Today, I’d like you to meet fellow Michigan author Rohn Federbush. Before I bombard her with questions, LOL, I’d like her to tell you a little about herself:
Seventy-two years ago I was born in a rented farmhouse in southern Illinois. As a divorcee in the 60’s, I raised two sons, who were the first of their 45+ cousins to pursue a college degree. I obtained a Masters of Arts from Eastern Michigan University in 1995. I am published in The Red Wheelbarrow, Potpourri, Princeton’s U.S. 1 Workshops, and the University of Michigan’s The Bear River Writers Respond to War. Awards, published poetry, short stories and non-fiction articles may be read at www.rohnfederbush.com. I retired from the University of Michigan as Administrator of the Applied Physics PhD Program. My husband, Professor Emeritus Paul Federbush, researches mathematical physics at the University of Michigan. We have traveled to Europe, China, Patagonia, New Zealand and Israel.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was sixteen, my sister’s baby died after not completing a day of life. Her name was Diane Thaddeus Schultz. I was shocked because my high-school English class remained unaware of my family’s loss, or the world’s. So I wrote a poem and eulogized my niece, hooking me forever on the potency of catharsis and the power of adding to the remembrance of a lost child.
What a wonderful gift. How long does it take you to write a book?
The first draft is finished in about three months, but the editing takes even longer.
I hear you there. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’m usually at my writing desk by 9:00 in the morning. I’ve been writing full time since 1999, when I retired from the University of Michigan as an Administrative Assistant. Of course, I take breaks, and lunch. However, I don’t stop until I have ten new pages or 4:00 arrives. My completed books are piling up, but I am still happiest and better balanced when new work is created. It is tempting to market full time, but the writer work-ethic in me rebels.
Ten pages is a lot. I admire your work ethic. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I follow my curiosity. How does it feel to be this character or that one? Could I live in this place or that climate? What if I had lived in those times, in that war among those gardens? What if my goal had been to be a race-car driver, or a ghost-hunter, or a forest ranger? While I yet live, the wonder of life keeps me intrigued.
Good questions. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I paint cartoonish pictures in oil and even watercolors. I love the control over colors. I paint a lot like Gauguin.
What does your family think of your writing?
After thirteen years of steady work, my family has pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that I’ll be writing on my death bed. One sister-in-law thought I might have missed a career as a painter, but she received one of my better oils.
How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I’ve completed 15. My favorite is the one I’m working on. Editing or writing new scenes, always claims my heart.
What do you think makes a good story?
When an idea presents itself for a story, the title usually comes first and then the resolution. I think we all write with a purpose. Sure to entertain is required, but to last in the world of more books than people, the need to share an understanding of how life works and my belief in a Higher Power in our lives motivates me.
What is the most important thing you do for your career?
Hiring My Girl Friday, Florence Price, has saved me from frustrating chores I don’t have the patience to learn. Such as my website design, promotion ideas and an increasing number of tasks I ask her to undertake.
Florence is a gem, all right. What do you enjoy most about life?
I like being married better than living alone. Of course, I am married to the best man in the universe. I’m also thankful for my good health and a caring, loving Creator and Lord. My grandchildren are perfect and my children claim every ounce of affection I own.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I outline. I use Elizabeth’s system from “Write Right” and Michael Hauge’s “Six Stage Plot Structure,” which is a furtherance of Debra Dixon’s “Goals, Motivation, and Conflict” structure for characters. I put the finished outline, which includes one-sentence scene descriptions into the body of my manuscript and start writing the Rough Draft. Nothing is ever final, the outline, the sequence of scenes, etc. But the skeleton exists. The next day’s scene can be reviewed before bed and embellished in the morning. If I get stopped, I interview the characters to find out where we’re going.
If I were a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
Salome’s Conversion, published by CreateSpace, is Biblical fiction and a great romance if I do say so myself. Favorable reviews may be read on my website www.rohnfederbush.com
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Elizabeth George, when she hurries up and finishes another book Also Elizabeth Kostova’s next work is awaited.
Where can readers find you?
My website is www.rohnfederbush.com I’m also on Linkedin and have two Facebook pages.
Salome’s Conversion is available at Amazon http://amzn.com/1466401389
Thanks for being here, Rohn. I wish you all the best.