Fortune cannot aid those who do nothing. Sophocles

Rebecca Thein Interview Published on: 13, Oct 2018

Tell us about your childhood. What kinds of poems and stories did you write as a child?

My early childhood memories bring forth my Barbie dolls. I had a great fondness for playing with my Barbie’s. With them, I could let my imagination soar with fun scenarios and adventures I created. I guess you could consider that an exercise in storytelling. As the years passed, my imagination grew. One day sitting on my lawn on a hot summer eve with my friends, we decided to tell spooky stories. Mine was about a creepy pair of scissors. As I weaved the gory saga, one of my friends said I should write that story. I never penned that particular tale, but the comment encouraged me and planted the seed to someday sit down and get the stories out of my head and onto paper.

I started writing poetry when I had my first crush at age twelve. That is also when I wrote my first chapter book with my friend Toni. We decided a fun way to fill our summer days besides playing Monopoly and riding our bikes, was to collaborate on a story. And to this day I still have the handwritten chapters that I cherish, and I’m proud of.

Between when I was in junior high school and when my youngest child was in junior high school, I never wrote another manuscript. I did, however, write lots of poems throughout those years. Anyway, back to my second full-length novel. I was bored sitting in the car waiting for the end of day bell to ring and my daughter to arrive at my car, so I brought a notepad and started writing Rise Above the Truth. It was several years later when I finally finished the story. I let my mom read it, and she pushed me to publish it. So, that is the second novel I completed, and as you can see, there were many years between that first and the second story. The rest so to speak is history.

It is fascinating to hear you call your books your babies. Can you tell us about your attachment with your stories?

Each story I write has a small piece of me sprinkled in them just as my children do. My novels are an extension of me. There are events from my life I incorporate into my books. If I desire to explore a different outcome, I write a story around the situation. Anything is possible and can be changed through storytelling.

A lot of your plots revolve around the theme of family. What other themes do you enjoy exploring in your books?

My stories tend to revolve around families because family dynamics fascinate me. I love imagining all the secrets a family member (or members) could be hiding. Eventually, those secrets will come into view. And in all my stories there is a love interest because everyone needs a soft place to land. I often add locations in the San Francisco Bay Area that I have enjoyed as a way to share where I grew up. But as far as themes, I’d say the primary focus is always on acceptance and conquering adversity.

The blurb of your book Following Sweet Dreams Home is very intriguing. Do you write these blurbs yourself? How do you decide how much information you should reveal and how you can make it appealing to the reader?

Yes, I write all the blurbs for my novels. How to make it appeal to a reader? Well, I think about the overall look of the book. From the title of the novel to the names of the characters. The cover art front and back, and of course synopsis. It all ties together and will tell you the story. Once you read the book, you will see how they all fit together. On the back of the print book cover for Following Sweet Dreams Home, you will see a recipe card for Candice’s life. I wanted the reader to get the sense of what the story was about without giving any actual details. Just enough of a taste of what’s in store. (No pun intended.) However, on Amazon and other retail sites, I added a more detailed synopsis in the description.

Can you tell us about the relationship between Candice Smythe and Grandma Pela? Do you have a similar relationship with anyone in your own life?

I can’t tell you the relationship between Candice and Grandma Pela because that might give away a bit of the story. However, I will say Grandma Pela was based on my grandmother’s love of baking and decorating cakes. She created all of my birthday cakes growing up.

Your book Blossoming Act is written in the form of four acts. What inspired this format? Why did you decide to write this book in this format?

Sirenity’s story (Blossoming Act) is about a young woman that works at a San Francisco Playhouse as a costume designer. I envisionded to have a page from a program for the blurb and separating the synopsis into four acts similar to what you might see inside a program. That would give the reader the setup for the story and the different phases of Sirenity’s life. The chapters are also titled Acts. I wanted the reader to get the feel of a play, as every person's life is their own script and they are the lead actor in their life.

In your book Rise Above the Truth, the past threatens to destroy Misty and Curt’s relationship.

Is it possible, in real life, according to you, to rise above the past for the person you love? Yes, when that person was trying to protect you. We need to look at the reason behind someone's actions to see if they had good intentions and your best interest at heart. And in some cases, the person may not have had another option but to stay silent. Therefore, you have to look at each situation and see if you can understand their choice and forgive them, or move on.

Would you say that writing is a form of self-expression for you? Why do you say so?

Writing is so much about who I am. Every single story there is something I put inside the pages that is a part of me. Now that’s not to say the stories are about me, but they do tell a lot about how I see the world. As I stated in questions two, each book has a little piece of me sprinkled in them.

A lot of self-published authors talk about the challenges of marketing that this form of publishing poses. Do you experience this type of challenge? How do you usually market your books?

I am an introvert with social anxiety, so I spend a lot of time alone by choice. Marketing is difficult for me. I really don’t market except to post once in a while on social media. And the thought of doing a book signing, well I don’t ever see me stepping out of my comfort zone and doing that. The idea or considerations terrifies me. So, I have yet to actually figure out the best way for me to market that feels comfortable. But I suspect most authors’ face the same challenge.

Do you enjoy reading? What kinds of books do you like cozying up to?

I love to read. I read every day. I enjoy all kinds of fiction stories, from women’s contemporary, to mystery, to erotic romance of all genres, and everything in between. My one stipulation is the book has to have an HEA ending. I read for enjoyment. To be taken to a place where when I close the book I feel good. If I wanted to feel bad, then I’d just watch the news.

Do you have a day job? Would you consider taking up writing as a full-time job?

My day job was raising my three children. They are adults now and on their own, so writing is my joy since I can write whenever I have characters speaking to me. Although you will notice I have not published another novel since 2014. Life sometimes forces us to hit the pause button and take care of something out of our control. I had started writing three stories but put them aside in 2015. It is now time to get back to telling those tales.

What is the most ideal ambiance for you to write in?

I write in two places. I will sit in my office and click away on the keyboard, or if that’s not working, I grab a notebook and sit in a comfy chair with my coffee and longhand the story. Sometimes actually putting pen to paper helps the words to flow again when I get writer’s block. And I often listen to a song to inspire a scene or get in a particular mood to write the chapter. Music is my muse.

How do you deal with criticism?

Depends. If it’s constructive criticism, I listen and see if the advice will help the story or help me be a better storyteller. If it is after the book has been published, I just chalk it up to, not every story will please all readers. Every person loves different styles of writing and different genres. So, our stories will not appeal to all readers. Every author has a person that will write a negative review, but that is one person's opinion. Other readers will love the story. I try to ignore negative reviews that bash the author with no constructive input.

What book ideas are you currently working on?

I am writing a spin-off from the novel Following Sweet Dreams Home, titled Not a Planned Affair. As with all my stories, there is always some sort of mystery. This story is about a mansion in Napa, California and the family mystery it holds. I also started a series I have yet to title. This will be an erotic series, but I’m unsure if I will publish it. But for now, I’m writing it for myself to challenge me to go into an area that may just expose too much about myself. Okay, not really, but as I said, all my stories tend to have a little about my life in them. I currently have four story ideas and actually started writing three of them.

Share Rebecca Thein's interview