I am pleased to feature an interview with Ronovan Writes. As well as being an author with a debut novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, coming out in February 2016, Ronovan also provides invaluable resources for Indie authors on his website LitWorldInterviews, which you can check out here: LitWorldInterviews.com The website also features book reviews and interviews. I also admire Ronovan because, like me, he is trying to turn a health issue into something positive.
1. You tell me that you were born of migrant fruit pickers. How old were you before your parents settled in one place? Where do you call home now?
As best as I can tell, it was about the time of Kindergarten. I recall taking naps on those floor nap mats each day and swinging in swings to dangerous heights, at least they were high in my mind. Today people would see that as neglect by playground attendants. I somehow survived until recent years somewhat unscathed.
Now I live in a University town near Atlanta, GA.
2. What did you learn from such a diverse group of students at the ‘Alternative School’ when you taught them History?
All people are the same if given a chance. A number of students were there because the court system forced them to be there. Some teachers treated them as though they couldn’t be trusted. I told the entire class from the beginning that I didn’t care what they did before coming in the door, as long as they treated me good, I didn’t have a problem with them. It worked out fine. I never had a problem with any of them.
3. You say you were too honest to sell life insurance. What was so bad about the job that you stopped doing it?
There were a number of reasons. Even though I was a top seller I was having to work hard and doing it the honest way, which there is no problem with that. The problem came when my health started taking over. I didn’t know it at the time but I had for a number of years been showing signs of Fibromyalgia and multiple herniated discs throughout my spine, including my neck. The pain of driving hundreds of miles a day, during the worst economy we’ve had in decades, combined with seeing how so many previous agents had cheated some of these people, finally became too much.
4. Do you still teach, or are you a full-time writer now?
I’m a full-time writer now. Two years ago I fell in my home from a migraine. I became dizzy and as I fell my head hit three to four times before I hit the floor. There have been problems from that since. I don’t look at it with regret, I am taking the time I have and probably shouldn’t have and turning it into something positive.
5. You are fortunate in being able to write about any subject. What is your debut novel about? How long did it take you to write it?
Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling is a Historical Adventure based around 1706. The main character is Gabriel Wallace, a Captain in the Royal Navy who is court-martialed on charges brought mostly out of scorn by the friends of a dead Admiral. Wallace discovers other goings on about the Admiral and his friends and sets out to correct the wrongs against himself and others by taking his previous ship and crew and becoming a pirate of sorts. I say of sorts because his actions are more a war against the ships belonging to a list of men.
Wallace is a character that is very important in the future lives of two of the main characters in the Ivory Shepard Pirate Tales series by PS Bartlett.
The story is written more about the character of a person than so much about what people might think of as the chauvinistic swashbuckler adventure, sex romp. That’s not my style. The main character has some historical bases in real people, and actions you see are believable. And Wallace is not a woman chaser. He has a mission and he has the men who have volunteered to stick with him to make sure are taken care of.
I probably wrote the initial draft and then second draft in maybe six weeks or less. I have a lot of time and when I’m worked up about a project I tend to become a bit obsessed. Then PS Bartlett took over and put her touches to it, mostly in giving it the language fitting her series. Language such as pirate speak and the like, as well as certain verbiage I am prone not to use but may be likely in certain settings. Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling isn’t the usual pirate adventure with profanity flying left and right, though. The main characters are educated and accustomed to speaking in certain circles and use certain words when situations bring them forth.
Here’s a link to the first chapter of Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling on Ronovan’s new author site: http://ronovanhester.com/2015/12/28/my-debut-novel-amber-wakes-gabriel-falling-it-all-begins-here-chapter-one/
6. Do you prefer to write novels, short stories, or blogs?
I prefer to write novels. Researching to develop a world and characters is something I enjoy a great deal. Writing short stories on various blogs helped me discover the voice and even certain genre I like or for which I have an affinity.
7. What is the most difficult genre for you to write in?
I’m not a horror writer. I can do it, and have, but it’s not my thing. Nor is anything that involves the harming of women or children.
8. Which genre do you prefer to read? Who is your favourite author?
It’s difficult to narrow it down to one. I’ve found I don’t enjoy fantasy and science fiction as much as I once did. Contemporary Literature and also Historical Fiction based from the 1950s back to perhaps the late 1800s are things I like at the moment. I enjoy the style of Clive Cussler for his research and detail, John Gardner for his realism and historical writing in the Secret Generations and Herbie Kruger books, and recently a new author named Claire Fullerton has me hooked on Contemporary Literature with her Dancing to an Irish Reel.
9. You founded Lit World Interviews http://litworldinterviews.com/ to help promote authors and provide advice about writing and publishing etc. Do you prefer to interview authors of your own choosing, or are you happy to interview any author who contacts the site?
There is a bit of selection process. For those who have something prepared I’m happy to publish it. For interviews I conduct myself I prefer to read the book of the author first and then conduct an interview, if I like the book. I don’t like every book I read and I don’t publish a review of those without permission of the author first. In fact, I include on the submission form a question about reviews that would be below a 3. I have no desire to hurt a career with my opinion. Opinions can be subject to so many influences. One may be having a bad week and the book, normally a great read, ends up being a low score. If the review is good, then I normally suggest an interview.
10. Have you ever sought out any alternative therapies for your fibromyalgia?
I haven’t sought any as of yet, although I do look at my nutrition to see what different foods do to the body. I was diagnosed with Fibro two years ago, so right now my doctor is attempting to get things in hand so I can perhaps do other things that will help.
11. How did you ‘lose part of your world in a mind-jarring way’ in 2013?
In the aforementioned fall in my home, I ended up with a Grade 3 Concussion. That’s the type of concussion you hear about quarterbacks in NFL Football in the USA suffering from, and soldiers who are too close to explosions. As a result of the concussion I ended up with retrograde amnesia. Pretty much any person I knew prior to the fall, other than my son, I lost memory of. I had to learn to write again; I would even switch hands in the middle of a sentence and write just as well with either. I was writing because I lost the ability to speak for over a month.
The amnesia is still there but I am able to find my way to anywhere I need to go, although I don’t drive any longer. But I’m better than a GPS if it’s someplace I’ve already been. I also have the learned, education things, other than math. My math skills all but disappeared.
12. How do you cope with not being able to sleep properly? Are you permanently tired?
Yes, I’m pretty much always tired. What I do is get myself involved in whatever I am doing and ignore the tired factor. That is unless it’s the Chronic Fatigue thing kicking in. But everything combined makes writing not bad, although the memory thing can be a problem at times. It’s a pain to write ten chapters and one morning wake up and not remember any of it. Then I have to read it all over again, and my notes, and try to pick up from there. Normally it’s if I sleep too long that I have the memory issue, too long meaning more than four hours at a time. And if it’s a deep sleep, even four hours could be too much.
13. Like you, I also like to sit in the shade and listen to the birds. We have a robin that comes into our garden every day and sits on the same branch. Do you ever think about whether the souls of deceased loved ones can be reincarnated, possibly returning to us in animal or bird form?
No. I’m not a believer of reincarnation. I don’t make fun of others who do though. Everyone has a right to believe as they wish, as long as it doesn’t encroach on or harm others. When I sit and enjoy nature, I think of the beauty of it all and how so many people fly past and miss it. I try to teach my son to enjoy those one of a kind moments like a sunrise that has those pinks and orange colors that will never be like any other sunrise.
14. You are a true Southern Gentleman. Health willing, I would like to visit New Orleans in 2017 for the Mardi Gras. Have you any advice for me if I do go there?
Go with someone, go everywhere with that someone, and don’t get into a state in which you lose your head about you. You’ll have a great time as long as you do the buddy system and stay to the main areas during the night events.
15. You state that you love to learn about other places and their customs. If money and time were no object, where in the world would you like to visit?
I’ve come to enjoy the idea of visiting the Orient lately. I have a book idea and it would be nice to go through all the countries, visit the ancient locations, experience the food, and hear how the people speak.
16. How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve in the South?
There are the usual fireworks shows around, and staying up till midnight. There’s no alcohol in the house, so it’s sparkling grape juice at most. Sometimes with the way the weather is here, there might be a barbeque/cookout. As I’m writing this, it’s in the 70s, and it’s almost New Year’s Eve. There are also moments we are all wondering if the tornado will bypass us this time or go right through out town.
17. What is your favourite piece of music?
Anything from Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles is a hit with me. I enjoy them so much I even taught a lesson about the Paul is Dead idea.
18. What do you think the world will be like for future generations?
Things won’t change as much as people think. We have past theories of the future to look at and realize how slow things do change. It’s becoming scarier though. There is too much political correctness and not enough people doing things to fix the world right now for the world’s own good. And I believe the world is losing its sense of humor where a joke can’t be told without offending someone.
19. Can you tap dance or do the cha-cha?
Nooooo. Well I don’t think so. I can get my groove on to amuse my son. Being a teen in the 80s you don’t have any shame when it comes to dancing, and you realize everything is dancing.
20. Which three possessions would you rush to save in a fire?
Other than human lives: 1) My Laptop with all my work on it, 2) My Captain America #100, and 3) The Archaeological Study Bible my youth group gave me as a gift when I handed the reins over to the new Youth Pastor I helped select.
Thank you Ronovan, for agreeing to answer my 20 questions. Below you can find links to Ronovan’s new author site and other social media. If any authors or publishers reading this would also like to be interviewed, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk with some information about yourself, just as Ronovan did.
Brand New Author Site: http://ronovanhester.com/