Happy Sunday, dear friends!
Her new book was one of my favorite historical fiction last month. In Gold Digger, she has penned an absorbing portrait of an unconventional, resilient woman, relentless in pursuing her goals.
We’re so grateful she accepted to being part of our Sunday Brunch today.
Our special author is…
A California native, she lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.
Elisabeth: If you were to describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be?
Rebecca: Hi Elisabeth! Thanks for having me on Comet Readings! I love the name! And this question is so interesting! Some ways I am like Baby Doe Tabor, my heroine in GOLD DIGGER, and some ways not! I would describe myself as: Determined, Tenacious, and Creative.
Elisabeth: If you were to describe Gold Digger using three adjectives, what would they be?
Rebecca: Describing Baby Doe Tabor, I’d say she is Determined, Tenacious…and a blind-sided by love!
Elisabeth: What was the best thing about writing your last novel?
Rebecca: The best thing is bringing a story to life that I have known since I was ten! GOLD DIGGER, The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor was a real-life twenty-two year old woman who came west in 1878 for a gold mine with her husband, who left her to work the mine alone! I was amazed by her fortitude and smarts to make her way in those rough mining towns with hardly any women. The life she created for herself was, indeed, remarkable!
Elisabeth: Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Rebecca: Actually, after Baby Doe herself, I liked to write Horace Tabor, who was an old washed-up prospector who struck the biggest silver vein in history and became the Silver King of the West! Tabor became mayor, lieutenant governor, and US Senator, yet was still a gambler at heart— and he paid dearly for it!
I also love Oscar Wilde for being so funny, and Chin Sou Lin for being so mysterious and heroic.
Elisabeth: Who was your first reader and how his/her opinion influenced the final project?
Rebecca: My best friend and my husband read GOLD DIGGER as it was being written, and they helped tremendously. My friend, for her encouragement and my husband, for his criticism!
Elisabeth: What did you edit out of this book?
Rebecca: I have lots of great scenes laying on the cutting room floor, as I say. Many “Wild West” scenes that don’t pertain directly to the storyline, but were exciting!
Elisabeth: What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Rebecca: Carving out time from our busy lives to write! Between family, friends, building a new house, travel, cooking, exercise, reading… writing has to come first thing in the morning or it doesn’t get done!
Elisabeth: What feelings do you hope your readers experience by reading your novels?
Rebecca: I LOVE reading reviews of my novels! Then I know how my characters make people feel and whether they were moved by the same things I was. My last two books had very different stories and heroines, so they left different impressions on readers. THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON was about the love triangle between Houdini, Jack London and his wife Charmian London. Charmian’s struggle with the genius and mania of Jack London and her discovery of the mysterious Houdini… That is quite different than the young Baby Doe Tabor struggling to make a life for herself in the mines.
I hope readers will relate or empathize with the heroine and the tough things she has to go through. I do not go for formulaic heroes, they are very flawed and make bad choices, which have consequences. I like to jump in and explore those tough choices/consequences.
Elisabeth: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Rebecca: I visit the places my characters lived, go to their houses, workplaces, museums. I read everything I can about them in biographies and first source materials in museums and libraries. That process goes on for a year, as I work on the basic story and start the first draft. Then it takes 20-30 drafts to shape the story.
Elisabeth: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Rebecca: Two. For THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON, I just won a gold medal at the world’s largest book awards, the IPPY’s! That was some compliment! For GOLD DIGGER, The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor, I have been asked to speak at HISTORY COLORADO for an audience of 300!
If you are in Colorado, I hope you will come on August 27, 1 pm! I am really excited about that!
Elisabeth: What are you working on now?
Rebecca: I am working on SILVER DOLLAR, the sequel to GOLD DIGGER. And also on CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS, a series of five novels about the widows of France from 1800-1935 that made champagne the worldwide phenomenon it is today!
Elisabeth: Could you please share a happy photo and tell us a bit about that moment?
Rebecca: These photos are at the IPPY AWARDS, May 26, 2019, at the Copacabana Club in New York City. My husband and brother came and it was a great way to celebrate THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON!