To make an rpm from a source tarball, you need to write an rpm spec file. Deb probably has something similar.
For the full documentation on writing rpm spec files, check out the Documentation links at the RH website, and download a copy of Max-rpm (700+ pages - all you could ever want to know about rpm).
cheat a little. Get checkinstall and use it to install a tarball (choose the option that makes both a binary and src rpm). Then unpack the .src.rpm and inspect the spec file to see how they're written.
do the same with any .src.rpm.
The spec file tells rpm what to do with the tarball and the files within. Max-rpm also goes into considerable depth on how to construct the build tree to make the tarball.
Go read. I wish you success. It's a trip the first time you get it to work.