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Rita Woods Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Remembrance (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rita Woods is a literary fiction author from Chicago best known for her debut novel “Remembrance.” Woods was born and raised in Detroit but after leaving for college, she has been back only for brief visits even though she still loves her home city. As a teenager she went to Purdue for her undergraduate degree, then medical school at Howard University, then a residency at Creighton University before she started her medical practice in Chicago. Woods is currently a Medical Director and physician of Wellness Center in Chicago. She is the mother to two college-age children, the grandmother to one granddaughter, and three cats which makes her just one shy of being called an old cat lady. She is a confessed lover of fantasy, magic, and history and combines all of these loves in her writing. She dreams of one day being able to write in a tiny cabin in the woods surrounded by mystery and mist. She currently lives with her husband and their cats in suburban Chicago.

As a child, Rita Woods was a voracious reader and would read almost everything he could get his hands on. She loved reading “Little Women” which he has read dozens of times. She also read “Tuck Everlasting” and “Nancy Drew” but was also drawn to darker novels such as “Black Boy,” “Rebecca,” “Native Son,” and “Marjorie Morningstar.” Among the many authors from whom she finds inspiration include Gloria Naylor, Bernadine Evaristo, Toni Morrison, Tayari Jones, and Marlon James. Rita is also obsessed with JK Rowling and particularly loves her social and political activism, and her story of perseverance. Reading as a child, she had always wanted to become an author but her educator parents would finally get their way. She was convinced to pursue a career in medicine and got a real job. However, she never stopped writing but it was not until her sons started schooling that she had the time to consider writing once again. She published her debut novel “Remembrance” in 2020 to much critical acclaim. Even though Rita still works as a physician, she has said that her profession has also played a role in her storytelling. As a doctor, she has to listen to the stories that patients tell. They have to say when their problems started, why they are at the doctor’s office, and what they are feeling. This has increased her powers of observation and the ability to pick up on cues and these skills are easily transferable into her writing.

The idea for her debut novel “Remembrance” came to Woods while she was visiting a friend. On the bookshelf was a book that had the title “Quantum Mechanics for Dummies” which was very strange for her artsy friend. While it was a supposedly dumbed-down version of Quantum Mechanics, she could not make head or tails of it except for an interesting part about parallel train tracks and two trains on them. She had a very familiar experience of what it felt when a train starts moving on the tracks. Rita had an unexpected what if moment. According to the novel, space and time are relative and she wondered if somebody could manipulate their perception of reality by making it relative. The novel was the product of her epiphany as she wondered what if perception was relative and a character could manipulate time, velocity, and time. Having recently been at the Ohio cemetery that was believed to have been a stopover for Underground Railroad slaves, she decided to combine the two concepts. Her lead was a woman who could control space and time and exist in a parallel universe which is also an Underground Railroad stopover. “Remembrance” has been compared to the novels of the likes of Tara Conklin and Christina Baker even though she has said she is significantly influenced by “Bailey’s Café” and “Mama Day” by Gloria Naylor and the Morrison novels.

Just like many of her contemporaries, the publishing of her debut was not an easy journey. She started writing the novel in 2012 and it took seven years of submitting to publishing houses and getting rejections. All this time, she would get publishers who said that they loved the manuscript but could not figure out what genre to classify it in. It had elements of fantasy, historical fiction, women’s fiction, and Black literature, making it a tough nut to crack for the marketing team. Most publishers passed on the novel purely because marketing had a hard time with it. She continued writing and was deep into another manuscript when she got a call saying Forge/Tor was interested in publishing “Remembrance.” Within a few months, she was doing the necessary edits and rewrites and in January of 2020, she had her first published novel.

“Remembrance” the debut novel by Rita Woods is a multi-generational tale that tells of how to protect loved ones dealing with dreadful circumstances. A little magical realism and magic never did anyone any harm but what will happen when magic reaches its zenith. It is a beautiful and emotional story of several generations of women connected by unique supernatural powers and tragedy. One of the most secret stopovers on the Underground Railroad is the small town of “Remembrance.” Any slave that can find and make it there is sure to get the protection and support they need to live as free men. But the protection provided by Remembrance wanes as Mother Abigail’s capacities begin to fade. The world is changing and the small town is very much needed by the Underground Railroad, but no one has been identified to take over her responsibilities and mantle. She has magical abilities but whoever will take over from her needs to know where to get these powers. But knowing when and where they are needed will also be a huge headache. The characters do the necessary even though the consequences of their actions may be far-reaching. Woods writes a novel revealing the worst and the best aspects of all of us. Whether it is about getting along with the uncertainty of people with who we have never gotten along or just people we do not like, it is all put forth clearly and succinctly in the Remembrance.

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