JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Rhonda Lawson, author of A Dead Rose
(click on the pictures to see this book on Amazon.com)
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write A Dead Rose?
Rhonda Lawson: I’m sure we’ve all met or encountered someone who had a less-than-virtuous reputation. As a young adult, I heard so many stories about women, including myself, that may or not have been true. Someone always had something negative to say about a woman. Few people ever bothered to get to know the woman and find out what was really going on in her mind.
It’s not easy for a woman to find love today. A million mistakes can be made before she can find the man she’s truly meant to be with. Unfortunately, those mistakes can cause a woman not to recognize that man when he finally comes along. When A Dead Rose was first released, I received so much feedback from women who said they saw a piece of themselves in Isis.
JP: What sets A Dead Rose apart from other novels in its genre?
RL: A Dead Rose is not just another love story. While Isis is looking for love, the reader also feels her pain as she struggles to find love for herself. I think people who read this book will walk away from it with a sense of inspiration. Of course, there will be people who will have a million negative things to say about Isis. Those who dig deep will see and feel the frustration she deals with.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to A Dead Rose getting out to the public?
RL: When I released my first book, Cheatin’ in the Next Room, I ran into a lot of roadblocks. It was difficult to find a publisher or even get my book onto the shelves. I sacrificed a lot of nights and weekends writing and signing at various book events. Sometimes I sold 20-30 books, and other times only selling two. However, I kept trying because writing is something I love, and I knew I told stories that I truly believed in.
I think part of the reason my publisher picked me up was because the company saw that I was willing to get out there and hustle. To answer your question, I think I owe my success to writing from my heart, never knowing when to say when, and just getting to know my readers and finding out what they want to read.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish A Dead Rose?
RL: I wouldn’t use A Dead Rose as a great example, because it actually took me two and a half years to write between being a single parent, my fulltime job as an Army NCO, going to college, and promoting Cheatin’ in the Next Room! When I began writing my new novel, Putting It Back Together, it only took me about four months. I was under a stricter deadline, so I was forced to focus.
For Putting It Back Together, I first outlined the characters and wrote down my main plot as well as my sub-plots. I didn’t outline the whole story because I wanted my characters to take me where they wanted to go. My characters and plot lists helped me to stay focused.
I also made it a practice of writing in the late evenings. That’s something I’d grown accustomed to in the early days of A Dead Rose since I’m a single parent. I do like to change locations every now and then to keep the creative juices flowing. I’ve even written parts of Putting It Back Together while sitting in the community club here in Korea while a rock concert went on outside!
One last thing I did was find people whom I trusted to read passages for me to give me a sanity check. That helped big time.
JP: What’s next for Rhonda M. Lawson?
RL: I’ve started a blog on myspace and Black Planet that focuses on writing. I want to share my lessons learned with other writers. I’m also working on an online newsletter to not only keep my readers informed of my literary news, but to highlight other poets and authors.
Additionally, my third novel, Putting It Back Together, is due to hit the stands next spring. It takes place in post-Katrina New Orleans, and tells the story of Alexis, a pediatrician with her own private practice, and Reggie, a successful professional football player. The couple dated each other in college, but Alexis’ pride causes them to break up. More than ten years later, Reggie is now married, but trying to divorce his wife, Nikki. However, he learns that the lawyer he hires to handle the procedure is dating Alexis! When Reggie and Alexis come face to face, they wonder how their lives would have been had they stayed together, but learn that when life moves on, love isn’t always the answer.
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