A little about Rhonda Pollero/Kelsey Roberts

"Humor is the sustaining and driving force of my life."

The pertinent stuff is all in my ‘official bio’ but it doesn’t quite capture reality. USA Today bestselling author is great, but those near and dear to me would probably tell you that Supreme Geek is a better moniker. I’m a total dork at heart, quite content to read technical manuals and watch foreign films.

I’ve always been a dork. My dorkdom began early on and I’ll take the easy route and blame it on my father. He loved language and enjoyed pop quizzes at the dinner table on obscure words and phraseology. The result of that turned me into the fountain of useless information that I am. I learn and store stuff that would – arguably - only be relevant during a taping of Final Jeopardy.

When I met Rhonda I was pleasantly surprised. She was down to earth, friendly and her acerbic wit just cracked me up. Despite her notoriety she remains a kind and approachable star. Her book have given many people that wonderful escape we all look for in a book. Rhonda is a trooper, even though she has had medical problems, she never complains and you would never know she was in pain. I love this lady, she is a sweetheart. Please welcome, Rhonda Pollero.

37th published book. I got ‘the call’ at my office at 9:30 on February 10, 1993 and my first book, LEGAL How many books have you published and when did you first publish?

FAT CHANCE is my TENDER, was an October, 1993 release.


What do you like to do in your spare time? If you have any.

I try very hard to make sure I have down time. My basic week is three days of writing; two days of doing writing-related stuff (send off ARCS, etc.); and I try to keep my weekends free for my family and myself. It doesn’t always work, especially when I’m on a deadline crunch, but I do try to get to the beach for a walk at least twice a week. It clears my head. I spend a ridiculous amount of time at my daughter’s dance studio but that’s when I multitask - I can work on my laptop in the car while she has classes.


What inspired you to start writing?

I don’t remember when I didn’t want to write. I received my first moment of recognition in first grade by winning the Daughter’s of the American Revolution’s essay contest (and a whopping $25.00 savings bond). I was hooked from that moment forward. However, I had very practical parents who guided me toward an education where I’d get a paying gig just in case I didn’t sell my first book straight out of high school. As it turned out, thank God - it took me 10 years to sell a book.


What book that you wrote was your favorite book?

That’s like asking me to name my favorite child. I like different books for different reasons. LEGAL TENDER will always be special because it was the first. FAT CHANCE is my current favored child because it’s the most recent.


The all time favorite. Are you a plotter or a panster?

One of my fave buttons. Here’s what I know - people who are pantsers write many drafts. Why? Because they have no idea what they’re going to write so they do the draft, then go back and plug the holes or seed information. If that’s how they want to get it done I say go for it. However, if that’s your choice, remember you’ll be working twice as hard as someone who approaches a book from a place of organization. Do you have to have colors, collage sheets, and dry erase boards? Nope. You should organize your book - should you opt to do so - the same way you organize your life. If you’re a list maker, make a list of plot points; if you’re a visual learner, create a timeline or cut pictures out of a magazine. Personally, I don’t feel comfy telling other people how to write, you have to do whatever works for you. My only caution is that if a writer is completely rudderless, they’ll rarely work at the speed required of this industry.


How do you manage to juggle family and writing, while doing justice to both?

I like to think I manage it but truth be told, having my husband is the only reason I can get things done. He’s a retired college professor so when he was working, it was 10-ish to 2-ish. He’s retired now, so it’s kinda like having a wife. He does the grocery-shopping, car-pooling, etc. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you have a partner manning the home front.


Tell us about your new release.

FAT CHANCE is a lot of fun. Finley Anderson Tanner (FAT) is back for this third installment in a be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario. Her controlling mother sells her a beachfront cottage sight unseen. Finley gets a much-coveted Palm Beach address but there’s a catch - it wouldn’t be a FAT book if there wasn’t - Finley isn’t alone, there’s a skeleton in the closet, literally. She is the only one who doesn’t believe the remains are some vagrant who crawled inside the house and died. She is aided in her quest by her friends, Jane, Becky and Liv. She also gets some help from the new attorney to join the firm - Tony Caprelli. And as usual, smoking hot P.I. Liam McGarrity manages to insinuate himself into her investigation. Finley is slightly better at solving mysteries but she’s a long way from proficient. With the help of her friends and applying the same determination she uses on her eBay missions, Finley uncovers the identity of the skeleton and the reason it was left behind.


Who is your favorite author?

Kate White - ask me next year and my answer will change.


Tell us about your upcoming book with Traci Hall.

ADOPTION IS FOREVER was the best and worst experience of my life. Aside from being only my 3rd foray into non-fiction, it required me to revisit the death of my son and all the emotions that went with sharing the story of my daughter’s adoption. Traci and I moved here at about the same time and our budding friendship changed when, on a drive down to Ft. Lauderdale, we shared our individual experiences. Traci is a great writer, a great wife, a great mom and a great friend. She also happens to be a birth mom. Though we were on opposite sides of the adoption experience, we both agreed that there was very little out there other than sugarcoated adoption stories and/or horror stories. We wanted to write something that was honest, emotional, humorous and balanced. We talked about it for about two years before we actually put words on the page and I we’re both thrilled with the final product. You can buy it on Amazon beginning March1, 2009.


How many books did you write before selling one?

One. Yes, seriously. I finished exactly one book in ten years. I was the queen of writing 3 chapters, dumping the project, then writing 3 more chapters, blah, blah, blah. Thanks to a dear friend who told me I could write action and dialogue and everything else sucked, she suggested I try romantic suspense. Please don’t view that as harsh - it was far from it. Honest critique is an important part of this industry and we were good friends and I knew she was being blunt because she knew I’d hear that loud and clear. Series romantic suspense was in its infancy, but I figured what the hell, I gave it a go and sold the first manuscript to Harlequin Intrigue.


Do you write what you know, or is there research involved?

That depends on the book. I’m currently finishing the 4th Finley book so I’ve already compiled a great deal of research. If I’m starting from scratch, I’d say I lean toward writing what I know or about something in pop culture but nothing can replace research. One of my fave but little used by others research - subscribe to the local newspaper. That got me through 7 Landry Brothers books set in Montana (I’ve never been there). I also rely heavily on Internet contacts - nothing beats an interview with someone who lives the life you’re creating for your character.


Why writing, what drew you to the romance and the mystery genres?

Voice. Yep - it was that simple. I didn’t exactly fit in romance because I don’t have the ability to write deep emotional angst. I don’t exactly fit in mystery because I enjoy creating sexual tension. My voice works in romantic suspense and mystery. I can’t pass up a cheap joke and my characters normally don’t have a great deal of emotional baggage. I’m trying to get better with those things.


Is your family supportive in your writing endeavor?

If by family you mean my husband . . . he’s read exactly one of my books and that was only because his friends guilted him into it. Now, before you get all horrified, he taught for almost 40 years and I never went to his lectures. My mother reads all my books, though I’m not sure she’s ever paid for one. She normally grabs one of my author copies and then shares it with all her friends - who in turn don’t buy the book.

My sister just thinks I’m a disgusting sinner and has never, nor will she ever, read anything I write.

My daughter is still a few years away from being old enough to read my books, she is only eleven.


Visit Rhonda at one of her sites:

www.rhondapollero.com/
www.myspace.com/rhondapollero

www.kelseyroberts.net/

Thanks Rhonda, for a wonderful, informative post. You make it all look so easy. And you do it with class and style. I think your the greatest! You rock, Rhonda!

13 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // March 16, 2009 at 3:02 PM  

    Great job, Mary and Rhonda. No one can know the efforts Mary put into this, especially after I messed it up for her! I wasn't myself!

  2. Terry Odell // March 16, 2009 at 3:11 PM  

    Stopped by to wave to Rhonda. We had great fun at SleuthFest -- even though she won a kazillion raffle baskets, though. Next time share!

  3. lainey bancroft // March 16, 2009 at 3:16 PM  

    Terrific interview, ladies!

    For anyone who hasn't read the FAT books, they are not to be missed! Finley is a true 'character' and I can't wait for the next installment.

    Awesome job, Rhonda. Your project with Traci Hall sounds like a book that will make a difference in a lot of readers lives. Kudos to both of you for sharing such a sensitive topic.

  4. Beth Trissel // March 16, 2009 at 3:42 PM  

    Did I read 37 books published? And witty too. Wow. I'm agog.
    Thanks for being our fabulous guest here on the Fuzzies.

  5. Judy // March 16, 2009 at 3:56 PM  

    Rhonda! Wonderful to have you here on the blog! I'm impressed with all that you've done and am curious about the book on adoption. It sounds like a winner.

  6. Arkansas Cyndi // March 16, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

    Excellent interview I think the adoption book would be very touch.

    Fat Chance looks just wonderful

    Thanks for visiting PFSW. Please drop by anytime!

  7. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 16, 2009 at 5:20 PM  

    I can testify to the fact that MM wasn't herself! We worked until 2 am trying to figure out how to fix it! And somehow managed to erase the entire blog! Oh dear! Mary, we are so, so, so sorry. But we are so glad you got it up and fixed. Wonderful blog. Interesting interview.

    Scarlet

  8. Allison Chase // March 16, 2009 at 6:06 PM  

    Hi Rhonda, great interview! I'm lucky too in that my husband is willing to do the grocery shopping and the cooking, which keeps us all alive at deadline time. Let's hear it for supermarket warriors!

  9. Toni V.S. // March 16, 2009 at 7:59 PM  

    Great interview. Rhonda sounds like a fun gal to be around! I must say, Mary, you and I may vie for the "Supreme Geek" title, however. Mealtime at our house consists of myself and my son discussing Richard the Lionhearted's return to England versus King John's reign or whether or how Escher's artwork was utilized in the Harry Potter movies or who was really the person on whom Bram Stoker based Dracula while we scarf down my home-made chili. Oh--and there was a genuine Jeopardy participant at the table. My son was on the show his Junior year during College Week while he attended the University of Nebraska!

  10. Mona Risk // March 16, 2009 at 8:29 PM  

    Welcome to the PFS Rhonda. I have your autographed books in my to-keep-forever shelf. I also read excerpts that you and Traci wrote on her blog. You are both very brave and honest in sharing your experience. I can't wait to read Adoption is Forever.

  11. Edie // March 16, 2009 at 9:49 PM  

    Great interview! Rhonda, love the blurb for your book and your sell story. My favorite books have humor, romance and mystery in them, so I know I'll like Fat Chance.

  12. Joanne // March 17, 2009 at 8:59 AM  

    37 books! Rhonda, you are an inspiration. I enjoyed reading what you pointed out about plotters and pantsers. I'm a pantser, but I'm thinking of changing my ways. Thanks for visitng the Pink Fuzzies.

  13. Rhonda Pollero // March 19, 2009 at 7:25 AM  

    Thanks everyone for the kind thoughts and hugs to Mary and her crew. I hate it when the computer can't read my mind and get it right.

    Yes, I walzed away from Sleuthfest with 3 baskets to my name.

    I do hope I didn't offend with my take on the plotter/pantser thing. Remember, it took me 10 years to sell my first book so I'm more of an authority on failure than on success.

    The adoption book I did with fab writer Traci Hall was truly an act of love. We both had to open a couple of veins to get it done but we're both extremely proud of the finished product - funny, heart-warming and sometimes tearful.

    Back to writing the next Finley book - 4/15 s creeping up awfully fast.