Author Bio: Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes romantic crime fiction and 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-three years. After attaining a BS in Nursing, Theresa retired to raise four wonderful children and write.
Find Theresa on the web at www.theresarizzo.com, or connect with her on Facebook, twitter or and Goodreads.
What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so important to you?
The Black Stallion Series was the first book that came to mind. I’m dyslexic and couldn’t read until the third grade, and even then it was a struggle. The Black Stallion series showed me how worth it the effort was and it opened the magical world of living somewhere else and experiencing something else and I FINALLY got a horse—even if it was just in a book.
What made you start writing books?
I always enjoyed creative writing. But when we had children, I’d write about them and their escapades in my annual Christmas letter and friends and family got such a kick out of my stories, that I thought it was cool I could entertain them that way. But it wasn’t until my fourth baby was born, that I wrote that first book.
Though being a stay-at-home mom is a laudable profession, I felt underappreciated, and living for my kids and husband was sucking the life out of me—all my fault by the way. So I started learning the craft and business of writing, and it saved my sanity. Writing was a wonderful creative intelligent outlet and it fed my soul and made me a much happier person and better mother and wife.
How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned?
There’s a little of me in all my characters. That’s the great thing about writing I get to express my sexy, evil, mean, mischievous, catty, warm-hearted, brilliant, funny parts of my personality through the various characters, but they all still have their own unique personas too and do and say things I’d never do or say.
There is one heroine in one of the books that writers friends claimed is very much like me—and that was a shock, because I hadn’t intended it at all, and I could see how they would make the comparison. No, I’m not going to tell you who it is. A girl’s gotta have a little mystery J
What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?
I adore George Clooney and think JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins are brilliant authors.
What does your perfect writing day look like? Do you plan when and how long you write, or does it happen without planning?
Me plan? Seriously? I’m a former control freak—of course I plan. Okay, so…recovering control freak. Every morning, I get up and skim my email while eating breakfast, then sit down and read what I wrote the day before to get back into the swing of things, then plot out the next scene in this chart I developed to make sure each scene has a strong purpose and accomplishes several things—like advances the plot, shows characterization, sets up something, and ends with a good hook.
Then I break to go to gentle yoga or take my pup on a long walk, eat lunch and then write another few hours. That’s the goal at least.
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why!
Historical fiction—hands down. I have HUGE respect for historical writers ‘cause they can’t change the facts of history and harder yet…they’ve got to know all the historical facts and get it right or those readers know. They are savvy readers and seemingly unforgiving of factual mistakes.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
What do you think your profession would be if you were not an author? I have a ton of hobbies. I love hiking, playing cards, playing games with my family, reading—of course—traveling, playing tennis, skiing, creating mosaics with my wet tile saw, crocheting and reading some more. If I hadn’t become an author, I probably would have done well in the business world.
What is the most touching reaction you have ever received from a fan?
I’ve had a couple of fans tell me they had to stop reading Just Destiny because they were crying so hard the page was blurry and they needed a break. They were emotionally wrung out--in a good way.
I was very touched that I was successful in drawing them into the story so that they sympathized with the characters to that degree. I reassured them that there would be a happy ending.
In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have?
Reading is very, very subjective, but for me…the writing’s got to be good. As an author, pretty picky, but if the writing isn’t good, it’s very unlikely I’ll be drawn into the story or care about the protagonist, and if those two things don’t happen, there’s no point in my reading the story and I’m going to put it down.
What is the most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?
The marketing and being fairly compensated for your work. Writing the book is the easy, fun part, but who wants to write a book and not share it? Not many people. Who wants to work so hard to create a great book and make no money at it? Writing and publishing are not for the faint of heart.
Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors. The only thing that might make these characteristics different from other authors is that they’re all included in the same book. Most authors will have these characteristics in their books, but perhaps not ALL of them in the same book.
- I write very complex plots and characters because life is messy and I like my books to be as realistic as possible—yet will always give the reader a happy ending.
- Whatever writing elements I put in my books, I do it to the best of my ability. For instance Silent Sentry has romance, suspense, and mystery, aspects. It also has a lot of factual information with regards to the mafia, Detroit’s decline, the engineering behind Gianna’s invention, Prometheus, etc. Each genre has it’s own conventions and expectations and I worked to master each. I want to make sure I do all of them to the best of my ability.
- I write books that draw the reader in and make them feel things. Most readers are vested in my characters and stories.