WHAT TYPE OF WRITING DO YOU DO?
Currently, I have eleven published books, mostly contemporary fiction, and two non-fiction. I have one speculative fiction book. I am contracted for four additional books to be published in 2021-2022: a paranormal, a suspense, a contemporary novelette, and a middle-grade sci-fi. Obviously, I am not a genre writer. The majority of these are published through Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. Yes … I blog. The bulk of my posts are those to support other authors. Occasionally, I post my own. My posts can be seen at Snark and Sensibility (my website: www.lindarondeau.com) or through blogger (https://lindawoodrondeau.blogspot.com/)
I occasionally guest spot on other blogs and have published articles in magazines. Until recently, I wrote a column for my former hometown newspaper, The Malone Telegram, having disbanded the religious column this year. Currently, I have a series of blog tours for three of my books. Somehow, I managed to bunch these up so will have a blog every day from now until the middle of April. Dates and book titles for this tour can be found on my website.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE?
Like most authors, I have loved telling stories since childhood. I published in my school newsletters, and I entertained younger children on the school bus with my own Rocky and Bullwinkle Fractured Fairy Tales (imitating Bullwinkle, of course.)
Though I wrote as a hobby for many years, especially plays for my church, I didn’t pursue writing as a career. I was too busy with my family and my work. In 1996, I attended a work-related seminar … one of those feel-good motivational speakers. He asked us to write what we would be doing if we were not at this job. I wrote … write books. Then, he told us to broaden the dream. I wrote, write inspirational books. Then he called on me, and I declared publicly my desire to write for the Lord.
Lack of faith or procrastination, I ignored the nudge from God. Then on June 21, 2000 God called me again. This time leaving no doubt. I wrote a poem about leaving the other side of darkness and quit the day job. (Not recommended unless you are absolutely sure this is God’s voice you are hearing.) Fast forward to June 21, 2011. I received the call for my first book contract. With a different working title, the publisher said, “We’re changing your title to The Other Side of Darkness.” Talk about affirmation! In 2012 the book received the Selah Award for Debut Novel.
How often do you write?
I work six to eight hours or more a day between my editing duties with Elk Lake Publishing, marketing, and freelance editing. As Special Projects Managing Editor, I develop anthologies for Elk Lake. I’ve had a hiatus for a few months on new projects, but I’m ready to get cracking again spending two hours a day on actual writing. I am grateful to have been kept busy during this pandemic.
USING THE EXPERITISE OF OTHERS
When do you bring in outside help?
Like most published authors, drafting beta readers and building a street team is a perpetual challenge. I am grateful for faithful readers who do assist. Though my books are professionally edited through my publisher (our editors are fussy!), I believe having your manuscript read before submission is beneficial. No one editor can catch all your mistakes. My publisher has a book cover designer. I’m usually given some options. I place these on social media to obtain reader opinions. I appreciate how Elk Lake partners with their authors in all aspects of the book’s progress. Marketing has been and will be my biggest downfall. However, I cannot afford to hire someone to do my marketing for me as much as I wish I could! I do buy ads and pay for some promotions as I can afford. There is no such thing as a free lunch. I expect to invest in my work. I listen to a lot of webinars on marketing to gain insights.
Do you have an agent, and how did you find one?
I have had two agents. The first was through a writing conference. The second was through a referral from my publisher. However, though wonderful champions of the Lord, they have not been much help. Currently, I do not have one. Since I publish my work with one publisher at this time, there is no need to find an agent. If my work moves outside this publisher or I’m fortunate enough to have my books made into movies, I’ll begin my search for a new agent at that time.
ABOUT YOU, THE WRITER
Who are your favorite authors and why? [or] What are you reading now?
Jody Picoult and Sue Monk Kidd. I admire how they are able to get inside their characters’ heads. Other authors who have influenced me are Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. A Christian author I enjoy reading is Kim Sawyer. She writes primarily historical fiction, a genre I do enjoy. Also Murray Purra, another historical fiction writer.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Writing is easy … most of the time. Sometimes just getting started on a new project can be challenging. Lately, I find marketing demands have stilted my creativity. We use different parts of the brain. One way I’m learning to balance is to use the power of three and to market for the long game instead of cracking all the eggs in my basket simultaneously!
What is your writing dream?
One of my books is made into a movie. Came close a couple of times.
What are you working on now?
I have several books I started but have not finished that I need to revisit. A prequel to The Fifteenth Article (half completed), a romantic suspense, a general fiction, and a YA book. In addition, I feel a call to write a devotional for seniors: Having the Prime of My Life. In the last couple of days, however, I’m feeling a very strong nudge to package my newspaper articles into a book: LIFE LESSONS ALONG THE WAY/A CHRISTIAN SENIOR’S PERSPECTIVE.
What would you most like to share with other Christian writers?
Patience. It took eleven years from my “call” to my first book contract. I did publish in anthologies, magazines, and online venues, as well as a columnist for my hometown newspaper … the only non-clerical person to contribute to their weekly religious column. Meanwhile, I attended conferences, learned more about the craft, established contacts, and wrote more books. When I did receive a contract, I had other works available. All too often, authors rush to self-publish when they are not really ready or they have not developed their craft sufficiently. We learn to walk before we run. Go slow and learn.
A veteran social worker, Linda Wood Rondeau’s varied church experience and professional career affords a unique perspective into the Christian life. When not writing or speaking, she enjoys the occasional round of golf, visiting museums, and taking walks with her best friend in life, her husband of over forty years. The couple resides in Hagerstown, Maryland where both are active in their local church. Readers may learn more about the author, read her blog, or sign up for her newsletter by visiting www.lindarondeau.com