Saturday, November 28, 2009

SECRETS AND LIES - Rhonda McKnight - Free Book

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I actually think there’s very little of me in my characters. They’re a combination of different people I know, and my bad girl walked right out of my imagination. I had to dig deep to create her persona. But I will say there are elements of my life in the actual stories, more so in Secrets and Lies than my other projects, probably because it was my first novel.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Oh dear, I’m not too quirky, but I did perform Mariah Carey’s song “Hero” on a cruise boat during Karaoke. What was I thinking?

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

That’s an interesting question, and one without an answer. I read what I’ve written sometimes and ask myself the same thing I did after trying to sing “Hero,” what was I thinking? But I can definitely say, I began writing at age six when I crayola-ed my first story about a family of mice that lived under the boardwalk near the beach in my hometown. My high school teachers noticed a little something special about my writing and I was appointed to senior editor of the school paper, so maybe it was then. I really don’t know.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I’ll read just about anything with a lot of conflict. I love anticipating what’s next, even if I guess it before it happens. I’m a big suspense and mystery fan. I love women’s fiction, but it has to include a lot of good, juicy character-driven tension. Victoria Christopher Murray is my favorite author. She’s the queen of purposeful drama. I also don’t miss anything by Sherri Lewis, Pamela Samuels-Young, the writing team of Virginia Deberry & Donna Grant or James Scott Bell.

I love Sherri Lewis and James Scott Bell, too. What other books have you written, whether published or not?

My second novel, An Inconvenient Friend, which I completed this summer, will be released September 2010. My bad girl from Secrets and Lies gets her own book, and she’s so much worse. Prior to my first novel, I wrote nothing. I sold the first book I finished. Isn’t that something?

We'll have to feature you with your new book, too. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I talk to my mother every day. She’s my best friend. When I’m on the edge of losing it, hearing her voice relaxes me. I’m also really good at saying no, which I learned from my mom. When I’m really overrun, I get in my bed at night and I cry and pray, and cry some more and pray some more, and the next day it’s just better. Jesus works it out while I sleep.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

My main characters names come from the Holy Bible. I base their names on the attributes of characters or a theological principle. For example, in Secrets and Lies my main character’s name is Faith and she struggles with her name-sake daily.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Other than potty training my son, I’d have to say finishing and selling a book. It’s dog eat dog in publishing and actually selling is a lot to be proud of.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A gazelle, because it’s lean. I’ve never been lean. I’m sure I had queen size diapers.

What is your favorite food?

Chocolate; cake, ice-cream, candy bars, drinks, you name it. I’m a choc-a-holic. See why I want to be a gazelle?

I love chocolate, too. When James and I went to the movies last weekend, I had Blue Bell Chocolate Covered Cherries ice cream. It's wonderful. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

I’d love to say time was a roadblock, but I can’t. I was unmotivated for a long time. When I finished the last half of Secrets and Lies, I was working about 45 hours a week in an extremely demanding job, nursing a 6 month old baby, running my eldest son to physical therapy 3 times a week, and finishing graduate school. Even with all that going on I wrote 40,000 words in three months. I’m a living testament to the statement we do what we want to do (except sleep of course). I was unmotivated for years and then something happened. I turned 40. That was the year I sorted my life out, separated the chaff from the wheat. I decided it was time for me to walk in my purpose. I really want to hear the Lord say, “Well done.” I also wanted to be a living example to my sons of Proverbs 18:16, that their “gifts would make room for them.”

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Answer for Authors: Publishing is competitive, make sure to continue to do the things you did prior to being published to stay published. Continuing education is critical to your development. You always want to write a stronger book than the last one. Have some type of critique system in place. If you have a strong editor at your publishing house then it can be the editor, but we all know that’s not as common as it used to be. Find someone to look at your work. I know several authors who have no critique system, because they’re overconfident about their writing and it shows in the quality of what they’re publishing.

Answer for Aspiring Writers: Read a lot and then read some more. Write what you enjoy reading, otherwise it won’t be good. I’m a free-lance editor and I can always tell when someone is writing in a genre they don’t read. Invest in craft books. I have 28 of them and have probably borrowed at least another 15 from the library. Read them and learn from them. Apply the things you learn. Join a writer’s group. If you can’t find one, start one. There are bound to be other writers looking for a group also. If you build it, they will come. Lastly, don’t be thin skinned about criticism and critiques. Be teachable. Writing is a gift, but it’s also a craft that has to be learned.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Secrets and Lies is a great story that anyone would enjoy. Although my publisher is Urban Christian, there’s nothing gritty about it. I know sometimes people associate street-life with the word “urban,” but with respect to Secrets and Lies, nothing could be further from the truth. My folks are upper-middle class, and they live in the suburbs. Nothing gritty about them. Here’s a synopsis:

Faith Morgan is sick of begging her husband to spend time with her. Anonymous hang-ups on their home phone have her wondering if he’s sick of her, too. When she discovers he’s been keeping a secret from her around the same time his coworker accuses him of sexual harassment, Faith wonders if she can believe his side of the story.

Pediatric cardiologist, Jonah Morgan is obsessed with one thing, his work. The childhood death of his brother has intensified his desire to heal children, at any cost, including his family's plea to be more involved in their lives. When a nurse accuses him with of sexual harassment, Jonah finds himself at a crossroads. Will he continue to allow the memories from his childhood to haunt him or find healing and peace in a God he shut out long ago?

Sounds wonderful. I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Readers can find me at my website  and on just about every social networking site known to man. They’re listed on my website. I also have a blog for the novel at  and a pretty popular blog at  where I highlight African American Christian fiction.

Thank you, Rhonda, for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book. If you use this link to order, it helps support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Rhonda McKnight said...

Thanks for having me Lena. I appreciate the opportunity to visit your blog. You do such a great job introducing authors.


Rhonda McKnight

iris celeste said...

Great interview Rhonda and much success with your debut novel!

Dmscott said...

congratulation on your debut novel love to win a copy. peace & blessings

Casey said...

Looks interesting. I would enjoy a chance to read it.

Michelle Sutton said...

You know I'll review this if I win. I read the first chapter before it was sold waaaay back when. :)

sharon54220 said...

Great interview and congrats on your debut novel. I would love a chance to win it.

Thanks for the chance.

Rhonda McKnight said...


Way back when it was really bad. LOL. That silence on the other end of the computer was a bell ringing, fix it!

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.

E. Hill said...

Great interview Rhonda. Can't wait to read the novel. God bless you as you touch lives.

Ty said...

Great interview, Rhonda. Looking forward to your book release party.

Lena, I will be checking out your blog more.

Bessie said...

Great interview ~~age 6 wow now you have made your Debut congratulation Rhonda and i wish for you God-speed
many blessing (((hugs Mom ))

Anonymous said...

Great interview! can't wait to read it.

Lady Araujo said...

Great interview. I'd love to read this book.

Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Abi said...


ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

kristen said...

This book sounds wonderful. Thanks for bringing us the interview, Lena!!
Thanks for letting us get to know you Rhonda!

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview. Please enter me. Thank you!

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds a really interesting book - fun title and good setting. I'll look out for it.

KWYV3733 said...

Congratulations Rhonda, on your first novel. I look forward to reading this along with all other novels that follow. I am remembering you in my prayers. May God bless you and keep you in His everlasting care.

Cynthia M.

Anonymous said...

Would love to read Rhonda's book.


Echelon said...

I really loved this selection. Great offering from Ms. McKnight. I recommend adding it to your library! ~Tavares, Echelon Entertainment

Chicki said...

Quote: "I’ve never been lean. I’m sure I had queen size diapers." LOL! I feel you, girl.

Congrats on the new release. Hope it does unbelievably well.

BKDarkchild said...

Congrats Girl!
I'm glad your book is finally published. Hope I win cause I can't wait to read it!

Brenda said...

Count me in on this one!

dance alert at aol dot com

Megan said...

Great interview, Rhonda sounds so fun! I hope to read her book as well.


Rhonda McKnight said...


They may have been King Size.

Cynthia M.

I appreciate your prayers.

I can't thank you enough for your wonderful review.

Kristen and Megan,
It was my pleasure stopping by.

Thanks all for your interest, and good luck winning!

Nancye said...

I would like to win this book! Thanks for that chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Brenda said...

Great interview! PLease count me in on your book contest!

dancealert at aol dot com

Marla said...

Nice interview. Would love a chance at winning this book. Sounds like something I would really enjoy. Thanks!

HollyMag said...

I've read a copy of reviews of this book and it sounds very interesting. I would love a chance to win a copy. Thanks Lena for another great interview. Congrats Rhonda on your success!
Blessings to you both,

Rhonda McKnight said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by and reading my interview. Please make sure to visit me at my blog and Merry Christmas to you!


Rhonda McKnight

Yvonne Adams said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt and I usually don't read anything but the bible and don't normally care for fiction; but between you and Tia I think I will start. You are another great writer. Thanks for sharing may Godly greater prosper you as you use your gift. I look forward to the next one.