April 15, 2014

Interview: Author Theresa Rizzo

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Today it is my pleasure to welcome Theresa Rizzo to the Book Date blog.  Theresa has just published her book Just Destiny, it is a very interesting read and I highly recommend it.

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!  Her second book, Just Destiny, was released March 31, 2014.

What helped shape your ideas for the issues explored in this book - are they from real life experiences or your imagination?

I often get my ideas from current events—newspaper articles. My husband was on a business trip on my birthday, so my sister and brother-in-law took me out to dinner to celebrate and I’d cut out this article in the newspaper about a woman being sued by her deceased husband’s family to keep her from having his baby after he was dead. The idea of having your dead husband’s baby seemed bizarre, but still it struck me as a frivolous, ridiculous lawsuit. I figured it wasn’t anybody’s business, after all once you get married, your body’s mine and mine’s yours, right?

My attorney sister got this puzzled look on her face and said, “Actually that’s a really interesting legal issue. I wonder if sperm is considered property . . .” And then my brother-in-law looked at her, saying, “I’m not sure I’d want you to have my baby after I’m gone.”

So we discussed some legal and moral implications of the situation and what had initially seemed so incredibly simple and private suddenly became complicated and intriguing, propelling me to do some research into the legalities and morality of the issue. I was so fascinated with the idea that I had to build a book around it.

When planning this book did you start with the plot or characters or the themes you wanted to explore?

The idea for a book always grabs my attention first, then I think about what characters I need to move around this really cool plot. Themes never really consciously enter into it for me.

Would this book be great for book club discussion - why?

I’ve included a number of questions in the back of the book to stimulate discussion, because Just Destiny brings up some emotional and controversial issues worthy of discussion. I’d be interested to hear men’s opinion on whether they would want their wives to have their child after they’re gone. Then there are questions of do you support organ donation and if you do, have you made the effort to designate it on your drivers license? Gabe’s uncle George and Jenny both have family secrets that stimulate great discussion. It’s interesting to hear different people’s opinions.

When did you begin to write? Were you bitten by the bug as a child - or did it take longer to develop?

I loved creative writing as a child, but I am dyslexic and couldn’t read until I was in the third grade, so though I loved reading and being taken away on adventures through a book, it was also a huge source of fear and shame. But after years of extra tutoring and special reading classes, I learned great coping mechanisms, and love to read. Grammar does remains a constant challenge. I think my editor would tell you that despite her best efforts to teach me, I’m pretty much hopeless at figuring out the proper use of a comma. But I’ve always loved to tell stories.

Who were the childhood authors that entertained you and now the present
authors that you enjoy reading?

My favorite book as a child with Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney, and then I love the Little House on the Prairie and Black Stallion series. Now I have too many authors to name, but a few are Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Harlan Coben, Susan Wiggs, Lisa Kleypas, Tessa Dare, and on and on…

Do you write full time? Where to from now - what have you planned for your readers for the future?

I do write full time. In the fall I’ll put out my next book, The Lives Between Us, which is a book dealing with love, loss, revenge, and making hard choices. Here’s the description: Grieving the loss of her beloved niece, reporter Skylar Kendall plots revenge on the US Senator who opposed life-saving stem cell research and therapy. She becomes romantically involved with his best friend, putting her in the perfect position to tear the senator's world apart when tragedy strikes. Only, she hadn’t counted on falling in love. Sen. Hastings's tragedy would absolutely make Skylar’s career and satisfy her thirst for revenge, but can she betray her new love and friends?

I would like to thank Theresa for her time, this is my review of her book Just Destiny.

Find Theresa On the Web: Website FacebookTwitterGoodreads

Order Just Destiny at Barnes & Noble,  iBookstoreAmazon & Barnes & Noble

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