4 Feb 2014

Come and meet the lovely Rita Plush

Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
Sometimes I go to bed thinking about how to move the plot forward in a story, or stumped about what I character might say in a certain situation, and I’ll wake up with the answer. It’s as if my brain was working when I was asleep.
It happened just a few nights ago. I was starting to develop a minor female character in the novel I’m working on, and I didn’t know how to dress her—I love making up characters and dressing them. When I woke up in the morning, I had her in a bathrobe with her hair done up in metal curlers and a wave clip—it’s the 1040’s when the story takes place. She had a burning cigarette in one hand and a juice glass full of vodka in the other.
When that happens I say, “Thanks brain. Keep up the good work.”

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I started writing short stories about twenty years ago, and it took about two years for a story to find its way into print.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book out is a collection of short stories called “Alterations.” It was written over a period of twenty years, many of the stories harking back more than fifty years to when I was a little girl growing up in Brooklyn, walking with my mother in her big-shouldered mouton coat as she did her errands along 86th Street.

What inspired you to write it?
There were people, incidents, little bits of memory that must have lived in me through the years, and then I just starting writing about them, never thinking at the time, that the stories would end up as a collection.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
It’s funny you should ask, because that’s been my fantasy since my novel Lily Steps Out was published in May, 2012. I think about seeing someone on the train, the bus, or at the beach reading my novel. I’d go up to them and say something like, “How’s that book?” and they of course would say that it was great, they’re loving it. I’d announce then that I was the author.
I thought that fantasy had come true last winter when my husband and I were vacationing in Cancun. We were down on the beach after breakfast and there on someone’s lounge, along with their towel and sun screen, was Lily. OMG! I thought. Someone’s reading my book! Only to find out five minutes later, that is was my daughter, vacationing with us, who had come down to claim her lounge.

Who designs your covers?

For Lily Steps Out, I hired a graphic designer. For “Alterations,” my publisher did it. In both cases I was extremely satisfied.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
I’d cast Bette Mittler and Billy Crystal as Lily and Leon Gold and Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as her two friends.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
“The Devil Wears Prada.” I didn’t read the book but I loved the movie.

What were the last two books you read?

Alice Munro’s new collection of short stories, “Dear Life,” and Loving Frank, a fictionalized version of the many loves of Frank Lloyd Wright, by Nancy Horan. I enjoyed both immensely.

Where do you write?
I have an office in my home.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?
I wanted to be wife and a mother, which was what most girls who grew up in my generation aspired to. And I did become a wife and mother, in addition to an interior designer, the head of an interior design program at a community college, a lecturer and teacher of the decorative arts, and a published author.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Photo credit: Alan Light via photopin cc
Bette Mittler

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
 Two glasses of white wine does the trick.
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Don’t shop a lot, but when I’m in a store, I always find a must-have.
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Love the heels, but my back complains like all get out.
Cry baby or tough cookie? I’m tough, but I’m easily moved to tears.
Exotic beach or enchanted forest? Exotic.

Rita Plush is the author of the novel Lily Steps Out (Penumbra Publishing, May 2012), and is at work on a second novel that follows some of the characters in Lily. Her short story collection “Alterations,” was published by Penumbra in May 2013. She lectures on “Writing and Publishing in the Modern World,” at libraries in Queens and Long Island. Rita, and the publication of Lily Steps Out was the feature article—“published and proud”—in Newsday’s Act II section in July, 2012, and “Rita Steps Out,” was featured in the Times Ledger August, 2012.

Visit her at www.ritaplush.com for more news about Rita.
Lily Steps Out on Amazon US
Alterations on US Amazon

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