Rhonda McKnight is the author of the Black Expressions Top 20 bestseller, A Woman’s Revenge (Mar 2013), What Kind of Fool (Feb 2012), An Inconvenient Friend (Aug 2010), Secrets and Lies (Dec 2009) and Breaking All the Rules (Oct 2013). She was a 2010 nominee for the African-American Literary Award in the categories of Best Christian Fiction Novel and Best Anthology. She was the winner of the 2010 Emma Award for Favorite Debut Author and the 2009 Shades of Romance Award for Best Christian Fiction Novel. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for fifteen years.
Hello Rhonda, thank you for joining us today for this interview. We are always on the lookout for romance novels here at Love Is A Drug, Ink. Now that we have your attention for a little while we have a few questions to ask you so let’s get right to it!
1. What made you choose to write in the Genre that you write in?
I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, but I didn’t even know Christian Fiction existed until 1998 when Victoria Christopher Murray introduced me to her novel, Temptation. That was when I started to think about the kind of stories I wanted to tell. But even then I wasn’t sure I was the right person to tell a “Christian” story. As I’ve grown spiritually, I’ve realized that it’s really the only kind I can tell. I write who I am.
My latest release, Breaking All The Rules, is an inspirational romance. When I began writing, it was because I had fallen in love with the then, BET, now Harlequin Kimani/Arabesque line of African-American novels, so while my novels have been pretty serious Christian Fiction stories, my love for “boy meets girl and they fall in love” type romance has shown up in both my novella length fiction.
2. What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?
My favorite thing about the writing experience is reader feedback. Readers are fantastic. They fall in love with the characters and that connection to my work is exciting and encouraging.
3. How do you handle bad reviews?
I’ve had great reviews with just a few bad ones here and there. When I see the bad ones, I shrug. Every book isn’t for every reader and some people are really emotional readers who can’t see the book ending any other way than the way they had it mapped out in their head. There’s nothing you can do about that.
4. Where is your favorite place to write?
Any place where my kids and the dog aren’t. I can be found at the local Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts tapping away on my keyboard. One day I’ll rent a cabin in the woods or a house on the beach and fail marvelously at getting any work done. I’m sure the scenery would pull me away from my work.
5. When you write, do you write for a long period of time or do you write in short burst?
I do both. I work full-time and I’m a mommy, so I write when I can and when I must because of a deadline. I typically start a project and write for weeks or months for long hours on the weekend and late into the night until it’s done, but then I won’t write again for several months.
6. Where did your inspiration for this book come from?
Facebook chatter. One day I was scrolling through my newsfeed and found a long discussion about what I call “the Ex-Factor” (the original title for the novel). People were so passionate about it that I thought, “Surely, this will make a good book.” I decided to give Deniece the career of a wedding planner simply because I was watching the movie, the Wedding Planner one night and thought that career would give the book the perfect twist. I also love, love, love David Tutera’s show, My Fair Wedding.
7. What is your favorite author and why?
My favorite author is actually deceased. The late, great BeBe Moore Campbell. She was a master at description and character development. She also did a amazing job at weaving several plots bringing them together nicely by the end of the book. I miss her work.
8. What words of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read, write and then read and write some more. Study the craft of writing. Buy craft books or take writing classes. Attend a writer’s conference. You’ll learn so much about writing and the publishing business.
9. Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
My favorite character is the hero, Ethan Wright. He’s yummy. Handsome, rich, generous and did I say handsome?
10 What is your favorite scene from the book or why?
My favorite scene from the novel is the black moment; you know when you think the lovers might be finished. Deniece puts up a great fight. She’s angry and stubborn to the point of silliness (kind of like we women get) and then she finds out she was wrong about the hero. I love it when couples make up.
11. If your book was turned into a movie who would you want to direct it?
Malcolm Lee and not because my character is Deniece Malcolm. J He directed The Best Man and it’s one of my favorite movies.
12. What is the best book you have ever read?
Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by BeBe Moore Campbell. Riveting, beautifully written story based on the Emmitt Till story. I read it nearly twenty years ago and it still remains my favorite novel of all time.
13. What projects do you have planned for the future?
I’m writing quite a bit. I’m working on a sequel to my third novel, What Kind of Fool, which was the sequel to my second novel, An Inconvenient Friend. My readers love the character, Samaria Jacobs. She’s a messy, homewrecker who’s trying hard to get her life together, but her ratchet ways keep getting in the way. I’m also releasing another romance novella next month, just in time for Valentine’s Day in an anthology with a few other authors. I’m writing a lot.
14. What do you hope to say to people with your writing?
My books all have the theme of forgiveness. I believe the stories resonate differently with each individual, but if I had to name one thing, I’d say I’d like 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. Forgiveness is not about the other person. It’s about you.
15. Is there another hobby you have that you would like to share?
Everything in my world seems to be about child rearing and writing these days, but I do have a garden and I enjoy that immensely. It a great way to work through stress and get some organic veggies for my family.
16. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Is buying an island on that television show “Island Hunters” too ambitious? I pray I’m retired from my job and happily creating stories for my readers.
17. Do you have an official website?
18. Where can we find you on social media?
I love social media. I’m on Facebook everyday at www.facebook.com/booksbyrhonda and in my Reader Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/rhondamcknight/
I’m also on Twitter @rhondamcknight and I’m addicted to Pinterest. I have a great Pinterest page for the novel, Breaking All The Rules. Please check it out. http://www.pinterest.com/rhondamcknight1/breaking-all-the-rules/
19. Where can we find your books?
My novels can be found pretty much wherever books are sold and if not in stock they can be ordered. All of my work is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and iBooks.
Check out ‘Breaking All The Rules’ on Feed Your Need To Read!