Happy Thursday everybody, you know I always do a weekly review of a children’s book I like, well I came upon Rhonda Patton on a book group’s page I belong to and decided to give her a try. I am glad I did, I liked her message she had for kids and I wanted to get to know more about her. So after contacting her and her graciously accepting an interview, I got down to trying to figure out what you all would want to know about her. So without further ado, Ladies and Gents: Rhonda Patton.
Rhonda Patton is the author of various books for readers of all ages. She writes for children, teens, and adults. Her titles include: Ted and Raymond Adventures 1-5 (ages 3-8), Ted and Raymond Learning Adventures 1 &2, Raymond goes to the Dentist, Ted and Raymond’s Sea Adventure, African Safari with Ted and Raymond, Ted and Raymond’s Christmas Tree, Harold Freddie and Milo, Searching for the Unknown (paranormal teen and up), and Spirits of ChesterVille General Store (paranormal teen and up) out this winter. This interview was done over through Facebook.
First off thank you for doing this interview, I am so excited to share you with everybody. Please tell us about yourself?
A Shreveport residence, a mother, a wife, and a daughter. I have a wonderful husband who is the illustrator of the Ted and Raymond Series as well as my co-writer in Searching for the Unknown and Spirits of ChesterVille General Store. I started my love for writing at an early age of 13. I love to write even if it didn’t make sense. I started my writing in serious love poems and different things young crushes, boys, things of that matter. Then in 2000 I wrote my first Ted and Raymond book that turned into series years later, “The Croak 500”. I didn’t know that I would have a series until two years ago. My husband was laid off from his job and we needed extra money. As I researched for my husband to do voiceover work I came across some awesome people and then asked my husband about my book. With NO animation or characters my husband made the book come alive. Then I was inspired to do more and more stories. And well…. Here I am. Inspiring kids to be better!
You are a well-rounded author with a mix of adult and children books under your belt. Do you find it hard to switch between the two?
Yes I do. The children’s books are for children ages 3-8 and my paranormal books are for teen to adult. The audience is hard for both. You want to have a good story for the child. You also want the story to be good for the adult. I make it my story. I am the audience, I have to like the story and know where it is going.
Since we are talking about your children’s books, let’s talk about your Ted and Raymond Adventure Series, I found it sweet as well as cute, but the big high five came after my children laughed while reading it. Can you give your readers hint as to what it’s about?
Ted and Raymond characters came from my first book “The Croak 500”. I call them my series books because I have 3 different stories in one book. They are very short stories with great information that kids will relate to in life. The Croak 500 is about two frog friends who compete in a race, one wants to beat his friend, the other wants to just have fun. Neither win, but both try very hard. I want this message to be for kids, you do not always have to be first to win. Trying your hardest means you are already a winner. In this book you can also find learning about patience and last fulfilling your dreams.
Inspiration I find is very fluid and I take it from different parts in my life. Where does your inspiration come from?
A lot of my writing comes from my life, different things. I didn’t always win. I am fulfilling a dream. We have a garden; in one of the series we have Ted and Raymond’s Garden. In this book it teaches Raymond not to give up on all of his hard work. In another series Ted has a kitchen fire. My husband and I had a kitchen fire in 2008; we want to teach the kids not to get distracted while cooking. Do not leave the room while something is on the stove.
Are you’re a character or a plot writer? And why?
Character. I love showing the kids how the character feels when Ted or Raymond experiences something sad, happy, or even tired. Expressing how the character feels in a children’s book lets the child experience where the emotion is supposed to be, and how they can express at the same time in their life.
As a writer myself I have favorite author’s I follow and who inspire me to write. Do you take inspiration from other authors? Who?
There is really no answer for a favorite. I have many author friends who inspire me to do my work better as well. So many writers are not out there to just help themselves, they have been in the same position I have been in. They have a dream like me, to make it big. To BE that writer everyone loves and wants to hear from. So to answer to whom, I would say all. Doesn’t matter the Genre, we all are trying to be the best we can be. I do not see a competition in any specific genre out there; we are all unique and have different gifts. Every book has a story, every page is different.
When I was reading your Ted and Raymond Adventure Series one of my favorite parts is when Ted tells Raymond “You have to take your time and enjoy things you love to do. “ I think this message can work for adults as well as children. What are your messages and how do you come by them?
I write from experience. How can someone write about a dog if they haven’t ever had one? I love writing about my own personal experiences. Kids see Ted and Raymond as the Character, I see myself. I love to write, it isn’t my job it is my experience.
When writing I usually have an idea of whom my audience will be and what age level. Who is your audience?
My audience is directed for children ages 3-8. I also have many adults that tell me this can be messages for adults as well. It is a tough world, I just want the generation of kids to see a positive one. A caring world without blood, super heroes, and make believe.
I enjoyed your book and plan to read more of yours to my children; do you have any books in the makings?
I have many books in mind all the time. What can I do to make a better one? What would kids relate to? I just published one Harold Freddie and Milo. Publication date? June 8 What are you goals for your future writing career? To inspire kids to be better, that is my goal.
Being a writer can be daunting lots of times. Do you have any advice for beginners?
I wasn’t established overnight. I didn’t have fame and fortune overnight. So establish yourself through blogging, Facebook and MANY social Medias out there BEFORE your book comes out. That way this is interesting to your customers. Over three years of research and a few #1 free seller books, I believe the information I carry with me has helped. If you have questions about anything, get into groups on Facebook or other social media with other writers who have more experience and know the tricks and secrets of writing, publishing, and social media tips. I will tell you it is A LOT of work. A LOT of persevering, but if you enjoy writing, put your best foot forward. Keep going. If you do not have a #1 seller it isn’t you, get your audience to write reviews. Tell your friends and family to share by word of mouth. There is a lot of advice I can give. I have had days that brought me down, but then I would ask myself what can I do better?
How can my readers reach you?
Many social media forms
Good reads page: http://www.goodreads.com/RhondaPatton
Word press: http://rhondapattonauthor.wordpress.com/
- “Ted and Raymond Adventures Series 1” by Rhonda Patton (booksdirect.wordpress.com)
- “Ted and Raymond’s Sea Adventure” by Rhonda Patton (booksdirect.wordpress.com)
- Introducing: The Children’s Book Blog (blogs.independent.co.uk)
- Why don’t we take children’s books seriously? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Children’s Quilting Books (quilting.answers.com)
- Academy Alum Turns Script into Successful Children’s Book (academyart.edu)
- NSA Surveillance Children’s Book (neatorama.com)
- Outgoing children’s laureate rounds on media for neglect of children’s books (guardian.co.uk)
- 25 Reasons to Read (chroniclebooks.com)