Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Release - Just Destiny - author interview - Theresa Rizzo

Please welcome today a new to me author Theresa Rizzo who is here to talk about her new novel, Just Destiny. I'm sure after you learn a bit about the novel,  like me you'll be jumping at the bit to order your own copy.
Enjoy the post!


  • ISBN-13: 9780989045025
  • Publisher: Theresa Rizzo
  • Publication date: 2/22/2014
  • Pages: 374

What would you do if your whole world fell apart?
Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she'd ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins. Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe's family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets ...

 Read an Excerpt: 

Steve Grant’s heart pounded as if it might hammer its way right out of his chest. 
He took a measured breath, stretched an arm across the back of Annie’s chair and settled 
into his stadium seat. What’s the problem, man? You’ve faced down Billy Ray Butler and 
Crush Davis, stared them down across home plate, in front of a sold-out crowd without 
breaking a sweat; you can do this. It’s the right thing to do. 
The band’s drums, trumpets and trombones belted out the Michigan fight song. 
“Let’s! Go! Blue!” The Ann Arbor crowd cheered as one. 
“Why’d you give up your fifty-yard-line seats for these nosebleeds?” Annie raised 
her eyebrows. 
“Lemme go,” the three-year-old behind her shrieked as he strained and bucked in 
his mother’s arms. 
Annie winced, covered her ear and gave Steve a knowing look. When they went 
out without her children, he knew she wanted a break from all kids. These seats cost a 
small fortune; who in the hell brings their kid along? Steve scanned the packed seats 
around them—not a damn kid in sight. What were the chances they’d be sitting right in 
front of the only holy terror? 
“One of our paralegals, Pete McGaffy, has his dad in town this weekend to 
celebrate his first year cancer free. Pete helped me a couple of times so when I found out 
his dad’s a huge Michigan fan, I gave them my tickets and got these instead.” He glared 
at the kid beating an annoying tattoo on the back of Annie’s chair, tempted to grab the 
little ankle to still him. “We have a great view of the whole field from here. Besides, I 
thought you’d enjoy sitting with Notre Dame fans instead of the enemy for a change.” 
Annie had gone to Notre Dame and was a die-hard Irish fan, where as a Michigan 
alum, Steve’s season tickets bordered the Michigan sideline. She held out her hand for 
the binoculars and jerked forward as the kid pounded her chair with both of his feet. Stiff 
backed, Annie scooted forward in her chair. 
“Switch seats with me.” Steve stood and pulled Annie out of her seat. She should  
be safe in front of the dad. 
Annie stood and threw the little brat that warning look mothers seem to perfect, 
before slowly lowering herself into the other seat. Not exactly the mood he wanted to set. 
He hoped it wasn’t an omen. Chill, man. She’s gonna love it. 
He looked at the giant scoreboard—five minutes to halftime. Steve settled back in 
the seat, rubbed tight neck muscles, and rolled his shoulders. 
He’d chosen these seats carefully. The first row in club level seating had lots of 
leg room, a bird’s eye view of the whole field, and the cameramen should have no trouble 
zooming in on them. It was perfe—the boy put a sticky hand on Steve’s head and lunged 
over his shoulder, nearly falling into his lap. Steve caught him and shoved him back at his 
“Henry. I’m sooo sorry. Really. Sorry. I . . . ” His mortified mother tried to lift 
him onto her lap, but the little boy arched his back and bellowed. 
“That’s enough!” the father said. He handed his wife his beer and reached for the 
boy at the same time the kid jumped up, knocking her arm. 
The halftime buzzer sounded loudly as Steve lunged forward, but he couldn’t 
right the cup before a wave of beer cascaded over the lip, splashing all over Annie’s 
shoulder, arm, and chest. 
Annie gasped, jumped up and whirled on the threesome. Fury burned in her eyes 
as she shook her arm, spraying beer. “Are you freaking kidding me? What’s wrong with 
you people? Haven’t you ever heard of a babysitter?” 
Steve stepped back and stared in horror. The pink of Annie’s shirt grew 
increasingly dark as it soaked up the beer. 
“I’m so sorry.” The woman rummaged in her bag, yanked out some baby wipes 
and held them out to Annie. “I . . . please. We’ll pay for dry-cleaning.” 
Annie snatched the wipes, made a few futile dabs at her arm before throwing 
them on her seat and pushing past Steve. 
“Laaadies and geeen-tlemen,” The announcer drew out. 
Steve grabbed her arm. “Where’re you going?” 
“Preee-sent-ing the two-hundred thirty-five member Michigan marching Band. 
Baaa-nd . . . take the field.” 
Annie frowned as if he was crazy. “To the bathroom.” 
“Now? You can’t go now.” 
Eyes widening, she plucked the wet shirt from her chest. “I’m covered in beer.” 
Shit. Shit. Shit. “Uh . . . there’ll be a long line. Just wait a little bit.” He turned her 
toward the field. “Watch the show.” He glanced at the forty-seven by eighty-five-foot 
screen to see the camera zooming in on them. He pointed toward the field. “Look, they’re 
spelling out something.” 
“I don’t care.” She tried to pull free. 
Steve tightened his grip on her shoulders. “Listen. It’s that Bruno Mars song you 
“What is wrong with you?” She glared. “I’m soaked and smell like a frat party.” 
Steve pivoted her toward the field and locked his arms around her. “Look.” 
The band had spelled out “M-A-R-R-Y M-E” and dissolved to reform one last 
word. “A-N-N-I-E.” 
The announcer boomed, “Weeeell, Annie?”  
Annie looked toward the huge board where the camera had zoomed in on them 
and they stood larger than life. Her glare melted as awareness set in. She brushed her hair 
back and a tentative smile flickered across her face. 
Steve released her. He wiped damp palms on his thighs, then dropped to one knee 
and took her hand. “Will you marry me, Annie?” 
Hand covering her mouth, Annie dragged her gaze from the huge screen long 
enough to nod at him. Her glance darted back and forth from the screen to him. She thrust 
out her left hand. He took the ring box from his pocket, then slid the ring onto her finger. 
Annie yanked her hand back and after a quick inspection of the 3-carat marquise, 
held it up for everybody to see as if she were a winner lofting her trophy. Steve pulled her 
into his arms for a hug while the crowd cheered and clapped. 
Smile, Steve. Even if he couldn’t give her his heart, he’d embarrassed himself in 
front of millions of people and given her her dream proposal. The love would come.  
Chapter 1
Even the best-made plans were subject to the whims of fate, and Jenny Harrison 
believed in embracing Lady Destiny’s cues. She grabbed her list and the gallon-size 
baggie of cookies, whistled for Ritz and rushed through the hedge separating the 
driveway from their neighbor’s. With the golden retriever prancing at her heels, she 
breezed through Steve’s back door, calling out, “Hey, Grant?” 
“Kitchen.” Steve, with his maroon silk tie tucked into his white dress shirt, leaned 
over his sink and bit a pickle. He saluted her with the dill. “Lunch?” 
“No, thanks, we’ll catch something on the road. Save room; I made your favorite, 
pecan chocolate chip.” She held up the cookies. 
Steve took the bag. “Mmmm. They’re still warm. You didn’t have to do that.” 
“Yes, I did. We really appreciate your taking care of Ritz and the house. With the 
trial ramping up, I know you’re crazy busy.” 
“No problem.” He polished off the pickle and pulled the cookie bag open. 
The sweet scent of fresh-baked cookie and warm chocolate commingled with the 
acetous pickle smell. Jenny winced. Gross. Shaking her head, she laid down the list. 
“Here’s the number of the Saugatuck Inn—in case of an emergency—though we’ll both 
have our cells.” She frowned and craned her neck to read the upside down list. “And . . . 
you have a key to the house. We won’t set the alarm. There should be plenty of dog food 
in the garage, and I stopped the newspapers.” She looked up. “Questions?” 
“Jen, you’ll only be gone three and a half days.” Then at her steady look, he 
sighed. “Got it.” 
Jenny reached for her back pocket and fingered the bulky line there, thinking. She 
couldn’t wait to share her good news. Ordinarily she’d want it to be Gabe, but under the 
circumstances, maybe a test run on Steve might be good. 
“What?” He raised his eyebrows and polished off the cookie. “Out with it. You 
look like the cat who swallowed the canary and got her cream too.” 
Jenny smiled, whipped the plastic stick from her back pocket and waved it  
around. “I’m pregnant.” 
“You’re . . .?” His eyes widened and his jaw dropped. “That’s great. Right? Is it 
She nodded and smiled. “It’s amazing.” 
“Pregnant? Wow. What’d Gabe say?” 
“He doesn’t know. I just found out myself. I’m going to tell him this weekend.” 
She grinned a wide silly, grin, then bit her lower lip. “I’m going to have a baby.” 
“Congratulations, kid. You’re gonna be a great mom.” 
“Thanks.” Jenny smiled, still a little shocked. She fingered the stick, staring at the 
blue line, then slipped it back in her pocket. That wasn’t so bad. In just a few minutes 
Steve had lost that stunned look. It’d be fine. Everything would be fine. 
Jenny crouched down and rubbed the big dog’s head between her hands. “Be a 
good girl, Ritz.” Out of the corner of her eye she glimpsed her husband’s red Volkswagen 
zipping up their driveway. She stood and headed for the door. “Gotta run. Thanks.” 
“Have fun.” 
“See ya.” Jenny rushed out the door and trotted across the drives to her Jeep. She 
faced Gabe with a cheerful smile. “Hi.” 
Gabe walked over and planted a quick kiss on her lips. “Ready to go?” 
“Car’s all packed, but—” She reached out and took his hand. Threading her 
fingers between his, Jenny held on to keep his attention. “I have a tiny favor to ask.” 
He raised his eyebrows. “Tiny, eh?” 
She nodded. “Hardly anything at all.” 
“Would you mind very much stopping by the clinic on the way out?” 
“Be-cause . . .” 
“Because . . . I sort of promised Tommy you’d take a look at his little brother. 
You know, the eleven-year-old boy I interviewed for the foster care article. His half 
brother and sister live with their grandma, and his little brother’s been sick for the past 
week. Grandma works as a cleaning lady and doesn’t have insurance, so she won’t take 
the boy to the doctor.” 
“So you told Tommy I’d examine him.” Gabe looked down at her, his expression 
hard to read. 
“I did.” She winced. “Do you mind very much? It shouldn’t take long and it’s on 
the way. I was hoping that if I got a chance to talk to the grandma, I could help her see 
that the clinic isn’t such a bad place.” 
“What time are we supposed to meet them?” 
She pulled her hand free to look at her watch. “Eleven forty-five—shoot, we’re 
gonna be late.” 
“We’d better get a move on.” 
Relief lightening her heart, Jenny ran around the Jeep and jumped into the 
passenger’s side. They drove down Lakeshore Drive. The huge century-old elms shading 
Grosse Pointe neighborhoods gave way to the stark, concrete city streets of Detroit. 
Settling back in her seat, Jenny took in the tired neighborhoods, pausing on the 
occasional abandoned home where the peeling paint of white-framed windows 
highlighted dark, gaping holes. A few windows had unbroken, grimy glass, but most held 
jagged broken panes looking like sharp wicked teeth in a monstrous dirty brick face.  
Green bushes and weeds grew three feet tall around the decaying buildings, as if trying to 
hide the dangerous eyesores. 
Jenny turned to Gabe wondering if the worn dereliction saddened him as it did 
her, or, since he drove this route once a week, had he become immune to the neglect. His 
attention seemed focused on avoiding the potholes rather than inspecting the 
Ten minutes later, they pulled up outside the one-story red brick clinic. Tommy 
stood beside an elderly lady with white hair and a ramrod-straight back. She wore a dark 
woolen coat and no-nonsense shoes. A little girl about four years old clutched the 
woman’s hand while a boy about seven slumped against her as if exhausted. 
“Hi, guys.” Jenny smiled broadly and held out her hand to the woman. “You must 
be Tommy’s grandmother. I’m Jenny and this is my husband, Gabe.” 
The woman stared at her several long seconds, then looked at her hand before 
slowly raising her own and shaking Jenny’s. “Abigail Johnson. Tommy said you might 
could help Sammy here.” 
“Why, sure we can.” She smiled reassuringly at the little boy. Poor little guy’s 
eyelids drooped over eyes dulled with pain. “Hi, Sammy, I’m Jenny.” 
“Miss Jenny,” his grandma corrected and gave the boy a raised eyebrow and a 
telling stare for emphasis. 
Sammy’s head rolled up and the edges of his lips rose in a weak smile. “Miss 
Jenny turned and bent until she was face-to-face with the little girl. “I like your 
pigtails. What’s your name?” 
“Clarisse,” she whispered, in a darling little lisp. 
“Isn’t that a pretty name?” 
Gabe rested a hand on Jenny’s back. “Why don’t we move inside? Jenny will get 
the paperwork from Sharon while I find us an empty exam room.” 
Gabe urged the group toward the Plexiglas, bulletproof door. The thin, 
bespectacled guard sitting behind a scarred desk gave them a broad smile and buzzed 
them in. 
“Hey, Doc.” 
“How’s it goin’, Max?” 
“Fine. Jus’ fine. You workin’ today?” 
“Nope, just got a friend here I need to take care of and then we’ll be out of your 
Jenny ushered them toward the receptionist, stopping when she felt a tug on her 
arm. Abigail Johnson looked her in the eye. “I don’t have money for this. Wish I did, but 
with the two little ones and . . . well—I just don’t.” 
“Grammy J, I told you, Miss Jenny said it’s free,” Tommy broke in. 
She scowled at him. “Hush now. I’m talkin’ to Miss Jenny.” 
Jenny leaned close. “Please, it’s just Jenny. Don’t worry, Mrs. Johnson, he’s right; 
it is 
free. We just need you to fill out some forms, but there’s no charge.” 
The woman nodded and put a bony hand on Jenny’s arm. “You can call me 
Grammy J.” 
Jenny smiled. She’d never had a grandma she remembered, and this stern old lady  
warmed her heart. Jenny seated her charges and got the new patient forms from the 
receptionist. Grammy J sat with the little girl on her lap, clutching her like a shield. Her 
nostrils flared wide and her knee bounced so hard Jenny worried little Clarisse’s eyeballs 
rattling around in the poor mite’s head would give her permanent eye damage—that is, if 
she wasn’t catapulted off her grandma’s knees. 
Sitting next to them, Jenny handed the clipboard of papers to Grammy J. 
She stopped her nervous galloping and accepted the board. After several seconds 
of peering at the paper over Clarisse’s shoulder, Grammy J passed the clipboard to 
Tommy. “I can’t concentrate.” 
Tommy obediently took the forms and slowly, with meticulous printing, began to 
fill them out. Occasionally he whispered a question to Grammy J, who murmured an 
answer. Then he handed her the pen and pointed to the spot on the consent form needing 
her signature. 
Gabe came back to get Sammy. “Mrs. Johnson, would you like to come too?” 
“No, I’ll keep an eye on this one. Tommy’ll go along.” She nudged Tommy, then 
grabbed Sammy’s thin arm. “You do what the doctor says, hear?” 
“Yes, ma’am,” he muttered. Sammy slipped his hand into his brother’s and 
followed Gabe down the hall. 
“I can watch Clarisse if you want to go with Sammy,” Jenny offered. 
“Tommy’ll do.” 
“You’ve done a wonderful job with the children. They’re very polite and sweet.” 
Staring at the hall her grandsons disappeared down, Grammy J sighed. “I try. It 
about tore me up to have to send Tommy away, but he better off outta that 
neighborhood.” She looked at Jenny. “You know, you try to do the right thing. You take 
’em to church and try to raise ’em right, but with the gangs and the drugs, they just won’t 
let ’em be. Them kids were after Tommy for weeks to join up, but I sent him away. He 
better off.” 
“I’m sorry. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing. I know Tommy misses his 
brother and sister, but the Jeromes are nice people and make sure he visits, right?” 
“Not enough. I shouldn’t have to get permission from nobody when I needs to 
take my own flesh and blood outta school to he’p his brother,” Grandma J whispered. She 
looked sideways at Jenny. “You got kids?” 
“Me? Uh—” Jenny resisted the urge to put a hand to her stomach; instead she 
shook her head. “Stepchildren. But they’re in college.” 
“None of your own?” 
Not really. Not yet. “No. Children are a lot of responsibility.” 
Grammy J’s head bobbed. “Amen to that.” 
“Well, I think you’re doing an awesome job.” She smiled and ducked her head to 
look at the four-year old. “Isn’t she?” 
Clarisse nodded shyly. 
“Would you like a juice box Miss Clarisse?” At the enthusiastic nod, Jenny 
looked at Grammy J. “Can I get you both a juice, or perhaps you’d like coffee?” 
“No. Thank you.” 
Jenny went off to the kitchen to get drinks. On her way back, she ran into Gabe 
and the boys. 
“Will he live?” Jenny teased.  
“Should.” Gabe looked at Grammy J. “He’s got a pretty good ear infection going, 
but after a few days of antibiotics, he’ll be fine. I’ll get the medicine, then we can be on 
our way.” 
Jenny handed out the juices. Grammy J sat stiffly in the plastic chair. Her knee 
began fanatically springing again as she constantly scanned the near-empty waiting room 
as if expecting an attack. Poor thing couldn’t have looked more uncomfortable. 
Jenny turned Tommy aside so they faced the wall. “You know there are free 
programs to help her learn to read.” 
“She can learn to read; she’s not too old.” Jenny looked into his eyes. “You can’t 
always be there to help her.” 
Tommy stood up tall and lifted his chin. “Who says she can’t read?” 
“I says.” 
“She’s too proud,” he whispered. 
“Maybe I can talk to her after I get back from vacation.” 
“Maybe.” He gave her a considering look before breaking into a broad smile. 
“She likes you.” 
“I like her too.” 
Gabe returned, gave Grammy J the medicine and explained the dosage. He looked 
at Jenny. “How about we give these nice people a ride home?” 
Grammy J frowned. “We don’t want to trouble you.” 
He held the door open for them. “No trouble. I insist.” 
“Thank you.” She looked up with solemn eyes and nodded. “For everything.” 
“You’re welcome.” 
Jenny’s heart swelled with pride. She caught Gabe’s eye, and mouthed, “I love 
He winked and opened the car door for her. 
They piled into Jenny’s Jeep, dropped the Johnsons home and Tommy at school. 
After Tommy disappeared behind the dark wooden doors, Jenny turned in her seat. 
“You’re a good man, Gabriel Harrison.” 
Gabe stretched out in the passenger’s seat. “I try.” 
She smiled at his glib answer. “I know how precious your free time is. Thanks for 
doing that for me.” 
He gave her a warm look. “My pleasure.” 
Some husbands would be seriously derailed at starting their vacation several 
hours late because their wives committed them to a good deed, but not Gabe. Her 
husband was a sweetie, a real angel. She just hoped what she had to tell him wouldn’t 
wreck things. 
“What would I do without you?” 
He threaded his fingers through hers. “Don’t worry, you’re never gonna get the 
chance to find out.” 
Driving down I-94 in her new sapphire blue Jeep, they sped past Detroit Metro 
airport before Jenny remembered the present. “Oh. With all the commotion, I forgot 
about your anniversary present. Look in the glove compartment.” 
Gabe pulled out the flat, square gift. Though the distinctive shape pretty much  
precluded the reason for wrapping the CD, Jenny had chosen brightly colored paper and 
tied a stylish gold wire-rimmed bow around it. “Guess who.” 
“Isn’t the appropriate gift for a second anniversary paper or tin foil or pottery?” 
“Close. Guess who.” 
“Kelly Clarkson?” 
“Would I get you my favorite singer as a present?” 
“You got me headphones for Christmas so you could sleep while I watched TV in 
“That’s different,” she dismissed airily. “That was a gift to both of us. You get to 
watch the whole TV show in bed, and I don’t have to harass you to turn it off when I 
want to go to sleep.” 
“And that’s different . . . How?” 
“It’s cheaper than marriage counseling,” she said in mock warning. 
Gabe laughed and tore open the wrapping, revealing a classic Chuck Mangione 
recording. “Jazz. Great. Thanks, honey.” He reached out a hand to massage her shoulder. 
Jenny leaned into his touch, enjoying the way his fingers lingered at the nape of her neck 
and toyed with her hair. 
“You’re welcome. Why don’t you pop it in?” 
They drove west across Michigan to the relaxing sounds of the horn while the 
tension lines eased from around Gabe’s eyes. The hectic pace of his general surgery 
practice combined with his volunteering at the inner city clinic took its toll. 
The breeze from the open window whipped Gabe’s short hair. He propped one 
sneaker-clad foot on the dash and slumped deeper in his seat. “Are you in mourning yet? 
Now that Steve and Annie are engaged.” 
She wrinkled her nose. “Funny. She’s not who I would’ve picked for him, but I’ll 
be nice to her.” 
Gabe chuckled. “You hate her.” 
She shot him a quick, accusing look before returning her attention to the road. 
“You don’t like her either.” 
“He could do better.” 
“So why Annie? And proposing at a football game?” She rolled her eyes. “How 
private and romantic.” 
“It had national coverage. She loved it.” 
“She would,” Jenny muttered. “Think she’s pregnant?” 
One eyebrow arched over mirrored aviator glasses. “Not nice.” 
Yeah . . . this “nice” thing would take some practice. 
Gabe rummaged through the cooler for a Coke Zero and opened it with a loud 
pfft. Holding it out to Jenny for a sip, his hand jerked, sending soda splashing across the 
center console. 
“Shoot.” He grabbed a Kleenex to swipe at the drops sliding down the side of his 
Jenny swallowed a quick gulp and handed the can back. “Thanks.” 
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Gabe’s hand tremble violently as he raised 
the can to his lips. This wasn’t the first time she’d noticed his hand shaking, but it seemed 
to come and go. 
He glanced sideways and flashed her a rueful grin. “Better lay off the caffeine.”  
She gasped. “Leadless?” They’d always disdained decaf coffee. 
He stared at the black can in his hand and sighed. “Soda, too.” 
Jenny laughed at his sorrowful look. Gabe loved his morning coffee and was a 
bear until he’d downed at least half a cup. The hand jitters made him more nervous than 
she would have thought. Did he know something he wasn’t telling her? She peeked at 
him out of the corner of her eye again. It was probably nothing a little less caffeine 
wouldn’t cure. They’d give it up together. Caffeine wasn’t good for the baby anyway. 
Before Benton Harbor, they turned north onto a less-populated road. They drove 
up the coast past near-empty beaches now lying dormant in the off-season. The musty 
smell of lake water gave way to the distant scent of burning leaves. Harbors sat quiet, 
where a few remaining boats waited patiently to be dry-docked and stored for the winter. 
“Hey, Gabe?” 
Jenny kept her eyes on the road. Her fingers flexed around the steering wheel. 
“What would you think of our having a baby?” 

Theresa welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell my readers about your new release Just Destiny.
Hi Deb, thank you for having me on The Reading Frenzy!
Just Destiny is a love story wrapped in suspenseful courtroom drama. It’s about a grieving young woman, willing to risk embarrassment and possibly revealing long-held family secrets in court, for the right to conceive her dead husband’s baby, and her lawyer, best friend’s struggle to help her, despite his reservations.

Where did the premise for Just Destiny come from?
My husband was on a business trip on my birthday, so my sister and brother-in-law took me out to dinner to celebrate and I’d cut out this article in the newspaper about a woman being sued by her deceased husband’s family to keep her from having his baby after he was dead.
The idea of having your dead husband’s baby seemed bizarre, but still it struck me as a frivolous, ridiculous lawsuit. I figured it wasn’t anybody’s business, after all once you get married, your body’s mine and mine’s yours, right?
My attorney sister got this puzzled look on her face and said, “Actually that’s a really interesting legal issue. I wonder if sperm is considered property . . .”
And then my brother-in-law looked at her, saying, “I’m not sure I’d want you to have my baby after I’m gone.”
So we discussed some legal and moral implications of the situation and what had initially seemed so incredibly simple and private suddenly became complicated and intriguing, propelling me to do some research into the legalities and morality of the issue.
I was so fascinated with the idea that I had to build a book around it.

Which character in Just Destiny gave you the most trouble and why?
That’s a really good question. The character who gave me the most trouble was Jenny. I had a lot of trouble making her a sympathetic, likable, realistic character. I had to strike a tricky balance in Jenny—it was natural she’d be grieving the loss of her husband, but let’s face it, sad people are not the most fun people to spend time with.
It’s understandable that she’d want to hold onto her husband through his child, yet I had to be careful she didn’t come across as a whiny, willful spoiled young lady.

Theresa, according to your bio you struggled early with a learning disability that kept you from learning to read until the third grade.
First Congratulations for overcoming your dyslexia in a big way.
Do you think that’s why you became such a veracious reader?
Thank you for the congrats.  The truth is a person doesn’t really “overcome” dyslexia, you learn coping mechanisms, and learn to read, however bits and pieces of it will always be hard and a weakness. For instance, I still occasionally invert “b”and”d”, and remembering a number sequence for say a lock or a phone number, is a nightmare!
And I’m such a poor speller, sometimes I can’t even get close enough to the correct spelling for spellchecker to help.  Thank God my Dad (my kids or friends) is retired and usually just a phone call away!
I had to take remedial reading classes all the way up to high school, so I became a good reader, but I love reading for the same reasons anybody else does—I love falling into a different world, or living vicarious through great characters, or love learning new things, new places, having wonderful risk-free experiences.
Reading is terrific entertainment!

Theresa I love how you describe your journey to becoming a writer to give you an emotional outlet to deal with parenting.
Do you think you’d have become a writer if you were a more patient person?
Or was it kismet that would have eventually found you?
I think God gives each of us talents and storytelling is one of my talents. Without being too “woo wooy”, I think I was born to do this. I probably would have turned to writing books sometime even if I’d been the most patient loving parent with no need for a literary outlet.

Theresa what’s the worst part about being a writer?
Technology has opened doors for authors and is forcing publishers to redefine and adjust decades-old publishing model, so if you’d asked me this question even five years ago, I would have said getting through the gate-keepers, editors, is the most frustrating part. 
I have a great team of beta readers, editor, cover designer and formatters who help me put out books I’m very proud of. And I don’t need to go through the demands of a traditional publisher, however I also don’t have the support of their marketing departments, so my biggest challenge now is discoverability.
I am very please and grateful for the warm welcome He Belongs to Me and Just Destiny have received and I’d love to reach a broader audience.  A lot of reviewer doors, like newspapers, People, Redbook, O magazine etc and selling venues like Costco and grocery store chains are closed to self-published authors.  They simply won’t even consider giving a self-published book even 50 pages.
So it’s struggling with the ability reach potential readers that frustrates me. It’s no longer good enough to write a great book, you have to be a master strategist, marketer or know somebody with connections to reach a broad audience. I LOVE chatting about my stories, writing, reading, books, but I HATE having to sell myself .

Theresa you’ve made a video about your journey to becoming an author.
It’s wonderful! What made you do this?
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed my video!
Gratitude. Pure and simple. Gratitude was the reason I made that video. I’d been learning the craft and business of writing for more than a decade and it occurred to me that even if I never were traditionally published, I wouldn’t regret my journey.
If I stopped writing tomorrow, The thing I’d find most upsetting was the loss of community.  I’d regret not having an excuse to go to writers conferences and hang out with my writing pals because they’re amazing people.
They’re funny and generous and wonderful upbeat people. It occurred to me that the journey towards publication was a gift in and of itself. I wanted to make that video BEFORE I published, to document and remind myself that sure, the rejections were frustrating—and I certainly had plenty of them—but there were far more blessings I needed to be grateful for.

What are you working on now?
In the fall I’ll put out my next book, The Lives Between Us, which is book dealing with love, loss, revenge, and making hard choices. Here’s the description:
 Grieving the loss of her beloved niece, reporter Skylar Kendall plots revenge on the US Senator who opposed life-saving stem cell research and therapy. She becomes romantically involved with his best friend, putting her in the perfect position to tear the senator's world apart when tragedy strikes.  Only, she hadn’t counted on falling in love.
Sen. Hastings's tragedy would absolutely make Skylar’s career and satisfy her thirst for revenge, but can she betray her new love and friends? 
Theresa give us laymen a look into the life of a writer, take us through a day in your life.
Typically I get up around 7am and check my email and social network for 15-30 minutes, then I work for an hour of so, then have some breakfast, then back to work the rest of the morning until lunch.  I have lunch, take the dog for a walk and then work another couple of hours and sometimes I work after dinner and TV time with my hubby.  When I “work” I’m either writing or researching or both.

Theresa thank you for chatting with us today. Good Luck with the new novel.
Will you be attending any author/signing events?
I’ll be at the Englewood Library -- Meet the Faces - Colorado Author Open House  April 27 at 1pm

I’m attending The Crested Butte writers conference June 5-8, 2014.

Now I have a question for you and your readers, Deb. What do you look for most in a good read? What’s most important to you? Plot? Characters? Pretty writing?

Thats a great question, for me personally its the storytelling. I want to be pulled right into the tale. My favorite books are ones that I open and dont even realize HOURS have passed when I take a break.

READERS: leave your answer to Theresas question in the comments section.

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. Theresa's debut book, He Belongs to Me, was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards.  

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Connect with Theresa WebsiteFacebookTwitter - Goodreads

You can order Just Destiny at  Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Smashwords.


  1. Oh oh! Debbie I already have this one. Woot! Lovely chat ladies :)

    1. Anna, I can't wait to hear what you think
      Thanks for the comment

  2. Hi Debbie,
    Thank you so much for the interview--you asked some terrific questions!

    1. Theresa, It was my pleasure. Your story was so inspiring and your premise is so interesting
      Thank you!

  3. Oh this read will require chocolate and wine, I am already tearing up.

  4. Very intersting premise, I never thought of this sceneario. I'd never let them tell me what to do! I already don't like his family, and I'm curious.
    Thank you for sharing :)

    1. Hi Loupe, thanks for the comment. Doesn't it sound intriguing