PBDiva: Hello, everybody. Today I’m talking with Samantha Rhodes, author of the contemporary romance novel, Passion’s Professor, published by Midnight Showcase, and the poet Peggy Landsman, whose first poetry chapbook, To-wit To-woo, is available from FootHills Publishing.
Samantha Rhodes: I was born full-grown in 1984. I came straight out of Peggy Landsman’s head and started writing. Peggy was on unemployment at the time. One afternoon she saw an editor from Silhouette Romance on a TV talk show. The editor said she was looking for manuscripts of romance novels. Peggy read several Silhouette Romances and then decided she would try to write one. As soon as she sat down with a notebook of blank pages, I was born. I wrote the whole first draft in about eight weeks. By the spring of 1985, Peggy succeeded in getting a New York City literary agent. The agent said that reading Passion’s Professor was like eating a box of chocolates! Unfortunately, the romance boom of the early 80s went bust about that time and the manuscript was unpublished until July 2008 when it was released by Midnight Showcase.
PBDiva: Can you tell us a little about Passion’s Professor?
Samantha Rhodes: I’ll read you the blurb. “Twenty-eight-year-old UC Berkeley reentry student Elise Richards is involved with one of her professors, gorgeous Rafael Segura, who, she fears, may be a modern Don Juan. Elise struggles with her conflicting feelings for Rafael until she learns what only he can teach her—the liberating power of pure passion.”
PBDiva: Nice blurb!
Samantha Rhodes: Yes, I like it. I felt brilliant when I wrote it. Blurbs can be harder to write than the whole novel! But anyway… If people are interested, they should go to my web site to read excerpts, reviews, my bio… They can even order the book. http://home.att.net/~palandsman/samantha.htm
PBDiva: What were you and Peggy doing between 1984 and 2008?
Samantha Rhodes: Well…
Peggy Landsman: I think I’d better answer that. These past 24 years have been very full. Between 1986 and 1989 my husband (my perfect hero) and I traveled around the entire northern hemisphere. We taught English in the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and Hungary. We visited Thailand and Romania.
PBDiva: These countries were very different back then, weren’t they?
Peggy Landsman: Yes, they were. If you go to my web site, http://home.att.net/~palandsman/
you can read “Cold War,” an essay I wrote about being in Hungary.
PBDiva: What else is on your web site?
Peggy Landsman: Lots of my published poetry and short prose pieces, including excerpts from an unpublished novel, BUFFALO BRAIN, which is about coming of age politically and socially in the early 1970s. It takes place mostly in Buffalo, New York.
PBDiva: We are running out of time, but before we go, can you tell us the worst piece of writing advice you ever got?
Peggy Landsman: My 12th grade English teacher told me never to use the word “love” in a poem.
PBDiva:: What advice do you give writers about rejection letters?
Peggy Landsman: Don’t let them get you down. Just keep sending your work out. And keep improving it.
PBDiva:: What kind of activities do you do to clear your head?
Peggy Landsman: Anything physical. Washing dishes, going for a walk, swimming.
Samantha Rhodes: I went to sleep for about 22 years. When I woke up, my head was very clear. I reread the manuscript of Passions Professor and revised it. It is still “like eating a box of chocolates,” but the chocolate is better.
PBDiva:: Thanks to both of you for talking with me.
Samantha Rhodes and Peggy Landsman: It was our pleasure.