Author Interviews

* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (, including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Author interview no.482 with multi-genre writer Rinah Lidonde aka Christina Ow (revisited)

Back in September 2012, I interviewed author Rinah Lidonde for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...
Welcome to the four hundred and eighty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with multi-genre author Rinah Lidonde aka Christina Ow (who often reblogs my posts on to her site :)). A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Rinah. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Rinah: My name is Rinah Lidonde, I study and reside in South Africa but Kenya is my home country. I have a Diploma in Law and I’m currently pursuing a BA in International studies and Communications and Media studies. I am the last born child and a twin.  I wrote my first manuscript in 2010. Besides writing, singing, drawing and designing are also my passions. I live in my imagination and I consider myself a very creative person.
Morgen: “I live in my imagination” I love that. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Rinah: Fiction, Suspense Romance, Thriller, Fantasy, Paranormal, YA. I think I’ve covered most of them!
Morgen: I’d say so. :) What have you had published to-date?
Rinah: Star Bright is my first published book. I’m working on getting a YA Paranormal published by the end of the year and hopefully a Valentine’s novella.
Morgen: Do let me know when they come out and I’ll add the links as an update to this interview. Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Rinah: Yes. Star Bright is available on Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks and Barnes & Noble.
eBooks are convenient but I love paperback. I love holding the book in my hand and feel the pages. And I also don’t have to wear my glasses just to read!
Morgen: Most of the people I speak to love reading eBooks but all but a handful have said they can’t imagine having both. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Rinah: There is a competition between Maria Diana Martinez of Star Bright and Merilee Jackson of the Fate Series. They both go through so much trials, pain and problems. They both fight for their right to happiness and love and they grow stronger with every obstacle that threatens that. And they both put their children first. They are similar in so many ways both shaped by the tragedies in their lives.
What book would I want to be made into a film? That would be Love Forever After. It is a novella that hasn’t been published yet. It is a complete roller coaster of emotions for the main character, William, which brings him right on the border between sanity and insanity. He is driven to insanity when his wife dies but crosses back to sanity when a special gift from his dead wife forces her way into his life.
I think readers will find it a little crazy, I too was shocked by how William’s story unfolds.
Morgen: Oh, I love crazy and we’re not alone. :) Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Rinah: Yes. 5 Prince Publishing and my editor Connie Kline gave control of the title and the cover. The title was originally A Haunting Mistake but when we began editing, it just felt inadequate and focused on just one issue which I didn’t want. And after a few days of thinking and reading the manuscript again, Star Bright popped in my head.
I especially have to give a big thank you to Viola Estrella, the cover artist, for making sense of my description. It’s very hard for me to put a picture in my head and the emotions in words. She nailed it.  I loved it the moment I saw it. It’s a beautiful cover.
Morgen: It is. You mentioned your forthcoming YA Paranormal and Valentine’s novella, what would be next?
Rinah: The third book of the Fate series and a contemporary thriller Guardian Assassin.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Rinah: I don’t manage to write everyday because I have Varsity and the large amount of assignments that come with it. I do suffer from writer’s block. The first three manuscripts, Star Bright included, were easy to write but with the current ones I get stuck for days. I have to stop, plan again and think about the next step and the step after that.
Morgen: I think it is important to stop when you get stuck as it’s so easy to battle on and then write something you’re not happy with, and end up deleting. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Rinah: I plotted with some of them but Star Bright I just ran with it. I just let the characters write their story themselves. I find writing easier when I just let go.
Morgen: Me too. :) You mentioned a couple of your characters earlier, do you have a method for creating them, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Rinah: The names of the characters are from people I know and so are the characters themselves. I pick certain aspects from people I know and put them in my characters. I find some familiarity with the characters makes them more real. They aren’t just names with characteristics that are all over the map. That would confuse not only the readers but also the writers. Get to know your characters before you write them down.
Morgen: It certainly does help. I fill out a character profile (mentioned 31st October on my Exercises page) and get a photo from Google images. That way, it’s consistent. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Rinah: I do a lot of editing. I can read a chapter five times before I feel comfortable enough to go to the next one.
Morgen: That’s interesting. I’m a rattler (rattling it all out until the end) as I just want to get it out of my head and then worry about the details / editing afterwards. Do you have to do much research?
Rinah: Yes, mostly for locations. For the manuscript Guardian Assassin, it is based on situations that have happened. Since I haven’t gone through those experiences, I go on sites to read them so that I can understand how my characters will take form and make the story believable.
Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Rinah: Third person, because the stories aren’t told from just one characters point of view.
Writing in second person is a little risky. But I’m a risk taker, I’ll definitely try.
Morgen: That’s what I like to hear. :) It’s my favourite pov although best for short stuff (in my honest opinion). Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Rinah: Poetry, yes. My favourite one is Face of the Earth because it’s the truth. It’s published on my blog.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Rinah: Yes. The manuscripts I couldn’t finish. But everything I’ve written so far, I believe in them and I’ll do my best to get them out there. I always thought my stories would be for my eyes only but then I want to share my imagination with everyone else.
Morgen: Me too. :) Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Rinah: Over twenty rejections! I think of them as another step to a yes. It’s depressing when you get rejected but I take it in stride, I don’t give up. I try to make it a driving force and not a sign of failure.
Morgen: Absolutely. I like to think there’s a home for everything. Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Rinah: The only competitions I’ve entered are for fashion. My sister is the one into the writing competitions.
Morgen: Ooh… would she like to do an interview? :) Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Rinah: No, I don’t have an agent and I’m not sure if they are. I believe the author is vital to the author’s success.
Morgen: Certainly with the larger publishers. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Rinah: I do a lot. I know the book better than anyone. Social sites and readers’ forums are the best places to market my book and Christina OW as a brand.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Rinah: My favourite is putting my imagination on paper and seeing it published. The least is wondering if the readers will love it as much as I do.
When Connie Kline said she’d love to be my editor. That was very surprising. I was very sceptical, I wasn’t sure if it was the real deal! After over twenty rejections and a few shams, another rejection is normal an acceptance is life altering!
Morgen: All good things come to those who wait. :) What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Rinah: Don’t stop dreaming and never limit your imagination. If an idea seems far fetched, keep at it, it’s just an great story waiting to happen.
Morgen: Absolutely. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Rinah: Sydney Sheldon. I love his work and I keep thinking of the stories that could have been. Stephanie Mayer because I’m a Twihard, I just want her to tell me about Jacob’s and Reneesme’s future five years after Breaking Dawn. That would be a great book. And Gene Kelly, I try to watch every movie he’s in!
Shemar Moore would be my date, I love that man!
I would definitely cook. My mum would be ashamed of me if I ordered takeaway!
Morgen: I watched ‘Singing in the Rain’ for the first time last night. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Rinah: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” Invictus by William Ernest Hensley
“I am the master of my destiny, the leader of my actions, the dictator of my world for the power lives in me and no one else.” That’s my quote. I thought of it after editing of Star Bright was completed as I was writing Guardian Assassin.
Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Rinah: In Kenya, my sister and I feature in a local artist’s songs. Yes I’m a songbird! And I’m an amateur artist and a fashion designer.
Morgen: Songwriting is one of my ‘to do’s. I love listening to music and I have written some poetry so in theory I shouldn’t be daunting but I think it’s the fear of the unknown. I’m hoping someone will write me a guest post on the topic. :) Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Rinah: Goodreads is home base. A list of all the books I’ve read are there and discussion groups.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Rinah: Yes, my blog, my facebook page Christina OW, and twitter @christina_ow. Yes they are helpful in marketing my book and getting feedback from readers.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Rinah: I don’t know. I pray to God its great, other than that, I take one step at a time.
Morgen: That’s all we can do, as long as we love what we do. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Rinah: Writers have a habit of existing in their heads, example me, so we should all try to also take part in the outside world. I’m trying my level best to do that!
Morgen: :) Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Rinah: Why are you a writer?
Morgen: Because I went to an evening class and was hooked. Six years later it’s consumed me – I quit my job in March to edit my four novels (two of them are nearly there – I’m a few months behind). There’s nothing like creating a new story and characters. Thank you, Rinah.
Rinah M. Lidonde has a Diploma in Law and is currently in her last year for her BA in International Studies.
She loves reading novels that take her on a ride of wild emotions. Books have always been an escape for her, for a few hours she love to live the lives of characters she grow to cherish and admire.
She has always had an active imagination and because of it she lives in her head more than she does in the outside world. She has always imagined scenerials and wondered how it would turn out in the end, and what kind of emotions it would envoke. She began writing down the many stories in her head in 2010.
Writing was never a career path for her it was just a release as fashion design is her true passion, and now writing has become a vital part of her and her family as her twin sister is also a writer.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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