Rie McGaha was born and raised in northern California along the shores of Humboldt County where her grandmother often took her to search for seashells and watch the humpback whales migration. Though her father was a bit of a gypsy and moved his family all over, Rie always enjoyed the trips back to Eureka, California where many of her 12 children and 23 grandchildren still live.
As a dreamer of dreams and being born with a a gypsy soul, Rie has lived all over the United States. Settling in SE Oklahoma with husband, Nathan, she enjoys a quiet life in the Kiamichi Wilderness where she takes in abused and neglected animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find them new homes. The ones that don’t find new homes remain with Rie and she currently has 18 dogs and 1 cat.
Between her husband, children, grandchildren and all of the animals, Rie tries to find a few moments to write. She is currently working on Ancient Blood, the sequel to Blood Line, and Caleb and Arion the second and third installments of the My Soul To Keep Trilogy. She also writes reviews for Romance Writers United.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Rie. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?
My current novel, Blood Line came out last October and has gotten rave reviews, as did Grounded and Deadly Dreams.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
Love Remembers, and it was published but the publisher didn’t take the time to help me learn the process or to explain one single thing about the publishing world and the book failed miserably. I think my mother was the only one who bought a copy!
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
I sent it in to a few different publishers at the same time and three of them sent rejection letters before the one who published it accepted it.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
I was devastated by the rejections. I took it very personally and since I had only sent the manuscript in because my oldest daughter, Lisa, nagged me into it, I took it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to write.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
I won’t say who published it because I’m sure there are other authors published by them who had a very different experience than I did. I didn’t know anything about the business so when I got that acceptance letter, I was on cloud nine! The book was published without editorial input, I didn’t know anything about promotion, and I had no sales. It was a horrible experience!
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I actually consider my first book with Noble Romance Publishing to be my first “real” publication. Deadly Dreams was published May 2008 and my editor, and owner of the company, Jill Noble, is just awesome. I can’t say enough about her. She has more integrity, knowledge, and compassion than anyone I know. She literally took me by the hand and led me through edits, which I had never done before, and she has taught me so much about this business, I just can’t thank her enough.
When Deadly Dreams was released my husband took me out to dinner to celebrate and to tell me he knew I could do it. He has really been my biggest support and biggest fan.
What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I got a myspace page! Or to be more accurate, I had my daughter, Lisa, set up my myspace page because I had no clue as to how to do it!
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
Yes, I would have, but I’m old and I’ve learned that all the woulda, coulda, and shoulda’s in the world doesn’t change a thing. I chalk it up to experience and move on.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
Like I said, I have three books published with Noble Romance Publishing and a 3-book series deal with them coming out this year, plus, they have the first rights to the Blood Line sequel, Ancient Blood. I have grown as an author, and I’ve learned more about writing technique, about promotion, and about the writing world in general. Knowledge is the most important thing no matter what business it is.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
Again, it comes to knowledge, research, taking your time, not being in a hurry to get that book out there no matter how exciting it is. The first publisher I had isn’t a bad publisher, they just work on volume and assume that every writer knows what they are doing, and for people like me, that’s a bad combination. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made was not having contact with other authors, not getting outside opinions about my work, and not really being ready to publish.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
That I’ve made some really good friends in this business and I’ve learned there is so much more to learn!
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
I’ve had a lot of other professions, but if I wasn’t an author, I think I’d like to learn to be an editor.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
No, I don’t think I could ever give up writing completely. When you’re a writer it isn’t what you do, it’s who you are.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
Older! I don’t know, I’ve come to an age and era of my life when I don’t think about what I’m doing in ten years or five years or even next year. I have my husband, my dogs, my children and grandchildren and my life is exactly the way I always dreamed it would be. If it ended tomorrow I would die a contented, happy woman.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Don’t give up! Don’t take rejections personally, no matter how personal they may seem. Publishers receive so many submissions and they can only afford to publish the very best. Rejecting or accepting a manuscript is really just a business decision on the publisher’s part. I know it feels very personal, but use their comments to improve your work, get other authors to critique your work, and polish, polish, polish your work.