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Rita Clay Estrada

USA flag (b.1941)
Daughter of Rita Gallagher

aka Rita Clay, Tira Lacy

Rita Clay was born on July 31, 1941 in Michigan, U.S.A.. Her mother was a former Miss Michigan, while her father was a U.S. Air Force pilot. She spentmuch of her early years living in Europe.

Rita married very young with her high school sweetheart, and she stayed at home to raise their four children. In 1977, when she had beenmarried about 20 years, her husband brought her a typewriter and said, "'You said you always wanted to write. Now write." She and her mother, RitaGallagher, accepted the challenge. While beginning to write, they learned how to publish books and made great friendships with other writers.

Rita's first attempt of publication was a long historical romance which was promptly rejected. Her next manuscript, a contemporary romance, was likewiserejected. But her third manuscript, Wanderer's Dream, was sold to SilhouetteBooks. She used her maiden name, Rita Clay for her titles for Silhouette. In 1982, she moved to Dell to write for their Candlelight Ecstasy line and she wrote as Tira Lacy, an anagram of Rita Clay, because Harlequin owned her pen name. In 1985 she resigned from Harlequin and asked to use her fullname, Rita Clay Estrada, on all future books.

Rita, her mother, and 35 other authors, decided that an association was needed to defend their published members. They founded the RomanceWriters of America (R.W.A), that years later persuaded Harlequin books to register copyrights for authors' works and to allow writers to own their ownpseudonyms. Previously, the authors were forced to leave their pseudonym behind if they switched publishing houses, making it more difficult fortheir fans to follow.

R.W.A. signature award, the RITA, which is the highest award of excellence given in the genre of romantic fiction, is named afterher. The R.W.A. also awarded Estrada their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Genres: Romance, Historical Romance
Wise Folly (as by Rita Clay)
   1. Wise Folly (1982)
   2. Recapture the Love (1984)
Gallagher Sisters Saga
   1. Wishes (1997)
   2. Dreams (1998)
   3. Everything About Him (1998)
   Wanderer's Dream (1981) (as by Rita Clay)
   Sweet Eternity (1982) (as by Rita Clay)
   Yesterday's Dreams (1982) (as by Rita Clay)
   Experiment in Love (1983) (as by Rita Clay)
   Summer Song (1983) (as by Rita Clay)
   With Time & Tenderness (1983) (as by Tira Lacy)
   Only for Love (1984) (as by Tira Lacy)
   The Ivory Key (1987)
   A Little Magic (1987)
   To Buy a Groom (1990)
   Twice Loved (1991)
   One More Time (1993)
   The Colonel's Daughter (1993)
   The Twelve Gifts of Christmas (1994)
   Interlude in Time (1994)
   Million Dollar Valentine (2000)
   Blissful (2000)
   Too Wicked to Love (2001)
Non fiction
Omnibus editions
   Visible Heart / Handyman Special / Wanderer's Dream (1992) (with Dixie Browning and Pamela Browning (as by Rita Clay) )
   To Have and to Hold (1992) (with others)
   Valentine Sampler (1993) (with Parris Afton Bonds and Lynda Trent)
   Conveniently Yours (1994) (with Sally Bradford and Bobby Hutchinson)
   Expecting! (1996) (with Barbara Delinsky and Michelle Reid)
   Bedazzled (2002) (with Jayne Ann Krentz and Vicki Lewis Thompson)

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