Friday, November 18, 2011

THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS - Linda Wood Rondeau - Free Book

I've really looked forward to the day when I could post this interview. Lind and I have walked together on much of the journey. Welcome, Linda. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I probably put a lot of myself into my characters more so subconsciously than consciously. For example…Samantha Knowles is an attorney who was abused as a child. I am not an attorney nor have I experienced physical abuse first hand. However, my work as a social worker has given me insight into the lives of attorneys and the affects of child abuse. Sam is a perfectionist, driven to achieve excellence and frustrated when it does not happen. That is probably one of my downfalls.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
It is difficult to pick one out of several hundred. My husband says he wants to stamp it on his palm that he married a blonde and to remember to expect the unexpected from me. Probably the bravest thing I’ve done is my recent move to Jacksonville, Florida. I packed up what I could from my home in Northern New York into my little Ford Focus and headed south…the only sure thing was that I’d eventually wind up at my brother’s home in Jacksonville. Where I’d live and if I’d make Jacksonville my home were all in God’s hands. Step by step, like Abraham, my new life unfolded…an apartment then a house, a job…then a book contract…and I’m looking forward to when my husband retires and can join me here.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Many writers say they were born with a pencil in their hand. I do know I’ve always loved telling stories and writing them down. In grade school, I won several writing contests. I always wanted to be a writer and did so as a hobby. Life responsibilities pushed me into other careers until June 21, 2000 when God revealed His plan that now was the time for me to pursue this gift as a profession.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
As in music and movies, I enjoy any work that is done well. My reading over the course of year will vary from historical and romance to contemporary and science fiction. I want to read a story about people, about their overcoming obstacles and their spiritual growth. In that regard, I prefer character driven stories.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Pray, pray, and pray. Regardless of how crowded my day may be, I have discovered that planning time for God first thing in the morning…before breakfast… is critical. I set my alarm early to allow for that special time with Father God…even if that means I miss some other critical element in my day. In this life, God is more concerned about our being than our doing. And our doing is vanity, as Solomon says, unless it is rooted in our relationship with God.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I choose names according to their meaning and according to the character type personality. I also factor in geographical factors, historical factors and family probabilities. For example, Zack Bordeaux is a teacher, a product of his geographical location. French names are prevalent in the Adirondack region due to its proximity to Canada and migrations from Quebec. Zack is a popular name for the age of my character. He is athletic and the name seemed to fit him. Jonathan Gladstone is an artist and the heir to an English Earl. I needed an English name that had an aristocratic sound.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am first and foremost proud of my three children and my nine grandchildren. To me, family, next to my relationship with God, is the highest priority. My children are great parents and that thrills me. My sons both served in the military, and my daughter is an exemplary mom and wife. Career wise, I think I take greatest joy in winning writer of the year for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers conference. That year God affirmed His call for me to write.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d like to be a lion. I roar a lot and I like to prowl. I wouldn’t want to be a man-eating lion, though.

What is your favorite food?
Pot roast. I love tender beef and vegetables cooked in the broth. Next to that, I’d say spaghetti. Third favorite is hot fudge sundae. Now if I could only combine them in one meal, but I’m afraid the blended flavors would not set well in the stomach. As in many areas of my life, my tastes seem to be varied.   

I would like to eat with you. Tell us a little about your journey to publication.
It has been a wild ride filled with highs and lows. God yanked me from complacency on June 21, 2000, in a vivid call to move my life toward professional writing. I don’t advocate quitting the day job, but in my case, God insisted. He promised to meet our needs, and He has done so beyond any expectation. Though I published short stories, essays, poetry, and devotional articles, as well as a newspaper column, obtaining a book contract was a challenge beyond all others, even with an agent. I questioned if I’d heard God right. I thought of going back to work full-time and keep writing short pieces. God reminded me that quitting now would be akin to the Children of Israel re-crossing the Jordan. Then, on June 21, 2011, God affirmed His plan for me through my first book contract, eleven years to the day.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I fell into the trap of thinking God needed me. I made writing my primary focus in life, even before my devotional time. I fooled myself into thinking that this was okay since I was doing God’s work. God had to chisel my pride. He didn’t need me to do anything. God is sufficient in Himself. What He offered was a privilege to work together with Him. Then I asked God to take away the desire to write. He told me that was foolishness to ask Him to take away His gift to me. He had to show me the importance of being, living and breathing each day in sync with what He wanted to show me for that day. He taught me that my call to purpose is not what I do but who I am in Him. The rest will fall into place. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33 KJV).

What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?
Don’t quit. If you believe God has called you or even if you are writing for your own pleasure, don’t give up. Rejection is not failure but rather an opportunity to try again.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Other Side of Darkness, (working copy title Dawn’s Hope) came to me as I drove through the Adirondack area in which the story is set. Its history has always intrigued me. The question occurred to me what if someone from the city became stranded in one of its small towns. During the initial formation of the novel, I took a trip to Whitehall, the birthplace of the American Navy, and toured the quaint town. I became intrigued by Skene Manor (, the home a former Supreme Court Judge and originally built by the town’s founder. It overlooked the village like a sentinel. The town of Haven was born in my mind and the estate, Dawn’s Hope. The early version of the story was a finalist in the 2008 Genesis contest, a story about a New York attorney who becomes stranded in a small town after a moose accident. On my way to the airport for the Minneapolis ACFW conference, my husband nearly hit a moose that wandered on to the road. Then ACFW president Cynthia Ruchti said, “God is smiling on this manuscript.” And the rest is history.

Please give us the first page of the book.

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed…and He guided them to their desired haven.
Psalm 107:29-30

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.

A woman’s scream silenced the murmurings, and Sam turned with the rest of the throng toward the source. Kiley’s mother, Brenda Smith, had leaned over the rail and grabbed Styles’s sleeve while Don Hunter ordered her to step back.

Brenda was weak—just like Mama was weak. Brenda Smith deserved the same fate as Styles. Too bad stupidity wasn’t a felony.

The DA stood in the back of the courtroom. Without a word, Abe Hilderman, her boss and second chair, abandoned Sam to shake the DA’s hand. A simple, “Good job, Counselor,” would have been nice, even a slap on the back. Nice, but not necessary. Abe often said that Justice was its own reward.

Emboldened, Sam stepped closer as the deputy handcuffed Styles. He saw her, pulled free, put his shackled hands on the prosecutor’s table and leaned into Sam’s face, his cologne lethal… a designer blend—suede, water, and moss—like Daddy’s. Sam fixed her stare into steel-gray eyes, magnets that drew her headlong toward a spinning saw—Styles’s demeanor, a calloused calm…except for his lips… parched, purple–tinged lips that formed his threat. “Keep your light on, Miss Knowles.”

Her spaghetti legs wobbled. Three years of lamp-lit nights had failed to chase away the recurring dreams—dreams Sam kept secreted from everyone, especially Justine, Sam’s best friend. How, then, did Styles know she kept a light on all night?

How can the readers find you on the Internet?
This Daily Grind (God often teaches us life’s greatest lessons through the mundane)
Back in the Daze  (because life never ceases to be amazing)

My on-line writing community:  Pentalk Community
Pentalk Community Blog:
To purchase book:

Thank you, Linda, for sharing all of this with us.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You can choose whether you want a print copy or an ebook. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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 4 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 if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


rubynreba said...

I would enjoy a print copy of this book. Thanks!
Beth from Iowa

Patty said...

A big city girl stranded in a small town... fish out of water stories are always interesting. Sounds like there is some good depth here. Look forward to reading this!

Patty in SC

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

Thank you Beth and Patty for stopping by. Samantha is indeed a fish out of water not merely geographically! Thanks for your support.

Unknown said...

i would choose a print copy of this book. it sounds great. we have moose in this country, and know the damage they can do! They say the reason there are so many accidents with moose is that their eyes don't reflect light (like deer and elk) so at night you don't get the warning.
Thanks for the giveaway, Lena and Linda


Annette W. said...

I love small towns, but know not everyone does.

I live in a rural, small town--in PA.

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

Linda, what an awesome-sounding book—I'd love to win it. You are truly an inspiration to me, especially in your walk wit the Lord. Thank you, Lena, for this lovely interview!


jude urbanski said...

Linda and Lena,

Enjoyed this post very much. Linda, thanks to you for all you do for fellow writers with Pentalk. Your journey struck cords with me and your moment of light is the same story my writer daughter just announced. Oh faith, come quickly! Your excerpt created interest. In Indiana.
jude urbanski

Dora Hiers said...

Great interview, Lena and Linda! I love your attitude, Linda, especially about rejection. lol.I hope your hubby can join you soon! Congrats on the release of THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS.

Dora Hiers
From beautiful NC

Connie said...

Hmm, looks like I flunked the comment formatting so here goes again: Linda and Lena, great job on the interview. Linda, you know I love your wring and am so very proud of your book. I know you worked hard on it. Yes, I would LOVE to win a free copy. Lena, you asked where readers are from. I live in Malone, N.Y. Linda can show it to you on a map!
Connie Jenkins

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

@ Marianne

As mentioned, I saw a moose close up and personal...don't care to get any closer than I did. But, they are magnificent animals just the same.

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

@ Annette

My former home of Malone, New York is a small town. I now live in a city of nearly 1 million...quite an adjustment. Talk about a fish out of water!

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

@ Elaine

Thanks for the encouragement. God bless.

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

@ Jude

Thanks for stopping by and the words of encouragement.

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

Donna...thanks for the well wishes and kind comments. Yes...there will be rejoicing in heaven when my husband Steve rejoins me.

Connie...hope I'll get to see you when I do a book tour up north in the spring.

Wendy Newcomb said...

OHHH, this sounds like such a good book. I would love to have a print copy of it. I live in Florida.


Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a print copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Carol McClain said...

I don't want to win a book as I will buy one. I want Linda to get all the royalties she can.

Linda is one of the sweetest women I've ever known. She gives to others, remembers the needs of others and has been a faithful friend for many years.

One of the sad days of my life was the day she moved.

One of the happy days was when she got her contract.

Linda ROCKS!

Bakersdozen said...

I haven't read any of Linda's books yet and would love to read this. I would love a print copy. I live in S. CA.

E.A. West said...

What a chilling way to end the excerpt! I love it. :)

Congratulations on the release and on a wonderful interview.

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

@whren....thanks so much for stopping by.

@Linda K...I've always wanted to visit California.

@Carol...thanks faithful friend

@Bakersdozen...thank you...this is my first published book.

@E.A...this book is intended to be suspenseful...hope it lives up to expectations.

Marianne Evans said...

Linda, it's great getting to know you even better!! I loved the post, and wish you all the best with the release of The Other Side of Darkness - sounds like a great read!! God bless, and much continued success!

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

@ Marianne Evans

Thanks so much for your kind words.

Coolestmommy said...

Would like to read this one, too.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Mama Cat said...

This sounds really interesting - would love to read it! Blessings to you!

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

@Robyn and Mama Cat

I do hope you'll read the book and that it blesses you. Thanks for stopping by today.

Melissa M. said...

This sounds intriguing, as I like old manors and things like that.


Judy said...

I don't understand why you would pack up and move miles away from your husband but what a brave thing to do. I hope his retirement comes isn't good to be away from each other too long! :)
I can't wait to read this book. If I happen to win a copy of "The Other Side Of Darkness" I would like it in print form.

Blessings and thanks for this giveaway. Enjoyed the interview too!

Judy B from Indiana

Jo Huddleston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo Huddleston said...

Linda, I love your words to describe weak legs: spaghetti legs. Lena, thanks for having Linda on and letting us learn about her book.

Katie Marie said...

This is the first time I've heard of The Other Side of Darkness. But it looks like something I would wanna read. Count me in for the giveaway!

Katie from Florida

Ingrid said...

Thanks for the great Interview, loved it, like reading about the Authors, Linda your book sounds great and would love to be in the Contest.
Blessings to you and Lena.

I live in S.Illinois

LoRee Peery said...

I'm from Nebraska and am most comfortable in small towns. Wonderful interview, ladies. I so enjoy reading about how a story is born. Oh, this sounds like such a good story, one to hold in print.
Linda, on a lot of counts, we have come to the same conclusions.

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book! Thanks and God bless!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Aizess said...

I read the blurb of this book and it sounds like an interesting read. So, please enter me in this giveaway!

I live in New York

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me!
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Suzanne said...

This sounds like a thrilling story, and especially appeals to me because we recently drove through the Adirondacks and I wondered what it would be like to live there.
Suzanne :O)

Anonymous said...

Please enter me in your drawing.
God Bless You!

Dennie Richmond
Blanch, NC

Melissa M. said...

Oh, I forgot to say I'm from TX.

Cindy W. said...

LInda's book sounds wonderful. I love hearing how an author got the ideas for their stories. Thanks for sharing. Would love to win a copy.

I'm from Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Megan said...

Matthew 6:33--with three little ones, I have finally decided that I need to be more intentional about this and purposefully get up before they do to have alone time with the Lord! It has been about a month since I started this practice and some days it is still hard, but I know it is what God wants.
Megan from PA