Hi Rhonda, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I met my husband in 1985 and we’ve been together ever since. We will be married 23 years in August and together 31 years. We have a daughter, who is 21 and a son who is 17. My daughter went and made me a grandmother 7 months ago but I’ve come to terms with it and I’m madly in love with my granddaughter. I won’t say how old I am but I will tell you that I’m younger than 70 and older than 30.
My background includes working as a computer tech and various office jobs over the years but I never really felt a love for any of the jobs I’ve had. My mother-in-law passed away 8 years ago and my hubby and I took on the care of his sister. She has Williams Syndrome with is somewhat the same as Downs Syndrome in the way that she is developmentally delayed. So for the first few years, we had her I worked but it was getting more difficult so we decided it was better for one of us to stay at home. Since he was the bigger breadwinner, I happily retired and it gave me more time to do what I really love, writing.
Discuss your newest book.
Dangerous Therapy is my debut book and is the first in a 7 book series. It’s the story of one of the oldest of the 7 O’Connor brothers. John O’Connor is giving up on life after a terrible accident. His family are at their wits end when he refuses any kind of therapy. The only thing keeping him sane is his dreams of a beautiful woman he pulled in for a traffic violation months before.
Physical Therapist Stephanie Kelly is healing from a broken heart. When she is hired by Nightingale’s personal care and physical therapy, she’s ecstatic but she’s shocked when her boss asks her to take on a new patient. Shocked because the patient is her boss’s nephew and he’s not exactly keen on therapy. He’s also the cop who’s been heating up her dreams.
As Stephanie helps John get back on his feet, they grow closer, but someone is out to hurt Stephanie, or worse. After multiple attempts on her life, John’s family tries to figure out who’s after the woman he loves and stop them before it’s too late.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always had an interest in writing and creating stories. As a teenager, my friends and I would sit around and make up our own version of romance stories. Of course, we would make our crushes and ourselves the main characters. As I got older I wrote little stories for myself as a kind of stress reliever, I guess you could say.
What are your current projects?
My current projects are the second and third books in the O’Connor Brother series. I have the first draft for the whole series written but are not ready to be seen by anyone. The second and third are a little more polished. The second will be released in July.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I can’t say any specific book has influenced me but books that interest me are usually ones that have love, suspense, humor and, of course, a little heat.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve had the book written for a long time and had always wanted to publish it but was always afraid of what people would say. My daughter was actually the inspiration that gave me the push I needed.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
John O’Connor is a police officer and grew up in a large family. His family are close and he feels that as one of the oldest brothers in the family he needs to be strong which is why he finds it so hard after the accident. Deep down he wants to settle down and have a family but really doesn’t think he will ever find anyone.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Actually, there is an actor that I picture as John and he’s a Newfoundland actor. Alan Hawco. The actress I see as Stephanie is probably Krystin Pellerin. She is a Newfoundland actress. Both of them worked together on a tv series in here called the Republic of Doyle.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think you decide to become a writer. I believe you are born a writer but sometimes it takes you a while to realize it and in my case it took me a few years.
Why do you write?
I love to create stories and give all the people who run around in my head a story of their own.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I’ve had this series in my head for years and as I said before have had them written for a long time. I just had to get in the right mind to let people read what I created.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Getting all the ideas down on paper before another pops in my head.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Writing wasn’t the hard part. Trying to give myself the boost to actually publish was the hardest for me.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Falling in love with the characters and getting lost in their story is the easiest thing for me.
What book are you reading now?
Booty Call by Ainsley Booth
What is one random thing about you?
I spent 30 years involved with the sea cadet movement and I can play wipe out on the glockenspiel.
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?
I mostly use my laptop but I always have a notepad with me and when an idea hits me I write. If I don’t have a notepad I use notepad on my phone.
What does your writing process look like?
Sitting with my laptop and just getting lost in the story.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
The only thing I can think of is, I’ve gotten out of bed quite a few times because an idea pops in my head and I have to go write it. I can’t write in bed because hubby doesn’t like the light turned on at 4 in the morning for me to write something that popped in my head. He’s weird about things like that.
How important are names to you in your books?
I do try to stick with names I know are Newfoundland names. Some of them are also names of people I know and family members but names are where the similarities end.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Trying to ensure that I stick to the Newfoundland dialect but also ensuring that everyone can read my books and enjoy them.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
Since this is my first book I’m not sure if I made any yet but I’m sure I will but I have an amazing circle of author friends who give incredible advice.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Never give up!
What is your favorite book and why?
I honestly couldn’t tell you one favorite book because there are so many books to love. I’ve read so many books.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep writing what you love and never give up because if a middle-aged woman from Newfoundland can do this anyone can.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
That’s easy. I love spending time with my granddaughter and my children.
From where do you gain your inspiration?
My husband is my inspiration. He may not be the romantic type all of the time but he’s always been my rock and he gives me support every day.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I think self-publishing gives authors a better chance of getting their work out there. You don’t have to deal with rejection after rejection from publishers. It’s on your own terms and you do it the way you want. It’s a little harder to get your name out there but if you stick with it, you can build up your readers.
How do you market your books?
I hired someone to set up an online release party and she also set up a 30-day blog tour. I also bought a couple of ads on Facebook.
Why did you choose this route?
It was recommended to me to hire someone for the first book but I will do it again.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
I don’t use one but I wouldn’t be totally against it in the future.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Just get your name out there and if you have to hire someone to help do it. It’s worth it in the long run.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
I usually take a couple of hours at night to make posts and check all the social media. I’m still in the middle of the blog tour so I check on that every day as well.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I just ask to leave a review if they’ve read the book but that doesn’t seem to be working very well. Getting reviews seems like pulling teeth but I’m still working on that.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
I’ve tried asking but as I said I’m still working on that.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Not everyone is going to like what I write and I understand that. Everyone wants good reviews but you have to take the good with the bad and move on. Don’t take it to heart and hope that most people like what you write.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
I think social media for marketing is the way to go. Almost everyone uses some sort of social media these days and you can reach so many people.
Which social network worked best for you?
Facebook seems to be the best for me.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Always be thankful to people who take the time to read your work and help you and make sure you stay true to yourself.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I did an online book release party on Facebook and I am in the middle of a 30-day blog tour.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I’m not someone who would love to meet anyone famous.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write what speaks to you and never stop.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
On my website – http://rhondabrewerauthor.wix.com/home
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rhondabrewerauthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/rhondabrewer67
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