Sharon: Welcome to Author Day, Rickki, May I get you a cup of coffee? Tea? A soft drink? Or just plain water?
R.M. Strong: Well, my husband and I have been Netflix binging on Star Trek: The Next Generation this last month, so there’s really only one answer to that question: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Sharon: Coming right up!
Tell us a little about your family.
R.M. Strong: As I mentioned just now, I married a Trekie, and I’m happily watching ‘90s sci-fi with him, so that should tell you something about us. ;-) We’ve been married for over 11 years and have one son, who is 7.
Sharon: Who has been one of your best encouragers on your writing journey?
R.M. Strong: I’d have to say Nathan, my husband. I would have never pursued publication if he hadn’t read my feeble attempts at writing the first few drafts of my debut novel and encouraged me to keep polishing. Now, 10 years later, he has a good job and encourages me to keep at it, helping me polish, and hand-coding all of my ebooks.
Sharon: I love hearing how your husband and you can work together on your projects.
R.M. Strong: A friend of mine gave me the basic outline for Patient Love a few weeks before Camp NaNoWriMo in April of 2013—a young woman is dumped by her college sweetheart and relearns her worth in God’s eyes with the help of friends and family. The story evolved from the one sentence synopsis, as all stories do. I was determined to write something new, in a different genre than my “safe” biblical historical fiction and young adult fiction. I was also in a slightly more nostalgic and romantic mood as Nathan had moved to Portland for work and I was still in Idaho while our son finished the school year. My main character, Jasmine, re-discovers herself as I was doing somewhat the same thing.
Sharon: Sounds like a case of absent makes the heart fonder. Giggle.
Of your own experiences, what influenced the writing of Jasmine the most? What features became aspects that were Jasmine’s alone?
R.M. Strong: Like Jasmine, I was a lonely adolescent. I only had a few good friends, and even those friends I kept at arm’s length emotionally. Because of that, like Jasmine, I also fell into a one-sided relationship and while we didn’t get to the point of planning the wedding, it still wasn’t the right thing for me.
Sharon: I do believe an author’s experiences makes the writing more true to life.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
R.M. Strong: That would have to be my son. He has big dreams (right now, he wants to be president, a doctor, go to Mars with NASA, and be an Olympic medalist). Despite having sinners for parents, he loves Jesus, loves Bible quizzing, and loves the people around him.
Sharon: As far as your writing career, have you received a particularly memorable reader response?
R.M. Strong: Patient Love has gotten some very memorable responses, especially from some of my beta readers. One of my characters sits for the Bar exam in the book and I asked an old friend who had just passed her own exams to read the story and make sure the legal stuff was correct. Unbeknownst to me, she had been in an abusive relationship herself. She was very impressed with how I portrayed Jasmine coming out of her bad relationship and beginning to see herself not as Philip saw her, but as God saw her.
Sharon: So even your beta reader was a God thing!
Are you planning another book? If so, what’s the story about?
R.M. Strong: I always have a few other books in some state of done-ness. Currently, I have three works in progress and one book out with some beta readers. The book that’s being critiqued right now is the third (and probably final) in my My Life as a Superhero series. I also have another biblical historical fiction, God of Chaos, which retells the story of Exodus and the Ten Plagues of Egypt, and an historical fiction about 17th Century Caribbean pirates. I’m also working on a fantasy with some allegorical overtones.
Sharon: What an interesting line up of subjects!
One last question: How can readers find you on the Internet?
R.M. Strong: I can be found quite a few places. I’m on Twitter ( @RM_Strong ), on Facebook, at my website , and my books are available on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes & Nobel (Just search for R. M. Strong). If you have any questions that are still not answered, my email address is email@example.com.
Sharon: Thank you so much for joining us today. Do you have any parting words?
R.M. Strong: Thanks so much for having me, Sharon, and letting me talk about my books and what I’m doing. And a big thank you to your readers for stopping by as well.
Sharon: The pleasure is all ours, mind and the readers.
Q4 Our Readers: Do you read only one type of book, or are your tastes versatile?