Rhonda Ryde – Stella’s Awakening

I have a fear of writing. A deep seated anxiety that I am not good enough, that my grammar is appalling, that I cannot express adequately in words the beauty that I experience. That I cannot express emotions effectively and make them beautiful or haunting in text. I fear that what I write no one will be interested in. I fear that I have no qualifications to write, I am not an expert, and don’t have a degree.

None of these same fears plagued Rhonda, a successful, new author that kindly let me interview her.

“I had never written anything before, but I had a story inside me and I just wanted to write it, I held zero expectation, I started writing for fun”.

Researching, attending workshops, and pod casts steered Rhonda down the self-publishing path.

“I discovered Kindle; I was so excited that I could publish my book, myself on Kindle. I just wanted to get it out there.”

She sourced and engaged several booklovers to beta- read her work, a story that was her life. A story about making a choice to fly and fall into the arms of her supportive husband. To abandon the life that she was raised in.

The editing of Stella’s Awakening proved to be a learning experience, she dismissed several editors who thought they knew what she was trying to portray in her writing. Following her intuition and her own vision for the book, she unearthed the perfect editor with experience and knowledge of the erotic romance genre.

The Skype screen finally comes to life after several attempts to connect with Rhonda Ryde, self-published author of a new erotic romance Stella’s Awakening. Regardless of being separated by a computer screen, Rhonda’s enthusiasm and joy is palpable.

I am so glad she can’t see my knee bouncing erratically or the sheet of paper in my hands shaking like a leaf.

Rhonda is seated comfortably in her lounge room in her home in New South Wales. Head held high, arms relaxed and open on the sides of her chair, an excited sparkle in her eye and a gorgeous toothy smile on her face.  Her daughter can be spotted in the background enjoying the school holidays. Rhonda is taking time off to spend with her daughter away from her part-time job as an interpreter for the deaf. Rhonda tells me that she is currently finishing the first draft of the second book. She explains that it has taken so long to come to life because she is all about balance.

“I was so emotionally drained from writing and publishing the first book that the second book has taken much longer to write.”

She loves spending as much time with her husband and daughter as she can, she loves her job and would not sacrifice that for fulltime writing. Rhonda has a passion for surfing and motorbike riding that she enjoys with her cherished husband. She tells me that writing is another hobby that she adores and has the encouragement, and undying support of her love. She immerses herself in the erotic romance writing at a time that has been allocated to after 8.30pm, after she has spent half an hour tucking her daughter in to bed and de-briefing on the day. She spends time on her days off writing when she is home alone.

Rhonda expresses how she loves the magic of writing, she loves that as a first time, inexperienced writer she has been able to successfully tell her story. My heart is so full for this woman. When I read her book and studied it again in preparation for the interview, I did have a feeling that the story held an element of truth. There was a bravery and elegance in which Rhonda expressed her story and life experience. The strong conviction with which the words were penned, and the stylish presentation of the book. Add in spicy pieces of writing that were inspired by reading extensively in the erotic romance genre. Reading this love story, was a joy. It is overflowing with secrets, shame, commitment, devotion, passion, mind blowing sex and forbidden love. The other elements of the story had me at times crying into my Kindle. I wanted to tell her that the writing of the words showed fearlessness, but also the publishing of the book.

“How did you celebrate the publishing of Stella’s awakening?”

Laughing, Rhonda tells me; “I hit publish, said yay it’s published, we had dinner, and that was it”.

When asked about the plot of the book and some of the controversial topics, Rhonda is open, honest and raw in her answer. My skin was prickling and my heart was racing on her behalf, fear of confrontation or rejection would cripple me. Because this book isn’t just about her, it is about her family and a religious lifestyle that has millions of followers. One question was; what she thought her family, friends and her old congregation would say and her answer was given to me with steel in her voice and a straight backbone.

“It is a bridge that has still not been mended with my family, they know that I have written the book, but no one has mentioned it”.

Rhonda says that she wasn’t particularly worried about what her biological family would say about the book. She tells me that the emotional heartache and life changing choices she has had, in her life have made her the thick-skinned woman that she is.

“I have had a few people that I know, but didn’t know my story tell me how brave I am to write this book. I feel proud that I was brave enough to do it”.

Rhonda embraces life fully, and doesn’t second guess trying new and at times confronting experiences. She feels that as long as she has her husband and her daughter by her side she can accomplish anything.

“I tell people to live their own life, if you don’t like how you were raised don’t live it, who cares if you cause waves. Live your life”.

This interview experience has motivated me. As I replay the recorded interview, and listen again to this woman’s words. My fingers itch to tap away on a keyboard, my heart and mind are not caring about grammar or if people will like my writing. I have a need to get stories and experiences on paper in a raw and emotional way. The mechanics can be fixed later and if there is no applause that is ok as well.