Rhonda Burnaugh

 Catch a Falling Star Triology

Rhonda Burnaugh

I know that you have held jobs in the behavioral health field, but did you always want to be an Author and write books?

Yes, I always knew there was a writer inside trying to escape! I never wanted to be a nurse, so I put my dreams on hold. In my 30’s, I wrote a short story and submitted it in a contest at The Midwest Writers Conference. I was stunned when I won second place in science fiction.

One of the things that I enjoyed the most in your book “Catch a Falling Star” was the strong and convincing male friendships you created. Was this intentional?

It was very intentional to develop male relationships. Unless guys are in a foxhole or sports arena, people overlook men and tend to stereotype them. I wanted to portray men as supportive, sensitive and vulnerable. That doesn’t mean weakness. It builds character.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

To write characters of the opposite sex, think back to a male friend – not someone who wants a sexual relationship, but someone who is more like a brother or buddy. Next, put yourself inside the way they think, respond and respect you as a person.

Spirituality also plays a part in your books. Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?

I am a spiritually motivated by many beliefs.This is much different than labeling yourself as a religious person. I believe in God, but didn’t want this to be a story that alienated people from their own belief systems. The Native American culture is connected to nature, which is a stark contrast to being Roman Catholic. But we can embrace each other’s uniqueness and learn from another persons perspective.

How do you come up with your plot/story ideas?

I didn’t map out a plot or story line. They come to me- sometimes in a dream or a conversation I overhear between two people. I listen to people’s conversations and start mixing them together until I have 3 or 4 stories. It’s kind of like making a pie. Everyone has an ingredient to add. Most of the time I live in my head, which can be distracting at times.

How long did it take you to write each of the three books in your trilogy from beginning to end?

Originally I wrote Catch a Falling Star 30 years ago. I never published it. In the winter of 2014, I found the entire manuscript in a box inside my closet. It’s a good thing I had that and began rewriting. I typed into the wee hours of morning until the spring thaw. So I cranked out all three in about 6 months.

Are you currently writing another book?

I just finished a fiction novel with all new characters and a new storyline. I need to start submitting for publication. That idea came from another writer who was posting something on Facebook. I asked her if she planned on using it for her own writing and she said no. It’s a psychological thriller and very twisted.

Are you friends with other Authors, and if so, how do they help you to be a better Author/Writer?

Like many writers, I tend to be more introverted. Most of the writing friends I chat with are on social media.

If you could tell your younger writing self-anything about the writing process what advice would you give?

Find your own voice. Show, don’t tell. Sometimes less is best. Writing is emotional. You can write words on a paper all day (or night), but you have to connect with your characters. If you don’t, neither will the reader. Create a feeling. In the beginning, don’t worry about everything coming together. Just get the plot, characters and a strong beginning down. Editing is later. I know lots of writers who will tell you to know how it ends before you can ever start. That’s bull! I never know and usually have 4-5 endings before I pick the one I think works best.

What was the hardest scene in your books to write?

The hardest scene to experience for me is saying good-bye to my characters. Because they are friends to me. They are real in my heart and I will miss them. After all, they have been talking to me for quite a while.