Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meet the Author: Rhonda Kooyman

Greetings, friends! (I guess if you're an enemy, I can still greet you, too.) Anyway. As part of this new blog I have constructed, I will be featuring some of my fellow writers so you can get to know them better. That being said, today's featured author is Rhonda Kooyman, author of the novel Choices of the Heart. Let's all give her a warm welcome!

      First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? When did you first start writing?
I was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa.  I am the youngest of four children. I have been married to my wonderful husband for twenty-eight years.  I have two grown sons who both are working their way through college and I am the grandmother of one precious five year old little girl. I live in a small town in Nebraska and work a part time job at a Fitness Center. I started writing about eight years ago after the encouragement of one of my favorite teachers from my high school days.
      Have any specific authors or books been an inspiration to you? If so, which ones?  
I have many authors and books that have inspired me over the years to write, but if I had to choose one or two I would have to pick a couple of old classics. “Wuthering Heights” (my all-time favorite) by Emily Bronte and “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck.
      Describe for us your writing process. Do you use an outline or do you go by "the seat of your pants"?
I probably am not the most conventional writer and most likely broke some writing rules along the way, but I wrote from the seat of my pants.  Creativity came as I continued to write my story.  I would be in the shower, and an idea would come to me, or out at a restaurant having dinner with my husband when I would see or hear something that would trigger an idea. It was very common for my husband to hear me say, “Wait a minute. I have to write this down before I forget it.” Actually the beginning of my novel was written after I had completely finished my second draft. 
Was anything in your novel Choices of the Heart inspired by real people or events? 
I would have to answer this question with a yes and a no. It was not inspired by any one particular individual or event. However, I worked six years as a victim advocate in the state of Nebraska.  I listened to the stories of many different men and women who found themselves in an abused situation and it was the similar lives they lived behind the closed doors of their home that inspired me to write the story.  I guess you could say it was a combination of many different people and events all rolled up in one.  I say this because, the personality does not vary much from one abuser to another.  They pretty much have the same characteristics of being a master manipulator and treat their victims in the same way.  Some cases were more severe than others, but all in all, the type of lives the victims lived under the heavy hand of their abuser were very similar.    

What are three things that people would be surprised to know about you?
I love to visit old Castles across the country. The history behind the people who lived in them years ago seems to intrigue me. I am a big animal lover and someday I wish to live my retirement years out by volunteering my time at an animal shelter. Last but not least, I love to mix my cottage cheese and baked beans together on my dinner plate. 
Have you ever visited a place that changed you as a person? 
This question is an easy one for me. My church! 

Do you have any pet peeves? 
Drivers, who doesn’t give the right- away to pedestrians crossing with their dogs at a stop light. People who crack their knuckles. A person who has a tendency to interrupt you when you are speaking. Shoppers at Christmastime who are rude to one another.
What kind of hobbies other than writing do you have?
I love to spend my summers boating, fishing and camping.  I exercise every chance I get and I like to ballroom dance with my husband.
If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be?
I think I would like to go to Jerusalem and walk down the same street that my blessed Savior walked down.
And last of all, where can readers purchase your book, and where can you be found on the Web?
My novel’s official release date isn’t until December 13th.  It then will be available through Tate Publishing at www.tatepublishing.com , Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at your neighborhood book stores.  However, you can order an autograph copy today through my web page at  www.choicesoftheheart.weebly.com. I can also be contacted by email at kooypenn@msn.com

In Choices of the Heart, seventeen-year old Tracy Dewitt finds herself entangled in a web of evil as she allows her heart to search out revenge on the two people in her life who are closest to her.

After receiving the shocking news of her parents’ plans to divorce, Tracy allows anger and bitterness to lead her down a long road of bad choices that snowball...s out of control. She runs from the loving arms of her parents into the arms of a dark prince named Spencer, who swallows her up into the black hole of spiritual, mental, and physical abuse. Spencer uses mind-controlling techniques that cause Tracy to lose her identity and her identity in Christ.

She spends the next fifteen years running from the clutches of the enemy of her past, only to find out through the help of a few of God’s chosen ones that the enemy lies within herself. She realizes she is the only one who holds the keys to unlock the secrets of her tormented soul.

Tracy’s Choices of the Heart affect not just herself, but everyone around her, especially the ones she loves the most.

Will Tracy escape Spencer’s manipulative clutches and reclaim her stolen identity? Or have her Choices of the Heart sealed her terrifying fate forever?

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