Tag Archives: elephants

Interview: R.D. Ronald, author of The Elephant Tree and The Zombie Room

This is the first interview we’ve done here on Pot Fiction, and it’s pretty damn exciting!

rdronaldR.D. Ronald, an up and coming crime novelist, is the author of The Elephant Tree and The Zombie Room. We reviewed The Elephant Tree here. It’s a great read. When RD Ronald suggested that we talk some more, Pot Fiction jumped at the opportunity!

You can find R.D. Ronald on Twitter @RDRonaldauthor, Goodreads, Facebook, and Google+.

RW Tucker, Pot Fiction: You’ve mentioned that your own personal experiences influenced your writing. Many people turn their back on their past lives. Within the bounds of what you are comfortable talking about, of course, what made you want to put those experiences to paper?

R.D. Ronald: When I first went to prison I found the expected assortment of horrible individuals that anyone would expect to be in there. What did surprise me, though, were the number of decent people that had been the victim of horrendous circumstances they either reacted to, or took the only option left open to them. While I was inside I read and read and read, as you would expect, but while working my way through numbers of crime thrillers I began to find the plots somewhat tedious and predictable, and in no way reflective of the people I was surrounded by who had, and still were, living out their very own crime thrillers. I decided to put some ideas down on paper, much of it fiction, some very altered experiences I had lived through or heard of, and let it begin to take shape. I wanted the criminality to be reflected in as open a way as I could without vilifying or glamorising the experience. I had no idea how the readers would eventually take this on board, but I was writing the type of book I wanted to read, not seeking out commercial success by trying to please everyone. Through social media rather than backing from a big publisher I have been able to connect with like-minded souls and luckily for me they seem to love it, which has enabled me to carry on exploring my passion for writing. Continue reading

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R.D. Ronald’s “The Elephant Tree”

Product page: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042X9C8C

Moving at a deliberate pace, setting itself up for the more gripping second half, The Elephant Tree follows two solemn young people in a dismal, unnamed city. This is a dark book, full of seedy characters, filthy bars, the worst outcomes of the drug trade commonplace. Not a book for the light of heart! Some of the reviews that got me to buy the novel portrayed it as fast moving. I don’t think that does the story justice: there are many purposeful “slice of life” moments. But it kept my attention. I was finished in two days.

Scott, one of two protagonists, struggles with a fractured family life and a desire to retire big on a lucrative job. Opposite him is Angela, whose life is tied intimately with Scott’s, a decent foil for his gloominess. The drama shifts back and forth as the two characters battle inner demons and try to navigate the terrible circumstances around them. You get an assortment of low lifers, though few of them stuck with me. The Elephant Tree probably could have used some comic relief, just to ease the bubbling tension. While I’m on criticism, some of the comma splices were strange, maybe a print-to-ebook artifact. It didn’t take away from the story, though.

About two thirds of the way through this, I had a dilemma. Was this pot fiction? I’ve read plenty of books, but the main characters in this one always had a drink in hand, and the drugs were much heavier than the synopsis led me to believe. Weed seemed to fade into the background. You were getting a review of this book whether you liked it or not, but I was nervous.

Ye of little faith rejoice, for cannabis becomes a major part of the plot. I enjoyed that aspect quite a bit. Continue on, pot fiction reader!

This starts as a crime novel, but family and romance take the wheel as you get to know the main players. Weaved throughout is the police procedural you see in the synopsis, though that really takes a back seat to the two main characters, and that’s a good thing in this case.

All in all, I think this one is worth a bowl and a read!

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