Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Retha Fielding: I write true stories. For part of my career, I was newspaper reporter and editor. Then, I worked in public relations, mostly for higher education. So, I wrote about issues that affected the reader immediately. I also wrote feature stories. For the freelance clients that I have had, writing true stories is also how I would describe what I do. I want to help the reader understand an issue or an event or even a person. So, I need to write in a voice that helps them match up all of the dots. I have written one book, now called The Echo of Secrets. It is a memoir. I am currently seeking representation for the book. I have thought about writing first-person fiction, but I have not started that, and honestly if another true story lands in my path, I would pick that.
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
RF: Sadly, many of them are dead. As I thought about this question, I thought of Carolyn Keene and the Nancy Drew series, of the hours of pleasure she gave young women for decades. I think we would have tea. I’d like to talk to her about the timelessness of her stories and whether she thought about that when she began to write. Also, there is an innocence to the books for a character who is pretty sharp. I don’t follow youth writers, so I don’t know if this generation has another Carolyn Keene or if her books continue to be popular. I would also love to have wine with Doris Kearns Goodwin. I have read most of her books and loved them. Our meeting would be long and much wine would be consumed.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
RF: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I love William Shirer and this book never ends. You just keep reading and reading. It is very dense, so reading it several times would still give you good material. My father has macular degeneration and can barely see to read. I gave him my first Kindle and we made the type huge. He has been reading it for more than a year!
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
RF: I am very impressed with the annual conference that the Writers’ League puts on. I know it must be a tremendous amount of work, but it is very professional and has a great reputation outside of Texas. It is such an amazing opportunity for writers to attend. I have also attended several workshops. It is great to have these opportunities here in Austin.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
RF: I have known since I was seven years old that I would be a writer and I write every day. I would like to publish my first book, some magazine pieces and then find another book-length story that I can love and make the readers fall in love with as well. I feel that my writing has already given me so much in my lifetime.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
RF: Here’s a few funny ones. First of all, I am an identical twin. Her name is Letha which was our grandmother’s name. In mother’s family, everyone has odd names. My son is named Kevin! Also, early on I ended up working in law enforcement, one of the first women to attend Police Academy. I worked in law enforcement for about five years, but it wasn’t going to take me where I wanted to go. I was going to school at night and I finished my education and became a reporter.