seem like a wonderful dream.
2. What’s your favorite book (that you have written) and why?
A. Wow, you ask hard questions. I’ve written 27 books – working on 28. Some I love because they represent a leap in craftsmanship, others because I took a creative chance. I love the Witness Series not only because of the characters (Josie, Hannah and Archer – oh don’t forget Max-the-Dog), but I also love it because I had never written a series before. It’s thrilling to see how these characters have grown. But I would say the book of my heart is Before Her Eyes. My father and father-in-law were ill at the same time and passed within three months of one another. I was inspired by what they saw before their eyes in the final months of their lives. I married a traditional police procedural with a fantasy element. My dads were both proud of my writing. I hope they would be proud of this book. It is unusual. Some people love it and others don’t get it. I have book group discussion questions listed on my website for all these books because I think every book should not only be entertaining but also make the reader and the author think.
3. Tell me about working with your son and the projects you worked on.
A. Hah! Working on a creative project with your child is a challenge when you both have specific ideas and strong wills. We wrote a script together. Saving Seymour is a romantic comedy (Ed Asner is scheduled to play the title character). My son is a talent manager and he understands scripts, I kept trying to make it into a book. My husband got to a point where he didn’t want to come home. However, once I realized that my son had an expertise I did not and started to listen to him it was smooth sailing. He respected my ability to create a story; I respect his ability to guide me through a process I didn’t understand. We are now happy conspirators. Now, if we could only find someone who would like to fund a PG rated comedy!
4. Have any of your books been made into movies? If so did you like them better as a book or movie?
A. No, Keeping Counsel was optioned but never produced. I have written Keeping Counsel (a psychological thriller) as a script and we do have a director attached. We hope one day it will be produced. The witness series was considered for a television series.
5. What are you reading now and who are some of your favorite authors?
I am reading Ask the Dust by John Fante. It’s a literary piece about old Los Angeles. My youngest son suggested it to me. It’s so beautifully written and I remember so much of what he’s writing about. I love Stephen King, some John Grisham. There is a fabulous indie medieval fantasy called Devil’s Lair by David Wieshart and another romantic/suspense called Playing Dead by Jody Lebel that had me in stitches because of the characterization. I pretty much like to try every genre. My favorite book, though, is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. It is so brilliant – the twist at the end, the fact that the main character doesn’t have a name. Wonderful.
6. Give my readers a glimpse into a typical day in your life.
A. I am horrendously predictable and never still. I get up at 5:30 a.m., do my chores and am at the coffee shop where I set up my computer by 7:00 a.m. most days. Sometimes I throw a tennis game in and then go to work. I answer email, check out Facebook, take care of any business I have to do and then start writing at 9:00a.m. It sounds boring but once I start writing I feel like I’m wherever my characters are. I close up shop about 3:00 p.m. and doing errands, then home, dinner, dishes, sewing. I never miss Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. That isn’t to say I’m not up for an adventure if one comes along. Sometimes I go to court with my husband to watch a trial or work in his chambers. There’s something very cool about writing when surrounded by law books.
7. Many authors create settings similar to places they have lived or know well. Are the places in your books places you have lived or just places you have visited?
A. I try to visit places I write about as often as I can. Eyewitness was inspired by youngest son’s Peace Corps service in Albania – I didn’t even know where Albania was until he was assigned there. It is a very long way from California. When I got there I discovered an incredible system of ancient cultural justice that inspired that book. In the Witness Series, I write about Hermosa Beach. That’s just a walk from my house so I’m there a lot. It’s a super place. Lots of young people, very hip. I live up the hill in the not so hip part of the peninsula. I’m almost sure you have to be super cool to live in Hermosa!
8. I’m an animal lover and have too many dogs. I noticed you have a grand-dog. What kind of dog is he and what do you love about him. Do you have any pets of your own?
I ADORE Tucker. He is a mutt but with the most outstanding character and I mean that in every sense of the word. He is polite. He never begs but sits in the kitchen hoping you will see he’s being good and give him a piece of cheese. He is loving. Kisses and hugs all around when he comes to visit. He is brave, facing down squirrels and skunks (ugh). He also knows when you need help. I was in the hospital quite a bit in 2012 and that little dog lay quietly with me in bed somehow knowing I needed him close. He would lie there for hours while I slept, never moving. Can you tell I adore him? Maybe what I love best is that he adores my oldest son, Alex. Alex rescued him.
9, You have two sons. Tell us about them. Did you write when they were young? Did you enjoy motherhood and are you looking forward to nanahood?
I was pregnant with Alex when my second book was published so those two guys have been with me through all the ups and downs of this career. When they were toddlers and I needed them to sit quietly while I wrote, I sat them on the floor with an old typewriter and paper. They ‘wrote’ their books while mom wrote hers. You have to really carve out time to write when you’re a mom and work fulltime. I loved those days.
Now, Alex is a talent manager in Hollywood and hopes to produce our two scripts. He also lectures on how creative people can make a business out of their creativity. Eric, the youngest, is a playwright and soon to be novelist. He also was in the Peace Corps for two years. I am so proud of both of them.
I love motherhood. I loved being pregnant! And I certainly love being the mom to such great, kind, and creative young men. My husband has a lot to do with that, too, though. So credit where it’s due. They are available and would love to have families. I just need to be patient and hope they find the right girls. Meanwhile, I’m practicing my nana moves on Tucker in the meanwhile.
10. Future plans?
A. Write. Travel. Play tennis. Sew. Repeat.
Thanks, Rebecca, for a great interview! Keep writing! Repeat…Keep writing!
You can meet Rebecca online at her website: http://www.rebeccaforster.com