Rita Ownby Holcomb Interview Published on: 06, Aug 2019

Tell us about your childhood. How did it affect you as an author?

I was a “girl of the fifties” in a mid-size town located 60 miles north of Dallas, Texas. Family was always a first priority with my parents, and I looked forward to travelling the 20 miles to my grandparents house every Sunday. They lived in a tiny community of less than 300 people and I enjoyed experiencing the rural life and playing with all of my cousins. The contrast to my more urban life gave me different perspectives. Especially when my cousins from the big city of Dallas were there. At that time the differences were major: electricity, running water, inside bathroom.

What inspired your first original story? Did you share the tale with anyone?

While researching my genealogy I found some newspaper clippings that verified stories I had heard as a child and I became determined to share the story. Further research expanded the focus of the story away from one of a brother and sister to a story of family unity of eleven brothers and sisters.

The stories and facts explained my fathers’ commitment to family.

What is Daughters of the American Revolution about? How did you end up being its member?

Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution come from various backgrounds and have differing interests. We all share one common bond. We have ancestors who contributed to securing the Independence of the United States of America. Any woman, 18 years or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible and encouraged to join.

We are all passionate about community service, education and honoring and supporting those who have or are serving our nation.

I have several lineal and collateral ancestors who were involved in the Revolution. The most noted was John Penn from North Carolina who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

You served on or presided over several civic organizations including the elected position of City Council member. Why did you decide to leave public service?

After 30 years of attending meetings, fund raising, planning benefits and problem solving, it was time to move on and use those skills elsewhere.

Did you expect to be listed in Who’s Who in American Women in 2000? What was your reaction?

I was surprised and shocked. At first, I thought it was a joke. Then I discovered that the Congressman from our district had nominated me and it made me extremely proud to have my leadership abilities recognized and included in such a prestigious publication.

What made you decide to become a buyer and seller of vintage clothing and accessories?

My love and fascination with history and heritage, coupled with the availability of vintage and antique items created a natural progression to internet retail sales. In the years following the millennial there were numerous Estate Sales in our area. The market for vintage and antique items was booming. I concentrated on clothing, accessories and sewing patterns while my husband focused on postcards, ephemera and photos.

What inspired you to make a shift from Internet Retail Sales to being a full-time author?

As the market decreased, I found extra time on my hands and returned to genealogy research. The more information I found the more determined I became to breathe life into my ancestors’ story. I had started writing a book about it several years before but it had gotten put away and almost forgotten.

One day, during a casual conversation with a friend, I mentioned the book. He read it and excitedly convinced me to finish the project. Thus, A Twist of Tobacco was born.

It soon became apparent that I couldn’t cover 70 years in one book so I divided it into a three- part series.

A Twist of Tobacco begins at the start of the Civil War and is the story of eleven children ages 8 months-20 years.

A Vow Unbroken tells the story of their lives during Reconstruction, as they grow, marry, have children of their own and face hardships and heartbreak and joy.

Heaven’s Promise follows the family through their migration from Woodbury, Tennessee to Pilot Grove, Texas in the 1880’s. It is an inspirational look at the end of life and the beginning of new lives.

What sparked the idea for "Justice Unbalanced"? How did you come up with the book title?

After spending so much time buried in the past, I wanted to write something more creative and contemporary and not be hindered by fact checking and research.

A Twist of Tobacco Trilogy is dedicated to truth in fiction but I could make Tice McCoy in Justice Unbalanced be anyone I wanted him to be.

How do you ensure that all the readers, from young to old, enjoy reading your books?

Justice Unbalanced is rated “R” for language. There is a character who is addicted to profanity and I don’t recommend it for anyone under 18 years or anyone with an aversion to profanity. The A Twist of Tobacco Trilogy is however suitable for all ages. There is no profanity or sexual situations. I have had readers who shared it (with supervision and explanation) with their children as young as seven. War is a difficult subject to discuss. It is either dull dates and place names or graphic and bloody. I have tried to combine the two in an interesting fashion.

How do you think social media platforms like Instagram help you to reach a wider audience?

Social medial helps Indie Authors bring their work to a larger audience. The more exposure an author can get the more interest is generated for their work. In today’s world it is a necessity.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process? Any marketing tips for newbie authors out there?

My least favorite activity is daily promotion. I spend hours posting and creating posts when I could be spending time writing.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself as an author in 10 years’ time?

I am in the process of writing another series. This one is about my mother’s family and will be The Legend of Henrietta Clay. I anticipate at least three maybe more books in the series. And there are a couple of other Tice McCoy stories I want to tell.

Never ask an old lady for a 10-year goal. I can only think in terms of the next six months.

What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? How has AllAuthor helped you so far and would you recommend this platform to other authors?

Sales and exposure have increased with the help and support of AllAuthor. I love and utilize the graphic mock-ups and the gif and teaser creators every day. AllAuthor has saved me valuable time and helps me stand out on all social media outlets. I recommend this platform for all authors, new and established.

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