SA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
RD: I’m a freelance writer and author and I live in Ontario, Canada with my family. I’ve been writing short stories and poetry all my life, winning my first poetry award when I was 12 years old for a regional contest about President Kennedy. I remained actively writing while raising my seven children, and when my youngest was old enough, I returned to full time college to earn my diploma in Business Admin and Common Law. I became a certified Court Reporter and enjoyed my legal career until I sustained injuries in a car accident and was forced to retire early. When I was able, I returned to college and earned three diplomas in writing literature for children and adults. Since then, I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent writing stories and I have many creations just waiting to get down on paper.
SA: Tell us about your current book, Web Secrets, in a few sentences.
RD: Web Secrets is an adult suspense/thriller, set in present day New York City. It’s about a young bride, Madison Richards, who investigates a personal issue and ends up tangled in a web of lies and deceit. As her family and friends begin to disappear, she has no one left to turn to except a friend in cyber space, and that’s when she discovers that she is the target of a psychopath killer.
SA: How did you come to write this particular book?
RD: I have watched many movies and read a lot of books over the years, and as well I have a creative imagination. So putting them together often results in potential stories like this one that bounce around in my mind. Once I had the main conflict figured out, the rest came easy.
SA: Who is your favourite character in your novel?
RD: My favourite character is my protagonist, Madison. She is an innocent young woman who had to grow up in a hurry and overcome some of her inner fears, and she did it under stressful circumstances. Yet, these circumstances didn’t change her beautiful sweet character.
SA: How can people buy your books?
RD: Web Secrets, along with my other novel, is available at Barnes & Noble and at Amazon as a hardcopy, as well as in the Kindle Book Store as an e-book. It’s also available at Lebrary.com and at Smashwords in several digital formats.
SA: What qualities do you believe make a successful writer?
RD: I think writers all possess different qualities in their own way but in general, I think that a creative mind blended with realistic facts and trained writing skills make a successful writer. Being creative allows the story to expand and become full and interesting, and having realistic facts makes it believable – unless you’re writing in the future or another genre like fantasy. Trained writing skills are useful so that the story can be polished and flow easily.
SA: What do you believe are the most common mistakes that new writers make?
RD: I’ve read many first chapters of books from beginner writers and the repeated mistake that I see is they are writing their creation in their own words, but they have little knowledge of proper wording, format, dialogue or grammar, and they aren’t writing with an easy flow. They have a desire to write - and that’s good – but like any other profession, writers need to learn how to develop the skills into what is a good and acceptable manuscript that bears the quality and acceptance that professional publishers are looking for. This is what gives their book the quality to stand out from the others, and yet it’s the one detail that many writers are bypassing.
SA: To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?
RD: Grammar and spelling to a writer are crucial in producing a quality novel because it’s one of the keys that denote a professional and quality written manuscript. But having said that, it’s interesting to note that even books written by famous authors might have the odd typo. The difference between that author and an aspiring author is that their name often is what sells their book and followers will buy it anyway, whereas the new author is still at the stage where they’re proving that they can write, and typos can work against their credibility.
SA: How much revision of your MS do you do before you send it off?
RD: I spend more time revising than I do writing the original manuscript. I revise as I go along and since I know that most things should be introduced to the reader in the first few chapters, when I think of something different later on in the story that I know will work well, I go back and make a mention of it somewhere. This keeps the story flowing and prevents it from having unknown objects pulled out of a hat, so to speak, which makes the story less believable.
SA: Do you have support, either from family and friends or a writing group?
RD: I’m fortunate to have a very supportive husband who really believes that I have talent and who encourages me to write. My family is also supportive and they look forward to each new book debut. I’m a member of LinkedIn and I’ve joined several groups where I’m able to keep up-to-date with the writing profession and stay in the now with the business.
SA: Is presentation of the MS important to agents and publishers?
RD: Yes, presentation of the MS is everything because it’s the “first impression” that reveals the writer’s qualities. This is important when writers want to prove to publishers that their work is worthy of being viewed by them.
SA: How long does it normally take you to write a book?
RD: It doesn’t take me long to plan the story once my creative thoughts get going, and so getting it on paper would normally be done very quickly. Unfortunately, I’m not able to sit for long periods of time at my desk due to my injuries from the car accident and so what should only take a month to get onto paper can take me several months. This is very frustrating but on the other hand, I now have several books in my mind just waiting to get on paper.
SA: Who or what inspires you?
RD: I was taught in college to observe every little thing around me because many details in a story can be inspired from them. And so inevitably, everything I see has some part in my creations. My first book, Mudslide, was really inspired by my two sons. One went white water rafting and fell into the river and was caught under the rapids, and the other went on a portage hike where it stormed so much that they spent the entire hike trekking through mud. It didn’t take me long to put these two incidents together with my imagination and my own memories of hiking to create an interesting adventure novel for teens.
SA: Is there any aspect of writing that you really enjoy?
RD: I really enjoy living through my protagonists, especially in the Survival Series. They are able to live and experience some really amazing events and since I have control over them, I can make anything happen that I want to happen and still survive.
SA: Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
RD: I think having the ability to write is a combination of both. You need the natural gift of imagination in order to create a story that is complete and that fulfills the reader’s needs, because without it you’ll miss a lot of detail or complacency that gives the story its value. But developing your writing skills is also important because you need to know how to write these creative thoughts in a format and with composition that gives it quality.
SA: What advice would you give to writers still hoping to be published?
RD: I would tell writers that the publishing world is changing and that self publishing is an acceptable means to get their book out there. There are actually two key issues that I would advise. One would be to have their manuscript edited by a professional copy editor to ensure that it meets the requirements of a quality manuscript, and the second would be to research the avenues of self-publishing thoroughly via discussions in writing forums and at sites like Editors and Predators, so they can know which ones are good.
SA: What are you writing now?
RD: Currently, I’m a little more than halfway through the second book – Fire Storm - in the Survival Series. This series is a collection of young adult action-packed outdoor adventures involving four teens that always find themselves at the right place but at the wrong time. Their fun times always put them in a race against time as they become quests of rescue and survival.
SA: Do you have a website or a blog that readers can visit?
RD: I have a professional blog at www.ronniedauberauthor.com that not only profiles my life as a writer, but links to blogs on my books, as well as books from other great authors. I also have a Face Book page called Ronnie Dauber – author, and I’m also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/RonnieDauber. I invite everyone to please join me there.
For my review of Ronnie's book, Web Secrets, please visit Goodreads via this link.