Rhonda Frankhouser Interview

Rhonda discovered she had a knack for storytelling after she was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. To avoid dwelling on her own mortality, she sat down with pen and paper and got out of the way of her subconscious mind.

What inspired you to write?
The first time I considered writing 'for fun' was in college. My philosophy professor told me I hadn't portrayed Nietzsche's theory exactly right in the assignment I'd written, but he LOVED the story itself. Couldn't wait to see what happened to the characters. He asked me if I'd ever considered becoming a writer...and I was so stunned, I said nothing. Embarrassing, but true.
I didn't really explore the idea until I went through a cancer scare and found the only way I could work out my anxiety and fear was to journal. Journaling quickly became my first book, My Last Day, which was a cathartic story about a young woman finding peace and closure on the last day of her life.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
Definitely suddenly.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
No outline - never an outline. I wrote my first book out long hand, over a three week period of time. It just gushed out of me from some bizarre place in my soul, I guess.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
I wrote it alone. No research or preparation. I just got out of my own way and let the words come out. I didn't write that first book with the thought of publishing. It was to heal. A friend of mine, who is a writer as well, read it first and cried, so I thought maybe I had something. She told me I needed to submit it to agents right away. I was very shy about it.

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
I wrote the book because I need to heal my mind after battling cancer. The most difficult part of writing that book was actually realizing the pain that I could have put my family and friends through had my own cancer not been caught in time.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
When I wrote 'the end' and I was still alive to tell the story. It felt like I'd really triumphed.

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
The first book that I published was not actually the first book I wrote. Return to Ruby's Ranch was the third book. I was most definitely transformed when I saw my name on that book cover. Proud of the journey and the story. Scared to be vulnerable but proud all the same.

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Life - laundry - day job. Guilt if things aren't done and there's not a hot meal on the table for my family. It stifles me.

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I'm a little lucky that I'm a little older and understand that my stories will not be everyone's cup of tea. If they criticize, I ignore, or give them the option to not read my work.

Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley in Central California. I have many wonderful childhood memories growing up around horses, and dogs, and rabbits and clear sky filled with stars and parents who loved me dearly. My worst childhood memory, hmmm, that would have to be when my brother and a friend accidentally discharge a shotgun in the house just after I'd run by. Scared me to death! I felt worse for him after. It was an accident, but that still stands out as the loudest, most awful memory.

Do you have a favorite quote?
My own quote, "Believe in the brilliance of intuition and trust your heart and you will find happiness, hopefulness, and fulfillment in this life."

What is your favorite show on TV?
Since I've become a 'writer', I pay more attention to shows who have brilliant writing. Well, brilliant to me. I love Big Bang Theory. Game of Thrones is also fun - what a tangled web George R. R. Martin, weaves.

Favorite movie?
I love all the Hobbit movies, the Godfather movies, and the Star Wars movies, because they are so far removed from the world's I create, but I'd say one of my all time favorite movies is Slingblade or maybe Legend of the Fall.

Favorite book?
The Notebook

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
JFK, Jim Morrison, Elvis, hmmmm Henry VIII.

Is there a talent you wish you had?
Singing would be awesome. I think it would be cool to just bust out in song - sounding like Aretha or Adele. I'm always in awe of singers.

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I'm basically very shy. I'm a total homebody and loud crowds scare me just a titch.

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Avocado loving introvert!