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Monday, March 15, 2010

Author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen Interview

Please join me in welcoming mystery/suspense author, Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen.

BIO: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen studied writing at Ricks College, Weber State University and Utah State University. Her numerous magazine and internet writing credits include fiction and nonfiction published by The Friend, New Era, Ensign, Guideposts for Kids, Class Act, and yourLDSneighborhood.com. She also enjoys teaching writing and speaking in various venues.

Ronda first knew she wanted to be a writer when she was in the 6th grade. Her English teacher had been reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders to the class, and when she reached the section where Johnny urged Ponyboy to stay “gold,” Ronda realized she wanted to write "golden” words just as Hinton had. More than that, she wanted those words to encourage the "golden" in others. That remains one of her goals.

Ronda's award-winning novel, MISSING is her first book. When asked what she hopes readers take with them after reading MISSING, she says: "First and foremost, I hope I've done my job and entertained their minds and hearts. Second, I hope I've strengthened their understanding that though bad things happen to us, good can come from those experiences. And finally, I hope they cherish their relationships, especially those they have with their mothers, just a little more."

[Anne] Thank you for joining us today, Ronda. Will you tell us how you get started in writing? How difficult was your journey to publication?

[Ronda] I started my “professional writing” career with magazine submissions. Like most authors, I received many rejections, but my first article appeared in a 1994 magazine. After that, I continued to receive both rejections and acceptances, and I now have dozens of published articles and short stories to my credit. My first novel, MISSING, was published last year in 2009, and my second romantic suspense novel, TRAPPED, will be released later this year.


[Anne] I love the cover. Please tell us more.

[Ronda] MISSING is about a BYU-Idaho student who, along with a handsome musician, searches for a missing child from her hometown which she briefly saw while they were in the middle of a choir tour performance in Victoria, British Columbia.

[Anne] Sounds very intriguing! Where did you come up with the concept?

[Ronda] The initial idea came while I was walking in a parking lot several years ago. I saw a man get out of his car and tell a child to stay inside. The child was crying and the man was angry. After the man walked away, the boy looked straight at me with a terrified look on his face, and my first thought was, “What if that kid was kidnapped?”

But you know, one of the amazing things about the writing process is the uncanny way fiction melds with true life. Like the story about Tracie Dean I saw on Oprah one afternoon while I was writing Missing. She, like my lead character, Stacie Cox, had a chance encounter with a child (and adult) that unsettled her to the point that she contacted several police agencies, believing the child had been kidnapped. Finally, after having no success with the authorities, she returned to the place she'd originally seen the girl and eventually helped the police rescue her and uncover the truth: she and another boy were sexual abuse victims. Yes, my story is fiction, but heroines like Stacie Cox really do exist.

[Anne] Okay, say you have this great idea for a book, what do you do next? How much plotting do you do?

[Ronda] First I figure out the end, the characters, and several bits of the basic plot line of the story before I begin to write. If I don’t know where I’m going, I wander. Not a good thing for me.

[Anne] In your opinion what are the most important avenues an author should take in promoting their works?

[Ronda] This is my first book, so I’m still trying a variety of avenues, but so far, the three principals that have worked best for me are:

1. I wrote the best book I possibly could, believing if readers liked my book, they’d tell others about it and want to read more from me in the future.

2. I’ve tried to nurture word of mouth advertising by offering books for reviews and contests.

3. I’ve tried to find and promote MISSING to those who are likely to want to read my book.

[Anne] That’s very good advice. What is one of the most memorable thing’s that has happened to you since you’ve become a published author?

[Ronda] There have been many memorable moments, but if I must choose one, I’ll say my opening night book signing. It was memorable because many of the dear friends I’ve made over the years came to celebrate with me and buy MISSING. We sold out of all the books the store owner had purchased for the signing (about 50). I had been quite nervous before the event, but as my friends came to the store, sometimes standing in a long line, I felt like I was living the final scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I have wonderful friends.

[Anne] Wow, that’s great! I get very nervous at book signing too. What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started writing?

[Ronda] How difficult it is to make a living as a freelance writer. If I’d known, I would have prepared to support myself in a different way while I worked toward my writing goals.

[Anne] Now for a little fun! Do you have any unusual or not so unusual hobbies you’d care to tell us about?

[Ronda] Sorry. Not too much “fun” here. My hobbies aren’t very unusual. I am a soprano soloist and I teach beginning piano.

[Anne] What snack are we likely to see sitting next to your computer when you’re typing away on your next best seller?

[Ronda] If I have food there, it’s usually whatever meal I’m eating while I’m trying to write. Or dessert : ). Sometimes I snack, but if so, it’s usually something like popcorn.

[Anne] Now let’s pretend you’ve been stranded on an island somewhere in the pacific. What are three things you would miss the most?

[Ronda] Things or people? I would be miserable without my family. But if we’re talking of “things” only, I’d have to say I’d most miss my scriptures, writing tools, and survival supplies. I know those are groups of things rather than individual objects, but the truth is, if I couldn’t “feed” my body, heart, and spirit, one or all three parts of me would likely starve.

[Anne] Very true, Ronda! What advice can you offer for any aspiring authors out there?

[Ronda] Write, study the craft and market, and write some more. Along with those things, submit. If you don’t submit, you’ll forever remain an unpublished writer.

[Anne] Where can we purchase your books? And do you have a website we can visit?

[Ronda] You can purchase MISSING at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Borders.com, Deseret Book, or wherever LDS books are sold. You can also find direct links to purchase MISSING on my website at rondahinrichsen.com.

[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Ronda] Yes! My second, national market novel, TRAPPED, will be released later this year. Here’s a quick synopsis:

A sheltered, twenty-three-year-old Florida girl discovers she’s the powerful First Born She who must travel to Austria with the man she loves to face a world of betrayal and pagan sacrifice to save herself, her family, and the generations who come after her.

Thanks, Anne! It was good talking with you today.

[Anne] Thank you, Ronda. It’s been a joy getting to learn more about you and your writing.

5 comments:

Miss Mae said...

Ronda, I want to know if you ever found out about that child in the car! He wasn't kidnapped, was he? Was the angry man his father, uncle, relative? Ooh, now I'm worried!

But congrats on your terrific book signing and running out of books. Maybe you can order 500 for your next signing, and run out of those too! :)

Gail Pallotta said...

What an interesting interview. Congratulations on your success with Missing. It sounds like an intriguing book. Wondering about the good that comes out of the story makes me want to read the book.

Cassie Simmons said...

Congrats on your success Ronda. Your books sound great!

Please enter me in your grand drawing Anne. I'm a follower!

Crystal Ennis said...

Your book sounds very interesting Ronda, I'll have to check it out.

Anne, please enter me in your drawing.

okiecrystale@yahoo.com

Anne Patrick said...

Thank you for dropping by ladies. I'm sure Ronda appreciates your support. You've all been entered in my grand prize drawing.