Today we welcome Raymona Anderson.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Raymona Anderson: Thanks for your interest. My life is pretty mundane. I like to browse art galleries, flea markets, play Mexican Train dominoes. My hubby of 64 years and I do these things together. Independently, I play Scrabble with friends at least once a week, read, watch political talk shows. Love old western movies.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Raymona Anderson: Fiction. Two Hearts in Time is my published novel. Two book-length manuscripts are A Woman to Reckon With (lengthy mainstream that I’m trying to turn in to a book and a sequel) and The Truth About Doreen (a mystery). “…Woman’s” message is the importance of conserving water resources (and you can’t climb to the top of the ladder over others without losing something of yourself). “Doreen,” beware of borrowed guilt. “Two Hearts,” social injustice, and the importance of saving antiquities from looters. Can you tell I was a journalist before I turned to writing fiction?
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Raymona Anderson: The mainstream. The Right Kind of Woman was the original title of the long mainstream. Now it is the title of book two.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Raymona Anderson: The opening of the sequel to A Woman to Reckon With. Among more serious subjects, the plot includes a long-term illicit romance. In book one, the protagonist hasn’t always acted in the best interest of others, (for good reason if she is to survive her antagonist’s goals for her). It is hard to start book two with the reunion with her lover and make her sympathetic. She remains goal-driven character, but what she survived early-on makes her that way.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Raymona Anderson: Personal experience. Visits to settings. Interviews with experts in a field. Reading. Reading. Reading. I researched all my books before the Internet.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Raymona Anderson: Diana Gabaldon; anyone who writes a good family saga; thriller/spy authors like Lee Child and Daniel Silva. My inspiration is ado-or-die friend whose methods I don’t always like, but will write to her last breath and promotes the heck out of her books in her 80s.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Raymona Anderson: People who received my letters years ago.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author.
Raymona Anderson: Persistence. Bringing settings to life. Using techniques learned at University of Oklahoma to “keep ‘em turning pages.”
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Raymona Anderson: Almost daily except when there’s health problem (mine or someone in family) or other extreme stresses. I like to start in the morning when I’m fresh, but can write almost any time.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Raymona Anderson: Writing, with luck and reasonable health at age 88.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Raymona Anderson: Learn the process and trust it, and don’t expect too much too soon.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Raymona Anderson: “I couldn’t put it down,” or “I don’t usually read romances, but I loved this.” The book isn’t really a romance, but the romance element is strong and spicy.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Raymona Anderson: EXCERPT FROM TWO HEARTS IN TIME, PAGES 133/34
“Ah, but you are too modest, Señora Lyons.”
Father Rolando’s mild tone belied how his eyes ferreted out detains of the sketch her hand couldn’t hide. “Don Miguel might wish to become your first commission.”
Stillness expanded through the room while Sonrisa mustered a reply.
“Come now,” the priest said after a moment. “If I am to help establish you in your work I must see if it is as admirable as I suspect that it is.”
She moved her hand. Black smeared her fingers where she’d touched the wet ink, smudges marred Miguel’s arrogant nose. “Well then, I have ruined it,” she said. “It was an experiment really. When I saw your materials here…”
The old man reached for the sketch. After a moment’s hesitation, she handed it over.
“Hmm” he murmured. “To discern a man’s best quality from memory after such short acquaintance is most observant.
Sonrisa studied the drawing again. She hadn’t been aware of the compassion she’d created on a mouth capable of such cruel criticisms. Miguel dealt empathy for her from a miser’s purse. She could only blame the romantic in her, the woman who needed a man sensitive as well as strong. And that was almost certainly the characteristic Miguel would’ve shown the cura during what she guessed must have been their long acquaintance.
His expression thoughtful, the old man nodded. “A very good likeness from memory indeed.”
As Sonrisa had suspected, he’d picked up on the sexual tension between her and Miguel when they parted the night before. She cleared her throat. “About my plan to do portraits here in Valladolid—” she began, but Father Rolando cut in.
“Don Miguel happened upon you in the wilderness when, Wednesday? And this is but Monday?”
Wednesday? Monday? Pain stabbed Sonrisa’s right temple. She’d entered the pyramid on a Saturday and thought she emerged the next afternoon. Had she lost days as well as years? Her insides knotted: even if she could see the carved images again and decipher them to the exact same point in the text, could she emerge at the same point in time she left in the twenty-first century? What if the glyphs had less to do with the phenomenon than with some disturbance created by the cave-in?
“Er … ah…yes, it was Wednesday when your friend came upon me in the forest.”
http://amzn.com/BO136UYRAY Two Hearts in Time
www.raymonamarieanderson.worpress.com My blog, A Writer’s Journeys and Jottings