Ron Hartman has had a life-long passion for the written word and is an avid reader. The Prophecy Chronicles are his first written works. Ron graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2000 and lives in Ottumwa, Iowa with his wife and three children. Read more about Prophecy Foretold, as well as excerpts from the other books in The Prophecy Chronicles series, at www.prophecychronicles.com.
1. How did you come up with the title of your book?
I wanted a title that would pull all three novels in the series together, and I wanted something that was a good attention getter…The Prophecy Chronicles had a nice ring to it. Then I needed to look at the individual books within the series. The first is about Daniel coming to Naphthali and learning about the prophecy that the locals believe he personifies. I won’t tell you if he actually is the Prophesied One or not (I wouldn’t want to spoil the book for you!), but Prophecy Foretold tied in with the series and gave good foreshadowing of where Daniel is going.
2. What is your writing environment like?
My writing environment is very messy! Imagine a roll-top desk with an old fashioned computer monitor from the early 2000’s on it. The monitor is too large to actually close the roll-top, but there it is. The top of the desk is covered with photos of my kids, Lego models, a desktop clock that no longer works and a model of the USS Constitution. Crowning it all are diplomas my wife and I earned hanging on the wall over the desk, (hopefully) testament to hard work for our kids. Surround that monitor with newspaper clippings, textbooks, extra print cartridges, a few cases of pop and a calendar on the wall that has so much detritus stacked in front of it that you can’t actually see it and you have a good idea where I’m at right now. I don’t think I’m a hoarder, but when I answer questions like this I start to wonder…
3. What is your favorite quote? Why?
My favorite quote of all time is “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” It is the last words in the book of Matthew in the Bible (Matthew 28:20). It reminds us that we are never truly alone. On a lighter note the quote I use most often is from the movie Toy Story. Sheriff Woody says something sarcastic to Buzz Lightyear and in a very serious voice he says, “You’re mocking me, aren’t you?” That one cracks me up for the essential truth of it. No matter how serious we think something is, there is always someone that thinks it’s utterly ridiculous!
4. How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I was raised in Iowa. My mom and dad have always been close, and they’ve instilled in their children the sense that family comes first. That, and it is important to have a good work ethic. How has that influenced my writing? I never quit, even when it might only be me that ever reads it. The telling of the tale gives me great pleasure, so I won’t stop just because it may never get published. Keep in mind, it took nearly four years to get Prophecy Foretold published. That work ethic and never quit attitude has served me well in my writing. As far as family first—that is the central crux of the novel. Daniel will do (almost) anything to get back to his family. What drives him is what drives me, and most of it can be traced back to my upbringing.
5. What inspires you to write?
The short answer here would be my family. They are the center of everything I do. My children make me want to be a better man and my wife makes me want to be everything she needs. Without them, just like Daniel, I’d be a stranger lost in a strange land.
6. What do you consider the most challenging part about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
To me the hardest thing about writing is putting the first words on the page. What will the story be? Why are the characters doing what they’re doing? For me even if I have an extensive outline before I start writing the book, those first words on the page can change the direction of the entire project. Because of that it’s important to get right…I can spend days sitting in front of the computer just thinking what those first words should be before I ever write anything down!
7. Did you learn anything while writing this book? If so, what was it?
From a technical standpoint I learned that I tend to be pretty redundant while I’m writing. It is important when writing a novel to add a lot of punch—you want the story to keep moving, so when you restate why the character is doing what they’re doing every few pages it really slows the pace down. That was a hard lesson to learn, one that had to be cleaned out quite a bit during revisions, but it’s a lesson that I don’t think I’ve repeated in my later works…I hope.
8. What have you done to promote this book?
What? You mean you have to promote the book, too? Just writing it isn’t enough?!? I’ve found that promoting the project can be even more daunting than the actual writing of it. With Prophecy Foretold being my first book it has been quite an eye-opening experience. I didn’t really have any idea of where to go in the realm of marketing, but fortunately my publisher (Rogue Phoenix Press) has been a great source of information. They helped me get started with my first Virtual Book Tour, and it has been with their initial advice that I’ve continued to promote the novel. From a digital standpoint I’ve participated in Virtual Book Tours, opened my work for reviewers, and written guest blogs. From a local standpoint I had a press release of my book in the local paper and I donated copies of my book to local libraries. To me it seems that getting your name out there is one of the hardest parts of writing that I hadn’t anticipated when I started.
9. What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
The internet is an invaluable tool, especially for first-time authors like myself. Without the backing of a large publisher, most of the press for your book is going to be driven by yourself. If you have a full-time job (which I do) or a family (which I do), traveling around the country trying to sell you book is probably not a viable option. With virtual book tours (VBT’s) you can get the word out about your book and generate buzz without all of the footwork. There is still a lot of work involved, but I’m sure that Prophecy Foretold would still be just an idea I had if not for the resources on the internet!
10. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you so much for taking the time to hear about my writing process! I enjoyed sharing with you all, and I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing what I had to say! If you have any questions please visit my website, www.prophecychronicles.com, where you can learn more about my project, read excerpts from all three books, and email me your thoughts or comments. Thanks again, and happy reading!