Where is Rhonda's 'dream' writing place? What is her favorite part about writing? What FUN ways has Rhonda discovered to promote her books?
Don't miss the answer to my last question. It is truly profound.
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Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I took a course from the Institute of Children’s Literature in 1976, while I was at home recovering from Bronchial Asthma. I submitted my first two stories to Scott Foresman, and received derisive letters from my instructors. They told me submitting was a waste because “publishers do not publish stories from unknown authors, as they have their own stable of writers.”
Surprise! The two grammar stories were published in Scott Foresman’s 1st Grade, Teacher’s Read Aloud Edition (A Questions of Markus, and The Runaway—Peter Period.) This encouraged me to continue writing. Three other grammar stories were accepted, but cut due to book length. I still have the dream that they will all eventually find a home in a children’s storybook.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
I have familial tremors, so freehand writing is out of the question. I love the quiet and beauty which are mine as every morning I look out from my porch to the open water of a very large lake. I often think I will sit down at my desk to read e-mails and then go to the porch to write, but I never get there. Each Spring, I promise myself I will spend every morning on the porch, looking out on the lake and distant shore, listening to the ducks fight in the water, and writing while relaxing. It would certainly be more relaxing.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
I love the way all of the story parts come together into one believable and understandable unit. I enjoy describing scenes and painting pictures with my words. My least favorite part is realizing that when I stop writing for a time, some fleeting thoughts will desert me while I’m ‘back in the real world’. And, once I get away, too often life fights to keep me away.
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
Sometimes, I will see a humorous animal picture, and think “that would make a cute story.” Or, something in life will trigger a memory that I just know would make a great story-line for a book. Or, a scripture will turn on my imagination and I can hear myself explaining the scripture in a devotional.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I set up a booth at school and local events, hand out bookmarks with my book image on one side. I also have books on display in several stores in my small town. The problem is that this small, rural area just doesn't have much potential for book sales. We are moving back to the Dallas area next month, where greater opportunities await, I hope. Currently, a sign expert is creating a large display to use in my booths, so that my booth can compete with the often very decorated and overwhelming booths surrounding mine. I also joined the library’s reading club, and intend to join several of them in the Dallas area. Although I have not had time the past few months to contact radio stations in the Dallas area, they are on my ‘to do’ list. This summer, I read my children’s book to children at two local libraries.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I am compulsive when I get started, and put writing aside while helping my in-laws get settled in a nursing home and renovating their home for us to move into. When we move in, I intend to sit down to write right after breakfast. This is an effort to get the writing done before I become involved with daily life activities.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I have several children’s stories ready to send to my illustrator, but the house renovation took up my resources. I have completed outlines on a couple of inspirational themes, including ideas for a women’s devotional. In addition, outlines for my own story are complete. (I have a medical issue which takes up a lot of my time at the moment, but several people have encouraged me to tell my story. It would easy to do, but I have difficulties with my publisher and this story needs an agent to help get it out. Right now, I have neither the money nor the contacts to go forward with the project, and I will not go the self-publishing route again. My writing engine is, at this moment, somewhat stalled.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
I do not believe the author is a good judge of his or her own talent. Even the best and most “talented” writers occasionally find doubt floating to surface. I read often of the self-doubt that famous authors still encounter. I would encourage you to “just sit down and start.” You have seen poor writing throughout your life. You cannot be as bad as some of them, and they made money off of their “bad.” Why not sit down and write to those you know and trust? All writing is just talking to others. A hearing impaired person “talks” to others. His/her medium is hands. Your medium is the written word. Just talk to your friend. After you share your message, there will be time to make sure it is grammatically appropriate for publishing. Do not worry about it now. Editing comes later. Just talk in your own language, without concern that it is or is not a product of talent. The talent is often in your words and the atmosphere you create with those words. I often hear, “It is not rocket science.” That is true, although you are utilizing the science of your own mind and personality. So, take off, explore the written universe, and see where it takes you.
Thank you, Rhonda!
Learn more about Rhonda:
facebook: rhonda.r.walker or