Fern Ronay - A Fresh, Fun Premise and a Feisty Protagonist
Fern Ronay has lived in Manhattan, Chicago, and now sunny Los Angeles with her husband, but she will always consider herself a Jersey girl. She is the author of two novels, Better in the Morning and Better Believe It, and is the host of the podcast Signs from the Other Side. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Better Believe It.
Please give us a short introduction to what Better Believe It is about.
It is the story of an unhappily married mother of one who is guided in her dreams by her dead, chain-smoking cousin.
What inspired you to write about someone who seems to have the perfect life on social media, but not in real life?
Jada was a subordinate character in my first book Better in the Morning and it seemed she was one of those people who acted one way (bold, confident, even harsh at times) but was another way deep down (vulnerable, insecure). Wanting to present only one side of her life to the world, and even to herself, was consistent with who she is - but don't worry, she changes! I thought this aspect of social media versus real life is fascinating but was also symbolic of Jada not being true to herself.
Tell us more about Jada Marlone. What makes her tick?
She has a visceral reaction to injustice of any kind, particularly if she feels the person being treated unjustly is her. She is a hard working lawyer and mom who may look like she has it all but she is, at her core, a wounded child.
Why did you decide to add a dead cousin to the mix?
Because we are all guided by loved ones who have passed. In Better in the Morning, the protagonist is guided by her dead, Italian grandparents. And in Better Believe It, Jada is guided by her cousin. I believe when we go to sleep at night, we can communicate on a different plane with loved ones who have gone before us. There's a reason things often seem better in the morning. So, we might not remember these visits - they are really visits, rather than dreams - but they happen and we can be confident as we move through the day that when a thought or gut feeling comes to us, it came from somewhere, it is a message. If you're working something out, if something is troubling you, get a good night's sleep. You'll feel better in the morning and the answer will come to you at some point, maybe right when you wake up or later in the day, or later that week. When it does, thank your loved ones who are guiding you.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I love interviewing people. I say I am chronically curious. I have a podcast called Signs from the Other Side where guests tell stories of messages and signs from the other side. And, you can google me and AfterBuzzTV where I was a host for several years and had the honor of interviewing so many amazing people.
Why did you title this "Better Believe It?"
Someone says it in the book, as someone says it in Better in the Morning too. And, without giving away too much, Jada was a bit of a skeptic about signs they've received from the other side and dream visits but, let's just say, she comes around!
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
Thank you. My publisher's cover designer designed it. I only requested that the leaf play a part. Anyone who reads the book will know why.
Jada goes through a lot of things in this book that many people have never experienced, yet she is deeply relatable. How did you pull this off?
Thank you! She definitely experiences things I have never experienced - motherhood, unhappy marriage - but I did a lot of research in a probably unusual way but fitting for this book. I read a lot of anonymous comments on mommy blogs and articles where people really tell the truth. I say fitting for this book because that's something Jada would do. She wouldn't want anyone to know how unhappy she is but in an anonymous comment, she would be the type to tell it like it is. Reading those provided a lot of insight!
Did you plan out the entire story before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
I'm a planner. Certain things definitely took on a life of their own, which happens. But, the story was outlined from beginning to end, including the surprises so the reader is in good hands (I hope they think so!) as they are led through the tale of Jada and hopefully appreciate the surprises, twists and winks.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this story?
She's a really angry person but that was so much fun to write. Luckily, that changes over the course of the story but she's such a fun character.
Dreams play an important role in this book. How do you think dreams serve us in real life?
I use the word dreams when asked for a short description but they are really visits. I talk about this a lot on my podcasts. Dreams have kind of an underwater feeling. Visits, if you remember them, are very tactile, they literally feel real. If you are fortunate to remember a visit, you'll know. But, even if you don't remember them, and we often don't - I've only ever had one that I remember - we still meet with our loved ones who have passed when we sleep. And we still get guidance from them in many ways - a gut feeling, a sign from the other side like a penny, which is the sign in Better in the Morning, or a lot of other ways. And when you get the message, you know. But it takes practice, as Jada learns.
What are you working on right now?
Book 3! Tentative title: Better Than Ever. It is the story of two souls who meet in two lifetimes - in 1803 England and 2004 New York City. It explores the idea of learning the lessons our souls are meant to learn to evolve and, if we don't learn them, are we bound to repeat them - literally, in a next life?
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love connecting with readers and podcast listeners and believers! I am on all social media @FernRonay and also have a private group on Facebook called "Believers in Signs" (just search Believers in Signs on FB and it will say moderated by Fern Ronay. Thank you so much!