Interview with Linda Rondeau
A native of Central New York, Linda Rondeau met and married Steve Rondeau, her best friend in life, and managed a career in human services before tackling professional writing. After thirty-four years of marriage, they have relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, leaving rural America to live in a city of one million.
While writing is her greatest passion, the more favorable temperatures of Florida allow her to follow another great passion–golf.
Linda is the wife of one patient man, the mother of three, and the grandmother of nine.
An award winning author, Linda is multipublished. Linda’s first title, The Other Side of Darkness, released Fall 2012, won the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel. Her first book in her Sci-Fi, futuristic series, America II, written under L.W. Rondeau released summer of 2012.
Midville newcomer and Iraq War widow, Dorie Fitzgerald, despises the frigid Adirondack wasteland that has now become her home. After twenty failed job interviews, she questions the wisdom of moving to be near her parents. Desperate to belong, she joins the local Community Theater, in production for It’s a Wonderful Life.
Jamey Sullivan has put his professional life on hold in order to run the family business and to help his ailing father. He signs on for Midville’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, although he hopes to receive a Broadway casting call any day now.
When these two meet, they are instantly attracted to one another. However, ambition, demanding children, and a romantic rival threaten to squash their growing love for one another.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
Having spent thirty years in Northern New York, I wanted to write a story about small-town life. The town of Midville is patterned after Malone, New York, where there is abundance of good-hearted people. While no character is echoed from a real person, I hope they embody the warmth and charm of so many I’ve grown to love. Dorie and Jamey are both dissatisfied with their current situations in life. Through It Really Is a Wonderful Life, I hope to demonstrate that sometimes the best that life has to offer is right in our backyard.
YOU MET YOUR HUSBAND DURING A COMMUNITY THEATER PRODUCTION. ANY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL TIDBITS IN THIS STORY?
I met my husband, Steve, during a community production of a Sean O’Casey play, Juno and the Paycock, performed over St. Patrick’s Day. I had a very small part but worked on publicity. When I interviewed my husband for his role of an Irish drunk he said with a twinkle in his eye, “I only had trouble with the Irish.” My husband was also a Boy Scout leader and won awards for his service to the community. We’ve been married for thirty-five years, and have three children and nine grandchildren.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY THEATER EXPERIENCES
Juno and the Paycock was the first Community Theater I did. I had a one-liner but had an absolute blast. That launched a thirty-year involvement in local productions including dinner theater.
A few of my more memorable roles included: Joe’s wife in God’s Favorite, a cigar-smoking elderly murderess in A Talent for Murder, M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, Sister Hubert (and again in a role reprisal) Nunsense, the phony psychic in Blythe Spirit, the wicked witch of the west in The Wizard of Oz, and the irascible Doris in Cemetery Club. Other directorial efforts included, It’s a Wonderful Life, a previous production of Cemetery Club, Babes in Toyland, and Come Blow Your Horn.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE ADIRONDACKS FOR THE SETTING OF THIS BOOK?
Having lived in the Adirondack area for nearly thirty years, I am familiar with the landscape. Besides its natural beauty, winters are brutally cold with lots of snowfall. I chose this backdrop as symbolism for Dorie’s feelings of isolation. A girl from the south, the North Country wilderness can seem unfriendly and uncompromising. The only way to conquer this is to embrace the beauty and splendor of the area. Dorie has become too bitter to see the beauty that surrounds here in spite of rural challenges.
BESIDES THE HERO AND HEROINE, WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SUPPORTING CHARACTER?
It is difficult to choose a favorite. There is Zeke Fournier, who embodies small town America, a simple man yet a deep thinker. He knows he is not as talented as some in the Community Theater group, but enjoys being part of the game. There is Sherrie, manager of Bargains Galore, who cannot embrace change. There are Dorie’s parents, her rock and lifeline, and Jamey’s father, a dying man who wants to leave his son a legacy, yet not the legacy the son desires. But my favorite is Gillian Davidson, a dynamo of a senior citizen, a mentor and good friend to all. My favorite line is when Dorie, interviewing Gillian for a newspaper article about the play, remarks about Gillian’s many volunteer activities to which Gillian responds, “I retired from work, dear, not from life.”
YOU HAVE RECENTLY BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER. HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED YOUR WRITING?
My first contracted book, The Other Side of Darkness, released November of 2011. America II: The Reformation, was released in June and soon after I had contracts for two sequels and serial, followed by a contract for It Really Is a Wonderful Life. I felt like I had finally arrived as an author when late July I found out I have invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. Though fortunately the cancer was detected early, the treatment is an enormous undertaking. Cancer consumes your life. After undergoing a lumpectomy, I have completed two of my four chemo therapy rounds. This will be followed by six weeks of daily radiation treatments. I had complications from the first chemo treatment with low blood counts and infection requiring hospitalization. The second round went much better, although I do have an infected lesion. The whirlwind of doctor appointments, restrictive lifestyle, and side effects do interfere with productivity. And of course, there is chemo brain for a few days following chemo sessions. Consequently, I’m not able to spend as much time writing and marketing as I should for success.
But God is good. And I don’t think it’s an accident that the title of this book is It Really Is A Wonderful Life. For through this ordeal, I’ve learned to treasure life, to gauge what is more important. Writing is what I do, it does not define who I am. There are more important roles in my life to play like wife, mother, grandmother, friend and child of God. The Lord has filled in the gaps where I cannot physically comply. I am noticing overall gain in strength, concentration, and productivity since this hit me. For that I am grateful. I find humor in it all and have been journaling this experience on my blog, This Daily Grind. I find that the things I feared the most really are not that big a deal, including losing my hair. Bald can be beautiful.
YOU MENTOR A LOT OF OTHER WRITERS, INCLUDING SENIOR CITIZENS. TELL US ABOUT THAT.
I maintain fb group page Pentalk and Pentalk Community for writers of all genres and belief systems. In addition, I have a LinkedIn page specifically for seniors called Geezer Writers. I edit a blog written for seniors by seniors called Geezer Guys and Gals, hosting more than sixty authors. I belong to many writing groups, and have done workshops in self-editing techniques.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE THE READER WILL TAKE AWAY FROM IT REALLY IS A WONDERFUL LIFE?
Sometimes God’s perfect will can be found in simple living, serving him in our backyard through the mundane of our everyday life.
WHERE CAN READERS FIND THE BOOK?
On Amazon: It Really IS a Wonderful Life
Available in both print and ebook
WHERE CAN READERS FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU?