Larita’s entry in Contemporary Authors, a reference series published by Thomson Gale, that provides information on approximately 112,000 writers in a wide range of media, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, and screenwriting.
ARNOLD, Larita –
PERSONAL: Married; children: Lonnie (son).
ADDRESSES: Home–Highlands Ranch, CO. Office–Silver Messages 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry, P. O. Box 260620, Highlands Ranch, CO 80163-0620. Email–email@example.com
The Fastest Ship (historical romance novel), Lulu Press, 2005.
Larita Arnold’s first novel, The Fastest Ship, is a romance set in 1860. The mid-nineteenth century was a momentous period in the history of naval design and, by extension, the history of the British empire. Prior to that time, the best, fastest fighting ships on the ocean were still made almost entirely of wood. Then the HMS Warrior, the first iron-clad ship, was launched. In Arnold’s tale, the HMS Warrior‘s builder, Captain Jack Ashbury, rescues a young woman from the ocean off the coast of Barbados. The woman has been savagely beaten, which has given her amnesia. The two fall in love on their journey back to England, but eventually must return to the Caribbean–on the HMS Warrior–and discover who she, renamed “Angelica,” really is.
“I got interested in the HMS Warrior because I could see the transition from wind to fuels in the ship design,” Arnold explained on her Web site. “It was fascinating to research how everything had to change: battle strategies, armament, command structure.” Indeed, the author’s careful research was apparent to critics. A Lighthouse Literary Reviews contributor “was extremely impressed with the knowledge and use of the actual ship the HMS Warrior. It fit perfectly into this story of love and lost treasure.” BookReview.com critic Heather Froeschl praised another aspect of the book, noting that “Arnold has created a cast of personable characters that jump off the page and into the reader’s mind.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
SelfPublisher News, November, 2005, “Her Books Will Shine Like Her Jewelry.”
BookReview.com, http://www.bookreview.com/ (October 22, 2005), Heather Froeschl, review of The Fastest Ship.
Lighthouse Literary Reviews, http://www.lighthouseliteraryreviews.com/ (October 22, 2005), review of The Fastest Ship.
PRWeb, http://prweb.com/ (August 13, 2005), “The Fastest Ship Released Globally”; (September 10, 2005), “Modern American Author Explores Nineteenth Century Romantic Ideas in New Historical Novel: The Fastest Ship.”
Larita Arnold Home Page, http://www.laritaarnold.com (November 11, 2005).”
Further Information Provided to Contemporary Authors:
—What first got you interested in writing?
For about 10 years now, I’ve held this extraordinary story in my mind, one that has grown out of topics I adore and have researched for 25 years. I thought people might greatly enjoy it if I took the time to write it all down, and I wanted to know if I had the talent to develop the story into a book-length novel. As a staff engineer, I developed training materials and documents, trained other engineers and was fairly well known for my stories and jokes. Teaching my son’s Sunday School class, I discovered I had the ability to keep a room full of small children spellbound with my stories. So I wanted to develop that gift and see where it might lead me.
There is a magical thing that happens when fingers touch the keyboard. The story actually takes a form, begins to have a life and reality all its own. There is a mysterious energy at work in translating a story into words that is truly fascinating and exciting. I found myself wanting so much to work on the story, because I wanted to know what would happen next. I’ve read that other authors also have that experience. Sounds a little crazy doesn’t it? Perhaps that’s part of the gift of storytelling, that the storyteller enjoys inventing the story as much as the listener enjoys hearing it.
—Who or what particularly influences your work?
People say you should write about the things you know best. That’s not quite right. You should write about the things you adore, things that fascinate you. That cannot be called work. It was the easiest thing in the world to write about the Caribbean, sailing the tall ships, a romantic marriage. Those things captivate me and wove themselves into a story as naturally as they are woven into my own heart and mind.
—Describe your writing process.
I review the work before retiring, and the next morning, there will be something in my mind that will keep me writing for about 90 minutes or so.
—What is the most surprising thing you have learned as a writer?
A rose bud has everything it needs to be a rose, but there is a process at work, supplying the energy for the bud to bloom. I believe each person has innate gifts, but there are processes at work that supply the energy to transform the gift into a finished work. I’ve long believed this, but I didn’t learn that I could actually have faith in those mysterious, magical processes until I wrote The Fastest Ship.
When I started out, I knew the whole plot from start to finish in a broad-brush sort of way, of course. But somehow in the “doing” of the thing, the translation from thoughts to sentences appearing on my computer screen, I triggered some sort of process that carried me along, gave me and the story energy and life, made time fly by without my notice, made me ignore hunger and weariness and other work that had to be done. This story intrigued me for many years, but when I wrote it, it compelled me, entranced me, held me captive until the last page. Revision, extension, rearrangement, editing, it had to be done! And then when the story was finished, and there was nothing left in my soul, heart or mind that hadn’t already appeared in the story, the compulsion left me, and when it did, that magical energy left me too. It was such a joy, and along the way, I feel I must have “bloomed” in all sorts of ways.
I learned how to get the energy to write a book. The energy comes from the process of actually writing a book.
—Which of your books is your favorite and why?
The Fastest Ship – it’s my only one!
—What kind of effect do you hope your books will have?
I hope this book will entertain, and along the way, inform. I hope it will show aspects of a world devoid of technology, a world long gone, never to be seen again. I wanted to write a book where evil is real, but human. I hope my characters are archetypes for love, faith, justice, forgiveness, trust, and that people will feel they know them, intuitively, and like them because they can identify with them.