USA Today BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
RHONDA POLLERO aka KELSEY ROBERTS
After selling her first romantic suspense, LEGAL TENDER, in 1993, she has since penned more than 40 novels; won numerous awards and nominations; landed on bestseller lists including USA Today , Waldenbooks, Bookscan and the Ingram’s’ Top 50 List. She has received numerous awards and her work has been excerpted in Cosmopolitan Magazine. She writes for Harlequin, Ballantine, Kensington and Simon and Schuster.
Websites: www.RhondaPollero.com and www.KelseyRoberts.net
In June, 1995, writing as Kelsey Roberts, she developed the wildly popular Rose Tattoo series for Harlequin Intrigue ™. These novels “offer the best of her unique ability to seamlessly blend romance and mystery.” Romantic Times goes on to say that “Roberts is a master of the romantic suspense genre.” Affair de Coeur says that her “humor and dialogue sparkle.”
In 2000, she developed a second series for Harlequin Intrigue™, The Landry Brothers. This 7-book series has received both critical acclaim and established her as one of Intrigue’s top-selling authors. In addition to writing for Harlequin, 2005 saw the release of her first title from Ballantine, KILLER CHRISTMAS. In 2006, she completed her Landry Brothers series with THE LAST LANDRY. Her contribution to the MIAMI CONFIDENTIAL series for Intrigue™, ABSOLUTE PROPOSAL, was also released in 2006.
March, 2007 saw the hardcover launch her humorous mystery series with the release of KNOCK OFF. Followed in 2008 by KNOCK‘EM DEAD. The F.A.T. (Finley Anderson Tanner) Mysteries has already garnered praise from industry forces such as Janet Evanovich and Tess Gerritsen. KNOCK OFF earned a starred review from Kirkus as well as a recommendation from Booklist. The third book in the series, FAT CHANCE, won numerous awards and accolades and the next release will be SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR from Simon and Schuster in 2012, followed by BARGAIN HUNTING in October, 2012. The series continues with NO RETURNS. 2017 saw the start of a new trilogy, ABANDONED, EXPOSED AND TRAPPED from Grand Central Publishing.
Pollero is a sought-after lecturer and workshop presenter as well as a much-requested media guest. She has been featured in COSMOPOLITIAN Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others and makes frequent appearances on both radio and television. She founded The Writers Workshop at Anne Arundel College in Maryland and was the lead instructor in the areas of craft and genre writing courses for three years.
She is considered an expert in why women read and write crime fiction as well as an excellent authority on plotting and structuring the novel.
Pollero is a member of The Author’s Guild, Mystery Writers of America, Florida Mystery Writers, International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Florida Romance Writers, Inc.
She resides in south Florida with her family. Additionally, you may contact the author directly at Rhonda@RhondaPollero.com or visit her on the web at www.RhondaPollero.com.
How did you know you wanted to become an author?
I won an essay contest when I was in third grade and was a voracious reader. But I’m also practical, so I earned my degrees in paralegal sciences and broadcast journalism. I basically (probably shouldn’t admit this publicly) wrote while I was supposed to be working. It took me ten years of learning the craft and rejection after rejection to find my voice. When I tried my hand at suspense, I sold that first manuscript.
How self-aware were you when you became a best-selling author?
I didn’t hit the USA Today list out of the gate, so I had time to adjust to the idea that my work might just have value. I had a decent amount of confidence and an understanding that this industry is part talent and part luck, so I was very cognizant of those facts. Even twenty-five years later, I still pinch myself at times. Not many people can say their secret wish came true.
How do transitions look like when writing a new novel?
A new project is fifty percent excitement and fifty percent organizational for me. One thing I do know is organization is key. I look at it this way, if I’m going to my best friend’s house, I don’t need a map, but if I’m driving across the country, I definitely need to have an idea of where I’m heading. Step one for me is a broad synopsis, maybe four to five pages. Once I have a general idea of the story, I turn to my personal secret weapon. I use a program called Power Structure (www.write-brain.com, and no, I do not have any affiliation with the company). It’s organizational software that allows me to create an outline. Sometimes it is very detailed and sometimes it is a little lacking. I follow a map but I don’t ignore the fact that there will be blue highways along the way. This program allows me to put together my timeline, gather my research, track my plot points and a slew of other things. I like that everything is in one neat place that I can access with a single click. Then, and only then do I start Chapter One. Okay, I lied. I actually print out my Power Structure file and put it in a binder just as a back-up. Then when I’m writing I can add visuals like locations, clothing, plants, cars or whatever important detail I might need to re-reference.
Are ideas always fighting each other in your mind to make it in a novel?
That was a problem for me early on. Specifically, I’d be in the middle of Book 1 and Book 2 would knock at my brain’s door. Over time I’ve learned to just jot down a note and stay focused on my WIP.
What are your daily writing habits?
I get up in the wee hours of the morning (3-4 AM), have coffee and start writing. I break around 9:00, then work until about 3:00. Then it’s me time and I’m pretty much in a state of brain fog by then anyway. Life interrupts for things like making dinner and having family time, though now that my daughter is in college, I have far fewer time constraints but a lot less money. I try really hard not to work weekends and holidays. You can usually find me sound asleep by eleven o’clock.
What education led you to being a novelist?
Shout out to public schools. I went all through school encouraged to write by every English teacher I ever had. Then in college, my journalism and legal classes were useful and my minor in history taught me how to research efficiently. I think some people are natural storytellers. You can’t learn that in a classroom. You can learn grammar, etc., but the core of a book is telling a compelling story filled with multi-dimensional characters.
What does the future of writing mean to you?
Publishing is in flux right now, in a business sense. Traditional publishing has hit some speed bumps because the delivery of goods has changed with the advent of electronic delivery. While Indy publishing is a viable alternative, unfortunately too many people spend too little attention to proper editing. This leads some readers to avoid Indies. Many authors like myself have opted to become hybrids; we publish traditionally as well as Indy. For me personally it means learning to embrace social media platforms and ever-evolving technology. And I won’t lie, the market for traditional publishing is very competitive.
Can writing change the world?
I think reading can change the world, so in a sense, yes. Whether it is fantasy or non-fiction, reading always broadens horizons. I can honestly say I’ve never read a book – even one I didn’t care for – that I didn’t learn something.
What advice do you want to give to all authors?
I was lucky enough to have some wonderful mentors as my career began. I think the best thing an author can do is pay it forward. It doesn’t take much to share a useful bit of information or retell a lesson learned the hard way to keep someone else from making the same mistake. We should be an inclusive community.