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Interview: R.H. Ramsey, Author of Just Beneath the Surface I

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Rhonda (R.H.) Ramsey is a prolific new author who enjoys breathing passion and life into each and every character she creates. She is an avid writer with 11 completed novels, four novels near completion, and five short stories. She is also a military wife, mother of two, and a student.

Over the course of seven years, Ms. Ramsey has diligently researched topics ranging from but not limited to relationships, addiction, abuse, and mental illness. With a passion for people, helping, and learning, Rhonda Ramsey’s zeal for inspiring others through her writing has also expanded to freelance writing and blogging.  She has her own blog, and enjoys contributing to other websites as well. Ms. Ramsey hopes to continue in her quest of inspiring others as well as learning from everyone she meets.

R.H. Ramsey’s latest book is Just Beneath the Surface I.

Readers can learn more about Ms. Ramsey by visiting her blog

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Just Beneath the Surface I is a novel about obsessive and abusive relationships. There are two main characters: a woman named Kendall, and her teenage daughter, named Diamond.

Kendall is a warm, loving mother of two who leaves a somewhat rocky relationship after fourteen years. Kendall soon finds herself involved with a shy, quiet man who becomes very unpredictable and abusive.

Meanwhile, Diamond, who is dealing with feelings of loneliness and confusion, becomes involved with an obsessive teacher’s aide. Diamond is also dealing with awful gossip at school; some of the rumors are true.

At the time of writing the book, I was upset with the misconceptions and myths about domestic violence. It saddened me that people referred to women who were victims of domestic violence as gluttons for punishment, foolish for staying, and weak. I wanted to create a character who was very relatable, as in my opinion, the more we relate to one another, the more we empathize, the less we judge.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

The title was inspired by the protagonist. I created someone who was nothing like he seemed. In the beginning, he was shy, quiet, and quite the push-over. Gradually, what was beneath the surface of this dark peculiar character came to light.

I, being a self published author, came up with the book cover alone. I designed it alone. A close relative thought of shadows, and I took that idea, and tried to come up with something dark and intriguing.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

Spencer shrugged his shoulders as he backed out of our tight parking spot alongside the curb, and drove us home. He stopped in front of the garage, and sat quietly.

“Something wrong with your garage opener?” I asked peering over at him. Why were we sitting in front of our house? Something deep down in my bones said run as I reached above our heads for the garage opener.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of his hand and flinched, but by then it was too late. He shoved my arm away from the garage opener and punched me so hard in the side of my head, that my face hit the passenger window. I only sat doubled over. The car was completely quiet as he stared over at me and waited menacingly. Whatever he was waiting for, he would not get from me. I refused to look at him or speak.

I decided that any human being would stop there, if I stayed crouched down and quiet. I was wrong; his fist connected with my ear. I gasped and let out the strangest sounding moan I had ever heard as I held onto the latch on the door. The world around me was quiet, and everything I looked at reminded me of a television screen with static; blurred figures and unclear sounds. I held my left ear with one hand and pulled at the latch on the door with the other.

Before I could open the door Spencer grabbed both of my hands and pulled me close to him, “Clubs? Drinking? Lies?” he growled. He threw me back over to the passenger side of the car, raised his fist again, and began punching me repeatedly in my left ear. I instinctively covered my ear with both of my hands. I screamed over his shouting that I could not hear him over the ringing sound. I could only hear my heartbeat.

The longer I sat unable to make out what he was screaming at me, the more hysterical I became. But I managed to sit perfectly still as I crouched over. What if I was deaf? What if the ringing and swishing sounds never stopped?

I opened the door and fell onto our driveway. I felt so dazed, but I had to run. Wherever I ran would be better than going inside of the house. As I pulled myself up using the car door, I could hear his loafers scratching at the pavement as he edged closer.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I really enjoy interviews; I like sharing my passion, and explaining more in depth about what I am trying to convey.

I have been very consistent, and quite prolific, but I am guilty of spending more time starting and finishing novels, than I have spent promoting my work — I am very new to promoting.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I am actually a night owl. Generally, if I have planned a day devoted solely to a novel, I start typing around 9pm, and type through the night, and early morning. If I take a nap, it is a very short one — I like to use every moment I can, because time flies when I am working.

I will make sure I have plenty to drink, I will probably forget to eat, and normally, I do very little planning. If I am stumped, I sit down, and work chapter by chapter. Some days, I work on two books at once; I probably look very disorganized, but there’s a method to my madness.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

Writing is my number one way to relax, as long as I know everyone in my family is happy and taken care of.  I love coming up with new ideas, creating new characters and dialogue, or the feeling of finishing something I started.

Listening to music is also one of my favorite things to do. The feeling of having one of my favorite songs on repeat — I can’t even think of the words to describe the feeling.

I also love deep stimulating conversations. I find myself tense and struggling to keep things flowing when conversations are light and superficial; but it is very relaxing to me when I am discussing something of substance. Especially with my hubby.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

Self-published authors are overlooked. It would take days and days to name the talented authors who have not been ‘discovered’ by traditional publishers, or who cannot afford an agent. I probably wouldn’t even put myself in a category with some of the undiscovered talent out there… so yes. I would definitely say, many of the self published authors are overlooked.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

The fact that as a young girl, I read I Know Why the Caged Bird sings, and I still remember the way I felt, and the way I was inspired, is amazing to me. So I would have to say Maya Angelou. I love her poetry, I love the way she uses metaphors in her writing, and I absolutely love her wisdom. You can even hear it in her voice.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

Sure! The second novel I will be self-publishing is Where Were You? Here is the summary:

In Where Were You?, the paths of several strangers will collide, and become forever interwoven. Hearts will be both mended, and broken, as complex relationships are formed.

Christian Shane, a heavy hearted young man, is slowly becoming unglued. His home life is anything but orthodox; riddled with drugs, and an ominous feeling that what is left of his world will soon come crashing down upon him. In an instance, Christian’s life becomes more shrouded in confusion than ever before… he is face to face with his birth parents.

Although Christian is nothing that Nadia expected, he is more beautiful than she ever imagined. In her eyes, he is simply breathtaking; scars and all. But getting close to Christian is far from simple. Her son wants nothing more than to be left to his own devices. And just as it seems that Christian is a lost cause, Nadia’s father, Dr. Will Chase, takes one last shot at breaking through…

Dylan Monahan is a troubled young woman who has become a prisoner of her own stifling memories. Despite long, trying therapy sessions with Dr. Will Chase, Dylan has yet to find peace. With the nudge of a gentle stranger, and an unexpected encounter with Dr. Chase, Dylan is seeing herself more clearly than ever.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

My answer to this question is going to seem quite odd; but the thing that would come as a surprise to many people who know me, is that I have several finished novels. Most people did not know until only a few months ago that I even write. I have been very shy, quiet, and afraid to share my writing. I try to hide it, but I am beyond shy.

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  • rhonda

    How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

    The title was inspired by the antagonist. I created someone who was nothing like he seemed. In the beginning, he was shy, quiet, and quite the push-over. Gradually, what was beneath the surface of this dark peculiar character came to light.

  • rhondda

    Thank you for the opportunity to share, and for awesome questions! I really enjoyed this — thanks!