When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 28, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of one of our guest’s books below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.
A best-selling, award-winning author, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes out of the box. Her stories are told with poignancy and always splashed with humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. A veteran social worker, the author now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.
JO: Please tell us a little about yourself.
LINDA: Some folks say I am a writer. I suppose since I occasionally get paid to create words on a page, that is what I am. But first and foremost, I am many other things. I am a wife of one very patient man, I am the mother of three wonderful adult children who make me proud every day. I am the grandmother of nine fantastic grandchildren. I am a sister, aunt, cousin and friend. These are the roles that truly define who we are. As for my writing? I write primarily fiction, out of the box and a definite genre blended. Mostly my works are contemporary. I draw upon my thirty years of human services employment to fashion a variety of characters.
JO: What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
LINDA: I was a member of a folk-singing group a few decades ago called Sympatico (Spanish for harmonious). I have done community theater for thirty years and met my husband doing the play, Juno and the Paycock. I am an avid golfer and a closet Golf Channel junkie.
JO: Please describe yourself with three words.
LINDA: Blonde, smart, creative.
JO: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
LINDA: Besides golfing with hubby and watching television, I enjoy the Wii, taking walks, exploring museum, and going to the beach. Oh, and I love to browse. Won’t say shopping because I hate to spend money, but I love to look!
JO: How did you become involved in writing?
LINDA: Like most writers, I was born with a pencil in my hand and loved to tell stories to the younger children on the school bus. I loved writing policies and procedures during my social work career, but I especially enjoyed writing social histories and case studies. I found people fascinating. I wrote church plays and monologues but never dreamed I could be a professional writer until my fifties. I retired early and set my heart toward publication. I did publish many short pieces but it took eleven years before my first novel was published. I am hooked and can’t imagine doing anything else. Hubby said to me, “I don’t care if you make a plug nickel from writing. You’ve found your passion and should stick with it.” Gotta love a man like that.
JO: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
LINDA: I’m fortunate to have my own office. Hubby’s computer and files are in here with me but he mostly uses the laptop on our kitchen counter. He’s happy there as he can computerize and watch television at the same time. Me? I need the quiet away from distractions like music and television. Music makes me want to dance and it’s too hard when you’re typing. And I get lost in story studying when I watch television. Even on the Golf Channel.
JO: Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?
LINDA: No. Titles grow on me. My non-fiction book was first called Proverbs for Moms. Then I invented a caricature called Daisy and rewrote the book as According to Daisy. I changed it to Growing Up with Kids and finally settled on I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children. I’m working on a novel with the same title. My Christmas best seller started out as Tomorrow Will Find Me then became It Really IS a Wonderful Life. Days of Vines and Roses, however, started out with that title and stayed with that title.
JO: Please tell us about Days of Vines and Roses.
LINDA: I wanted to write a book about marriage. One day I was mowing the lawn and cried because the yard was nothing but weeds. I thought about how much we neglect our marriages, letting weeds of personal agendas crowd the blooms of our love. Thus Sylvia and Henry came to life, a romance writer and her publisher husband who have lived apart for fifteen years. Sylvia, aka Lana Longstreet, convinces Henry to move into their Connecticut home for a summer. She is on a tight deadline and their centuries old rose gardens are in peril due to encroaching vines. Henry has never stayed at the home very long, blaming badly behaving ghosts who deride him. No one else sees them. But as the couple move toward reconciliation, the paranormal activity within the home increases…bent on keeping the couple apart. A pending lawsuit threatens to put the final rift between them. Not until they both surrender to God’s higher authority do they find renewal and peace. While the book has significant drama, it is also very humorous.
JO: What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
LINDA: It is my prayer that couples will see themselves through Sylvia and Henry and pledge to prevent the obsessions that nearly destroyed their marriage.
JO: Did you have to do any research for this book?
LINDA: Much. Although I am familiar with both New Haven and Manhattan, I had to research geography. I researched the American War of Independence and Connecticut’s role in the war. I researched Satanic oppression and home possession from Christians who experienced paranormal events in their homes. While doing so, I asked for prayer cover. I researched architectural designs and, of course, gardening, particularly roses. I can’t grow a thing. How I wish I had Charlie Michael’s talent when it comes to restoring gardens.
JO: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
LINDA: I’ve been writing professionally since 2001. I sold my first book eleven years to the date I committed my writing to God.
JO: What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?
LINDA: Be patient. Hone your craft. Build your platform. Network. Join writing groups. Attend conferences. Don’t be in a rush to self-publish.
JO: What are you working on now?
LINDA: I have several projects going on. I am writing a Christmas novella about a Country Western Singer and a journalist who is the caregiver for her autistic brother. I am working on a revision for a contracted book, Songs in the Valley, with Helping Hands Press. I am also working on another Adirondack suspense similar to The Other Side of Darkness, my award-winning book. And I am also working on the novel based on my non-fiction book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children. I am working on compiling my seven-years of columns for a local newspaper into a non-fiction series. In addition to these projects I am working on expanding my multi-author blog, Geezer Guys and Gals, as well as my devotional blog, This Daily Grind.
JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
LINDA: Patience. Patience. Patience. Pray. Pray. Pray. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.
JO: Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
LINDA: I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children is currently rated in Amazon’s top 100 of devotional books and is also available wherever ebooks are sold, including Nook and Kobo.
Days of Vines and Roses is also available in ebook wherever ebooks are sold. Amazon, Nook, and Kobo.
My other books can be linked from my website www.lindarondeau.com.
JO: Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
JO: Any parting comment?
LINDA: Thanks for hosting me today.
JO: Thank you, Linda, for this interesting interview and for graciously offering a copy of one of your books to a winner from those commenting on this blog.
Till next time … keep on smiling.