About Theresa Rizzo:
Theresa Rizzo is Bestselling, award-winning author who writes 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 years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.
Awards: Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me, won the 2014 National Indie Excellence Award for romance and the 2014 Readers Crown Award for Mainstream Women’s Fiction, a silver medal in the 2014 Readers Favorite for general romance, and was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards.
What inspires you to write?
Writing’s fun! Where else can I create the perfect man? Or punish a stupid man–without going to jail? Or enjoy the perfect kiss–you know the one that’s long and lingering and so sexy it makes your stomach flip-flop and your toes curl–you know that kiss.
Through interesting, relatable characters, I love to tell a story that pulls my readers in and makes them think, this could happen to me and if it did . . . what would I do?
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m somewhat of a control freak, so I outline the major plot points, but leave room for “winging it”. I also do a TON of research and that often reveals awesome plot twists. I do do character sketches, however, my characters reveal themselves through the course of multiple revisions, so they’re really not fully formed for at least 4-6 revisions.
I blow through the first draft as quickly as I can getting down plot and dialogue and then flesh out and refine the characters and story in subsequent revisions after lots of input from my invaluable critique partners and beta readers.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
This is going to seem kind of creepy, but I don’t talk to my characters or them to me, I just try to jump into the skin of the POV (Point of View) character and see what she sees and feel what she feels and then get it all down, scene by scene.
What advice would you give other writers?
LEARN. Go to writers conferences. I know they’re a real investment in your craft/career, but I think they’re well worth it. Join a writers group. Learn from excellent writers in genres other than your own. Do not be in a rush. Be a perfectionist. Beat yourself up until you get the best damn story you can create. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Don’t–PLEASE DON’T–rush to self publish.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve been learning the craft of writing, going to 2-5 writer’s conferences EVERY year for almost 20 years. I’m a member of 3 writers groups. I’ve been a contest and submission whore. I’ve developed a tough skin and learned so much I thought my head would burst many times.
I had 2 different great NY agents who really believed in my books, yet couldn’t sell them because they straddle genres–romance and women’s fiction, yet both firmly believed there was an audience for my stories–and they were right.
So in 2013 I self published my first book, He Belongs to Me after having extensively researched and used a great editor, professional cover designer and print and digital formatters.
I love the control and freedom that I have in self-publishing, however it is a LOT of work to do it well, and discoverability is a real challenge. But I’m very proud of my books and they’re doing well.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it’ll be in flux for a long time.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: My books straddle Women’s fiction and Romance
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print