Comicality: – We have a brand new author joining our family here at Imagine Magazine this month! His name is Ronyx, and he has been a very popular writer for years now! We’re lucky to have him here with us, and I’m happy to get a chance to pick his brain a bit and interview him as our Featured Author Of The Month! Dive in and have fun!
So…starting off with a similar question, because I’m always curious about this sorta thing…where did this idea come from? What inspired this lovely story about Jaxson and Tracy and all that surrounds it? Is it a personal story of yours, or simply a subject that you wanted to write about?
Ronyx: – I’m a huge fan of the performing arts. My husband and I attend over twenty-five plays, musicals, ballets and operas each year. We have a number of theater friends, and even though we don’t know anyone in the ballet, we are friends with members of a local contemporary dance company. One of our friends is the inspiration for Tracy. He has danced several times at Christmas with the ballet company when they perform The Nutcracker. The theater was also central to the story, ‘Birds Don’t Sing Before a Storm’. One of my most endearing characters is Lane, a twelve-year old boy who is mentally challenged. He performs in The Sound of Music. My readers loved him. I had some readers who wrote and volunteered to adopt him.
Comicality: – Very cool! For some odd reason, ballet is sometimes considered an effeminate sport (Or dance in general for that matter) which makes no sense to me at all. Hell, I could never do it! Hehehe! What made you include this as a major part of the story?
Ronyx: – People do stereotype ballet dancers as gay. That is actually not true. I’m not sure of other ballet companies, but the one we attend the dancers are straight and married. In fact, it is not unusual to see a married couple performing in the same company. Even though I have two left feet, I felt comfortable writing a story with the main character a ballet dancer. I’ve had discussions with my dancing friends about what motivates them to dance. They train harder than athletes in other sports. I have the greatest admiration for what they do.
Comicality: – How has the overall response been to your story so far? I imagine that there are many readers out there who can relate and get pulled in pretty quickly. Also, do fan comments and feedback ever effect what you do next in your writing? Either in a good way or a bad way?
Ronyx: – I have the best readers. Some have been with me since I began writing over fifteen years ago when I wrote the first chapter of ‘Apple of Her Eye’. I have made friends from all over the world. When I’m writing, I’m not influenced by readers’ comments or feedback, although they motivate me immensely. The only time I changed a story because of readers’ comments was ‘You Promised Me a Tomorrow’. The story deals with drug and alcohol addiction. The story begins in a cemetery where Randy is digging and screaming at the grave of TJ. As the story progressed, readers fell in love with TJ. I had readers who actually wrote me and threatened to find where I live if TJ died of a drug overdose (which I intended to happen.) I was almost to the end, and I thought ‘Oh, shit! What do I do now?’ I won’t spoil the ending, but readers can read the story and find out how I cleverly was able to escape bodily injury. LOL.
Comicality: – Hehehe, readers can sometimes be pretty intimidating! So I get it. If you had stuck to your original plans and ended the story the way you imagined it from the beginning…do you think you would have regretted it? I mean, no author wants to disappoint or aggravate their readers…but what if? You know?
Ronyx: – Before I write the first word to a story, I generally have in mind a message I want to relate to my readers. As I type, I basically don’t have a clue where a story is going from paragraph to paragraph. The characters control the story. However, I know what I want the reader to take away at the end. In ‘You Promised Me a Tomorrow’, my message was about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. When I began, I envisioned TJ dying. However, it really didn’t matter if he lived or died as long as my young readers got the message of how destructive such things can be and how they can ruin your life. Personally, I was glad he lived. He was such an endearing character.
Comicality: – Understandable. Speaking of other stories…this is certainly not your first rodeo with gay teen fiction! Do you have any ideas about what you might want to write about next? Can you give us a little taste of what’s to come in the future?
Ronyx: – I have completed twenty-four stories, and I am now writing my twenty-fifth – ‘Stuff People Do’. It is becoming increasingly difficult to write something that isn’t repetitive. All my stories deal with the issues that gay teens experience – coming out, peer pressure, parental acceptance, depression, suicide and others. I have written about every imaginable issue that a gay teen boy can experience. I don’t want readers to read a story and say this sounds like another story Ronyx wrote. So it is extremely difficult to come up with a fresh story line. A couple stories have been inspired by stories I’ve read in the news. I’ve started a story dealing with the Black Lives Matter protests that I hope to complete someday. I am in an interracial marriage, and racism is an important issue to me. I have dealt with it in a few stories, but I would like to write a story that strongly focuses on systemic racism in our country.
Comicality: – Interesting! I’ve often found that there are a bunch of people out there that attempt to use catch phrase arguments like ‘being woke’ and ‘cancel culture’ to avoid even engaging in the act of having that conversation. Do you think you’ll face any unnecessary backlash for writing a story like that? Better yet…do you care? Trust me, I’m no stranger to controversy myself when it comes to simply putting words on a screen. So I’m with you, one hundred percent! But, going back to that earlier question…do you worry about regretting it later in terms of readership?
Ronyx: – Good question, and a controversial subject. Will I receive backlash? Personally, I don’t care. As I already mentioned, my stories focus on a message. I have a unique experience because I am married to a black man who grew up in the projects. I understand the racism that exists in our country. Anyone who thinks it doesn’t should visit a black section of their town and walk a day in a young black man’s shoes. Racism has always existed in America. Pick up a history book and read. I’m not implying that all white people are racists. However, when they don’t speak up about what they know is wrong, then they are condoning such behavior. That is why I want to write a story about systemic racism in America. I’m quite sure it will piss a lot of people off, and I say good. At least I hit a nerve and made them aware. And to me, I cringe when I hear the words ‘woke’ and ‘cancel culture.’ They are meaningless and attempt to deny that a problem exists.
Comicality: – You mentioned feeling as though the themes in your stories might be getting repetitive. But, it’s something that we all go through at one point or another. It’s definitely relatable to a wide audience. How do you get around repeating yourself when you’re writing?
Ronyx: – Since I don’t plan or outline a story, and I just write, that gives me the opportunity to quickly change the plot. If I feel I’m becoming repetitive then I move the story in another direction. I may create a new character to change the flow. I did that when I introduced Lane in Birds Don’t Sing Before a Storm. I had no idea when I had him sitting on the toilet waiting for Casey to come out of the shower that it would completely alter the direction the story would take. My current story, Stuff People Do, began to feel repetitive, so I’ve completed changed the direction to an uncharted territory. 🙂
Comicality: – Would you ever consider writing a sequel to this series? Just to update readers on how things progressed for Jack, Tracy, Jimmy, and more…beyond the end? Or do you feel that the story said all that it had to say, and it’s time to move on to the next one. (Note: I haven’t read this one all the way to the final chapter yet.)
Ronyx: – I’m not a fan of writing sequels. After I’ve completed a story, I get numerous emails begging me to continue. If I feel that I’ve said what I wanted to say, then I would rather move on to a new story than bore myself and my readers by attempting to continue an old one. In Dancing on a Star, when Tracy danced in the Nutcracker at the end with his family and friends watching, the story was complete. I’ve written two sequels because I felt a need to establish closure for another character. In Brittle as a Bird, I felt I left Gene’s story unfinished. He had suffered greatly, and I wanted to make his life story complete. I was able to do that with A Bridge to Yesterday. I did the same with the story, Mark’s Revenge. Scott was treated horribly at the end, and I felt guilty. I wanted him to find happiness, so I wrote the sequel, Scott’s Story.
Comicality: – One more nosy question, hehehe! Does your husband read your stories? And what does he think of them? Enquiring minds want to know!
Ronyx: – He has never read any of my stories. He knows writing is personal to me, and he leaves me alone. The only time he shows interest is when I’ve made a good friend online, and I will tell him about an email I received. For example, we have become friends with a remarkable woman from Texas who has been with me since the beginning. Even though we will never meet in person, I feel I know her better than my other friends. My husband has a passion for baking. At Christmas time, he will bake her family a pound cake and ship it across the country. She in return sends us wonderful gift baskets. Several years ago, I befriended an elderly reader in Maine. He was a wonderful man. One day I happened to mention that my husband collects Thomas Kinkade. He sent us a beautiful ceramic TK Christmas wreath. He died a few years ago, but we still continue to hang it in the dining room and share the spirit of Christmas with him. It is things like this that he enjoys as a result of my writing.
Comicality: – Nice! And pound cake is awesome! I want one! Hehehe! Before we wrap this up, is there any contact info, social media, or website that you’d like for us to list here so your newest fans can read more of your work, and possibly get in contact with you if they like what they see?
Ronyx: – Thank you for letting me promote my personal website- www.themustardjar.com. Readers can find my completed stories and short stories there. They can also follow along as I post weekly chapters to Stuff People Do. My email is email@example.com. I enjoy communicating with readers. It keeps me motivated.
Comicality: – You’re very welcome! And thanks for adding something awesome to Imagine Magazine, Ronyx! I wish you all the best, and we’ll always be sure to save a space for you here if you want to add anything else in the future!
Be sure to check out “Dancing On A Star” when you guys get a chance, and be sure to hit that green ‘Up Vote’ button down at the bottom to show some appreciation for all of the hard work he put in! Welcome to the family, dude! And I wish you all the best!