Sunday, August 25, 2013

Just Rhonda

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing is meeting fans.  Beyond that, the rewards are multiplied when fans become friends.  This painting is a result of one of those friendships.  It depicts Green Bayou so unbelievably well--the whimsy of Connie and Emily's relationship, the beauty of Greenleaf, the sinister feel of the floating camp, the light-hearted feel of an afternoon gathering on the lawn.  Caroline far exceeded any preconceptions I had of what this painting should look like.  So, how did this painting come about? 

I was scheduled for a book signing/meet and greet event at one of the local library branches and Caroline Simoneaux (owner of Studio C) happened to attend.  She was bubbly and enthusiastic--that's my attempt to sound humble when what I actually mean to say is that she was super excited to meet me--and we hit it off instantly.  I struggle with finding the appropriate words to say when strangers approach me as huge fans of the series.  Though it's incredibly flattering, it's awkward because I see myself as "just Rhonda", and I hardly see where visiting with me is worth getting excited about.  But, it happens, and I'm glad it does!!!  I LOVE meeting people.  Anyway, she gave me her business card, which had a sample of her artwork on it, and I was incredibly impressed with her talent.  I asked if she would do a Green Bayou painting for me, she agreed, and it went from there.

Over the course of it all, Caroline and I began to speak more and more often.  We realized that we had a lot in common and that we got along really well.  One of my favorite days came when she called me to tell me that I came up in conversation for something non-book related, and the person she was talking to asked her how she knew me.  She told me that she completely drew a blank.  I was no longer "Rhonda the author" in her mind; I was "just Rhonda."  That made me so incredibly happy! 

Long story short, even if you're the biggest Green Bayou fan the world has ever seen, I'm just Rhonda.  I'm the farthest a person can get from snooty, arrogant, or any of those other politically correct terms for "She's a total bitch."  I couldn't believe when someone messaged me to say that she saw me in a store, but was afraid to say hello.  I'm actually kind of shy by nature, so if you see me, PLEASE come say, "hi."  I love talking about the stories, I love meeting new people, and regardless of whether we meet just that one time or we become life-long friends, I'm the type of person who will treasure the interaction always. 

Sending you lots of Green Bayou love!

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