rhonda lawsonRhonda M. Lawson

November 2008


Soldier by day and writer by night, Rhonda Lawson is serving both her country and the hearts of readers. Inspired during her pre-teen years by authors such as Judy Blume, Rhonda began her inevitable career as a writer earlier than most people even know what they want to do when they grow up. Although she kept her knack of storytelling a secret from all except her grandmother, she has received nothing short of support and encouragement from those who have shared her stories today. Currently serving in Korea, Ms. Lawson maintains by continuing to write and promises to consistently deliver realistic fiction to her fans.

What do you want to be known for in this industry?
I want to be known as an author who writes from her heart. Every story I tell will be one that I want to touch someone's heart. I like to refer to my stories as realistic fiction, stories that my readers can really relate to.

Why did you decide to become an author?
I've been reading for as long as I can remember. I would read everything, even Sesame Street to signs on the wall! When I was 12, I had read Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High, and a host of other teen and pre-teen books. Then one day, I announced to my grandmother that I wanted to write my own book. She just laughed, but eventually through the years, she saw that writing was something I truly wanted to do. I never pursued publishing the stories I wrote back then, but I never lost my love for writing. Now that I've finally begun sharing my work with the world, I feel like I'm living my dream.

How would you describe your writing?
My writing is a cross between literary fiction and journalism. I write shorter, simpler sentences because it was the way I was trained as an Army journalist. However, my favorite articles had always been features, where I could add a bit more description and creativity. That's transcended into my fiction writing.

dead roseWhere do you get the inspiration for your stories?
By just talking with people. You would be surprised at the types of things real people have been through. Some things are just stranger than fiction. While I would never take someone's entire life and place it into a book (unless they requested it), I have taken bits and pieces of various real-life situations and placed them together with a good amount of information. Sometimes, when I've put together a story line, I talk with people—men and women—and ask them how interesting or realistic it is. Their replies have ranged from funny to just plain shocking!

Do you have any formal training? Or is writing just a natural talent?
Admittedly, much of my literary training has come from life experience, but I owe much of my writing talent to the U.S. military. I graduated from the Defense Information School, where I learned how to be a journalist. They taught me how to write and edit effectively. Before joining the Army, I had pursued a writing degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. The writing experience I received there from Prof. Osbey and the many other professors there was invaluable. I'm not sure where I'd be without the lessons they all taught me.

How do you balance being a soldier and an author?
Very carefully!!! It's not easy, but since I'm doing what I love, it doesn't always seem like work. Not many people can say they have two careers they absolutely feel passionately about. Unfortunately, my career as a Soldier has taken me away from my daughter, which has been very difficult, especially rhonda lawsonnow while I'm serving in Korea. However, filling my time with writing has kept me productive. When I'm in the States, however, the fun really begins! I serve Monday through Friday as a Soldier, and then spend my weekends driving out to book signings!

There have even been times when I've had to bring extra clothes to work so I can rush out at the end of the day to a literary event. However, the support I get from my fellow Soldiers keeps me going. Many Soldiers here fuss at me every day, asking me when they can get a copy of my book. Many have purchased them as gifts, while others have purchased just to support, but they've all given me love, and I want to continue giving it right back!

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to let the world know about?
My next novel, Putting It Back Together, is due out next spring. It's set in post-Katrina, New Orleans and tells the story of Alexis and Reggie, who are working to balance their love for their city with the love they have for each other. I'm also working on putting together a literary newsletter to help showcase other undiscovered artists. Additionally, I've begun a weekly blog on myspace which gives writing tips on editing, writer's block, and investing in one's self.


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