Posted on November 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
It’s no mystery how Anita Rodgers wound up writing novels for (part of) her living.
As a shy kid, she found it far easier to communicate through the written word than the spoken one and is still prone to declining event invitations for her craft’s sake.
As a reader since age four, she listed reading at three different points in a description of how her typical day goes.
As a language enthusiast, she’s been known to read the dictionary to pick up new words.
And did we mention that she still works as a freelance copywriter, in addition to her work as a mystery novelist?
See what else Rodgers — author of the Scotti Fitzgerald mystery series, the Dead Dog suspense/thriller trilogy, and the standalone psychological suspense novel, False Witness — had to say about being a born writer in our interview with her.
SADYE: For better or worse, how has being shy affected your writing?
ANITA: Being an introvert means that you internalize most everything.
You think a lot. You spend a lot of time with your own thoughts. Good skills for writers.
Also, when you don’t talk much, you listen a lot. You watch people a lot. You learn about the world and the people in it.
So, I suppose my shyness made me a good student of the human condition. I believe the shyness has helped me to become a better writer.
Although it is a drawback when it comes to book promotion. Double-edged sword, as they say.
SADYE: What prompted you to start thinking about publishing your creative writing?
ANITA: I can’t think back and spot a time when I started thinking about it because the thought always seems to have been there.
I wasn’t born with a pen in my hand, but for as far back as I can remember, words were something that I loved. And I could never get enough stories either.
I knew that I would always write and that words would be a large part of my life, so publishing seemed to be a given for me.
Now, getting up the nerve to submit to agents and publishers, to self publish, and to promote my books is another matter.
But I think that we all hit that place when we’ve written that story — the one we know we’re meant to share with others — that we must confront whatever that resistance is and push through.
SADYE: What was your publishing journey like?
ANITA: My creative writing has been an on-again, off-again love affair.
I wrote screenplays for a while, had an agent, became disillusioned, and walked away from it. For many years.
Then, about ten years ago, the writing bug hit me, hard. Things just started bubbling out of me, and I couldn’t stop writing.
Shortly after that I started a blog, as an outlet and to see if I really could write every day. Turned out, I could.
After that, I took classes, worked with critique groups, read every craft book I could get my hands on, and off to the races I went.
I wrote False Witness. And then I rewrote it and then I rewrote it again. And I was published through a new digital publishing company.
It was exciting at first, but I had no idea what I was doing, so it didn’t go particularly well.
Three years after that, I self-published the Scotti Fitzgerald mystery series. (Shortly after that), I reclaimed the rights to False Witness, rewrote it, and self-published it as well.
SADYE: What led you to decide to write crime thrillers?
ANITA: I love puzzles. Always have — even when I was very young. So, crime writing seemed a natural fit.
I’m also a curious person and wonder about everything all the time — why people act as they do, what is behind a particular habit or manner of doing things, what is growing back there in the woods.
Pretty much anything that seems mysterious or unanswered will draw me toward it.
So, writing about puzzling and mysterious things makes sense, no?
And too, there is so much injustice in the world that writing stories that can end in a person getting justice has a certain satisfaction to it.
Much more satisfying than real life sometimes.
SADYE: Your author bio says that you try to encourage anyone to release their story. Is there a back story behind this urge?
ANITA: I’m a garden tender by nature, meaning I like to help people and encourage others.
Having always been shy and introverted, I understand what it is like to feel insecure and unsure of yourself. Especially in the area of creativity.
Many artists lack confidence and can feel like imposters. Often, just having someone who believes in you can make a big difference.
I certainly had people who encouraged me and gave me support and believed in me. I want to pay that forward.
In terms of a particular story — years ago, my father told me that my mother was once an artist. She drew. According to him, she was quite talented.
It was shocking to me because I’d never seen any sign of this from her. And it made me sad that she didn’t follow that dream.
I come from a family of farmers and steelworkers — very down-to-earth, work-with-your-hands kind of people.
Things like art and creativity was not something we talked about around the family dinner table.
So, I guessed that my mother kept that part of herself a secret and probably dismissed it because she felt she wouldn’t get any support or encouragement for her dream.
I can’t help but wonder how different her life might’ve been if she had followed that dream.
Would she have been happier, more fulfilled? Would her art have inspired others?
In life, we share ourselves through our stories — it’s how we learn about each other, find like-minded people, friends, and discover new and wonderful things.
So, yes, absolutely, I want to encourage others to share their stories/art.
* * *
Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email us with a recommendation!
Categories: Author Interview