Thursday, July 09, 2020

SECOND HELPINGS - Linda Rondeau - One Free Book

Welcome, Linda. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My experiences and the people I come in contact with figure heavily in my books … as influences but not copied. There is a saying among authors, “Why waste an experience when you can put it into a book?” Often I will extrapolate from my experiences … particularly the emotion … when my character experiences a plot event. I don’t believe we need to be verbatim. These parts of ourselves will often flow subconsciously into our works.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
This is a difficult questions … to pick one particular episode in my quirky life is hard. I’ve always been a little bit odd, to be honest. I don’t follow rules very well, and I have had to struggle my whole life to conform when conformity was required. I am rebellious by nature. When I was in grade school, I spent a lot of time in detention for being late … I’d daydream. To me, the system seemed bent on quelling my nature to think outside the box. When I became an adult, the system tried even harder to purge me of independent thought. God in His wisdom, knew one day, He’d call me to be a writer. And so He preserved that special nature … even though I struggled against him. Many years later, I see His hand in my pruning, so that my creativity could bloom to His glory, not my own.

I’m with you on that. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Like most writers, the instinct has been with me since I could hold a pencil. I think I became aware of this desire to be a storyteller in early elementary school. How I loved making stories up. Sometimes, my teacher would have me read my stories to other classrooms, and I have always had an interest in the written word. I put aside my dream to raise a family until one day God called me to step into the journey He had planned for me so many years ago.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I am not a genre writer, nor am I a genre reader. I enjoy reading all kinds of books … that are well written. I like to be challenged intellectually and loved books by C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, among my favorites. I love flights of fantasy and enjoyed Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, recently reading A Change of Heart. Another favorite author is Sue Monk Kidd. I like stories that stir the heartstrings, such as The Lovely Bones.  Of course, as an editor and author, I am tuned in to craft. For enjoyment, I do not want to be jarred by poorly crafted books.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
When I was younger, I let deadlines and other peoples expectations hold me captive to the point of impairing my creative spirit. In the human services realm, there were three types of priorities: urgent, more urgent, and most urgent. I learned I could never satisfy the demands for my attention. I had to choose. Accepting this truth, helps me choose more wisely and to be less anxious. In my senior years, I realize I have to take frequent breaks from my work. I take walks, do the Wii, or simply rest and watch television. Most importantly, prayer is my constant resource. I depend on the Lord to order my steps.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Choosing a name has many variables. Sometimes, I choose a name simply because I like the name. Sometimes, I choose the name based on another character’s name, especially in romance. Sometimes, a character’s name is symbolic. Sometimes, I may choose a name that was popular in the year my character would have been born. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong name, per se. However, where would Gone With The Wind be without Scarlett O’Hara?

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
As to my writing career, I think my soon to be published nonfiction book is the one I hold dearest … a project five or more years in the making. I took a year to make notes, then over the years, I wrote snippets. I have finally taken all this hodgepodge of research and have crafted a contracted work … Who Put the Vinegar in the Salt. God has prodded me and kept me going on this project. In my heart, I wanted to write something to remind believers how precious they were in God’s sight … salt. We were not saved to be like the vinegar in the world. God has a higher, more precious standard for us.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I think perhaps a giraffe. According to scientist, the giraffe defies logic, and there is no way the animal should be able to survive. Its neck is too long to support its body, and its cardiovascular and digestive systems should not function according to the giraffe’s physiology. I admire a species that defies the odds.

What is your favorite food?
Chocolate anything, except if it contains coconut. My idea of a perfect meal, however, is chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes and gravy, and broccoli, with chocolate cake for dessert. This is what I always asked for my birthday dinner when I was growing up.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t think I’ve ever overcome the feeling of failure. I’m a literary writer and consequently, I don’t sell a lot of books. I’m a horrible marketer and don’t have the resources to hire help. I’m fortunate to have a publisher who continues to believe in me even though my sales are less than stellar. I cope with these feelings by remembering who is in control. I surrender my craft to God’s sovereignty, and do my best at promotion despite my limitations. He reminds me there are pastors of huge churches and pastors of small congregations. He has placed me within the small for His purposes. I don’t need to understand, I just need to trust. I keep writing because God commands me to keep going. He pushes the self-doubts out of my head in order for me to continue.  

Tell us about the featured book.
I wanted to write a book dedicated to the preservation of marriage. I’ve seen too many fall apart because either one or both of the union gave up wanting to preserve the marriage. In Second Helpings, Jocelyn Johnson, a radio show host, has decided to begin an extramarital affair. However, her children’s needs have interfered with those plans. She meets an older Christian woman who she is drawn to and invites her to dinner, one that is sure to be the epitome of chaotic. The whole story occurs in first person present over the course of Jocelynn’s 45th birthday.

Please give us the first page of the book.
“Happy Birthday,” my husband says, donned for peak efficiency in his dark brown sport coat, yellow oxford shirt, and paisley tie … not rich-looking enough to upset his clients but sufficiently stylish to impress the blue-collar working man. He hands me my morning coffee.

For twenty-two years, Larsen has handed me my coffee, complete with his poster-boy calendar grin, too preppy for Abercrombie and Fitch but perfect for The Businessman’s Fashion Model of the Year. His smile rarely changes, much like the man himself. He even has the same haircut as the day we met at Bridget Tooley’s wedding. I suppose any man looks like a movie star in a rented tuxedo.

Larsen hands me the card Jordan made yesterday since his bedtime came before my party last night. Jordan is our afterthought. Larsen didn’t want any more than four children. After Link was born, Larsen set up a long-term financial plan to make certain each child had sufficient higher-education funds. When Jordan came along, all our carefully crafted ambitions went haywire, including my run for a doctorate, the one area I’d hoped would put me on an equal footing with Larsen.

I glance at Jordan’s handiwork. The card features a drawing of a silver police badge with a three-inch “45” printed in bold red. I trace over the numbers in Jordan’s typical backward scrawl. That much he had done himself. For the badge portion of the drawing, he most likely had been helped by his older brother, Link. I recognize the graphic artistry of my second oldest son.

Only three, well almost four, Jordan can write most of the alphabet. And, of course, Larsen takes the credit for Jordan’s precociousness, reminding all his doctor friends that Miriam Foster’s three-year-old can barely count.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Linda, for sharing this new book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Second Helpings: A Humorous Contemporary Novel - Paperback
Second Helpings: A Humorous Contemporary Novel - Kindle

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Linda Wood Rondeau said...

Thanks for the interview! I look forward to any questions from the reader.

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

What advice would you give a newlywed?

Lucy Reynolds said...

Thank you for sharing. Sounds like a great read. Blessings from WV.

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

Thanks for stopping by.

Nancy Payette said...

Sounds good FL

Connie Porter Saunders said...

This sounds like a great book and Linda, I would love to be at your birthday dinner. The menu sounds wonderful!
Connie from Kentucky

Linda Wood Rondeau said...

Thanks for stoppingby.

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.