Sunday, February 24, 2013

INTERVIEW WITH RHONDA DENNIS



AUTHOR BIO


Rhonda Dennis is proud to be born and raised in Louisiana. Her enthusiasm for the uniqueness of Louisiana's culture is evident in her novels. Even though she has always loved writing, she put it on hold to work for a while in the medical field. After returning to college, her passion was reignited. Rhonda wrote her first novel, "Going Home", the first book of the Green Bayou Novels series. She has since released novels two through four in the series, "Awakenings", "Deja Vu", and "Unforeseen". She also contributed to the anthology, "Rich Fabric" which released in September 2012. Rhonda lives in a small town in South Louisiana with her husband, Doyle, and her son, Sean and is about to release the fifth novel in The Green Bayou series, "Deceived". She appreciates the outdoors, enjoys spending time with her family, and loves to cook.





Growing up in southern Louisiana I know all too well the sights and sounds that Rhonda Dennis describes in her books. Louisiana is full of rich culture whether it is from the murky bayous, mysterious inaccessible swamps or the famous historic French Quarter. So when reading a story from Louisiana, no matter the location, it is sure to be a story worth reading.  Come and enjoy getting to know my friend Rhonda while we sit on the edge of the black waters of the bayou. But watch your toes for alligators. And if you listen close enough you can hear the rustling of the moss blowing in the giant oak trees and the eerie singing of the cicadas at dusk.  While we get to know Rhonda don’t forget to grab a glass of sweet ice tea and dig into a pile of spicy crawfish. 




Q:   Rhonda I know you at one time were an EMT is Emily based on you?
Rhonda:  Not really.  The fact that I was a medic does lend some authenticity to some of the emergencies Emily has to deal with, however, that's pretty much where the similarities end.

Q:  As an EMT did you ever encounter some of the crazy calls Emily encountered?
 Rhonda:  Yes!!  None that were actually listed in my stories, but I have had to respond to quite a few odd cases.  One of the funniest was a woman who demanded an M&M when we arrived at her house at 3:30 in the morning.  Family surrounded her as she lay on the bed moaning and pleading for that M&M.  After a whole lot of confusion, we found out that she actually wanted a ride to the hospital to get an enema--not an M&M.  We still chuckle about that one.

Q:    Besides the green bayou novels do you have plans for any other series.
Rhonda:  I'm not sure if I'll have another series or not, but I do have plans for at least three stand-alone novels. I kind of want to spread my wings as a writer--take a few more chances with what I put out there and see how readers like it.

Q:    Why did you kill off  main characters early on in the stories.
Rhonda:  From the start I knew I needed to kill off some main characters because I didn't want the reader to get too comfortable with the stories.  I didn't want someone to automatically assume that each segment would be wrapped up all cheerily and happy-go-lucky.  That's not real life.  Granted most people don't have as tumultuous a life as Emily Boudreaux, but we all have to deal with loss and tragedy, and we all must face our demons as we strive to overcome the pain left by those horrific events. I wanted to pull ALL emotions from readers, not just the mushy, gushy feel-good ones.

Q:    Do you feel that Emily is a little like Stephanie plum with her crazy antics and that she seems to get in certain predicaments?
Rhonda:  It's so funny that you would ask that.  One of the first people to read my manuscript was my aunt.  As soon as she read it, she said, "You must be an Evanvich fan.  Your manuscript reminds me a lot of the Stephanie Plum series."  I said, "Who?"  (Gasp!!  I know!!)  Seriously, up until that point, I'd never heard of or read anything by Janet Evanovich.  Of course I immediately bought the first book in the series, went directly to the second one, and read until I couldn't hold my eyes open.  I finished the entire series in no time.  I fell in love with Stephanie Plum and I was honored to be compared to such a talented author as Janet Evanovich!!

Q:    Did you always want to write?
 Rhonda:  I did!  I always loved writing, but never thought I could make a career of it.  In junior high and high school, I mostly wrote poetry.  Now, I don't mess with it so much.  As I got older, I developed a passion for writing short musings, little memoirs, and short stories.  "Going Home" was supposed to be a short story, but by the time I finished with it, I had a full novel-length manuscript.  I felt so accomplished!  I had written a novel!  I didn't know if it would go anywhere, but I had done it!  It's so hard to believe that I'm about to release my fifth one!!

Q:    Ok so you have some pretty hot men in your books who is your favorite and why?
Rhonda:  Only one?  Shucks!  If I had to pick only one, I'd say it would have to be Holden--though Jackson runs a close second place.  Jackson is good looking, chivalrous, devoted, etc., but Holden has this "bad boy" attitude that pops up every once in a while.  I have so many people tell me that Jacob is their favorite male character.  I had no clue readers would bond so well with him when I initially released the books.

Q:    Your books are set the murky bayous of Louisiana why this setting?

Rhonda:  I picked the bayous of Louisiana because it's what I know best.  I have so much pride in my culture and heritage!  I love being from Louisiana and I think that the backdrop of the sultry swamps lends some mystery to the series.  I'm also able to educate those who aren't from the area to some of our traditions and ways of life.  Consider me a Louisiana ambassador!

Q:    Are the settings in your stories from real life places?
Rhonda:  A few are based upon actual areas I've been to.  I picked them on purpose so I could give the readers a very clear, concise mental picture of these places.  You'd be surprised to know just how many ambulance stations in South Louisiana are situated near, in the middle of, or around cane fields!

Q:    Are there any tidbits are sneak peeks you would like to give your readers?
Rhonda:  Because the last book ended on a cliffhanger, I still haven't released the first chapter of "Deceived". (I usually do that about a month or so before release.)  I can tell you that this book will feature a place near and dear to my heart, my hometown of Morgan City!   The change in setting ties in beautifully with the storyline.  I hope everyone enjoys reading about it!  

Q:  Who is your favorite author?
Rhonda:  My favorite author would be John Kennedy Toole.  I'm a huge fan of "The Confederacy of Dunces."  After that, I'd have to say that I love most of the classics, I totally adore Charlaine Harris, and I really enjoy Janet Evanovich.  I also love supporting fellow Indie authors as much as possible.  I'm very grateful to have befriended some big names and some who are surely destined to become big names.  

Q:    Who has inspired you most in life and in writing?
Rhonda:  That's a hard one.  I've been inspired by so many people!  In grade school/high school, my English teacher, Lisa Thibodeaux played a huge part in sparking my enthusiasm for reading and writing.  In college, I had a professor who actually wrote that I should consider changing careers to writing on my final essay.  It was his words of encouragement that essentially gave me the confidence to take this route.  In life, I'm inspired by my family and friends.  I have two aunts who have played a tremendous role in my writing.  My parents--I hope to make them as proud of me as I am of them.  My husband and son--they are so supportive and helpful.  I've been blessed with the people in my life, and even more so now that I can include fans and readers into the list of those who inspire me.  Whenever I receive a little note or a comment from a reader, it encourages me to keep at it and to try to do even better with the next one. 

Q:  If you could meet anyone famous from Louisiana who would it be and why?
Rhonda:  Can I have more than one?? Hmmm? I think I'd love to spend the day with John Goodman. He's so down to earth and laid back. He's my kind of guy.

Yes you can have more than one. 
Well, I want Chef John Besh to cook for us and Harry Connick, Jr. to play music while Ian Somerholder, Reese Witherspoon, Zachary Levi, and Ellen Degeneres join us!

Q: Growing up in southern Louisiana what is your fondest memory?
Rhonda:  My favorite memory is sitting on my grandparents' porch, waiting for my Paw Paw to come home with bushels of crabs for us to boil. Those were great times!





AUTHORS LINKS


GREEN BAYOU NOVEL FACEBOOK SITE

RHONDA DENNIS'S WEBSITE

FOLLOW RHONDA ON TWITTER

RHONDA'S GREEN BAYOU NOVELS BLOG

RHONDA'S GOODREAD AUTHOR PAGE

You can purchase her books at the following:

They are available in either paperback or ebook
 
AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

BOOKSAMILLION

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