Meet our author: Rita Wilkinson

What made you start writing?
I always had passion to write but never thought I would be good enough. I first wrote two women’s fiction novels in my sixties, got the bug and decided to try a couple of children’s books.

How old were you?
In my mid-sixties; proving it’s never too late to start!

What is your book about?
One book is about Isabella’s mischievous rabbit Cocoa and the other is about a little girl who, more than anything in world longs for a dog but her parents refuse to let her have one. Will they ever change their minds?

Where did you get your ideas from?
The rabbit story originated when one of my daughters bought a rabbit from Bunny Burrows rabbit sanctuary after being found in someone’s garden. The other came about because I wanted to write a book to give a young girl I know the opportunity to do the illustrations.

What do you find challenging in your writing?
Editing and editing and more editing.

Who and what has influenced you?
I self motivated with my first book and because it was immediately accepted by a publisher and loved by many; I have become addicted to writing.

Do you have a favourite book/ author?
My favourite children’s book is Cops and Robbers by Allen Ahlberg.

Why do you love reading?
Takes me into another world, and helps me to hopefully improve with my own writing.

How many books have you written?
4 - 2 Women’s fiction and 2 children’s.

How many books would you like to write?
More children’s books and I need to complete the sequel to my second women’s fiction Kitty’s Torment following several requests.

Are you working on a book at the moment? What is it about?
I am working on the above sequel and another children’s book at the same time.

What are your future plans?
More writing hopefully; keeps my mind active!

What is your favourite part of being an author?
I love writing books for people to enjoy.

How long did it take you to write your book?
Adult books usually take about a year or more, children’s around six months- as illustrators are involved.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Never lose heart, keep going even when you think your work isn’t good enough, there is always someone out there to encourage you to keep going. Don’t ask people you know to critique your work.

We have ran a competition where children could write a story which will be made into a book. Do you have any advice you can give to the children?
Use only your own ideas; out of the mouths of babes!!

As part of our competition we also need an illustrator. Who was your illustrator and how important were they in the production of your book?
I used Jessica Jane Designs for Don’t Tell Isabella, and the young girl for The Girl Who Never Stops Asking, but she did this purely as a working together only project.

When you are not writing how do you like to relax?
I love swimming; only learnt to swim 4 years ago and now I’m a complete water baby (well water senior-citizen more like).

Is there anything you would like to add?
Yes. Be positive, you’re never too old to start to follow your dream; I know by my writing and my swimming. I would also like to add how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to have my books included in your first newsletter and web pages.