“Missing in...” with Rita Lee Chapman
Interview by Maria Teresa De Donato
Today I have the pleasure of having a special guest. Her name is Rita Lee Chapman, and she is an English-born Author living in Australia.
Over the years, she has published several books of different genres.
So without further ado, let’s meet her and learn a bit about herself.
MTDD: Hi Rita, and welcome to my Blog & Virtual and Cultural Salon.
RLC: Hi Maria, thank you for inviting me to your blog. I really appreciate this opportunity to connect with your readers.
MTDD: Rita, Why don’t you start by introducing yourself to our readers and telling us about your education, professional life, relocation to Australia, and whatever else you may wish to share with us?
RLC: Firstly, I should mention that I added the middle name to my pen name because there was already a Rita Chapman who wrote vampire stories! I came to Australia in my very early twenties and loved the sunshine and the relaxed way of life. I spent my working life in Sydney and moved to Queensland when I retired. I think Sydney is the most beautiful city in the world, but Queensland is more relaxing once you retire and the winters are warmer. I worked as a PA and would sometimes write a few chapters (on a typewriter), but I never managed to complete a story until I retired. I did use some of that earlier writing in Winston – A Horse’s Tale, so it wasn’t a complete waste.
MTDD: After relocating from the UK to Australia, did you notice any significant differences between the two cultures? And if yes, did they become a source of inspiration for your publications?
RLC: I was only twenty-one when I came to Australia, so I was very adaptable! Australia was less formal than London, and most weekends were spent on the beach.
MTDD: In your biography, we read, “My working life was spent in Sydney, and it was not until we retired to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland that I wrote my first book.”
What motivated you to become a writer and why?
RLC: I always enjoyed writing – I wrote short stories for my youngest brother as a teenager. During my working years, writing was mainly confined to letters, press releases, reports, etc. It was during a wet week in Queensland that I found myself looking for something to do, and I thought, why not try and write that book they say everyone has inside themselves?
MTDD: Many of your books are mystery books, with the expression “Missing in…” in their title.
Would you like to elaborate and discuss each, starting with Missing in Egypt, your first publication?
RLC: I have a five-book series, the Anna Davies Mystery Series, which comprises Missing in Egypt, Missing at Sea, Missing in London, Missing in France, and Missing in Australia. The protagonist is Anna Davies, an amateur sleuth. Mysteries seem to find her wherever she is in the world, and her curious mind won’t rest until she works out what really happened. Each book is a stand-alone, and there are vivid descriptions of the sights and scenery. It is also available as a 5-book eBook and on Kindle Unlimited.
In Missing in Egypt, Anna travels to Egypt with her boyfriend to help him look for his brother, who traveled to Egypt on holiday and disappeared. When Anna goes on a cruise from Sydney to London in Missing at Sea, a young woman falls overboard. Did she suicide, was she pushed, or did she fall? Whilst Anna is working as an editor in London, one of her authors goes missing, along with his latest manuscript. Anna next finds herself in Paris and Marseille in Missing in France, investigating the disappearance of a little girl. On holiday back in Australia, Anna’s best friend’s husband goes on a camping trip in the outback with a friend and disappears. Her friend, Sandra, begs her to go and look for him whilst she stays with their children, but where should she start looking?
I have also written two crime mysteries, Dangerous Associations, and The Poinciana Tree, as well as a book for horse lovers, Winston – A Horse’s Tale.
MTDD: Would you like to tell us about your books My Very Naughty Pony and The Unicorn Angel?
RLC: These are my two children’s books. My Very Naughty Pony is for children who love ponies, and The Unicorn Angel tells the story of Monty, the Unicorn who visits sick children in hospitals and flies them on an adventure.
MTDD: Would you like to give us a short excerpt from one of your books?
RLC: From my latest book, Missing in Australia:
“We stopped to speak to people in Mungallala, again without any success, before moving on to the tiny town of Morvan. By now, red dust was permeating everything inside the vehicle and the camper. I could taste it at the back of my throat and feel it in my hair. The wind blew it across the bed, the sink and every other surface. At first, I had tried to wipe it off, but it came back before I had even finished cleaning. In the end I took Emma’s advice and tried to ignore it, but it was in my clothes when I shook them out and even on my toothbrush!”
MTDD: How would you define your style?
RLC: That’s a hard question, Maria Teresa. I would like to say classic, but maybe readers could answer that one better.
MTDD: What is your purpose for writing a book? Is there any specific message you wish to convey to the public each time, depending on the publication, or is your only goal to entertain?
RLC: I write to entertain, I don’t have any messages to convey, except perhaps in Winston – A Horse’s Tale, where I try to help people understand life from the horse’s perspective. He really only wants to work with you, but sometimes it is very difficult to know what you want from him.
MTDD: Do you prefer a particular time and have specific habits for writing?
RLC: I’m a morning person, so I’m more likely to be found writing in the morning – or on a rainy day.
MTDD: What are your writing plans for the future? Will you mainly stick to the mystery genre or embark on a new adventure trying different ones?
RLC: I’m toying with the idea of a three-book series about a detective. There will, of course, be murders involved. After that… anything is possible.
MTDD: What advice would you give to someone considering starting writing as a hobby or as a career?
RLC: Just go for it! Now, with self-publishing, anyone can publish their work; you don’t have to leave it sitting in a drawer. Once it is written, edit, edit, edit because it’s amazing what you can overlook.
MTDD: Thank you, Rita, for taking part in this interview. It has been a pleasure having you as my guest today.
Do you wish to remind our readers how they might contact you and, if interested, order your publications?
RLC: I have a website – www.ritaleechapman.com. Apart from featuring my books, I also feature a guest author each week and display photos from my latest holiday. It also has a contact form and the option for readers in Australia to buy a personally-signed copy direct from me.