29 Oct 2013

Interview with multi-talented writer Rhonda Patton

3 Comments Book Reviews

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Today I have the honour of introducing Rhonda Patton, who not only writes children’s books but who has also written a ghost thriller and a short book about depression. She works together with her husband Chester McDaniel.

Here is my review of one of her children’s books:

“African Safari with Ted and Raymond” by Rhonda Patton is an educational, entertaining and charming children’s book with beautiful illustrations by Chester McDaniel.
Two frogs go on an adventure somewhere in southern Africa where they meet local frogs and see safari animals. I can’t stress how cute and lovable the illustrations are, appealing and in a simplistic child-like style that instantly draws children and adults alike into the book.
The holiday and safari descriptions are pleasant, informative and written with much care and love. Instead of scaring us away with warning information about the animals Patton has chosen to point out specifics and facts about the animals that we see.
The safari with our frogs is not dramatic and scary but educational and seems to have been written with a view to bring nature and humans in harmony. I loved the fact that it is other animals posing as humans that go on safari, hinting at the idea that we are all part of the animal kingdom and part of the same nature and planet. In a modern world where humans drift away from a natural way of life this book stands out with its magic charm and its subtle and low key message.
Most importantly of all however, it is great fun to read. I definitely recommend this book to children and their parents.

Hi Rhonda, thanks for taking the time for this little interview.

Thank you, I am glad to be here.  1376334_507330346030372_1977771464_n

Tell us how you came to writing alone and with your husband?

When I was younger I was always a lover of teaching and entertaining kids.  My biggest dream was to write a book and it is a big seller. When I was older I had many things direct me different ways from my dream. Then it was when my husband lost his job over 4 years ago, when we were in our desperate times I started looking for jobs for him.  He has a talent in his voices, as I was researching I found a few places here that does animation and may need voices.  So it inspired me to do my writing again.  But, I did not know how to draw characters that well.  I showed my husband a book I wrote over 11 years ago, he read it and said he could draw it.  From then on, he loves to draw for my books.

When did you decide to write together and how did you decide to write in such diverse genres?

We had some weird things happen in our home.  He said we could write about it.  We both had ideas about what we wanted to share, he liked it spookier and I liked it another way.  So we came together and we started getting into the writing.  In the daytime I would write and when he called I shared with him a little until he came home. I have to admit when I was writing “Searching for the Unknown” knowing what I knew about the strange things in our home made me turn my back a little and see if they were actually looking at me while writing. J

What do you prefer, writing children’s book or books for adults?

I prefer children’s books.  Children love simple things.  I like writing simple enough the child can understand and want to pick the book back up again.  My husband does the characters.  I tell him to do it the way he imagines to do it.  In the end, he draws it just the way I like it, I have not liked a character he has drawn.

Your children’s books are great fun. Would you say that there is a message in them, and if so, what it would be?

Each story has a message; each book is something about my life.  I want kids to learn about friendship, caring, learning with fun.  Why should learning be boring?  If the kid’s see my “African Safari with Ted and Raymond” they will love the illustrations, plus learn one thing about the animal they may not even know.  I learn a great deal in research as well. We have too much negative on television from cartoons, to entertainment, and shows.  There is not enough positive. 

What do you do when you don’t write?

Ha … Well I have two kids, one 12 and the other 3.  I am in school (online) getting my associates for Graphic Arts. I am a stay at home mom, with a BIG plate.  But I love every bit of it.  I do a lot of promoting other authors as well.  I love doing it; I love sharing because I do not have a support team sharing for me.  I know how it feels as an author without support from family and friends.  I love what I do, and I know other authors do as well.

You seem to be writing a lot of books. Tell us a little about your writing and editing process. 

My children’s books don’t take long to write.  They are short stories. I get an idea about what I want kids to learn and then I turn it into a positive story for them.  The editing, seriously at first I thought I wrote great, so there are a few “unedited” copies out there. I have a couple of friends who are better English writers than myself edit several books.  And now, being in school, I just took a refresher course as well on my editing skills. I am learning, but I still need someone to look over it as well.

What is your writing environment like? Can you tolerate music or noise or are you a reclusive writer?

Again, if you ever have kids then you know what I am talking about here, “Mommy this, and mommy that” constantly.  So I can say music and noise I am used to. 

How did you come up with the heroes for your books?

I love frogs. “Ted and Raymond” are my frog friend characters.  I started collecting ceramic frogs when I was 17 and had a great collection.  As I grew older with kids, I put some away and kept out a few for my shelves. 

Which of your characters was most fun to write?

I love them all, they are like my kids my characters are part of my family. As they grow they get better, and more creative.  We are starting with new characters and it has been really fun.  Harold, Freddie, and Milo were created about 2 years ago, but they just came out in their own little book.  We will be doing this with all the characters.  I am not sure how they will all fit in yet, but I love the characters.

Are you like any of the characters?

Yes, I am like them all.  They are a part of me in every character.  I look at them how I was and they come out in my writing.  All of the characteristics I have are with Ted and Raymond.  Ted is more a thinker than a doer like Raymond.  I tend to have more of Ted’s character.  Raymond is more like he wants to win, get things easy.  I tend to act like that as well.

What is your life like?

My life has been a roller coaster for the last 4 years.  I have had problems with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I am an overcomer.  My life has been fun writing.  I drown myself and inspire myself through others. If I fail at something I do not give up. My newest book out “5 Days Free of Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks” I just released.  It is a very short journal about the last four years in a short to the point.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

I have always liked Cat in the Hat books as a child.  Older I didn’t read much, but I loved stories by William Shakespeare. I used to watch movies or shall I say “Chick Flicks” until I met my husband.  I still love to see my favourite all time is “Gone with the Wind”.  I also like “You’ve Got Mail”, “”How to lose a guy in 10 days”, and more of those romantic movies.

What are your views on independent publishing?

I am an independent author.  I do not see anything wrong with it.  Some great writers I know are independent writers who have bestsellers.  If you write well, edit well, get your point across then why should a publisher turn you down.  I say let the public get what they want.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

Paul Rega he has three #1 bestsellers, there are many more.  I cannot name them all. I have read so many books and they are all unique and great in their own ways.  His stands out more to me because I am reading his 3rd book now. I have already read “How to find a job when there are no jobs” and it is a great read.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My best would be honesty, my friendship, faithfulness, and ambition.  My oddest qualities I am not sure.  They may say I am weird because I am not like the world I like a simple life.

What is your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

My favourite animal is a monkey.  I have always thought they were cute. My favourite colour is blue, although I love green as well. I love going outside to play with the kids, playgrounds, walking.

What would you take to a remote island?

My family and food that is all I need.

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

I would love to invite William Joyce to our house. He is a book writer and animation creator here in Shreveport.  I would not have him over for me, but for my husband.  I would love for my husband to have ONE opportunity to have a sit down and talk with him about his voices.  This is also what inspired me to start writing again.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I wrote “Dylan and the Croak Orleans Gang” it would be out as soon as my husband finishes drawing the characters.  This one will be a fun book for kids. Also, I am working on “The Spirits of ChesterVille General Store” a fun paranormal for the whole family.  You will laugh, cry, and have many emotions in this book.  Our goal is end of Feb. I am also working on a bully story for kids; I have a story about Heaven for kids, Transportation, boating and many more.  I have so many ideas. J My husband just has to keep up, but it is hard with him working. You can find out more and scheduled events at www.thecroak500.com

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

Our books are life lessons where kids can learn and have fun at the same time.  We love writing and drawing for the kids.  I want to change the world one child at a time with a more positive generation.  I guess you can say I am “old school”. 

 Websites: www.thecroak500.com

https://www.twitter.com/frecles24

Author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rhonda-Patton/249595248511397?ref=hl

Good reads page: http://www.goodreads.com/RhondaPatton

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhonda-Patton/e/B008QX4XO2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1367002532&sr=8-2

Google +: https://plus.google.com/108470054136550755283?hl=en#108470054136550755283/posts/p/pub

Word press: http://rhondapattonauthor.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rhondapatton37/

“Searching for the Unknown” by Rhonda Patton and Chester McDaniel is a dark and scary short novel about a young couple and a haunted house. A short paragraph at the beginning introduces the terror that our protagonists are exposed to but then we revert to the beginning and how the couple began living in the house. Like in many great psychological thrillers the suspense builds up almost accidentally but it then stays and becomes all the more threatening and – to me – rather overwhelming at times. Just with words instead of gadgets or props the mystery and sense of doom are introduced slowly and grow to an intense and dramatic level.
Spiked with surprises and a few twists I did not see coming this is a great ghost story recommended for all fans of the genre.

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written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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3 Responses to “Interview with multi-talented writer Rhonda Patton”

  1. Wendy Unsworth says:

    This looks like a great book and I love all things Africa! Will be checking it out, also Rhonda’s adult titles. Thanks for the review, Christoph!

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