I "met" her when I'd read her book Marshal's Promise and I'd visited her website. I've also gotten to know her through Facebook and Twitter. I'm thrilled to be able to have her with me today for my first ever author interview!
So without further ado, here's Rhonda!
Dawn: Rhonda, thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi Dawn. I guess the first thing you should know about me is that I’m a wife, next May I will be married 30 years. I have two children and three grandchildren. I love to read and I love making beaded jewelry. I have a dog named Sheba and right now I have 7 outdoor cats.
No I’m not a “cat woman” but someone thinks I’m really nice and left a mama cat who had babies, babies are pretty wild, mama has moved on and I’m still feeding the babies. LOL, one of those outdoors cats is my old cat Sunny and two of them are brand new Siamese kittens that I received for my birthday last month. I guess that is enough about me for now but feel free to ask me anything.
Dawn: Congratulations on the 30 years. That is an accomplishment in this day and time. :) Seven cats? I only have the one, my sweet Kiki, and I love having her around. So tell me, how did you become a writer?
I’ve always loved telling stories and when I got old enough to write, I started writing :)
Dawn: Ok I'll admit that I discovered your books through Reader Service, and Marshal's Promise was the first one I read of yours. Since then I've also read Midwife's Legacy. Both of those books are very different. How did the idea for Marshal's Promise come about?
The Marshal’s Promise was originally called, Jesse’s Girl. My husband loves that Bruce Springsteen song. So he and I brainstormed and came up with the beginning of The Marshal’s Promise.
Dawn: Well I certainly enjoyed it! In fact my copy is somewhat battered! Now tell me about Midwife’s Legacy. Was it easier or harder to write a story/novella with others as part of this book ? What went into the deciding factors of writing a generational story? Were you and the others given the topic – ie a family journal handed down among the generations – or did you collaborate to come up with that end?
This collection was very fun to write. My co-authors are wonderful ladies who are very easy to work with. I was invited into this collection by my agent. When I came into it, the basic idea of the journal and the fact it was a generational story were already decided. I was given the freedom to come up with my own story and I really wanted my heroine to travel the Oregon Trail. My co-authors agreed and away we went.
Dawn: I loved playing the computer game of Oregon Trail as a child, though I think my entire wagon train typically died before reaching Oregon. Watching the trail come alive through the eyes of your heroine was very fun.
I have found several times when I've finished a book or even a movie, that I don't want to say goodbye to the characters. That could very well be one of the reasons I love Harry Potter fan fiction so much, I don't have to say goodbye to the characters. Is it ever hard for you to say goodbye to your characters?
Funny you should ask this, Dawn. I just finished, today, Hannah’s story. She’s Rebecca’s friend from The Marshal’s Promise. Saying goodbye to her and Daniel is hard. I came into my office a few minutes ago prepared to go back to Granite, Texas, the setting of her story. I’m hoping that they will be in my next story but that is up to the editor at this point.
Dawn: I'm looking forward to reading it! Since I know you are one of my followers here on my blog, you know I read pretty much everything, though I'd have say my personal favorite genre is that of historical fiction. Do you prefer to write in a historical setting or a contemporary one?
I prefer historical. My books are steeped with history but I like to think they have that old, western feeling.
Dawn: Both of the ones I've read have that feeling!
I've read some books that have been really good, the author's drawn me in from the first. And I've read others that I've struggled to finish, or just didn't finish because I wasn't drawn into the story. What do you think makes a good book?
Good characters and a touch of humor. I love books that when I am finished reading them, I feel like I know them and don’t want to say goodbye. I hope my readers have that feeling after every book.
Dawn: I know I felt that way after reading Marshal's Promise. It's probably why my copy is rather battered. I know of several authors whose books make me feel like I've made a great friend. There's even been times that I've been known to cry at the happy ending. :)
I"m always wanting to know what authors have coming out soon? What do you have coming out soon that we can look forward to?
Groom By Arrangement is coming out in February 2013. It is Eliza Kelly’s story from The Marshal’s Promise.
Dawn: Sweet! I'll add it to my drop-everything-and-read-when-it comes-out list!
With all of this writing, what do you do for fun and to relax?
I read and I bead. Those two things are both relaxing and fun for me. My husband and I also enjoy geocaching.
Dawn: One of my best friends enjoys going geocaching as well.
I'm curious, who or what inspires you?
I don’t know that there is one person who encourages me to write more than any other. I have lots of friends and family who cheer me on. I’m thankful for each and every one of them. Even you have inspired me to keep writing because you have enjoyed my books.
Dawn: Awww, thank you for the sweet words. I have enjoyed your books. Do you have a favorite book, tv show, song, movie, etc.?
How Fletcher Hatches An Egg is my favorite children’s book from when I was a child. Right now my favorite tv show is The Big Bang Theory, Favorite movie – Children’s Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, Adult While You Were Sleeping, My favorite colors are pink and blue, my favorite ice cream is chocolate and my favorite candies are M&M’s and Gummi Bears. Did you notice I have a sweet tooth?
Dawn: I love the Big Bang Theory! And yes you do seem to have quite the sweet tooth!
Since this is the time of year when the holidays are upon us, what is your favorite Christmas (or any holiday) memory?
My husband proposed to me under my parents Christmas tree.
Dawn: That's romantic! Engaged at Christmas and married in May! I'm sure there's a story to that proposal too.
I ask a similar question to this one at my skin care classes, only I ask about what makeup item the guests can't live without, so here's the more traditional question. If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have 3 things with you (items that will help you leave the island not included) what would you have with you?
My Bible, my toothbrush, and James (my husband)
Dawn: I like those choices!
Our time's almost up, so I have just one more question for you today, what advice do you have for others who want to write?
Don’t listen to Nay Sayers. They are the people who make fun of you because you write, the ones who tell you “you will never get published” and the ones who call your writing “a hobby.” Be true to yourself.
Dawn: Thank you so much for stopping by Rhonda! I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit more.
If you want to find out more about Rhonda's books, check out my reviews of Marshal's Promise and Midwife's Legacy.
I'm going to give away a copy of Marshal's Promise by Rhonda to one lucky commenter. No, I'm not giving away my battered copy. I will give away a copy of either the Kindle version or the mass market paperback, winner's choice. Either one will be shipped via Amazon (so you'll get sooner than the prizes I still need to mail out from the last few months. Sorry girls. They're going out TODAY!). To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment here. Gain a second entry, leave another comment telling me you follow my blog. You can gain additional entries for leaving comments on ANY of my book reviews. You can find the entire group here. Comments on the reviews may be made daily for additional entries. At least one of your comments on this post must have your email address so that I can reach you. Use this form myname(dot)hotmail(dot)com
Ends on Friday night November 23. I'll pick a winner on Saturday morning.
As I will not be around most of the day today, I will respond to comments when I finally do get home. I'm pretty sure that if Rhonda's schedule allows her to, she'll respond as well.
edited to add picture of the book cover.
edited to add picture of the book cover.