Welcome back, friends! Today, my dear friend, Rhonda Starnes is joining us to talk about her July debut, Rocky Mountain Revenge. AND Rhonda is offering one lucky commenter the opportunity to win a copy! Details below.
Please welcome Rhonda Starnes.
Rhonda Starnes is a middle school language arts teacher who has dreamed of being a published author since she was in seventh grade. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Rhonda writes romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines.
SHAREE: Rhonda, I’m so excited to share your debut, Rocky Mountain Revenge, with our readers! Let’s jump in! Is there a character in Rocky Mountain Revenge who stole your heart? Or one you love to hate?
RHONDA: Of course, I love my hero and heroine, but the characters who really stole my heart were the hero’s six-year-old son, Camden, and the heroine’s sister’s Great Dane, Barkley. They were so much fun to write!
SHAREE: You had me at Barkley the Great Dane. 😊 What’s the one message you’d love readers to gain from your book?
RHONDA: Forgiveness. Past hurts or injustices are often viewed through a narrow lens. If we can learn to look at things with an open-heart, not seeking to find negatives or faults, we can often see things more clearly which results in forgiving and healing.
SHAREE: Absolutely!! I love those words of wisdom. Would you share a little about your writing journey?
RHONDA: I’ve known that I wanted to be an author since I was in seventh grade. (We won’t discuss how many years that has been. J ) Anyway, I’d always talk about “One day…” Until finally, seven years ago my husband encouraged me to stop talking about writing and write. I entered my first pitch contest and received a request, which was so exciting. That story was rejected, and rightfully so as it was a total mess. I needed to learn the mechanics of writing. Over the course of the next four years, I entered writing contests and pitch opportunities. I had two different manuscripts that went through multiple rounds of revisions before both were rejected. At this point I was feeling dejected and struggled to write. Then, last year, my dream publisher hosted another pitch opportunity, and I just knew I had to try again. And, I’m so glad I did, because now Rocky Mountain Revenge is on bookstore shelves and my dream of being published has become a reality.
SHAREE: I’m so glad your husband encouraged you to aim for your dream. What advice would you give to fellow writers?
RHONDA: Never give up on your dream! When you’ve received rejection after rejection and you don’t think you can go any further…keep writing. The climb to the top of the mountain is hard, but most likely when you feel the strongest urge to give you, you’re almost to the peak. Don’t stop…keep writing!
SHAREE: A hearty amen there. Writing is tough work, but so incredibly rewarding. When you’re struggling for inspiration/motivation, what’s your go to?
RHONDA: I give myself permission to step away and take a time out. I never try to force creativity. If I do, my brain just shuts down, making the writer’s block even worse. So, I’ll take time to crochet a hat or scarf, watch a movie, or grab a book off my to-be-read pile and curl up on the couch for a day of reading. Usually after a day of doing something just for me, I can think more clearly and find the inspiration/motivation I was missing.
SHAREE: That’s great advice. Forcing creativity never seems to work for me either. Will we see any characters return in your next book?
RHONDA: I’m not sure, yet. I’m currently working on a story that would have both Bridget and Ryan Vincent show up as secondary characters again. Only time will tell if I’m able to sell the book to my publisher.
SHAREE: Fingers crossed! What’s the biggest challenge of being an author?
RHONDA: My biggest challenge is finding time to write. I’m amazed by all the authors I see who have young children at home who knock out three or four novels a year. My husband and I are empty nesters, but even so, between my full-time job teaching and family obligations, I still have days where I stuggle to find the energy or time to write.
SHAREE: Writing truly is a personal journey. We’re excited for Rocky Mountain Revenge and already anticipating your next book! Thank you so much for being with us today! Friends, join us in the comments below for your chance to win a copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge by answering this question: In Rocky Mountain Revenge, the hero is a law enforcement officer, but the heroine is a veterinarian. What non-law enforcement careers would you like to see in a romantic suspense novel? PLEASE include your email address so we can contact you if you’re the winner!
The fine print: One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, June 26, 2020 at midnight CST and announced here on Monday, June 29, 2020 at 06:00 a.m. US ONLY.