Cara: Let’s start with some background. Thomasine Rappold has been a member of CR-RWA since the chapter’s inception in 2002, serving on the board and several committees through the years. A three-time RWA Golden Heart nominee, she’s also won several awards and contests. She writes historical romance and historical romance with paranormal elements. Her debut novel, The Lady Who Lived Again will release on December 8, 2015.
A wife and mother of two grown daughters, Thomasine lives with her husband in the small town in upstate New York that inspired her current series with Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing. In the hours between working at her day job for a New York State agency and spinning tales of passion and angst, she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing on one of the several nearby lakes, and basking on the beach in Cape Cod.
Cara: Hi Thomasine, thanks for stopping by! We’d love to learn more about you and your path to publication. Let’s start with my favorite question — tell us three surprising things about yourself.
Thomasine: I love fishing, I hate shopping, and I’m totally indifferent to ice cream.
Cara: Wait…what? Indifferent to ice cream? *Cara picks her jaw up off the table* Ok. Moving on. What made you want to write romance?
Thomasine: Reading romance made me want to write it. I’ve always had a fascination with the written word. As a child I wrote poems about everything and everyone ☺, and I loved to read. In my teens I read a lot of commercial fiction: Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, Sidney Sheldon, and Stephen King, to name a few. My mother was a devoted romance reader though, and there were always piles of romance novels around the house. One day I read one, and that was it. My desire to write romance grew from there.
Cara: When did you join CR-RWA, and how has membership affected your career as a writer?
Thomasine: I joined CR-RWA in 2002—the year the chapter was formed. Membership has affected my career tremendously, and I honestly don’t think I’d have gotten to this point with my writing without this group. Writing is a solitary process, and networking with other writers; sharing in the struggles and successes of this business, helps keep me sane. CR-RWA members are supportive, knowledgeable, and generous with their talents. The workshops and conferences have helped me grow as a writer, and I never leave a meeting without having learned something I hadn’t known walking in. The connections and friendships I’ve forged here are invaluable. I met my critique partners through this group several years ago, and we’re still going strong.
Cara: Tell us about your path to publication. Where are you now?
Thomasine: My path to publication: In three words: It was long! I submitted my first manuscript in 2001. Yes, 2001! It took me thirteen years and several completed manuscripts to acquire an agent who truly loved my work (Stefanie Lieberman of Janklow and Nesbit Associates). Now that I’m anticipating the release of my debut novel in less than six months (the first of a contracted 3-book series), I have to say, the wait has been worth it!
Cara: So exciting! Tell us about your debut!
Thomasine: The Lady Who Lived Again is a historical romance with a paranormal element, and the first book in my Sole Survivor Series. The heroine of each stand-alone book in the series is the sole survivor of a terrible tragedy. In the wake of these traumatic accidents, each discovers she’s acquired an extraordinary ability. While their mysterious talents wreak havoc on their lives, it’s their love for the heroes that will change them forever.
Maddie Sutter, the heroine of The Lady Who Lived Again, awakens, after being mistakenly pronounced dead, with the ability to heal. The former belle turned town pariah must keep her remarkable ability a secret if she hopes to ever regain any semblance of a normal life. Accomplishing this feat becomes more difficult when she’s forced to work with the town’s handsome new doctor. Healing his patients on the sly is as dangerous as the passion they soon share, but Maddie risks everything—including her heart—for the one man who could destroy her.
Cara: Ooooh, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! And I love the cover. What’s next for you?
Thomasine: The second and third books in the series: The Lady Who Saw Too Much is scheduled for release next June. The Lady Who Drew Me In will release next winter.
Cara: Looking back, what were some important milestones on your path to publication?
Thomasine: To me, a career in writing is a continuous journey with unlimited destinations. While every step you take toward achieving your dreams gets you closer, there are definite milestones along the way that help keep you going. These milestones are individual to the writer, but no matter what these accomplishments might be, they deserve to be celebrated. Writing is hard work—reward yourself for that work! My milestones include winning my first RWA contest, attaining PRO status, being nominated for the Golden Heart, being invited to join a critique group, acquiring an agent, and receiving multiple offers on my manuscript. I’ve tipped a glass of champagne to all of them!
Cara: Congratulations on all of your successes! What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Thomasine: I’ve received a lot of great advice as an aspiring writer, but the best piece was offered many years ago from a friend—a true inspiration—who sold her first romance novel at 80 years old. Her words chimed in my head, encouraging me through the years and rejections. “Keep writing and learning, and don’t give up. There’s no hurry. You have plenty of time to get published.”
Cara: Excellent advice. Thanks for sharing it with us, Thomasine, and for giving us a chance to know you better. Congratulations on your upcoming debut – your chaptermates are thrilled for you!