Friday, June 29, 2012

The Other Side of Darkness: An Interview with Author Linda Wood Rondeau

On tour now is Author Linda Wood Rondeau with her book, The Other Side of Darkness. Please join me in welcoming Linda! Don't forget to comment for a chance to win!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Like most writers, I was born holding a pencil. I loved to tell stories to the younger children. I suppose I told a lot of stories to my parents to avoid getting into trouble. I knew from a young age I wanted a career in writing. However, I became caught up in a social work career and raising a family and put my dream on hold. When my youngest left the nest, I thought about writing. My husband bought me a set of golf clubs and the dream was put aside yet again. One day, I realized if the dream were ever to be realized, it was up to me to make a drastic change. Becoming a writer would not “just happen.” I don’t recommend everyone leave the day job, but for me, it was necessary. Now I have one book published, The Other Side of Darkness, a 2012 Selah Award winner for best first novel. My second novel will be out July 1, a futuristic political thriller, America II: The Reformation.

It's always nice to see dreams become a reality. What is your favorite non-writing pastime?

Give me a driver, a putter, and a seven iron, put me on a golf course—and I’m in heaven.

I hear golfing is a nice way to wind down. So tell us, what has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

I started out writing essays, poems, short-stories, and whatever I could to convince a magazine to publish me. I tried self-publishing a non-fiction book, and found that venue unsatisfactory. My love is fiction. I love cadence, imagery, snappy dialogue, painting pictures with words. However, I had to learn that none of that matters. What is most important is the story. All the elements on the page must support the story or they are merely words, a deterrent to the theme and message of the story. I had to learn to let go of superfluous paragraphs, no matter how well they were written. The end results were tighter books, and more appealing to readers.

Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your work day?

I took early retirement a decade ago, but have managed part-time jobs in the interim while trying to build actual money from my writing. I have found, though, these part-time experiences, just like my social work career, have added depth and understanding to my writing. No experience is wasted effort if we can apply it to our writing. One of my favorite pt jobs was a cashier at a local Kohls store. What a great pool to meet potentially interesting characters for future reference.

What inspired the idea behind your book?

Before moving to Jacksonville, Florida, I lived in upstate, New York just north of the Adirondack Mountains. Lots of wildlife in those hills. I wanted to write a story about a lawyer who becomes stranded in a quirky Adirondack Town. Samantha Knowles came to life in the attorneys I met in my work as a social worker. I also knew from this experience that a carefully constructed conviction can be overturned in a heartbeat—that justice is sometimes offered up to the highest bidder or manipulated by ambition or lofty goals. I needed a ploy to have my heroine stranded where God could work on her “dark” place. A friend of mine showed me pictures of her daughter’s car after she hit a moose. The damage was so severe, it was a miracle her daughter came out uninjured. Then I knew that this was my catalyst. The rest is history.

Do you have a favorite character in The Other Side of Darkness? Who and why?

Difficult to choose, but I think I’m partial to Aunt Sadie. Though comical, she is a good hearted woman who has a few “dark” places of her own she had to come through. She becomes the mythic mentor to help the heroine on her journey.

Will you share a short preview of the book?


Ooh, that's chilling! Do you share any personality traits with any of your characters?

I think in some ways, I share personality traits with many of my characters. I use humor to cope, as Samantha does. I am a mentor to many people, like Aunt Sadie. I held a short stint as a teacher, like Zach, and I have bouts with deep self-doubt, like Jonathan.

Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?

I am easily distracted so I do the bulk of my writing in my office. I don’t even turn on the cd player or music through the computer as I am too sensitive to rhythm. Hard to write while you’re dancing.

As a multi-genre author, how do you juggle going back and forth between the different genres? Do you have a preferred genre?

The Other Side of Darkness is suspense with romantic elements. It is not technically classified a romantic suspense since it does not follow the typical romantic formula, and Samantha has two love interests. The previous books I have written are: sci-fi, speculative, YA, contemporary, straight romance, and biblical fiction. I’ve heard all the arguments about branding. As one marketer put it, “branding is not necessarily genre.” What I have discovered is that all my books, regardless of genre will treat the reader to the following elements: ethereal, humor, history, crisis resolution, and a little romance in the mix.

Do you have plans for a new book?  Is this book part of a series?

I am working on a second Adirondack suspense with romantic elements called Tree Eaters. Tree Eaters is the translation of Adirondack Mountains. The Native Americans ate the bark off trees. The reasons why are up to speculation. 
What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?

When I first felt the call to write, I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2001. That year, I received The Writer of the Year Award. It was a monumental experience for me as it cemented my desire to be a writer. Eleven years later, again at a Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I received the prestigious industry-wide inspirational Selah Award for best first published novel. The years in between have held many discouragements. This award has once again propelled me forward.   

What type of heroine do you like best?

Sassy, humorous, independent, intelligent and educated.

Is there any place and time in the world and in history that you would like to visit?

Several places come to mind. In America II, the setting is split between Western America and what is referred to as the Highland Province or old Scotland. I would love to visit the British Isles. In the west, I have scenes taking place in former New Mexico, called the Sierra Province. I would love to visit Carlsbad Caverns.

Does where you live or have places you’ve been influenced your work?

I have found the Adirondacks highly inspirational for writing. It’s a setting that takes on a character of its own.

Did you face many challenges in getting your first book published?

Plethora. I could paper my walls with rejections. I had an agent for seven years. There is a saying from the Bible, “He who endures until the end will be saved.” I sometimes thing, this crazy industry we’re in is about longevity, the willingness to stay the course regardless of the tidal waves that might discourage us. Ride them out and eventually success will find you. 

What wonderful choices! How do you unwind after a long writing session?

Generally, when I need a brain break, I go shopping or take a walk. I try to treat myself to a round of golf on occasion as a reward for hard work. I try to avoid eating, but I must admit—a big bowl of ice-cream topped with fudge syrup never fails to rejuvenate.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

Don’t spend too much time editing while you’re writing your book. Let it flow. Separate yourself as editor from yourself as creator.

Good advice Linda!

The Book

Haven: a perfect vacation spot filled with mystery and romance except for a killer bent on revenge.

Manhattan prosecutor Samantha Knowlton is stranded in a quirky but intriguing Adirondack town. But she must return to NYC to repair the unraveling case against convicted child killer, Harlan Styles.

Teacher Zack Bordeaux fears he is doomed to a life of mediocrity if he remains in Haven but would be willing to stay if it means a life with Sam.  

Landscape artist Jonathan Gladstone feels bound to an estate he both loathes and loves, haunted by the deaths of his wife and son until he falls in love with a spirited attorney and rediscovers his artistic passion.  

These three, betrayed and betraying, must find their way from the darkness of broken hope to the light found only in Christ, our surest haven.   
  


An Excerpt

The mountainous mammal came from nowhere, a mammoth brown blur that stood directly in front of her. Sam screamed and braked, but too late. The wheels locked, and Lucille screeched forward, a two-ton bullet. Metal crunched and glass blasted. Sam’s head snapped forward then backward, a limp appendage as Lucille slid down the embankment, the crumbled, blood-spattered moose stuck to her hood. Car, driver, and beast came to a rest at the bottom of a ditch in the middle of God-only-knows-where-I-am-ville. 

Fingered antlers pressed against Sam’s right shoulder. She could do nothing except mentally assess the damage and raise her left hand to the hole that was once a window. A sharp pain shot up her leg, and Sam noticed a large piece of glass jutting from her upper thigh. Instead of emitting a scream, she squealed with delight. “Yahoo. I can feel! And you can talk, too. Though no one’s going to hear you except that thing on your hood. Hey you, if you’re alive, say something.”



Where can your readers find you?

Blogs:  This Daily Grind  http://lindarondeau.blogspot.com/

The books is available on amazon.com, books-a-million, barnes & noble, christianbook.com, and wherever ebooks and softcover books are sold.


Comment for a chance to win a $10 Pelican Book Group GC!

10 comments:

  1. I loved the interview and will probably love the book as well. Suspense is a genre I like but have found some books are ruined if the romance takes over the suspense so I am betting this book will have the right mixture to keep the suspense going and maybe choosing between two men fits the suspense category as well. Thanks for inviting us.
    Elaine
    Laineslite@ gmail .com

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  2. Thank you for joining us today Linda!

    I have to agree with Lainey--the book sounds great and I too enjoy a good suspense novel when the romance doesn't overpower the story.

    Linda--interesting tidbit about Tree Eaters and the Adirondacks.

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  3. I like the same kind of heroine that you do, Linda: Sassy, humorous, independent, intelligent and educated.

    I have this image of a newborn baby clutching a pencil and her mother saying..."THAT'S what that pain was!" LOL.

    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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  4. @ Catherine Lee

    A friend of mine who is a Native American said the tribal people used to use bark for seasoning, too.

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  5. Thanks for all you kind words and support

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  6. Looking forward to reading your books!

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  7. @ Melody...thank you and I hope you'll enjoy them.

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