I would like to welcome Geeta Schrayter to my blog today She is joining us to talk a little bit about herself and her new book Reaching Riverdale.
Thanks for having me Sally!
1. You said in Reaching Riverdale that it is best to write your plans in pencil rather than pen.
Q:) What plans have you written in pen that you have inevitably crossed off?
A:) Acting would probably have to be one of them. I grew up watching my eldest brother perform as the lead in a lot of his high school plays, and I was always in awe. I wanted to act too, when I grew up, but in movies and television. I was convinced I’d move out to California and become a star.
When other girls were writing their names inside hearts with that of a boy they had a crush on, I was practicing my autograph.
I did end up going to Los Angeles for an acting seminar one summer, and a lot of my high school friends ended up signing my yearbook with some sort of encouraging message regarding that plan. But considering I’m currently in Connecticut answering your questions, clearly that didn’t happen.
Q:)What did you pursue instead?
A:) Well, being a writer was the other plan I wrote down in pen. Only I never crossed that one off. So I went to college and got a degree in communication with a journalism concentration, all the while focusing on the fact what I really wanted was to be an author. Becoming one is a goal that’s been as constant as change usually is. And, since we’re here talking about my debut novel, its one plan I’ll never have to forgo.
Oh, and all that autograph practice? It wasn’t for nothing… but when I was younger, I’m not sure I knew it’d be for books instead of blockbusters.
2. You wrote so passionately about the small town of Riverdale that I found myself wanting to move there myself.
Q:) Are you from a small town?
A:) I grew up in a couple of small towns. They were places where your parents would let you wander off down the road with a friend to play in the woods, or give you a dollar after a bit of pleading then let you walk to the local convenience store for an ice cream or a candy bar.
In one town, some of my summer afternoons were spent sitting on the stonewall that separated our yard from the farmer’s next door, naming all of his cows. A couple times one would escape and end up in our front yard. I remember keeping an eye on them while the farmer was retrieved so they wouldn’t wander into the road. Although, there wasn’t much traffic, so I doubt there was any real danger.
Q) Do you still live in one?
A:) I don’t think I can call it a “small town” since there’s over 30,000 residents, but it used to be. It was a quaint little farming community when my mom was growing up, and it still has a lot of small town qualities – charm, if you will - despite its size.
3. There is a lot of baking in your book and it sounded so yummy it made me hungry.
Q:) Do you like to bake?
A:) I love to bake. I still remember the first thing I made on my own. I was probably 11 or 12 and it was a raspberry strudel. Pies, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, cakes, bread, biscuits – you name it, I love to bake it.
In some ways, baking is like a piece of heirloom furniture, in that it’s something that can be passed down from generation to generation. My great-grandmother taught my grandmother, my grandmother taught my mother, and then my mother taught me. Tips and secrets were passed down as were family recipes. I love going into my grandmother’s old recipe box and consulting one of the well-used cards covered in her pretty cursive to make something delicious.
Q:) What food is your favorite feel good thing to make and or eat?
A:) Well, unfortunately for my hips, I do love a fresh batch of gooey cookies. I’m also a fan of soup, and Indian food is almost always guaranteed to make me feel good.
4. I know it is silly but I believe the bad person is as much a part of a story as the hero and I found Rick to be a wonderful bad apple.
Considering the apple references all throughout the story, I like that you just called Rick a bad apple. That’s precisely what he is.
Q:) Who was your favorite character to get to know in Reaching Riverdale?
A:) I’d have to say Mr. Carter. I just love the way he sort of encompasses what he does – he’s got that rough exterior, but he’s a big softy underneath – almost like a loaf of bread!
In reality, I love talking to older generations. They’ve treasure troves of information and fabulous stories to share if you take the time to listen.
Q:) How did that character change from your original plans for them?
A:) Actually, Mr. Carter didn’t become an integral part of the story until I was well into writing. In fact, he wasn’t even a part of the plot when I first started. I had planned on Mr. Palmer sort of being that charming older man you can’t help but love, but then the bakery aspect came to be and Mr. Carter evolved with it.
5. For a first book, I think that this one is a smash hit.
Thank you! I’m very excited with how it came out
Q: ) What are your plans for future projects?
A:) Presently I’m working on a novel that takes place in India. I grew up around Indian culture, I’ve been there three times and kept a blog chronicling my experiences there, so all of those aspects are fuel for the literary fire I’m stirring. I hope everyone who’s enjoyed the adventures in New England in this first book will like traveling around the world with me in the next. It should be finished in January.
I’m also working on a book that continues some of the storylines in Reaching Riverdale, so I’m excited for that as well.
6. According to your goodreads.com profile you are an avid reader.
Q:) Who are some of your favorite authors?
A:) Hmm, let’s see… Jane Austen, Nora Roberts, Mark Twain, Marion Chesney, Emily Griffin, Nathanial Hawthorne, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, the Bronte sisters… to name a few.
Q:) How have those authors changed over the years?
A:) I can’t say they really have. The Scarlet Letter was one of the first classic novels I read and I’ve been a fan of Mark Twain since reading Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in school.
But I’m trying to branch out more now. I love my classics and a good romance, but there are so many people who praise authors such as John Grisham I figure I should give them a shot, too.
Q:) Who has remained a constant favorite?
A:) Jane Austen has been my favorite since the day I discovered Pride and Prejudice. I’m obsessed with her, but somewhat of a traditionalist in that I haven’t read any of the fan fiction that’s based on her novels. If I want to read about Mr. Darcy, I’ll go get lost in Pride and Prejudice for the thousandth time. Or Persuasion (second favorite) or Sense and Sensibility (third) perhaps.
7. What advice do you have for someone who is just starting out writing?
A:) Well, “don’t give up” is always a good place to start. If you love writing then write. Not to sound like a Nike commercial but just do it. I can’t stress that enough.
There may be people who tell you having writing aspirations is silly or not very practical but you can’t listen to them.
Write what you feel. Don’t write and worry about finding agents and publishers down the road. I truly believe everything that’s meant to happen will happen. Worrying will do nothing but give you frown lines.
You’ve started writing, now don’t stop.
8. When you are not writing what do you do for fun and relaxation?
A:) I love to read, spend time with my family and friends, drive around with the windows down and the music up, shop, take day trips, cook, bake and go for a nice run – especially now with the brisk autumn air.
Oh! and as soon as the holiday season arrives, act like a sugarplum fairy.
I’m obsessed with the holidays and you’re likely to find me outside catching snowflakes on my tongue, inside baking cookies, singing holiday songs, wrapping presents, mailing piles of cards and just generally trying to sprinkle good cheer around. If I had a personal slogan during that time of year it’d probably be: "Why visit the North Pole when Geeta’s so near?!"
9. Which character from Reaching Riverdale do you most relate to?
A:) While my life hasn’t played out like Annebelle’s, some of her frustrations and dilemmas are certainly relatable to me. Particularly, the desire for small town life versus city living has always been something I’ve fought with. As a solution, I’ve decided that I need to have at least three homes. So I better get to work on writing some bestsellers.
10. What is the best part of becoming a published author? The worst?
A:) Having people read my book is definitely the best part. The only person I let read the story while I was working on it was my sister, then my mom when it was finished. So during that entire time, it was just the three of us who could discuss it. Now that others have read it it’s surreal having them talk to me about it – name things they loved, characters they related to et cetera.
It’s also made a few friends who aren’t necessarily the reading type pick up a book and read. Since I consider reading so important, that’s certainly a plus.
As for the worst part, honestly, I can’t really say there is one. After all, this is a dream come true!
Ok, ok, well, all the paparazzi and the fans pestering me for autographs whenever I go to the grocery store can be vexing…
Just kidding! Someday, maybe…
Thank you Geeta!
If you would like to know more about Geeta you can find her
On GoodReads.com Here
Her website Here
Follow her on twitter Here
Or FaceBook Here
My Review of Reaching Riverdale.
Reaching Riverdale by Geeta SchrayterMy rating: 5 of 5 stars
Annebell is always trying to get away from her home town of Riverdale despite her friends and families wishes that she will ultimately decide to stick around. When she returns home for her graduation party Annabell finds her beloved bakery closed heartbroken she takes it upon herself to bring it back from the grave. With a little help from her friends she learns that a little tender loving care can go a long way. This is a hometown book that will warm you to the soul and I would recommend it to anyone who likes, romance and, feel good books.
View all my reviews