Writing becomes a bootheel family affair

Writing becomes a bootheel family affair
By: Lauren Keith
Often, families pass down certain traits, even hobbies.  For one Southeast Missouri family, a certain skill has turned into a family tradition. Grandmother Rita Kayser has written several books, but during her last publishing, her granddaughter also picked up the skill.  Now, each of them has published books, making writing quite a family affair.
"I was telling her how our fingers bled when we picked cotton, and she got this puzzled look on her face and said, but grandma how can cotton be hard?" said Rita Kayser.
That question alone sparked the title and most of the storyline in Rita's latest book. She says all four of her granddaughters couldn't hardly believe the strenuous work that goes into picking cotton by hand, nor that their grandmother used to pick it herself, on the family farm in Campbell, back in 1953.
"I'm glad the granddaughters don't have to work that hard now," says Rita.
"All of it is just so different. it's hard to comprehend. People my age and younger doing things I never dreamed of, even adults don't work that hard now," said granddaughter, Megan.
Megan certainly learned a lot as she read her grandmother's book. It even inspired her to write her own novel! However, you can definitely see a sign of the times between the two books. Megan's self-published fictional book, "Finishing What I didn't Start," centers around the life of a teenage witch.
"My inspiration is I have to much imagination and not enough to do with it," she said.
While the settings are different in each book, there are similar themes that do stand the test of time. 
"The protagonist is a nine year old girl and she has same problems, even though she lived in a different world," says Rita.
"My main character goes through the same problems all girls have even though she's a witch," says Megan.
Between writing, both grandmother and granddaughter often call one another and bounce story ideas off of each other. As they continue learning about one another's life, they think anyone growing up in the Heartland will also learn some local history in Rita's book.
"I think it's true to the era and the area," she says.
It's also true the Kayser family now has two books that bind them together for a lifetime. If you'd like to read either of the Kayers' books, you can contact Rita in Marquand.  She says her address and number are unlisted, but she has the agreement with the postmaster.  Just send a request by mail to:
Rita Kayser, author  Marquand, MO  63655
Meanwhile, you can buy Megan's book on-line.  Just log onto amazon.com or publishamerica.com.