Author Interview: Rita Monette

This week I am reading The Legend of Ghost Dog Island by Rita Monette.

Book Cover


Ms. Monette did some art work for the book too. This is her drawing of the main character Nikki Landry.

1a-Nikki and Snooper


Ms. Monette thought it would be neat to share a picture of what she looked like when she was my age. That’s pretty cool.

Me at ten  This is her now. Rita-studio pic cropped-cropped



Questions for Authors:

·When did you decide to be an author?

Actually, I decided I wanted to write children’s books when I retired from my regular job at age 60. I know…that seems old to most of you. But I wanted to do something new. I had started writing poetry after a creative writing class in college, but it was mostly for fun. I had never even thought about getting published until then.

·What was your first piece published?

The first and only piece I’ve had published so far is The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, which was released in November last year.

 ·What character is most like you?

My main character, Nikki Landry, is actually playing the part of me at that age.  I did make her a little braver than I was though, because I always wanted to know what was out on that island and wasn’t brave enough to find out.

·What was the first story you wrote as a child?

Actually, I never wrote anything as a child. Being raised in the bayous, I didn’t have much access to books, except at school, so I didn’t do much reading either.  A neighbor friend had comic books, which I devoured.

 ·Do you have any advice for anyone writing a book?

Yes, never give up on your story, even when it seems it is going nowhere. Sometimes you have to get your characters to behave so that you can finish the book.

 ·Who is your favorite author?

It depends on the genre. As for kid’s books, I love Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. Voice is very important in writing, and they have it down pat.

 ·What technique do use write (make it up as you go, plan it)?

I usually make it up as I go. This year I am trying to be more of a planner, and so far is isn’t working.

 ·What piece are you working on now?

I am working on a couple of middle grade books right now. One is a sequel to Ghost Dog Island, where the characters encounter an old pirate ship out in the bayous.

 ·What is your favorite book?

I don’t know that I have a favorite book. As for middle grade, which I read a lot of, I really enjoyed “Leaving Gees Bend” by Irene Latham, because I like reading books based on actual places and people.

 ·Did you receive any awards for a book of yours?

I did receive a couple of awards for unpublished works. A book I’m still working on, “The Zone of Fear,” won first place in the Tennessee Mountain Writers, Inc. contest in 2010, in the “Writing for Children” category. My newly released book, “The Legend of Ghost Dog Island” won second place in that same contest. It is very exciting when something you wrote gets recognized.



Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her fisherman father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crabbing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels something is watching her from a nearby island.

Nikki learns of a local legend about something sinister inhabiting those swamps, stealing the souls of dogs…which would explain the strange howling sounds. Papa reassures her there’s nothing on the island but gators and snakes. He would know. He’s spent his whole life trapping and fishing those bayous and swamps. But Nikki and her new friends uncover strange happenings from years ago that may have started the old legend, and town folks aren’t talking. Then her beloved beagle goes missing.

Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the real truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island…before it’s too late.


Mama closed the door behind her. She knew once Papa got going on one of his tales, there was no stopping him.

The last traces of daylight seemed to disappear in a hurry, as if Papa had ordered it away. The glass globe of the kerosene lamp clinked. He touched a match to the wick and adjusted the flame until it filled the room with pale light and gray shadows. He motioned me to sit next to him on the worn sofa.

I hurried to his side, not knowing what spooky legend he was going to tell this time. But as scared as I’d get, I always enjoyed hearing ’em.

Mais, there’s a legend told around these parts.” That was how they always started out. He leaned down so the light from the lamp made eerie shadows across his face.

I rolled my eyes, determined not to get spooked this time.

“Folks say there’s something living out yonder,” he went on. “Legend has it the monster lures dogs to the island using evil spells. Then at the peak of the full moon, they’re turned into hollow spirits with glowing eyes.” Papa put on his eeriest sneer. “That there’s Ghost Dog Island.”

“Ghost dogs?” I pulled my knees up against my chest and wrapped my arms around ’em tight. My mind conjured up images of a huge monster with drippy fangs and dogs with bright yellow eyes. I thought about the feeling I had of something watching us. Was there really a creature out there? Did it have its eye on my best buddy? I shuddered.

IEEEOWWWOOOO-oooooooo! The howling sound echoed again across the bayou.








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13 Responses to Author Interview: Rita Monette

  1. Vonnie says:

    Rita, what is your next book and when is it coming out?

  2. Sara Daniel says:

    Great interview, Rita and Gaea! Rita, I love your illustration. I so admire anyone who can draw more than stick figures!

  3. How exciting, Rita, that there is going to be a sequel to Ghost Dog! I didn’t know that. Can’t wait to read it because I so enjoyed your first one. Love Nikki and her spunk.

  4. ritamonette says:

    Thanks Gaea for having me. I hope you enjoy the book.
    Cordelia…yes, I am working on that sequel. But you know, those characters aren’t behaving the way I’d like. I need to threaten them with the rugarou! Owwwwwooooo.

  5. sarastinson says:

    Great interview, Rita. I have purchased your book and I am excited about reading it! Nikki seems to be a character I will come to love!

  6. Gaea, thanks for letting us know more about Ms. Monette and Nikki Landry.
    Good interview! I learned some new things about the author.
    I hope you enjoyed the book as much as I did. 🙂

  7. sharonledwith says:

    Rita – if you’re 60ish, then I’m 29ish! You look awesome! I’m with you on trying to plan books, those characters seem to take over from the get-go! Gaea, another fabulour interview, kudos girl!

  8. Wonderful interview. I’ve learned more about Rita. Thanks, Gaea.

  9. ritamonette says:

    Thanks Ladies. Sorry I’m just getting to these comments. Got sidetracked…just like those darned characters of mine. Thanks all for stopping by Gaea’s blog to say hi, and Thank you to Gaea for having me. Good luck on your future interviews….and hope you like my book!

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