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R D Ronald
Author of: The Elephant Tree (2010), The Zombie Room (2012).
Author of: The Elephant Tree (2010), The Zombie Room (2012).


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To celebrate the paperback release you can win a signed copy in this ‪#‎GoodreadsGiveaway‬

Best of luck to everybody who takes part.…/show/184720-the-zombie-room

#‎Freereads‬ ‪#‎Thriller‬  ‪#‎Suspense‬ ‪#‎BookGiveaway‬ ‪#‎FreeBook‬ ‪#‎Goodreads‬‪#‎Crime‬ ‪#‎Giveaway‬ ‪#‎Freebie‬ #TransgressiveFiction   #DarkFiction  

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Need Inspiration for #Books to Gift at #Christmas? #Goodreads list of the best to Read Next.

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#Goodreads Best that Toss Out the Rule Book, Transcend Boundaries and Dare to be Different
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As interviews go this one was very direct, pretty surreal, and very, very revealing... …

Fly: Hello, Mr. Ronald.

"Who iz Richard Ronald? A zolitary creature? An ex-con? A unique novelizt?

To me, he iz a rich man - the rare kind. For, hiz richnezz conztitutez experiencez far more difficult to come by or endure. To uz, he iz a zimple anzwer to one of the mozt prezzing decizionz we face in zociety - what iz right and what iz wrong. So welcome, one and all, to my tryzt with Ronald az we undertake a mezmerizing journey.
RR: Richard workz fine. Hello to you too!

Fly: Thank you, Richard. You zit here on the back of two bookz of mazterclazz - The Elephant Tree & The Zombie Room - together enjoying cloze to 19,000 ratingz on Goodreads alone. Ever zaw thiz coming?

RR: Hearing back from the readers is undoubtedly the most satisfying aspect of writing. They are the jury as to your success, after all. But writing to me began more as an outlet - a way to keep my mind occupied while I was in jail and a cathartic way of organising my thoughts. The idea behind my first book, The Elephant Tree, was just to dare to be different. To write the sort of book I wanted to read and to contribute something meaningful to our bookshelves rather than follow the more popular success formula followed by so many bestsellers.

Fly: I underztand that it takez enough from your time in prizon, but doez that necezzarily mean a lot of wrongz on dizplay, ezpecially through the characterz?

RR: Life is never clear cut, and the line between good and bad, right and wrong is often blurred, especially in times of crisis. That is what Elephant Tree is about. It is set in the world of petty career criminals and routine drug-taking, but despite such a sordid background the impression I get back from readers is that it is a good story told very well. The characters for the most part aren’t either inherently good or overwhelmingly bad, although, like the rest of us, they have their moments on both sides of the moral equation.

Take Putty and Twinkle, for example. I’ve known similar people to them in the dark and distant past, and as much as they appear to be, and often are, very shallow and selfish characters, there’s a softer, more caring side, that they work very hard to keep hidden from everyone. A lot of the bravado is just posturing to protect what they could lose, and I guess in their world, kindness can be mistaken as a sign of weakness, and therefore cannot be permitted.

Fly: Iz there one you identify with?

RR: Jeff, perhaps. He’s someone who has been dealt a bad hand, and for the most part just wants to be left alone to do his own thing, but when people who he cares about are in trouble he’s right there willing to sacrifice everything to help them.

That said, many of my experiences are closer to Scott’s. I’ve made mistakes over the years, and at times even broken the law. After all, a lot of the work on the book was undertaken in jail. But I think Scott’s character for the most part has a what-if element. A road that I could have ended up travelling, but thanks to perhaps more to good luck rather than good judgement, didn’t come to be.

Fly: Lucky indeed. If that hadn’t been zo, I wouldn’t have the privilege of thiz moment! Men in prizon iz rather imaginable az characterz in a ztory. Zo doez the book linger more towardz one zex than the other?

RR: Not exactly. For instance, Angela is a culmination of a number of strong female personalities I have known over the years. Initially when writing The Elephant Tree, she was very much a secondary character, but as I went back rewriting each draft, her voice seemed to get stronger, until she ended up demanding equal billing and her own perspective in the tale. She wove the narrative together a lot tighter.

Fly: Alright, let’z move over to you. How did thingz turn out the way they did?

RR: I have spent time in various jobs throughout a career in business. The time in prison came after I turned to an alternative to pay the medical bills for Renee, my wife. She became ill shortly after we were married, the treatment she needed was expensive. An opportunity came up for me to run a cannabis farm - the extra cash would make the difference to Renee's care, so I accepted. Renee was optimistic about her treatment, but sadly she didn't make it. Not long afterwards, I was arrested and sent to prison.

Fly: May zhe be at peace wherever zhe reztz now. How did the jail term come to inzpire you to write?

RR: Being locked up 23 hours a day focuses the mind. I'd always loved reading and in the back of my mind thought maybe I would write a book one day, and you hear some crazy stories while in jail. Prison life, for the most part, was pretty much what you'd expect. I was there, could do nothing to change the situation, so I quickly befriended the librarian and was prescribed an ongoing, daily course of literary anesthesia. For a while this helped no end. One book faded into the next and the days sped by. I found myself exhausting the library's collection of most of my favourite authors, delving into whichever available new realms and rereading past classics. That is until, for many of my favourite authors at the time, the magic began to fade.

Fly: How zo?

RR: Well, with such an intensive reading schedule and limited availability to branch out, I began to find that many books, especially from more prolific authors felt very familiar. Sure the character names were different, the locations and situations they found themselves in weren't exactly the same, but I couldn't deny the formulaic feel of the cut-and-paste construction.

Fly: How did that tranzlate to you writing? Waz it alwayz an interezt?

RR: I had never written anything more than a shopping list since leaving school. But with the magic of library books fading, and with nobody to vent these frustrations at other than whomever I happened to be sharing a cell with at the time, I began to open a dialogue. The revelations that I came across were honest and forthright to a degree that I had never encountered in my beloved books. So I found myself begin to jot down thoughts and ideas. My ideas took root and plot lines began to grow from the pile of notepads I continued to fill.

Fly: What revelationz did theze ideaz pertain to?

RR: They were a representation of souls whom I found myself getting to know, with tales as varied and despicable, heartwarming and tragic as those that had gone before. I do not say that the people I began to get to know were all good guys (once you got to know them), not at all. Many were despicable individuals that casually told tales that could make your blood run cold, but even they weren't without their own shred of humanity.

One particular sociopath I spent a week locked in a cell with, would switch from bloodcurdling reminiscence to the disposition of a placated child when Loose Women was on television. Others were more regular guys, the type you might have a brief conversation with at a supermarket, or a bookstore. Further investigation often led to discovering of outlandish circumstance, the type we read of in crime novels that led them to react and end up serving out long sentences.

Fly: And your writing career waz effectively juzt waiting for you to begin! Did any zpecific work influence you on thiz relatively novel path?

RR: I would say, Rupert Thomson. Also, Chuck Palahniuk, Irvine Welsh, Vicki Hendricks, Haruki Murakami, Earnest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, Martin Amis among others. They’re who first spring to mind.

Fly: Any particular one you’d advize for our readerz?

RR: Rupert Thomson’s books. I saw in a review years ago, his work described as ‘like watching fireworks go off on the page’. For me that sums him up really well. Rupert could write Pizzeria menus and make them fascinating, luckily he doesn’t do that but crafts fantastic works of fiction, albeit too few of them, that I personally love going back to reread again and again. The first book I discovered by him is The Five Gates of Hell. I’d highly recommend that.

Fly: And we zhall make zure to get that right after we’re through with The Elephant Tree. And The Zombie Room. Are you working on your next novel now?

RR: I’m currently putting the finishing touches to my next novel A Darkness So Unkind. A psychological thriller that builds into an unconventional murder mystery.

Fly: And are you able to zhare any of that with uz today?

RR: Sure. Enjoy the read.

Fly: We always do, ezpecially the exclusive ones! Thank you, Richard.

Happy Righting,"

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Really interesting interview I did this week and some particularly probing questions from the lovely @BooksAdvisor  


 February 19, 2015  
When I start my first blog Books Advisor I was pretty excited about the idea of having a contact with the authors and provide my readers with the best I can offer. Unfortunately, my experience showed that inviting writers to present their work and share their personal stories with us, book lovers, is not that easy. I have to confess that I was on the edge to give up after posting tons of discussions in social networks,inviting authors to support my blog and be my guests.

Then I received a message from author R.D. Ronald suggesting that he could be my guest author. I remember that I jumped from surprise back then. I was both excited and worried about the interview that I thought: What I would do now? This is what I have ever wanted and now when this is happening I do not know what to ask?How to ask? However, I gained some confidence and this Interview is the result of all my desire and fear to offer my readers the best! This is also a result from the good will of R.D. Ronald to support my blog because if I have to be honest, there are not so many authors out there who are willing to give interviews. Not for unknown bloggers and infamous blogs.

I would like to thank R.D.Ronald for the amazing interview! Hope you enjoy it,too!


Books Advisor: How would you describe The Elephant Tree and The Zombie Room to someone who has not read any of your previous books?

R.D.Ronald: The genre I’m generally crowbarred into is called Transgressive-Crime. A quote from the Transgressive Fiction Wiki sums this up quite nicely

“Characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways.”

I think my books do fall nicely into this category, but with something of a crossover into more familiar mainstream crime fiction.

Books Advisor: Did your personal experience influence your writing? Every one of us go through a lot in their lives. Some people turn their back on their past, others just benefit from it? 

R.D.Ronald: I would never turn my back on my past, in fact I’m quite proud of it, even the parts people may not expect. Some of the readers may already be familiar with my journey to writing via time serving a prison sentence for cannabis cultivation, but this provided me with a wealth of experience that I continue to draw on for my writing and also decisions I make in life. It’s easy to benefit from advantages handed to us by someone else, but I don’t think we can really learn from those in the same way we can from our own decision making, whether the results end up good or bad.

Books Advisor: Why fiction? Why did you choose this genre?

R.D. Ronald: Fiction is what I’ve always read and always loved. I do dip my toe into specific non-fiction from time to time, but there is always a part-read fiction book close to hand. As for genre, it wasn’t a conscious decision I made, I just picked up the pen and that is what spilled out. I think my life, up to a certain point, was just a dress rehearsal for my future books anyway, I just didn’t know it back then.

Books Advisor: Your latest project is Manuscript Consultancy. You have considered starting it for a while now so probably you would like to unveil some details?

R.D.Ronald: I’ve amassed something of a following on Twitter, which I’m extremely grateful for and proud of, and one of the results of this is that I get a lot of messages on a daily basis. Lot’s of these messages come from fledgling writers wanting advice about breaking into the industry and what they should do about this or that. I read, and continue to read, lots of books about various aspects of the industry and through my own experiences I believe I’ve learned a thing or two over the last six years. I would like to give something back and to do this I thought manuscript consultancy might be the way to do it. It’s only something I will do part time, so I’ll be selective over whom to work with, but if there is a connection then working with a newbie writer and helping them towards getting a foot on the ladder should be a lot of fun.

Books Advisor: Now when you are famous tell me how did fame change you? 

R.D.Ronald: I don’t think I’m famous. In fact I suspect very few authors outside of the big household names ever suffer/enjoy the trappings, slings and arrows that go along with being a modern day celebrity. I’m certainly never recognized in the street, which for someone who does their best to stay out of the spotlight is a real blessing.

Books Advisor: You write books but I bet you also read some. So I suppose it would be interested for my readers to know which are R.D.Ronald’s favourite bedtime readings?

R.D.Ronald: I’m a big re-reader. A book I love is something I’ll return to again and again over the years, and find myself rebuying on a regular basis as well as I’m always gifting them to friends urging them to sample the magic for themselves. Some of my favourite authors that stand the test of time are: Martin Amis, Kurt Vonnegut, Paul Auster, Rupert Thomson, Jeanette Winterson Bret Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh, Haruki Murakami, Italo Calvino, Iain Banks and Albert Camus. I could go on but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

Books Advisor: Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.

R.D.Ronald: Yikes. I think many of the “Good to Know” facts I’ll have to hold off on for fear of incriminating myself, haha. I think one thing that everyone who knows me in regular life (a very small circle) would say, that those who only know me through my writing don’t know, is that I’m very hard to get to know, and even harder to keep knowing. I’m definitely not a people person, and except on rare occasions only really come alive through my writing. Most of my days are spent alone, hunched over my laptop, muttering at the world passing by outside of the window. Maybe not the fun fact that you were after but the more I learn about some of the writers themselves whose work has always inspired me, the more I find that my life has mirrored their own. So if anyone out their finds this familiar behaviour, then maybe we aren’t the lost causes that we sometimes tend to think of ourselves after all.

Books Advisor: How can readers contact you or find out more about your books?

R.D.Ronald: I used to keep a website but accidentally let the domain lapse and it got nabbed by some strange Chinese company before I could get it going again, haha. Nowadays I tend to connect with readers via my Twitter page and also on Goodreads, which I find to be a great resource for authors and readers alike. I’m grateful and humbled by everyone who decides to read one of my books, so I always try to answer all messages.


Books Advisor: And now, before you go how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalise us?

R.D.Ronald: This is from a section of The Elephant Tree heralded by readers as their favourite quote on Goodreads, so I guess that would be the obvious choice to share.

‘Why did you come and do the job for me then?’
‘Money, what else?’
‘Fair enough, that’s what most people look for to begin with, but money can be a sliding scale, the more you have, the more you want, the more you need,’ McBlane said as he sharpened the ash on the tip of his cigar into a point against the rim of the ashtray. It gave him the appearance of wielding a dagger as he gestured with his cigar-holding hand.

     ‘Not for me, I just want enough to make a fresh start and then I’m gone.’
‘That’s a shame. So our working relationship will only be short term. Fair enough though, I respect a man who knows what he wants. So is it something you’re getting away to or from then, may I ask?’
Scott shrugged. ‘Maybe a bit of both.’ He didn’t want McBlane knowing anything more about him than he’d obviously already found out, but the man had an easy-going almost coaxing tone to his voice, which made it hard to evade his subtle questioning.

     ‘Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek. Sometime maybe we don’t know which the fuck it is,’ McBlane said and laughed again. ‘For me, I like to know the truth. To be in possession of all the facts.’

I would like to thank R.D.Ronald once again for the amazing interview and wish him all the good luck ! We are waiting for his next book soon!

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Manuscript Consultancy is a project I've considered starting for a while now, so it gives me great pleasure to unveil 

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Excerpt from a recent interview I did at Potfiction
RW Tucker, Pot Fiction: You’ve mentioned that your own personal experiences influenced your writing. Many people turn their back on their past lives. Within the bounds of what you are comfortable talking about, of course, what made you want to put those experiences to paper?

R.D. Ronald: When I first went to prison I found the expected assortment of horrible individuals that anyone would expect to be in there. What did surprise me, though, were the number of decent people that had been the victim of horrendous circumstances they either reacted to, or took the only option left open to them. While I was inside I read and read and read, as you would expect, but while working my way through numbers of crime thrillers I began to find the plots somewhat tedious and predictable, and in no way reflective of the people I was surrounded by who had, and still were, living out their very own crime thrillers. I decided to put some ideas down on paper, much of it fiction, some very altered experiences I had lived through or heard of, and let it begin to take shape. I wanted the criminality to be reflected in as open a way as I could without vilifying or glamorising the experience. I had no idea how the readers would eventually take this on board, but I was writing the type of book I wanted to read, not seeking out commercial success by trying to please everyone. Through social media rather than backing from a big publisher I have been able to connect with like-minded souls and luckily for me they seem to love it, which has enabled me to carry on exploring my passion for writing.

PF: I just started The Zombie Room after reading The Elephant Tree. I notice that each person, no matter how honorable or dishonorable their actions, has some kernel of motivation driving them. What factors do you find carry people to lives on the black market?

RDR: Like I mentioned above, there are numerous types of people operating in that kind of world with many reasons for being there. There are your stereotypical thugs craving power and easy money, but there are also people who slip through the cracks of modern society and find themselves as low-level dealers quite by accident. Nice enough people who simply have no other way to make a living, unable to function in the everyday life most of us take for granted, either because of addiction issues, lack of education and social skills or even mental illness. 81TejJ8W-FL._SL1500_Some people grow up in that environment and it is all they have ever known. It also happens that regular working people that dabble in low-level crime on the side who are caught and then imprisoned lose their jobs, so when they are released they no longer have an income source, coupled with a brand new criminal record which makes getting a job much harder, so they find themselves through lack of any other option being sucked into life as a full time criminal, and the cycle continues. And these are not just suppositions. I have met and talked to countless individuals at various stages of all of the variations I’ve listed here. You can spot the pattern a mile away.

PF: Your books are dark and full of brutal people. Violence seems almost inevitable. What drives people to violence, in your view?

RDR: For some people violence has always been and always will be a way of life. For others it is a potential they carry around as a resource to be used only in the most extreme circumstances. The last group is perhaps the most sad, and I say this after meeting dozens of people convicted of murder that fit into this group. The reactionists. These could be people who have never laid a hand on another human being in their whole lives, then one day – bam! Something happens, they react in the most extreme way and in a matter of seconds life as they knew it is over and someone is lying dead at their feet.

You can check out the full interview here:

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Delighted to make the top 100 of Goodreads best books to read next. Are your favs on there?
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