I’m interviewing Rita Stradling, author of YA Fantasy “Henchgirl”. Thank you for visiting and for answers my questions.
How long have you been writing?
“Unworld” was the first novel I ever wrote. It was science fiction and about kids stowing away on a spaceship and getting into all sorts of trouble. The book consisted of fifty hand written pages, with every other word misspelled and I’m pretty sure I was only able to bribe my twelve year old big sister into reading it. Thirteen years later (and seven years ago), I started writing full length novels.
What was the most challenging part about writing Henchgirl?
One of the biggest challenges in the making of Henchgirl was creating the mother of the main character. The mother, Stephanie, has major issues, among them being a severe alcoholic; in the beginning of my writing process, I made Stephanie’s truest motivation greed and a single minded self-serving nature. One of my beta-readers, a psychiatrist, informed me that with the complexity of Stephanie’s history, life and situation, ‘greed’ just didn’t make sense as her primary motivation. With the help of my beta-reader, we did a psychological profile for Stephanie and I rewrote the entire book based off that characterization.
What is your favorite part of being an author?
I love almost every part of being an author. Yet, there is one moment in every books’ process that is my favorite. After I finish a book, abandon it, tear every sentence apart, beg others to do likewise, feel giddy, get angry, re-write it what feels like a hundred times, then that moment happens, the book is exactly what I want it to be. Suddenly, the sum of the words make up exactly the story I want to tell.
Will this book be part of a series?
Yes, this is the first book in the Dakota Kekoa series.
Do you have any works in progress you’re working on?
I do, I am currently working on the second book in the Dakota Kekoa series: Rex. Along with that, I am working on the third book in The Deception Dance series, Waltzing into Damnation. I am hoping to have both books out by the end of next year.
About the Book
Author: Rita Stradling
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
I had never thought my life was ideal, but it had been manageable.
By day I pretended to be a human, going to a ‘human’s only’ high-school, making human friends and trying to get the attention of Keanu Hale, my school’s quarterback. At night, I worked as a henchman, making sure no one got in the way of my grandfather’s hotel-empire which spanned across the Mabiian island chain. I was my grandfather’s most cherished weapon, I stole and manipulated emotions, I would even drain someone of their ability to feel joy if my grandfather ordered me to.
I won’t apologize for what I did, it kept my sisters fed and my grandfather from finding out that my mother squandered our monthly allowance on shopping and throwing extravagant parties. It kept my family alive. But more importantly, my job kept me from being trained to be a wife and married off to some rich and powerful dracon, a human-dragon hybrid, as all girls with one-eighth dragon blood are.
As I said, my life was just manageable, until Wyvern Manderson vacationed to my island. Wyvern Manderson, the rich, powerful, and famous for something or other, half-dragon jerk, just kept showing up, sabotaging my missions and ordering me around. On top of that, for some reason he was always angry at me.
Pretty soon I was suspended from further missions, facing eminent financial ruin and still had to see the jerk everywhere I went. When my friend Amanda from my human-high-school vanished, Amanda turned out to be Wyvern’s human half-sister he was keeping secret and protecting.
Taking on the mission to find Amanda might have been what I needed to save my family from losing everything, but to do it I would have to spend all day everyday with the jerk. To top that all off, Amanda was not the only girl who disappeared, and when girls started being discovered dead I realized that my sanity wasn’t the biggest thing I would be risking in this investigation; I might very well be the next to die.
Rita Stradling lives with her husband and son in Northern California. Her six year old son wants to be a train when he grows up. She has a BA in Art History and a particular interest in modern and medieval art.
Rita has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.