Short bio: – Roni Kennedy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and comes from a family of eight. She is the oldest of six brothers and sisters and was taught at an early young age that she needed to set the example for her younger brothers and sisters. In her later years she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah and has three children and four step children.
Roni is a self-starter and has her own sign business which she used to run out of her home for 20 years and now at a location in Tooele, Utah for the past 10 years of her life. In her shop she designs, prints banners, does vehicle lettering and all types of signs. She has an artistic talent that she has been blessed with to support her family and lively hood. She also has and still paints windows as well seasonal and promotional for businesses and homes. She is a hard worker and likes to do crafts in her spare time and spend time with family and keep a clean home.
In the early 1996 Roni and another partner had two clipart books which were called Primary Paraphernalia Volume 1 and 2 that were published by Sounds of Zion in Salt Lake City Utah and were distributed all over the United States In Deseret Book Stores. She considers herself accomplished and when the going gets tough the tough get going.
Has someone you care about experienced bullying in their life? When Aaron is teased and bullied in his new neighborhood, he feels left out, so he decides to join the crowd of bullies hoping for a better life.
But Aaron soon learns a valuable lesson – about forgiveness and what it takes to be a true friend.
The Boy That Grew Teeth in His Ear, isn’t just about bullying, it’s about friendship and respect – about being fair and not making fun of others – no matter how different they may appear on the outside.
1.Hi Roni, can you tell us a little about your book.
The Boy That Grew Teeth In His Ear is a book about how sometimes we can get caught up in following the crowd and want to be popular. Since bullying has been a problem from the beginning of time this book is to invite children to realize they can be good friends and not pick on others and make fun of others that are different than them or new to a school or neighborhood.
Aaron had moved to a new neighborhood and was being teased and picked on. In order to fit in he started doing bad things to make himself fit in to the group that was picking on him. He soon found out that a tooth started forming in his ear and he tried to hide it. When his friends discovered it they wanted to have one just like he had. They thought it was cool so this made him more popular so they started picking more and more on others. Then more teeth grew in Aaron’s ear until he had none left in his mouth. Then Aaron started hiding out in his upstairs bedroom and wouldn’t go out and play or anything. He felt like a total freak and sobbed and cried himself to sleep. Then the ear talked to Aaron in his sleep and told him to repent of his wrongs and he would get better. So Aaron regained his mouth full of teeth and also lots of friends.
How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the Title because the story was about a boy growing the teeth in his ears and thought it would catch the attention of prospective readers.
What inspired you to write this book?
I think part of it has been my life events. My mother was a school teacher and 3 of us older siblings went to the same school she taught at and were somewhat picked on. I remember one time we were spit on and called teacher’s pet. A few other things have been insensitive people that I have encountered throughout my life. I have been married 3 times. I was verbally and physically abused in my first marriage and he did not want to work. My second marriage was not so good either. He lied about money and to me about a lot of things and when I published the Primary Paraphernalia books he became very jealous of my ability to do something for myself. Part of my book writing ideas came from my hard times in my life.
At the time I wrote this book I was doing well with the Primary books and wanted to make a career of it. Everything was put on hold due to a divorce in 1998. At one point during my single life II sent it in to Agreka Books and they wanted me to publish and do a second book about morals another book of the same type of odd or growths on a human due to a bad character flaw. I did not have the funds and this book was put on a shelf for 18 years. I had to raise my daughter and just worked on getting the sign business going. Due to more humbling experiences in my life and moving to a small town with my sign business, I decided to blow some dust off of it and get it published this year. I cannot tell you it all except small towns have bullies and mean people as well as very good people so this book was a perfect time to get published. I have been bullied by a newspaper out here that was trying to put my sign business under when they advertised in their paper that they did signs and banners in full page and undercut my prices after I closed my sign shop up in Salt Lake. I had two shops at the time and the economy was going south. I did not go through them for my published book needless to say.
How are your story ideas born?
They are born by certain people. This book started a flame or a fire when I had a next door neighbor who thought he was all it and had a better than thou attitude.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes! Don’t follow the crowd just to have friends. You don’t have to have bad friends to feel like you need to fit into a society, a school, or a club.
How much of the book is realistic?
This book is a fiction but it is a great teacher for anyone if they really have an open mind or have ever experienced bullying or being ganged up on by a group of malicious individuals.
What is your writing process?
At the time I wrote this is was all on paper and as I edited it, I drew the pictures. It all came together so fast. I simply felt like God had his hands in my right hand and gave me all the ideas and they came quickly.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The adventure and the ideas that would just pop into my head.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Maybe just a few of the illustrations to make them more enlarged and vivid.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
At the time I wrote this book I had to little or no money. That is why I let it sit for so long and I was running my sign business and just put it on the back burner. The original was all pencil sketched with no color. I was advised by a publisher to add some color to my illustrations. Knowing my time schedule and lack of spare hours, I hired someone in my neighborhood to color the pages in photoshop.
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?
Writing it was great it was the process afterwards of finances and then no time to get it accomplished over the years. I made 2015 my New Year’s resolution to get it done and I did.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I can concentrate and do well when it is quiet. I can think when there is peace. Noise and clutter causes the mind not to be able to create.
How long did it take to write your latest release?
Do you have a favorite line or scene from your latest release?
Aaron tried everything possible to pull the unwanted tooth from his ear, from his dad’s tweezers to his mother’s sewing scissors. Nothing could remove the tooth. I love the illustration that goes with it.
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
No I do not. My publisher has been helping me with critiquing.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
What are the future plans for you and this book?
To advertise and promote and sell as many as I possibly can.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes with previous books in the past.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
The low cost in publishing
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Quite a lot. I am learning about interviews, marketing and how much time is involved.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes. Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.
What are you doing to market your book?
Presently I am working with my publisher. I will probably try to spend a few minutes a day in the near future doing this myself once I get some knowledge. I am kind of green to all of this. I am working on getting a website as well and also want to link it to my sign business website.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
All that you have asked. I am considering going to local free classifieds and advertising there as well.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes. Due to having a full time business it is very difficult. It is kind of like exercising or spending time reading daily devotionals, scriptures, or uplifting spiritual matter. I have to make time to do it all.
How have sales been? Where have you had the most success?
It’s only been on the market for two weeks and I have not checked Amazon for two days. I had only two sell that I know of and they were relatives.
How are readers/reviewers reacting to your book?
Anyone who has read at thinks it is a very cute and different book.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
This is not going to make you a million dollars. Just take it in stride and have fun with it.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a teenager I used to write poems.
Have you published anything else?
Yes in 1996 a previous partner by the name of Debbie Corbridge and I published Primary Paraphernalia Volume 1 and 2 by Sounds of Zion in Salt Lake City Utah and were distributed all over the United States In Deseret Book Stores and more. They were clip art books for teachers and also included directional signs and door signs for classes with church related info in them.
What’s next for you? / What is your next project?
When I was a child back in the late 1960’s my mother wrote a couple of books and sent them to publishers. I did the illustrations in them and I they all need to be edited, shortened and re-written. She wrote a book called Timmy Mitton. That is my next project. To re-construct her book. It is also a children’s fictional book.
Tell us your latest news.
My latest new is I just published a children’s book and It is called, “The Boy That Grew Teeth In His Ear.”
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you know someone that is experiencing bullying or bad behavior this would be a great book to read or read a child to give them an insight on wrong behavior.
Tell us about your artwork?
It is all illustrated by me except for the photoshop and it describes the book.
What are your plans for future work? What are you currently working on?
I would like to pursue more children’s books and maybe even a biography about my life if time allows.
What is your best advice for up and coming artists?
Stay focused! We live in a world of lots of distractions and adversity. Try to prioritize time for the things you enjoy doing.