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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Welcome Linda Wood Rondeau to "An Author Speaks"

Award winning author, Linda Wood Rondeau is a native of Central New York, graduating from North Syracuse High School and later Houghton College. She moved to Northern New York where she met and married Steve Rondeau, her best friend in life, and managed a career in human services before becoming a professional writer. Moving from their small rural community, the couple now resides in Jacksonville, Florida. While adjusting to a teeming city presents numerous challenges, the author has discovered that the favorable temperatures allow her to follow another great passion--golf, a sport often mentioned in her books. Rondeau's fiction, while containing humorous elements, hits home for those suffering with psycho-social issues. Drawing upon her more than 25 years in human services, Rondeau tackles subjects like post traumatic stress disorder, autism, child abuse, depression and marital conflict.



What five words describe you?

Adventurous. Curious. Creative. Loyal. Disorganized.

What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?
 
Writers always have multiple projects. One on the front burner ready to serve, one on the side burner, warming up, and one on back burner stewing.

My front burner work is Hosea's Heart. My agent is pitching it around now. It is a contemporary story based on the Book of Hosea. A minister struggles with giving up his fifteen-year search for his runaway wife. When he is about to give up and find romance elsewhere, she reappears. He discovers she is terminally ill. More than that, she is a key witness against a drug czar. The story takes the reader into the underworld of our nation's capital as he questions why God allows him to find her, only to lose her again. It is a story of redemption and healing.

My side dish is Legacy of Regret, an Adirondack Romantic Suspense. A widow, recovering from a neurotic breakdown, helps a former love interest, a college history professor, with his research regarding the impact of Railroad Development on Adirondack History. Their search leads them to solve a 150-year old mystery surrounding the death of the area's wealthiest railroad tycoon and the disappearance of his beautiful young wife.

My back burner dish is Fiddler's Fling, an Adirondack Romance: the story of a young woman who spurned her grass roots of Northern New York and the musical gift God gave her to become engaged to a political rising star. She must return home to care for his ailing father. In so doing, she rediscovers her gift and the man who has loved her since high school.

  Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from
your most recent book?

My most recent book, A Father's Prayer, is about a country singer who returns to his hometown when he learns of his autistic child given up for adoption twelve years ago. Recovered from alcoholism, the singer seeks to connect to a son he has never met. The child's current caregiver is an older adoptive sister, who finds the challenges of supervising a special needs child beyond difficult. The child, currently on probation for petty larceny, is at risk of being removed from her car and placed into a Division for Youth facility.  

For the role of Alexis Jennings, I see Natalie Portman, Hilary Swank or Anne Hathaway. For the role of Ethan Jacobs, I see Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, or Blake Shelton

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Although I write contemporary fiction dealing with social issues, I love C.S. Lewis. I'd have like to have written The Chronicles of Narnia.

 What is the hardest thing about writing?
 
 I think, for me, the on-going difficulty I face with writing, even after receiving awards and being multi-published is the sense that I'm not good enough. My books are not on best seller lists, although my Christmas book, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, continues to do well in its category. I must always surrender the tendency to see my worth as an author by results rather than process. God never promised me wealth or fame from my writing. He did promise "more than I could ever hope or imagine" and that he has fulfilled time and time again.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

My "writer's block" is secondary to physical limitations. I never had a problem with attention deficit toward my writing until I faced cancer treatments about two years ago. Initially, I dealt with "chemo brain" which severely impacted my cognitive abilities. Amazingly, I continued to publish during that time with books that I had previously written. I believe God foreknew I'd have need of them, why they never got published earlier. Thankfully, that is pretty much over. I do continue to suffer from residual memory loss and chronic fatigue which does affect my writing. When my mind won't cooperate with my desire, I find doing other things helpful. I always have non-writing tasks related to my career that require attention. Going for a walk, reading, or watching a movie often helps. I find I must rest during the day and I've learned not to fight it. I accomplish more when I allow my body to regenerate than when I resist the need.

 Where would your dream location be for writing?

Either a beach house, as I love the ocean, or on a mountain top. I live in Florida now where there aren't any mountains, but lots of beaches!

 When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?

I wouldn't say that my characters are structured after people in my life; however, my characters are often inspired by real people. I think Alexis Jennings, A Father's Prayer, is a lot like creative women I've known. My social work experience has introduced me to a plethora of personality types, social issues, and family composition issues. These personalities do have an impact on my character creation. I also draw from personal experience for inspiration. For example, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, has a cache of characters who are involved in the production of the play, It's A Wonderful Life. I met my husband doing Community Theater. Many of the characters in that book were inspired by people I've met in that venue. I think Dorie, is me in many ways, as I was a single parent for several years. 

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

 I read all my reviews and am appreciative of every one of the comments, good or bad. I do not respond to them, good or bad, unless they personally contact me. It is their opinion. I believe an assortment of "scores" is probably realistic expectation. I am leery of books that are all five-star. I equate the reviews to Rotten Tomato scores. It's all subjective. I do laugh when someone gives me a low score. Most often, the reviewer is off the wall. But I respect that individual's opinion, just the same. I receive enough five-star reviews to compensate for the occasional low grade. 

If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?

I'd be an actress. I enjoyed my many years in theater, playing such diverse roles as M'Lynn, Steel Magnolias, an elderly murderess in A Talent for Murder, a transexual in, Murder and Deceit, the Wicked Witch of the West, in The Wizard of Oz, and Sister Hubert, in Nunsense, to name a few.

What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?

Something I've learned in my recent weight loss journey is to not be results oriented. If you keep doing what you know you should do, the results will come in their own good time. It took me 11 years before I received my first book contract. I'm glad I was patient and allowed the craft to simmer. I am a far better writer today than a decade ago. Take time to develop your craft before hurrying into novel writing. Know who you are as an artist.

Where can we buy your work?

All my books, both ebook and print editions, are available at major on-line retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book, and Kobo. Links are available through my website, www.lindarondeau.com.

How can we keep up with you? Blog, Facebook, etc......

My blog, This Daily Grind, is dedicated to helping the reader realize how God ministers to us through the mundane as well as information on social issues often found in my books. I shared my cancer journey and am currently sharing my weight loss journey. As a retired social worker, I am committed to helping readers with relationship issues, or damaged lives secondary to addiction and poor choices, the issues often found in my books.  

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