"Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum." Graycie Harmon
Friday, September 24, 2010
Interview with Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen, author of "TRAPPED" and enter to WIN A AUTOGRAPHED COPY of her book!
Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho. She received her Associates Degree in English from Ricks College and studied writing at Weber State University and Utah State University. Her hobbies are music and reading, and 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 maintains two blogs, RondaGibbHinrichsen.com and TheWriteBlocks.blogspot.com, contributes to a few other blogs, and enjoys teaching about writing and speaking in various venues. An earlier version of her second novel, TRAPPED, won first place in the League of Utah Writers 2009, full-length novel contest.
What the book is about. . .
A forged letter, a golden vial, an ancient curse...
Her expression remained somber, but excitement crept into her voice. "You are the Firstborn She...You must go to them." "You want me to act as bait?" "Not bait, Emi. A spy. Our Trojan horse."
When Emi Warrin wakes one night to find a thief in her mother's house, she has no idea the intruder has planted a trap - a mysterious letter that will change her life forever. Lured to the Austrian Alps with Daniel, the man she loves, Emi is thrown into a perilous, mafia-like world of feuding families and a devastating curse that spans generations. As the Firstborn She - the only firstborn female in hundreds of years - only Emi can free her family from the curse that will soon afflict her as well. But for Emi to break the curse, she must delve into evil designs.
As Emi struggles to understand her destiny as the Firstborn She, she learns that everything isn't as it seems and that all choices have consequences. Can Emi break the curse before it's too late?
I enjoyed Ronda's book tremendously. She's a gifted author and storyteller. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and up all night!
I had a chance to interview Ronda. I learned some interesting things about her and thought you'd enjoy getting to know Ronda better.
M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Ronda: I was in the 6th grade. My teacher was reading S.E. Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS to the class, and when she reached the section where Johnny urged Ponyboy to stay “gold” I realized I wanted to write "golden” words just as Hinton had. More than that, I wanted those words to encourage the "golden"—the goodness—in others.
M.B.: What is your writing and educational background?
Ronda: I received my first writing job when I was attending Ricks College. I was a script writer for their classical radio station. Not only did I write the information to be read over the air about the music that was about to be played, but I also got to write some of the advertising promos. It was a really good experience. After I graduated from Ricks College, I attended other college classes and writers conferences, but along the way, I wrote for magazines, especially the LDS church mags.
M.B.: What makes you passionate about writing?
Ronda: First, the drive inside me that says writing is something I must do, but close to it is the knowledge that I’m working to add goodness to the world.
M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Ronda: Like I indicated before, HARD WORK. After that, it was submitting to and being published in magazines. I had small children at the time, so I thought if I wrote short stories and articles I could begin to build my name while I learned my craft. After about 15 years of doing that, I decided I was ready to write a full-length novel. I started by creating a critique group with Josi Kilpack and a few other ladies and buying a book on novel structure. It took me three years to write MISSING, my first novel, and another year and a half to find a publisher. Walnut Springs Press was the third publisher I submitted it to.
M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Ronda: I was discouraged from time to time, but because I was always writing and submitting something, when I received a rejection, I still had hope because I had something else out there. I also received good feedback and a few acceptances along the way.
M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?
Ronda: I used to believe that my best writing time was from 10 a.m. to noon or so. Now, life is so crazy I write whenever I get the chance, usually in the evening.
M.B.: Where do you get your ideas? How do you know a book is good enough to write a book about it?
Ronda: Ideas come from everywhere. I think of them as floating around in the sky, waiting for someone to grab onto them. Sometimes more than one person grabs onto the same idea. In fact, while I was in the submission process with my first novel, MISSING, I came across a website where someone had expressed the idea for a novel that was very similar to MISSING. Even the characters had the same names. I couldn’t believe it! But overall, the book idea I think is good enough to write about is the one that excites me. The “what if” that makes me want to find out what happens next.
M.B.: MISSING is about a young woman who finds and rescues a missing child. What is TRAPPED about?
Ronda: TRAPPED’s about a sheltered, twenty-three-year-old who only wants to get out on her own, but after a series of terrifying events, beginning with waking to find a thief in her home, she learns she must travel to the Austrian Alps and act as a spy within a mafia-like society in order to destroy a horrifying family curse only she can end.
M.B.: When did the idea for TRAPPED first come to you?
Ronda: TRAPPED is the result of two vivid yet very different dreams I had a couple of years ago. The first involved a child caught in a deadly trap and the second portrayed a fantastical scene of sacrifice, complete with character motivations. It ultimately became the basis for TRAPPED’s finale.
M.B.: What do you hope readers will get from this story?
Ronda: Several things. As far as messages go, I hope readers will realize there is a great deal of goodness inside them that they haven’t yet found, and that we are each capable of destroying/ending the “evil” traditions in our families. Beyond that, I hope the reader enjoys their experience with TRAPPED and is caught by surprise a few times. There are two things I really love: surprising people and touching their hearts. ☺
M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Ronda: Both. I initially gather ideas as they come to me in a notebook, and then I begin to outline the important points of the story. I absolutely have to know my beginning and my ending or I can’t write. However, as I write from point to point, a lot of “waiting to see what happens” takes place.
M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Ronda: Definitely! And the best way I’ve found to get out of that snag is to take my problem to my critique group and let them help me brainstorm my way out of it. They are wonderful and invaluable!
M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Ronda: I prefer quiet. I can write with other stuff going on, but it’s a much slower process.
M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Ronda: Scriptures, words of wisdom from great thinkers, movies, other books. Oh, and dreams. ☺
M.B.: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Ronda: Other than deity, I’d have to say it was Dorla Jenkins, my creative writing teacher at Ricks College. She both taught me important principles and made me believe in my ability to succeed as a writer.
M.B.: What’s your secret to making the characters in your books come to life?
Ronda: I picture someone else, either a real person or a fictional one (like from a movie), who is similar in some way to the characters in my book, and then I imagine them—their actions, their speech patterns, etc.—in my story. For instance, if you’ve seen the old BBC version of Jane Austen’s EMMA, you might recognize a bit of Emma’s father in my character from TRAPPED—Oliver.
M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?
Ronda: As I mentioned before, I rely on my critique group. We meet weekly, and most of what we do is help each other with story structure.
M.B.: Which of your books is your favorite, and why?
Ronda: I love both TRAPPED and MISSING for different reasons. TRAPPED, in my opinion, is the better written novel and requires more careful reading to “catch” some of the suspense and symbolism, but MISSING hits such an emotional chord in my readers that I can’t help but be grateful I had the opportunity to write it. But the books I’m working on now—are what REALLY excites me at the moment. Perhaps my favorite book will always be the one I’m working on? Only time will tell.
M.B.: Any final words you would like to share?
Ronda: If you have a dream, whatever it is, go for it. But most of all, hold onto the greatness inside you. The world needs you.
M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Ronda: If you’re an online shopper, the easiest place is to go to my website at RondaHinrichsen.com because I have direct links there. But you can order them at sites like Amazon.com, Deseretbook.com, and BarnesandNoble.com. But for those of you who want to hold the book first, they’re also available in Deseret Book, Seagull, and other LDS bookstores.
To win a copy of Ronda's book:
1 ENTRY - post a comment to this blog post 1 ENTRY - follow my blog 1 ENTRY - vist Ronda's blog and leave a comment 1 ENTRY - follow me on FACEBOOK 1 ENTRY - join my NETWORKED blogs
My greatest claim to fame is my family. I am married to my prince charming and have four awesome children. This year I experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother to my sweet baby girl Halle. I love to travel and I love to write books.