This Week’s Feature Author Interview with
Hi Rita, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
Hi. I’m Rita Emmett, and my husband Bruce & our 5 kids were all raised in the Chicago area, all are Cubs fans and probably will continue to do a Happy Dance Forever because of what they did in 2016. You DID hear the news, didn’t you? We are now the Land of Cubbie Blue Skies.
My first 4 books were published by Walker and Company. They include The Procrastinator’s Handbook, The Procrastinating Child, The Clutter-Busting Handbook and Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress. These books are now published in 32 countries and together have sold 310,000 copies worldwide.
This led me to become a professional speaker presenting programs on Procrastination, Clutter and Stress. One of my passions is travel, and I’m invited to speak all over the world. My husband and I often stay several days after a presentation to be Geeky Tourists. So, as you can imagine, I love my life as an author and speaker.
A few other passions (besides spending time with friends and our adult kids) are gardening and snorkeling. Gardening in Chicago weather?? Only about 4 or 5 months a year. And being blessed with a love of snorkeling when living in the Chicago area?? That just makes me think God has a whimsical sense of humor.
When did you start writing and why?
I was once The World’s Greatest Procrastinator. Then I converted. Now I’m a Recovering Procrastinator. Also, I was a Pack Rat close to being a hoarder and, again, I converted.
Both changes had a profound impact on my life – feeling less chaotic, more in control and finally accomplishing goals.
I felt drawn to write books that would help people. And I suspect that the main reason for their popularity is that I don’t write “theoretically.” I have lived and struggled with these topics, have overcome them, and if I can make these life-changes, there is hope that anyone can.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
My favorite always seems to be the last one I wrote. Indie Publishing produced my latest book which is my first picture book, Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid. It is based on my favorite quote which is attributed to Einstein: “Everyone is a genius. But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid”.
Haven’t we all met kids who do not do well in school but when they talk about trains, or computers or something they are interested in, they are brilliant. That’s why I wrote this picture book.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Because this book is based on the quote which DOES use the word “stupid” I decided to take a risk and title it Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid — even though I know that many families do not allow the word “stupid” to be used in their home. It’s a risk.
And Farkle Shark and Sparkle Shark just seemed to be logical names for my two main characters.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did your design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
I am not artistic, so I asked a few illustrators to send an underwater picture of Farkle Shark and Sparkle Shark. One artist wrote, “We both know that sharks don’t have ears but with a name like Sparkle, I had to give her earrings.” Of course, that’s the one I hired. She gave me guidance for what to put on the cover, and she produced the cover.
What are some of the themes of your story?
That everyone — whether a child getting poor grades or an adult learning new software — sometimes feels stupid. That’s when we need to remember that everyone knows something, but nobody knows everything.
Two minor themes are:
Big sister Sparkle criticizes her little brother, but when he needs help, she’s got his back.
Even though Big Bully Boy has been mean and tells everyone to call Farkle “stupid” when the bully is in trouble, Farkle takes pity and saves him.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book? What is your process and do you have a system?
For my first book, I’d tuck it away during holidays or when we had company, and forget about it for months at a time. Then I learned Mind Mapping for Authors, and it changed my life. Now, when I begin a book, it DOES get finished, even though I’m traveling all over giving talks. AND I feel confident that I’ve included all that I want to.
Part of my system is I schedule chunks of time (at least an hour) on my calendar for writing. This discipline allows me to write at least 5 days a week whether traveling or not.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
My first 4 books are non-fiction, so my only characters are in this latest one – the picture book. So, without hesitation, my favorites are Farkle Shark and Sparkle Shark.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Historical Fiction = Morgan Llywelyn, Spiritual – James Martin, Life-Improvement = Mike Dooley, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield. Too many more to list.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
Yes, another Farkle Shark and Sparkle Shark adventure.
If you could have any super powers what would they be?
To know the answers to all the things, I wonder about.
Which is a lot.
I’m still pondering who let the dogs out (woof woof) and what the heck IS Victoria’s secret??
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
Would love to go to India, Australia, China, and Japan.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
Still writing books, still giving talks, still healthy, still finding time to be with people I love, still enjoying life.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview. Take a minute and check Rita Emmett out on the links below.