Interview: Rita Potter

Rita Potter has spent most of her life trying to figure out what makes people tick. To that end, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and an MA in Sociology. She believes that in some way we are all damaged and must conquer our demons in order to create a fulfilling life. Being an eternal optimist, she maintains that the human spirit is remarkably resilient and can overcome even the most challenging obstacles. When she isn’t writing, Rita enjoys the outdoors, rides a Harley Davidson, and has an unnatural obsession with fantasy football. She lives in a small town in Illinois with her wife, Terra, and their cat, Chumley, who actually runs the household.

Your debut book, Broken Not Shattered, came out on April 15th, 2021. What was the inspiration for the story?
This story has a very personal origin. Many years ago, my best friend, who has since died of cancer, told me the story of her life. She shared with me the horrible abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband. I was honored to be the only person she’d ever told. She said it was the most cathartic moment of her life, while I was haunted by her story and the images that were stuck in my head.
Most of my stories start with a “What If” question, which was true of Broken not Shattered. Her story wouldn’t leave my mind, and soon I was asking myself questions. What if she were still in an abusive relationship, how would I handle it? What if I fell in love with someone in an abusive relationship?
From those questions came my debut novel. I want to stress I did not to use any part of her story in Broken not Shattered because it was not mine to tell. The book was simply inspired by the questions her story generated.

If you could be one of your characters – Who would you be? And why?
It would be Alex McCoy. Don’t tell my wife, but I have a little crush on Jill Bishop!

What is one book you could read over and over again?
That is an interesting question because I rarely read a book more than once. I talk about how I plan on rereading a book, but there are SO many unread books waiting for me to read it is hard from me to go back and read something I have already read. As evidenced by my picture, I have more books on my shelf than time to read them.
I believe the only books I have ever read more than once are, The Stand by Stephen King, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and Curious Wine by Katherine V. Forrest

What is your favourite genre to read, and why?
This is another great question that I’m going to cheat on my answer. I am both an eclectic reader and writer. My favorite lesfic author is Jae because she writes such varied stories. I find that after I read two or three books from the same genre I have to switch and read something else. The only genre that I don’t care for is erotica, but everything else is fair game.

Your books seem to have a heavy subject matter, why is that?
I can understand why readers would think this considering my debut book is about domestic violence and my next is apocalyptic. It’s funny because I never thought about my writing being heavy. I am an eternal optimist who sees the light and hope in all situations, so I like to see my books as more about the triumph of the human spirit regardless of the situation.
I feel the reward is bigger for a character that has had to overcome great obstacles. When my characters get to their happily ever after they have earned it.

Blurb for Broken Not Shattered

Even when it seems hopeless, there can always be a better tomorrow.

Jill Bishop has one goal in life – to survive. Jill is trapped in an abusive marriage, while raising two young girls. Her husband has isolated her from the world and filled her days with fear. The last thing on her mind is love, but she sure could use a friend.

Alex McCoy is enjoying a comfortable life, with great friends and a prosperous business. She has given up on love, after picking the wrong woman one too many times. Little does she know, a simple act of kindness might change her life forever.

When Alex lends a helping hand to Jill at the local grocery store, they are surprised by their immediate connection and an unlikely friendship develops. As their friendship deepens, so too do their fears.

In order to protect herself and the girls, Jill can’t let her husband know about her friendship with Alex, and Alex can’t discover what goes on behind closed doors. What would Alex do if she finds out the truth? At the same time, Alex must fight her attraction and be the friend she suspects Jill needs. Besides, Alex knows what every lesbian knows – don’t fall for a straight woman, especially one that’s married…but will her heart listen?

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