Monday, February 6, 2012

Welcome Linda Rondeau

Please help me welcome Linda Rondeau to the Barn Door Book Loft today.

Tell us, Linda, is there a story behind The Other Side Of Darkness?
 On June 21, 2000 I felt a definite call from the Lord to start writing professionally. I had no idea where the journey would take, so I sat down and wrote a poem of dedication to the Lord’s call, The Song of Peace. (attached). The poem has a line, “there is light on the other side of darkness.” Many times, I thought about giving up. Whenever hit by looming doubt, I revisited God’s call and that poem. I kept moving forward, studying my craft and networking, occasionally publishing an article or story and obtaining an agent. On June 21, 2011 I received a call from my agent that Harbourlights wanted to offer me a contract and I accepted. Unaware of my poem, the editor changed the title from the working draft, Dawn’s Hope, to The Other Side of Darkness. I am humbled in all things to realize that God knew what the title of my first published book would be even before I fashioned the idea. This debut novel is my ninth. 

What started you on your writing journey?
 I have always enjoyed writing since I can remember. I won contests in school and had some articles published in school journals. I used to entertain younger children with stories I invented. I wrote plays for church and poems and short stories for my own amusement. I always wondered about writing professionally but never had the confidence. Besides, I had a family and a full-time job—all that I could manage. In 1995 I attended a feel-good seminar. When asked what we would do if we were not doing our current job, I said, “write.” The presenter asked me to expand. “I’d write Christian literature.” But it would be another five years, before I acted on that dream. God had to remove me from the distraction of full-time work in order for me to become focused on what He wanted for my life. He promised He would not fail me financially. He has kept that promise all through the long wait.  While I don’t recommend quitting the day job, for me God decided it was necessary.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
The easiest distraction for me is doubt…a closed door or negative comment. I have always struggled with a tender spirit that is easily bruised. God, however, is my champion, always providing a rebuttal to refute the negative and keep me positively focused.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I like all genres, CBA and General Market (except books that are pornographic or have gratuitous foul language and sex scenes). Whether character driven, literary or plot driven, I want to be enticed by a good story…one that keeps me turning pages. It is as difficult to define a “good story” as it is to say exactly why a television show interests us. Basically, I believe the ingredients are: interesting characters that I care about, a believable plot (even sci-fi and fantasy can be believable) and a satisfying ending. Among the recent books I’ve read is The Help. I thought the author was innovative in her approach…using multiple first person povs. I admire a courageous author who is willing to write outside the box…for the good of the story.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
While my female protagonist and my two male protagonists are near and dear to my heart, I have to say my favorite character is Aunt Sadie (Golden). In the epic construction of plot theory, Aunt Sadie would be the protagonists’ mentor. She is kind and industrious yet not without foibles.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Country music: real and uncomplicated, a story of God’s craftsmanship.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Because of lung problems, my husband and I decided that I needed to get away from the cold northern climate. But he was not ready to retire for another 18 months. After much prayer, we decided I need to be the frontrunner for our retirement plans and move to a warmer climate ahead of him. So on February 8, 2011 at 9:00 am I filled up my car with a variety of items to start living in a one bedroom apartment in Jacksonville, Florida—a city I’d only visited once before. I felt a little like Abraham. But God is faithful to His promises and in June, 2012 hubby will move down here for good. We now have a house and a firm foundation in our new land.

What is your strangest habit?
I don’t know if this qualifies as a habit or a quirk, but I can’t sit with my back to the door. (except for church). If I’m in a restaurant or sitting in a group, I need to be able to see the door. Don’t ask me to analyze it. To coin a new cliché, “It is what it is.”

What is your favorite season of the year?
When I lived in the North Country of New York State, my favorite season was summer as I golfed a great deal. Here in Florida, I’d say I like fall the best…warm temperatures along with beautiful colors. Best of both. And I can golf all year long here!
What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
I grew up in Central New York and loved to visit my grandparents who lived in Northern New York. Grandma Wood made the best homemade doughnuts I ever had. When she made them, she always made the holes special for my brother and I. She’d pop them into the grease and give them to us right out of the pan. Even Krispy
Kreme can’t get fresher than that.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Yes. I am the Queen of Procrastination. Most often I put off things I lack confidence with or that seem overwhelming. I have learned to turn my procrastination over to God in prayer. I ask for determination and wisdom to complete these tasks.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
My husband’s two favorite foods are meatloaf and apple pie. I’m a lousy pie maker but will buy him an apple pie on occasion. However, he does love my meatloaf. I call it meatloaf surprise because I barely make it the same way. I don’t really have a recipe to follow but the main ingredients are: lean ground beef, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, hot sauce (sparingly), red pepper, seasoning salt, oregano, onion soup mix, 1 egg and spaghetti sauce. I mix it all together and shape into a rectangular boat, putting the remaining spaghetti sauce in the hallow part of the boat. I wrap in aluminum foil and cook for an hour and fifteen minutes.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
 I worked for nearly thirty years in human services as a social worker, caseworker, and counselor. My writing deals mainly with relationships and how our early years influence our later ones. Always, God uses the cracks and disappointments of our lives to fashion something beautiful.   

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
John 10:10b  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (NIV). This verse comforts me in times of turmoil to remember that nothing can happen to me here without God’s permission. If He permits it, it is for His glory and/or my ultimate benefit.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I do not have a contract yet for a new book but several of my former books are being looked at. Also I am at work on another Romantic Suspense as well as a contemporary comedy. 

Copyright ©2000 Linda Rondeau

Praise the Lord most when 
you cannot sing
Though broken, you are 

Praise the Lord when Hope 
seems foolish
There is light on the other 
side of darkness

Praise the Lord and believe 
His goodness

Look at His creations and 
give Him praise
for the stars shine 
brightest in the night

Though defeat seems imminent
Praise Him still
Praise  Him though sorrow
seems endless
The vast Horizon meets the 
sky undefined yet limitless

Your Deliverer hears
He will lift you High above 
the troublesome sea

This is the Song of Peace

Linda Rondeau is giving away a copy of The Other Side Of Darkness. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Untill next time. . . Sharon A Lavy


cjajsmommy said...

I'd love to be moving away from the cold of the PA mountains to Florida, but with nine grandchildren here, that's just not going to happen. I love hearing of your adventure of setting out alone to a new location -- perhaps this will be the inspiration for a future book. Please enter me in the giveaway. djragno {a5} hotmail (dot) com

Bethany said...

I'd love to be entered! cbus.blogger(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!!

Nancee said...

I'd love an opportunity to win a copy of this book.

Amy R.S. said...

Please enter me thanks. This books sounds very, very good.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Jo said...

This book sounds very interesting and I appreciate the opportunity to win it.


Ann McCauley said...

I so enjoyed this interview. I feel like I know you both better, Sharon and Linda. Awesome answers, Linda. I can't wait to read your book--I so admire the writing I've seen in all your interviews, the past weeks.

Linda said...

Thank you all for stopping by and for your kind words. Yes, this trek alone to a new location has been the biggest challenge of my life. The lessons invaluable...and yes, it will be fodder for a future book!

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