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Soldier, novelist is true to her beliefs
Faces and Places
Rhonda Lawson
Rhonda Lawson - photo by Photo provided.
Name: Rhonda Lawson

Age: 35

Where are you from?
“I was born in Biloxi, Miss., at Keesler Air Force Base, but home for me is in New Orleans. That is where I grew up.”

Family: “Yes, I have a 9-year-old daughter named Beautiful.”

What do you do?
“I am a sergeant first class in the Army and I serve as a public affairs officer for the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.” Lawson is also a published novelist.

How long have you been writing? “I started writing when I was 12 years old, in the seventh grade, but I did not try to get published until 2003. Before that, I was just writing for the love it.”

What inspired you to become an author?
“I have always loved to read. I read everything, from Sesame Street to Sweet Valley High to Judy Bloom.”

Who are some of your favorite authors now that you are an adult?
Some of my favorite authors include Terry McMillan, John Grisham and Victoria Christopher Murray. Victoria Christopher Murray is actually a good friend of mine.

How many books have you written? “I have written three books. My first book was called ‘Cheating in the Next Room,’ my second book was called ‘A Dead Rose’ and my most recent book is called ‘Putting it Back Together.’ I am currently working on a children’s book.”

What audience are you trying to captivate with your work? “I write women’s fiction and I try to make my pieces as real as possible, something that all people can relate to.”

What do you feel separates you from other authors? “I think of my writing as my ministry. Some people preach, some people sing; I write. I write to inspire and enrich all people and I don’t limit myself to one style of writing. I have had many people tell me that the characters in my book were more like a friend to them.”

How has being a PAO in the Army helped you hone your skills as a writer?
“The one reason I joined the Army was to write. Doing my job, I learned how to write concisely.”

Is there anything that you feel you need to work on as you craft your skills? “I would like to be a little more descriptive. That’s the one thing about writing for the Army, they kind of teach you to get straight to the point. I would like to be able to stay concise, while adding more color and description to my writing.”

What advice would you offer to aspiring novelist like yourself?
“I would say write from your heart, don’t write what might be hot, what is not true to you. I would tell them to stay true to themselves … and most of all don’t compare yourself to anyone else. My books feel real because I am staying true to what I believe in.”

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