Monday, November 30, 2009
FEATURED AUTHOR: Rhonda McKnight
EDITOR NOTE: It is always a pleasure to introduce you to one of my friends. When she announced she sold I rejoiced with her. Receiving a review copy of her book brought tears to my eyes. Reading it brought more tears. Reading her facebook posts about waiting on her book to arrive on her doorstep brought on more tears. I guess you can say I'm happy to see her dream come true.
The road to publication is hard some days but when you experience the first sale with a friend you know the reward of a published book is worth it.
I’m excited to be able to introduce you to fantastic new writer that I hope will be added to your must read list. Please meet my friend and new Christian Fiction author, Rhonda McKnight.
Rhonda McKnight is the owner of Legacy Editing, a free-lance editing service for fiction writers and Urban Christian Fiction Today http://www.urbanchristianfictiontoday.com/, a popular Internet site that highlights African-American Christian fiction. She’s the vice-president of Faith Based Fiction Writers of Atlanta.
When she’s not editing projects, teaching writing workshops or penning her next novel, she spends time with her family. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for twelve years. More information about the author can be found at http://www.rhondamcknight.net/
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
Secrets and Lies is a story about faith, forgiveness and reconciliation. I believe it will resonate differently with each individual, and honestly, I’d like readers to take the message God has for them. But if I had to name one thing, I'd say I’d like my readers to understand that forgiveness is a decision. Once a person decides that peace is more important than bitterness and pain, they will have a fuller, more complete life.
Why did you choose to write this book?
The story chose me. I tried not to write this book, because at the time there were elements of the story that were very painful for me personally, but I heard God and my writing partner, author Sherri Lewis, telling me to finish it.
What did you learn while writing this book?
Other than how to write a book. (LOL). I learned that this (writing) is what I was really born to do. (That is other than be a mother).
What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
There are so many, and I’d have to give the story away to tell them, but there’s a funeral scene that plays in my mind like a clip from a movie. It almost didn’t make it in the book. I’m glad it did.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
How much time it actually takes to write a book, and how hard we have to concentrate to do it. That interruptions and phone calls or even “Hon, where’s my red tie?” are intrusions that mess up our flow.
How did it feel to finally see your first book in print?
I won’t hold my book until November 24th when I run in the bookstore and purchase it. I’ll cry for sure. I mean cry and snot. I cried when my advance review copies came. I cried when I received my promo material. I cried when I read my first review. I’m a crybaby.
How many books did you write before selling?
I sold the first book I finished.
What is one thing being a writer taught you about God?
That HE really cares about my gift. HE cares about my stories and all this stuff I have inside of me that wants to get out, because HE shows up in my stories and really delivers a punch.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
I’m not a morning anything.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
My mentor, Victoria Christopher Murray taught me that even though we write Christian fiction that we must never forget we’re entertainers. Entertain your reader by digging deep for the creativity.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Well I’m working on my third book as I write this, so I’m a newbie, but I had unexpected surgery last summer right before I was due to turn in my second novel. It was very difficult to make up for the lost time and meet my deadline.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
The best advice I received was to begin to build my brand and my readership early. I can’t say that I’ve received any bad advice; if I have I don’t know it yet. (LOL)
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do study the craft of writing. Story is king, but executing that story with excellence is a skill that’s honed. Just like someone may be gifted to play the piano, they won’t play in an orchestra until they learn how to read music. Don’t chase trends or copy someone else’s style. Write your story. Someone out there is waiting for it.
I borrowed this question from Author Carleen Brice, What is your author fantasy?
Hah, hah, hah – I’m pretty simple. Right now it’d be a dream to have my books converted to audio books. I have several family members and Facebook friends who don’t read well (for various reasons) and have told me they’d like to listen to my book. I would love to reach more people by being in audio.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
Watch 24. A lot of people think it’s a “dude” show. I haven’t missed an episode in seven seasons. Once when my power was out I drove to Wal-mart and watched it in the television section. Okay, so I’m a little obsessed with Jack Bauer. Surprise!
Five questions about books:
One book that you have read more than once.
You’re Blues Ain’t Like Mine by the late BeBe Moore Campbell, and it may be the only book I’ve read more than once.
One book you would want on a desert island.
You know it’s funny, because I ask people this question on my blog a few times a month and I always wonder what that book would be for me. So do I have an answer? Not really – maybe Brothers and Sisters by the late BeBe Moore Campbell. See a pattern here. I am a fan of her work. She is surely missed.
One book that made you laugh.
The List by Sherri Lewis, hilarious.
One book that made you cry.
Keeping Misery Company by Michelle Larks – I cried and cried at the end.
One book you wish you'd written.
The Purpose Driven Life by Russ Warren – 22 million sold. Yep, that would be the book I wish I’d written.
Our theme for this month is Time Management. Do you have any tips on making time for writing?
Yeah, and so does Nike – Just Do It. Honestly, schedule the time in otherwise life will steal it. Be realistic. If you work full-time and have a family you can’t expect to sit down and write 4 hours a day, unless you plan to neglect the people you love. Commit to short chunks of time. Your lunch break, an hour on Saturday or Sunday morning before the family wakes up, an hour on Friday night after the kids are in bed. Carve it out for you and slowly but surely the manuscript will come together.
Oprah has--as one of her magazine columns--a section where she talks about what she knows for sure. What do you know for sure?
I know that God is sovereign.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Sure, An Inconvenient Friend comes out August 1, 2010. Samaria Jacobs, one of the minor characters from Secrets and Lies gets her own book. It’s a true stand alone story. I bring nothing of Secrets and Lies to this book except her “lovely” personality. Here’s an unofficial synopsis:
Samaria Jacobs doesn’t know Jesus, yet. She’s still the same manipulative, devious, man stealer we met in Secrets and Lies. Her creed in life: If at first you don’t succeed, try…try…again. She’s got her hooks in someone else’s husband, but this time her plan to steal him involves secretly befriending his wife. Will she get the man or destroy herself and everyone else in the process?
How can readers get in contact with you?
The best way to reach me is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . I love having people stop by my website and sign my guestbook www.rhondamcknight.net and I am a total and complete Facebook addict. You can catch me every day that the sun rises at www.facebook.com/rhondamcknight
Secrets and Lies
Faith Morgan is struggling with her faith. Years of neglect leave her doubting that God will ever fix her marriage. When a coworker accuses her husband, Jonah, of the unthinkable, Faith begins to wonder if she really knows him at all, and if it’s truly in God’s will for them to stay married.
Pediatric cardiologist Jonah Morgan is obsessed with one thing: his work. A childhood incident cemented his desire to heal children at any cost, even his family, but now he finds himself at a crossroads in his life. Will he continue to allow the past to haunt him, or find healing and peace in a God he shut out long ago?
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