Roni McFadden and I met through Women Writing the West (WWW) instantly forging a friendship. We were able to meet for the first time in Kansas City, MO for the WWW 2013 Conference. Both lovers of horses and a heart for Native Americans, we agreed that it is a shame that I live in Washington State and she in California. Thank goodness for the internet and email.
My interview with Roni:
What or who inspired you to write your books?
I had thought many times about how much I would like to read a book about the pack station I worked at. It wasn’t until I put together a reunion for the people I worked with in 2003 at what USED to be the pack station that we realized how many stories there were. As everyone started reminiscing, I started taking notes. Soon I had a journal full of short stories. A book was born.
When and why did you begin writing?
I think my first writing experiences were in writing letters to the editors of newspapers every time I got angry with something. Then I started keeping a journal that would sometimes go years without an entry! I remember when my kids were teenagers, they would say “watch out! Don’t make Mom mad or she’ll write a letter!”
What are some of your favorite books or authors?
The first author I remember loving was JRR Tolkien. “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy kept me company during my lonely nights at the Pack Station. I also love Stephen King. Now, in my more mature years (Haha!) I love anything to do with the Civil War. Another series I really love is “The Wilderness “ series by Sara Donati. Just love those books! Two other favorite authors are Dianna Gabaldon and Phillipa Gregory. Can’t get enough of them.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I think my advice is simply to keep at it. This last year has been so busy marketing the book that I haven’t had a lot of time to write since I work a “real” job too. I feel a bit out of touch and need to get back to it! It is easy NOT to write! But the rewards of WORKING it and doing it can be great! So try to write a little every day!
What is your next writing project?
I have a romance from WWII in the early stages. I am also getting ready to release my children’s book “Josephine~A Tale of Hope and Happy Endings” as a free ebook in the near future. We want Josephine to be available to all who are in need of comfort during hard times.
Who is your biggest influence or support of your writing career?
I have a good friend near me who is a member of Women Writing the West. She has been a great influence. Doris encouraged me to join WWW and am I ever glad I did. They are a great bunch of women who are all there to help and cheer us along the sometimes difficult road of the writing/publishing world!The Longest Trail by Roni McFadden
“The Longest Trail carries readers through a spellbinding new work by Willits, CA author Roni McFadden. As a young teen, McFadden left behind the confusion and pain of her unhappy preteen years. She tells of how she went up ~ up onto horses, up the road to a man who could help her, and up the mountain, to where she could see clearly and breathe deeply. And, finally, up to another place where only some can go. As she travels “The Longest Trail”, Roni evolves from a girl stumbling along treacherous and twisted paths to become a strong young woman who knows where she is going, how to get there, and understands she will have help along the way. Her route took her over “The Longest Trail”, through life, until she arrived here, now. Having had the visions, seen the petroglyphs, felt the grinding stones, and carrying obsidian chips with her, McFadden knows the strength of the spirits of the ancients, knows their energy can be used by anyone who feels their vibrations.
Spending all of her teen years in the High Sierras riding horses and managing horse-packing tours, Roni learned about animals, people, and life. In the time since then Roni has continued on “The Longest Trail”, adding the wisdom of another 40 years to her perspective as she relives, and recreates those years on the pages of The Longest Trail.
As you ride with McFadden up the trail in this book, you will know the joy, fear, grief, humor, beauty and wonder she experienced in the high country, in Altadena, and all along the way, as she journeyed to this time and place by way of “The Longest Trail.” ~M. CairnRoni McFadden
In addition to “The Longest Trail”, Roni is also the co-author of a children’s book called “Josephine~A Tale of Hope and Happy Endings.” This beautifully illustrated book is about a Great Granddaughter of the legendary racehorse Seabiscuit. Endorsed by Laura Hillenbrand-author of “Seabiscuit-An America Legend”, the story is told from the young filly’s perspective as she is orphaned at just 4 days of age. The story is about her search for for a mother’s love again.
All proceeds from this book go to charity. One is the Howard Hospital Foundation as they build a new, much needed hospital in Willits, CA. Charles Howard, Seabiscuit’s owner raised the funds to build Howard Hospital back in the 1928. That hospital has been operating non stop ever since. A newer modern hospital is being built and some of the funds from this book will go to the campus and wellness center that are planned.
The other is the T.R.A.I.L. Program, a therapeutic riding program for disabled children that takes place at the Ridgewood Ranch, home and final resting place of Seabiscuit. The book has been enjoyed by many children and adults in Ronald McDonald Houses, St Judes, Standford Medical Center, Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, Tapestry Family Services, the US Army Reserve Family Center in El Monte, CA and countless other organizations dealing with ill, orphaned, or foster children.
Roni is thrilled that she is able to help children and adults in need with this wonderful book.
A YouTube video about the book was produced to help spread the message of this sweet little story.
Roni grew up in Altadena, CA and would have graduated from John Muir High School in Pasadena in 1969 had life not taken her down a different path. “The Longest Trail” is the story of her journey along that path.
She spent nine years writing the book as she worked full time for the Equine veterinarians who take care of the horses at Ridgewood. The true story of Josephine side tracked her for a few years.
Roni is the mother of four and grandmother of fourteen. She lives in Willits, CA with her husband of forty-one years, John.
Both books are available on Roni’s website:
The Biscuit Press
Feel free to leave Roni a comment or question about her writing or her books as she would love to hear from you.