Interview with Rhonda Garcia

Hi Rhonda and welcome!
I think everyone would like to know more about you and your new release, Lex Talionis, Here is the burb from the book, although I would say, having read it, that it is a tad too short. This is a multi-plot, multi-character book. There are wheels within wheels and all are beyond fascinating.Lex


A battered young woman wakes from a coma in a space port hospital with no memories of her past. The only thing she remembers are two words: Lex Talionis-the Law of Revenge. To discover her identity, she must re-live the nightmares of her past, and face the only survivor of a terrible massacre that connects her with her abductors.

Lex Talionis is a fast-paced adventure, a stunning debut from a major new talent.



Rhonda 1
And here you are. Sorry, I couldn’t resist including the spooky leaf eyes in the photo. Grins. So this was taken on the picturesque island of Trinidad, your homeland.
Yes it was. In my back yard, actually.
What is it like to be a Caribbean writer? Do you think it helps or hinders to find publishers from your exotic location?
We are most ungrateful for our months and months of sunshine. While you see us as exotic, we think the rest of the world is far more interesting and long to experience winter—because we’re daft like that. We just see endless palm trees and sunny days as incentives to stay home and nap when it rains.
But seriously, it’s great to live in a part of the world with so much history and diversity. The islands of the West Indies have changed hands many times and we have ties to many different countries. But it can be a real problem to get published. Our economies are so small, commercial fiction publishers simply don’t exist. That means trying to beat out the huge number of talented authors from the Commonwealth and the US for the few publishing deals not already reserved for JK Rowling and Stephen King.
What do family and friends say? Are they supportive? I know you have been writing for all of your life so they should be used to this.
I’ve been pestering most of my friends for at least part of my life to read whatever I came up with. They are as supportive as it takes to get rid of me, smart people.
My family don’t really bother to fake it. With the exception of a few and close blood relatives who live in the same house and therefore cannot escape my wrath, the rest of my family just thinks I’m weird or have no idea I write. Of course, they probably know now. The fissions of excitement they must be experiencing would not be enough to jumpstart a small toy car.
What got you started writing and why the fantasy/sci fi genres? Yes, I remember you have a wonderful fantasy book that also needs to see the light of day.
Jealousy got me started. I was envious of the fact that Louisa May Alcott had been published at 8. I later became enthralled with a Japanese anime series called ‘Robotech’ and started writing out the series from memory to tell my sister the story later—she was too young to sit through the episodes.
I was always naturally drawn to stories about the fantastic as I had a vivid imagination. My family can attest to the many conversations I had with imaginary friends, and from a young age, my dolls did not have tea parties–they were kidnapped and had to figure out how to escape the evil prince. I read widely as a child, and became most excited about stories about the future, faraway lands, and fantastic happenings, so I drifted into writing them as well.
How about your writing process? Are you a panzer or an outliner?
Panzer, I am. Outline, I do not!
I’ve recently been tackling outlines for my next few projects, but nothing makes me happier than to sit down with a beginning, an end and a vague idea of the middle. I get to discover the story as I go, and that can be really fun.
Do you make a lot of notes as you write, or do you keep it all in your head?
Notes? What are these notes you speak of?
Okay, if it’s technical stuff I might forget, or names I’ve stored away for later, I might jot them down somewhere. But I tend to just keep my ideas and research in my head. I’m trying to change that and make more detailed notes because I’m tired of flipping back through my manuscript looking for the colour of someone’s eyes. It seems I don’t have the memory I once did. Must be all those evening cocktails…
Lex Talionis is a stunning book. What gave you the idea for this book, which I know is the first of a series? Was it a linear process, or did segments appear at different times.
Thanks for saying that! I so rarely get the recognition a woman of my stature deserves *preens*
The initial idea was very simple. I grew up in a time when there were very few female leads in scifi in books and movies. I wanted to write about a woman who kicked ass across the galaxy. But then I started to think about how this kind of woman would have come to be and I realised her backstory would be no bed of roses. I figured I should write it down and as I did, it came to me that her story would be an important thread in humanity’s history, and Lex Talionis was born.
It was very much a linear process. Not one word was written out of sequence. I knew exactly how I wanted it to flow and I hate to write out of order. However, I have to admit I have written a couple of scenes out of sequence for other novels lately. I just have to write things down as they come to me now, before I forget them. Not sure why… *sips more wine*
Who is your favorite character and why?
Lex, definitely. She’s been knocked down again and again, but she keeps going because she has a purpose and a mission and she will not let anything get in her way. I love her strength and her persistence, but the flip side of that is she’s got this armor over her heart and her feelings. Still, she’s GOT a heart and feelings. And after all she’s been through, I think that’s what really makes her remarkable and strangely vulnerable.
Which character gave you the most grief? Were you ever tempted to kill this character off, or did you already?
I had a time with Colin. He was originally way more of a smart-ass but I realised someone like that didn’t belong in the medical profession I envisioned. Not to mention Lex would have killed him once he started talking!

He’s a determined guy, so he didn’t really want to listen and I definitely contemplated taking him out altogether many times. In the end, I realised I needed a certain kind of man in there, if for nothing else than to make Lex realise the world wasn’t just made up of people who hurt you.
I did kill off a character from one of my earlier drafts because he was giving me trouble. Strangely enough, parts of him became Colin and other parts became a minor character in the sequel.
What would you say is the single most important move you made in the steps from writing to publication?
Taking the advice of a very good editor, Ellen Datlow, who had never seen my work. She said I should join a critique group, so I did. The Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror not only gave me a place to test out my writing when my family and friends fled from me in terror, it was a source of advice and tips for every stage of writing and publication. The friends I made there not only became my best friends and beta readers, they became today’s hottest published writers, and they helped me on my path to publication as well.
If you decide to join a group though, take the next most important steps. Decide to listen, decide to put yourself out there honestly, and decide to take criticism and use it to improve. Decide to help others and learn how to say ‘thank you’ instead of ‘but’. People who want to help others make these kinds of groups work, and when you are sincere in wanting to learn and help, it comes back to you positively, ten-fold.
Finally, when is the next one in the series coming out? Soon, I hope.
Well, that’s up to my publisher *looks at her publisher with puppy dog eyes* I’m still working on the sequel, so it might be a while yet. But I think it will probably be worth the wait. Oh yes it will.
Buy Links:[emb]ed][/embed
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Dragonwell Publishing

Twitter: @rsagarcia

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