Interview with Author Rhonda R. Dennis

January 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm (Interviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

bayou

Author of the Green Bayou Novels

July 2012 110

Rhonda on the right at HPB Humble last year.

I met Rhonda R. Dennis while booking her and Melinda McGuire for A Southern Saturday – an event we put on at the Half Price Books in Humble. It featured southern authors, southern goodies, and all around a lot of southern hospitality. We had a blast. Rhonda was friendly, donated a lot of her own books to raffle off to customers, and kept a professional attitude.

Another signing is the works now, with details to follow later.  But since I can’t quite have her in the store again just yet, I’ve arranged an interview! (So exciting! As I’ve said before, interviews and guest blogs make me feel like Oprah.)

  1. Your books are set in Southern Louisiana, and you’re also from there.  What were your favorite things about the state when growing up? What are your favorite things about living there now?

First, I want to thank you for having me as a guest!  I absolutely love reading your posts.

While growing up, I never gave much thought to how different my culture is to others.  I assumed that everyone ate tons of seafood, celebrated Mardi Gras, and had the innate ability to pronounce French names.  I started traveling, and realized that was far from true!  I love visiting new places and I have a huge appreciation for their traditions, but South Louisiana will always be home to me.  It’s definitely a place that everyone should visit at least once.

  1. Your books are Romantic Suspense/ Mysteries.  Is this the genre you typically read as well? What authors or books are on your ‘favorites’ shelf?

a-confederacy-of-dunces-by-john-kennedy-tooleI enjoy most genres.  My favorite book is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  I read it at least once a year and I’m always amazed by his genius!  I also love Charlaine Harris’ The Sookie Stackhouse Novels and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series.  I appreciate the work of many Indie authors, although several of them are now being traditionally published.  Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless left me sobbing and Marie Coulson’s Bound Together was scorching!  L.B. Simmons’ Running on Empty—phenomenal!  I tend to gravitate toward books that let you feel a range of emotions.  I like to cry one minute then laugh the next.  To me, that’s the mark of a truly great author—being able to take your reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions.

  1. Do you have play lists of mood music you write to?  If so, which artists/songs generally make the cut?

writing-and-musicMy music choices are even more eclectic than my reading preferences.  Depending on the mood of the scene I’m writing, I will listen to anything from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Bruno Mars.  I’ve been listening to a lot of 80’s and 90’s music lately, as well as the Les Miserables soundtrack. A lot of times, I have to turn the music off because I spend more time belting out tunes than getting my story down!

  1. What do you find to be the easiest part of the writing and editing process? What is the hardest for you?

unforseenThe easiest part is coming up with the general direction I want to take the story.  Generally, I type a skeleton version then rework it until I’m happy with the manuscript.  The hardest part is when I actually put it out there for the public to read.  I believe in my stories, my beta readers are generally enthusiastic about the books, but until I get that feedback from the readers, I’m waiting with bated breath.  Please leave reviews people!!  You have no clue how important they are to authors, not for an ego boost, but for validation that we’re on the right track. J

  1. When you complete a book and it goes to print, how do you celebrate?

It’s generally a quiet, personal pat on the back kind of thing.  Although, the series will be wrapping with book six at the end of the year, so I anticipate a book launch/series finale party for that one.

  1. I’ve met a lot of authors with drastically differing views on this… would you ever be interested in a TV or movie deal for your series?  If so, how involved would you want to be? (There every step of the way? Or hand it over and let the film people do their thing?)

I have so many people tell me that they strongly feel the series needs to be made into a movie/movies.  I’m all for it!  I’d love to have lots of control over it, but I’m realistic enough to know that that probably won’t be likely.  My only wish is that they would do the series justice.

  1. I’ve read in other interviews that you’ll write this series as long as Emily has stories to tell. Do you have any other projects in mind at this time?

I do have some projects lined up after the last book of The Green Bayou Novels series is released.  I want to branch out a little bit.  I have plans for a couple of stand-alone novels, as well as a book about local ghost stories.

  1. You’ve been featured on Melinda McGuire’s Southern Creatives segment of her blog, been involved in joint book signings, and contributed to a project she edited (Rich Fabric) [I’ll link to Rich Fabric].  How did you meet?

facebook_like_icon_blogsThat is one of the wonderful things about technology!  We met online!  I want to say it was the Goodreads website?  Anyway, being that we are both writers of Southern fiction, we instantly bonded, even though our writing styles are quite different.  She writes from a historical perspective, whereas my novels are set in modern times.  I’m pretty sure she’ll agree that we have a mutual appreciation of each other’s enthusiasm for all things Southern.  I’m a definite fan of her work.

  1. Every reader or writer has a favorite bookstore (and if you don’t, please don’t spoil my delusion!).  Now is your chance for a shout out!  Tell us who you love and what you love about them.

While I could easily spend loads of time and money in any Barnes and Noble store (or any other major retailer for that matter), I prefer the feel of the small Mom and Pop bookstores.  I love walking into a place where you know the staff is there because it’s their passion, not just a job.  We had a quaint little bookstore in Morgan City, but unfortunately, it shut down.  I continually hope that someone will try to open another one.
I should also mention that we don’t have any Half Price Book branches in Louisiana, but based upon the reactions of my husband and son when I had my joint signing with Melinda McGuire in Humble, we’d be spending lots of time in there, too!

  1. Outside of writing and Southern Louisiana, what are your passions?

I am very passionate about giving back to others.  I’ve donated many copies of my books, t-shirts, and other prizes to raffles and auctions to raise funds for injured or ill persons.  My favorite charities revolve around cancer research/children’s charities:  St. Jude’s, the Shriner’s Hospitals, American Cancer Society…  At this moment, I’m in the process of working something out for our local Relay for Life.

I’m also passionate about treating others the way I would like to be treated, and doing all I can to help make this world a better place for my son to grow up in.  I love to promote the good things that are happening around us.  I feel that we often get bogged down in the bad news.  Just as many wonderful things occur in a day, however, it’s not often considered “newsworthy”.

Rhonda Dennis

Rhonda R. Dennis posing for the St.MaryNow Franklin Banner Tribune fifteen months ago. Click on the image to visit the article.

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1 Comment

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