I would like to introduce you to Rita S Kovach. She has signed her debut novel with Pocket Star Books (a digital-first imprint of Big 5 publisher Simon & Schuster) in the recent months and is a very active member of the Wattpad community. A lot of her works are available to read on Wattpad, so feel free to check out her stories once we power through the interview.
1. Let’s start with The Corner Booth. Could you tell us a little bit more about the group, what it’s about, and how you guys organise the events to help other writers in and outside of the Wattpad community?
Rita: TCB was started almost a year ago by the incredible Nat Bradford (@natsaninja on Wattpad). He wanted to give back to the Wattpad community by bringing together successful writers who used the platform in a weekly, one-hour YouTube chat in order to share our insights about everything to do with Wattpad. First it was a core group of 5 or 6 individuals, but now we’ve rotated in probably at least 20 regulars and many guest panellists. We’ve answered tons of questions over the 37 episodes that were filmed and shared our own writing journeys. We’ve also held contests where instead of the writers entering their own stories, readers would nominate their favorite Wattpad books.
May: Wow, that’s amazing. I have seen a few episodes and you guys are really hardworking as well as funny. I like the fact that although the broadcasts are on serious writing topics, you guys keep the atmosphere light. I remember one time Nat said my name during live broadcast as ‘Mary’. I never laughed so hard in my life.
2. Like many other writers, I’m sure you’ve come across writer’s block. Could you tell us how you’ve, personally, overcome it?
Rita: For me, I’d call it less writer’s block and more procrastination. I tend to write more efficiently under pressure (deadlines are great for that), but I’ve found setting a daily word count goal to be good at keep the process flowing. I “write” almost every scene in my head first, so I’m rarely stuck for ideas. When I do find a plot point tricky, I sometimes work through it by making the character do something unexpected.
May: That’s an interesting way to do it. I recently wrote 30k in two weeks and ended up procrastinating for a whole week afterwards. I just couldn’t look at writing anymore. It was that bad. But, at least, I managed to finish the third book’s first draft. So, phew, that’s off my shoulders. Personally, I can’t stick to deadlines. They stress me out and I end up going nuts, which, I assure you, is not as normal as people would like to think.
3. Usually, I like to ask an abstract question of two. He’s your first. If you were given a chance to go around the world, what means would you pick (train, plane, car, bike)?
Rita: Train, for sure. I’d be too worried about getting run over with the bike, while driving in a lot of places is just as dangerous, plus you have to keep your eyes on the road. Planes are efficient, but you also miss most of the journey. Trains are romantic – think Orient Express! – and you get to just sit, eat, sleep and look out at the passing landscape.
May: You’re right about that. I would love to take a train journey around the world or a hot air balloon. I do hope it won’t be too cold up there. Otherwise, I might turn into a popsicle. Also, does anyone know how to operate those things?
4. What got you into writing? Everyone has their story, so what’s yours?
Rita: My day job is very numbers focused and very analytical. I need to exercise the creative side of my brain, otherwise I’d go nuts. After I finished my graduate studies researching 19th century Venetian mosaics, that void needed to be filled.
May: That sounds fascinating. When I was still in school, I wanted to be an archaeologist in Egypt, working with the crypts of the ancients. It would be amazing. Sadly, my family were very much against that, so … here I am, *laughs* still happy not to be baking in the desert sun.
5. Writers always have some advice for those starting out; so, what advice would you give new authors out there in regard to editing their first drafts?
Rita: Mechanically do what feels right to you, but stylistically, listen to advice. This means that if you write better editing as you go along, do it. This is against every “rule”, but this is also what I do and it works for me. This means that my first drafts are fairly clean. This is also why I can’t do NaNoWriMo. I can – at most – write about 15K words a month, not the 50K for that writing marathon. But I can deliver a decent 60K word manuscript in 4-5 months without pulling my hair out with revisions.
Stylistically, there are certain things you need to know. This includes cutting as many useless words as possible from your MS. For me, ‘that’ and ‘finally’ were the ones I used to overuse, now I don’t even put them in my first draft. Also, never start chapter 1 with a character waking up and 95% of the time, prologues aren’t needed.
May: That makes me a sad panda. I like my prologues because I enjoy giving people a glimpse of a situation in the future or a key scene the character won’t be able to witness. So far, for me, at least, they have worked well.
We seem to have a pretty similar way of writing. I try to edit as I write. But, I would still put my book through another draft or two afterwards. I just always feel like I can add or take away useless things once my head is clear of the story. Because of that, I tend to write down the changes I need to make and do them once I am in the second draft. But, yes, I can’t do NaNoWriMo either. It would be too exhausting, especially since I tend to have many projects on the go.
6. This question ties in with the previous one. Do you use any specific software to help you with your editing?
Rita: When I still used a PC, I wrote in a free software called Ywriter. I liked it a lot, but when I switched to a Mac, I had to give it up since it’s not compatible. I started writing in just MS Word and it serves its purpose.
May: I mentioned in the previous interview about the software I use. It includes: Grammarly (Word Add-on) for grammar and typos, ProWritingAid (for repetition), AutoCrit (repetition, sentence variance, etc) and *laughs* I write in MS Word.
7. Day or night?
Rita: Day. I’d be a horrible vampire. As soon as the sun goes down, I get sleepy!
May: That just makes you human.
I would probably pick night. It is nice and quiet, unless you’re in a forest. Yes, in a forest at night…that’s how horror movies start.
8. If you were given one million dollars and a day to spend it all, what would you spend it on?
Rita: Thanks to my husband, the answer to this is easy. I’d buy a bunch of not-yet-classic, but destined to appreciate in value cars. They’re a better (and safer) investment than stocks.
May: Humm … a pretty neat idea. I am guessing everyone thinks I’d spend it on a mountain of cake. You’re only marginally wrong. I would probably purchase editing services by some fancy editors for like 30 years and just write because all this editing is driving me bananas.
9. What would be the major DON’Ts you believe are important to avoid for new writers when plotting a novel?
Rita: Don’t think you need to know every single plot point before you start writing. Having an outline is great, but let the characters and story tell you the direction they want to go in. If it’s against a major point in your outline, then change the outline!
May: I am 100% behind you on your suggestion. I have had a lot of times where the characters took a different path to what I thought they’d take and it all turned out for the better.
10. Please tell the readers about any ongoing or major projects you are currently working on.
Rita: I’m finishing up my contemporary romance manuscript for S&S so I can get it to my editors well before my deadline. The traditional publishing process is lengthy, but if I can shave a few months off my release date (yet to be determined), I want to do everything in my power to do so. I have also started releasing THE BELOVED (formerly two books: Waters of Oblivion and Gods of Sorrow) on a new reading app called Radish. The app launched on iOS on February 14 and readers can either wait 1 week between chapters to read them for free, or pay just a few cents to unlock the content early. I’m really excited about this opportunity and be part of the original group of writers invited to participate.
May: I’ve joined Radish last week and have made ‘Case: 0’, my sci-fi/detective/romance available on there. It’ll be a series and I do hope that readers will enjoy it.
Thank you for taking part in the interview, Rita. You were a wealth of information, and I’m glad I had invited you here.
Now, as a side note, I always provide the readers with a blurb of a story. And today, we get to check out *drumroll*.
“THE BELOVED” by Rita Kovach
One woman. Two men. And five centuries keeping them apart.
When Georgetown graduate student Reine Baldwin meets a charming journalist during a freak blizzard, she has no idea her carefully crafted life is about to fall apart. But a break-in to her office, a flood in her classroom, and the discovery of a lost portrait lead the art historian back to where everything started hundreds of years earlier.
Returning to Venice on the eve of Carnevale makes Reine face a past she’s inexplicably forgotten, including a man who – just like her – should be long dead. Suddenly, the young woman has the chance to trade her quirky sock collection, musty libraries, and an ordinary life with any mortal she’d surely outlive for the man who’s apparently loved her for half a millennium. The choice should be easy, until Reine starts to remember things others wish to remain buried.
With her immortality on the line, Reine must determine who she can trust and who’s just been using her as a pawn in their self-serving plans from the very beginning. Just when she thinks she knows everything about what’s happened to her, Reine is pulled even deeper into the struggle between two secret societies sworn to protect her kind. She’s had more than her fair share of second chances, but as the web of lies surrounding her slowly untangles, Reine realizes she better make the most of the present because this chance could very well be her last.
THE BELOVED is a New Adult paranormal romantic suspense in the vein of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES meets JULIET IMMORTAL.
Feel the sudden urge to stalk Rita? You can! Follow the links below.
Radish: https://www.radishfiction.com/ Download the app and look for me as rskovach & THE BELOVED under Paranormal