Today I'm hosting Linda Rondeau for her virtual book tour of her novel The Other Side of Darkness, a Christian thriller novel!
Why and when did you begin writing?
I’ve always written. In elementary school, my teachers often had me read my stories to the younger children. In high school, I write articles and poems for the high school journal. I continued to write as a hobbyist for several decades, ignoring the deepest part of me that wanted to write professionally. I put the dream on hold to become wife and mother and social worker, never believing I could do all those things and still write. Finally, a few decades later, I realized, if I were ever to be a professional writer, I had to make a drastic change. I retired. Though I published many articles, short stories, and poems, as well as a column for our local newspaper, it took eleven years for my first book to be published. Was the worth the journey? Absolutely. This year, The Other Side of Darkness, received the Selah award for best first novel.
What inspired you to write your book?
A thirty-year veteran of human services, I have seen first hand the devastating results that child abuse can have even into adulthood. I wanted to write a book where a character triumphs over these long-impacting experiences. A former resident of upstate New York, I have always loved the Adirondack Mountains for the beauty and history. So I combined the two ideas.
How did you come up with the title?
Interestingly, my working title was Dawn’s Hope. My publisher requested the title based on a line in the book, where a character is in prayer, seeking the Lord’s guidance. He feels the Lord tell him to follow. “To where?” Zack asks. God says, “To the other side of darkness.”
What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?
We are composites of our life experiences, and that holds true for writers. I have loved reading all kinds of books. I think probably C.S. Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity, had the most profound affect on me during a time when I went through my own “dark place” looking for light. In this book, Lewis demonstrates the strong argument for God’s existence through pure logic. During this same time frame, I read Fritz Rednoir’s book, How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious. Both books, in addition to the Bible, helped me travel from darkness to light.
If I’m able to travel, I prefer a first hand experience with the setting. I utilize library, books, and the Internet for research information. For issues relative to career or profession, I interview people of that profession. In The Other Side of Darkness, I had personal experience with court issues and with attorneys as well as child abuse and post traumatic stress.
Did you base any of your characters on real people? Somewhat, but very loosely. My characters are a composite of many people. Samantha is a little like me…she uses humor to cope. I have a friend that I call Mountain Man, who lived in a cabin in the mountains with no amenities for several years. In some ways, Jonathan Gladstone is patterned after him.
What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?
The most exciting part of becoming published is a feeling of validation that the years of growing your craft has paid off. However, I urge people not to depend upon publication to validate you as a person. I once complained when publication was so long in coming. “What good does it do anyone if all my words never make it out of my computer?” My husband said. “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does that mean the tree’s life was without significance? Perhaps God wants you to write only for Him.” Once I got passed the egotism of thinking my life only had worth if I were published, God was finally able to let me experience the joy of publication. The hardest part? Marketing. The creative portions of the brain and the business or logistical part of the brain are on opposite sides. Since one side is generally dominate over the other, most writers lack the drive to be business managers. Yet, it is a necessary part of this industry. I’m learning new things every day.
Do you have any other books planned in the future?
My second book, America II: The Reformation, a futuristic political thriller written under the name, L.W. Rondeau, will be released July 1. I am also working on a second Adirondack inspirational suspense with romantic elements called Tree Eaters. The word Adirondack is the Native American word for tree eaters. The indigenous peoples ate tree bark for sustenance.
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them? I like all my characters. They all have foibles, but they all have redemptive qualities too, even my villain, Harlan Styles. I am saddened at the downward progression his continued rejection of God takes him.
What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?
Do not rush. Let your craft grown naturally an in its own good time. An orchid takes seven years to bloom. An elephant gestation period is two years. Some parts of nature take longer to develop than others. Do not set your clock by someone else. Too often, writers are so eager to get published, they rush out to self publish, often with devastating results. If you choose to self-publish, a legitimate alternative to more traditional publishing, do so not out of impatience but because it is the right avenue for you at this time.
Just for fun:
What are your ten most favorite things?
Spending time with God
A walk on the beach holding my husband’s hand
Hugging my children and grandchildren
Climbing a mountain
Exploring a new golf course
Reading a new book
Sipping coffee on my patio and watching the squirrels frolic
Petting my cat
Watching a good move
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read, watch a movie, shop, go golfing, or play with my cat.
Do you have any pets?
Duffer is now twelve years old. He is a lot of company, and I have a bed for him in my office which he utilizes every day while I’m writing.
What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?
Anything chocolate…lima beans. I cannot tolerate lima beans.
Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
I do most of my writing in my office. I try to treat my writing professionally. I dress for work and go to work even though its only down the hall. Papa Hemmingway used to put on a particular jacket when he went to “work” writing. I think I’m a little that way myself.
Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
I try to avoid bringing food into the office as I do not want to associate eating with writing like I do eating with television. But I like to have coffee, water and/or juice.
If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?
When my oldest boy was five, we used to go on pretend safari’s while his younger siblings took their naps. Someday I hope to go on an actual safari with him. Not to hunt but to see the African wild before it totally disappears.
What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?
My favorite subjects were reading, English, and history. Although I aced Algebra, I nearly flunked geometry. Logic defies me. In college, it was philosophy.
What book are you reading right now?
I just finished Ray Blackston’s Par for the Course…a very entertaining read. I plan to read Jim Rubart’s book, Rooms, next.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed
I hate sitting. Go figure.
Linda will be awarding one $10 GC to http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop during the tour as well as to the host with the most comments.
Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win!
About the Book
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.
Spaghetti legs, Daddy called them, spindly appendages that kinked when stressed—like now.
Samantha Knowles leaned against the table for support as Bailiff Don Hunter came to the front of the courtroom. “All rise.” Judge Normandy entered, his limp necessitating a much longer plod from his chamber to the bench. Soon, the wait would end—three years of sleepless nights, endless days of preparation, postponements, and courtroom theatrics by defense attorneys. After three interminable years, Justice would now show its face.
As the judge took his bench, the crowd silenced to await his summation. Sam glanced at the defendant’s table where a calm Harlan Styles sat, a wart on the cheek of humanity, an insulated icicle against the rising heat, tried and convicted—the rest up to Normandy’s guillotine.
She fingered her notes, though she didn’t need to see them—the image of Kiley’s tiny, battered body tattooed on Sam’s brain, a brazen scar, indelibly etched on her heart.
Judge Normandy spewed his rhetoric—penal codes entwined with case facts, cold, distanced from the victim, yet succulent to Sam’s ears. In spite of their dry, unflavored essence, she feasted on his words—each pursuant finding heaped upon the other and topped with the last morsel, “The court can find no other just rendering than life imprisonment.”
Victory should taste better, like syrup over pancakes—not this metallic aftertaste.
About the Author
Award-winning author, LINDA RONDEAU, writes for the reader who enjoys a little bit of everything. Her stories of redemption and God’s mercies include romance, suspense, the ethereal, and a little bit of history into the mix, always served with a slice of humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community.
Blogs: This Daily Grind http://lindarondeau.blogspot.com/
Back in the Daze http://backinthedaze-linda.blogspot.com/
Book Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0Me_jOBFVM
The books is available on amazon.com, books-a-million, barnes & noble, christianbook.com, and wherever ebooks and softcover books are sold.
Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win!