We had the good fortune of connecting with Ramona Siddoway and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ramona, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
This is such a good question. Our ideas of success change, not only as we reach those goals we’ve set for ourselves, but because we change over time. The idea of elevating just ourselves in pursuit of success only for ourselves is shortsighted and, in the end, can end up with a hollow feeling. As I’ve thought about this question, I’ve realized that I want to pay it forward, mentor and/or teach others in their journey, lift other writers where they stand, and help them to move closer toward their idea of success. My end goal is to feel like I’ve checked all those boxes in my writing career and know intrinsically when it is time to focus on others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The common adage for writers is: writer what you know. I couple that with: write what you WANT to know. I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know religion. I know religious culture. I write non-fiction religion works geared toward Christian women, and I write murder mysteries that poke fun at the culture of Mormons and other religiouns (I hope without being too irreverant!) I tried writing in nearly every genre until I finally landed on these two. I didn’t lose out by studying YA, children’s, MG, journalism. etc. Theyve added to my current genre and, if nothing else, help me to see what I DIDN’T want to write. I’ve learned that you can never stop learning, no matter how much success you think you’ve achieved. There is always more to study, and to be honest, I love that aspect of my art. There’s always something new to discover!
I want the world to know that while I am serious, I also have a generous sense of humor. I love the art of humor.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to show people not only one or two highlights of where I live (in Belgium everyone HAD to see the Mannequin Piss. Yes, it was super underwhelming, and no matter how many times I tried to warn visitors, they still had to see it.) But then I would show them my favorite, out-of-the-way, unusual haunts like an old monastery at the city’s edge of town. I currently live in a small town in Texas. I would take a friend to eat at Kitty’s Cafe–a dive just off of Mainstreet but the best buttermilk biscuits in town. If we had time I would take them to San Antonio to visit the Mexican Missions that dot the outskirts of the city.
Bats under the bridge in Austin is a must-see. Dusk and the flapping of thousands of wings! Amazing!
We would go for a leisurely walk on my property, my little sacred forest next to a creek. It’s wild, untamed, and I love it.
Old Town Spring is a fun section of Tomball. It contains several quaint stores and cafes. But the best is The Old West Melodrama which performs classic melodramas every weekend in an old train depot on Main street. A dinner with the best chicken fried chicken, and then popcorn to throw at the villain as the audience hisses and boos. Reservations are a must as it is so popular. Guests are even chosen at random to participate in the production each night. And guess who got to act?
Whataburger is famous in Texas, and a trip would not be complete without at least one meal there.
Of course, there are museums downtown, and if we really wanted to be that cultured I might face I45, but it would be only for close, close friends and if they insisted on it!
Plenty of walking trails and we’d finish the night with a nice short, soft session of Yoga.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There were four women at different stages in my career who were direct enough to stop me from jumping ship on writing. The first was my high school best friend who, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I “grew up” was incredulous. “I thought you were going to write!” She said it in a way that only a fool would do something else. The second was a friend I had met overseas. I was waffling about pursuing a great story that would involve traveling hours into the middle of Angola, Africa. I was scared to death about the travel, the language barrier, and the article itself. When I told her I had decided not to go to the village, she said, “If you don’t do this, Ramona, you are going to regret it for the rest of your life.” So I took a deep breath, and took care of each and every hurdle one by one, including finding transportation and an interpreter. Like Anne Lamott in her book “Bird by Bird”, it’s that pebble I keep in my pocket and pat every so often, amazed that I took the plunge– and use it to help me take future plunges. The third woman talked me out of walking down another career path and was the one who said, “Why would you want to jump ship with your writing?” The fourth woman was in a yoga class I was teaching. I was coming up with all sorts of ideas about yoga studios, yoga therapy, etc. She was very blunt: “It sounds like you are using yoga as a distraction from something else you should really be doing.”
I knew it was my writing. And she was spot on.
And then, of course, is my family and spouse. They are the ones that have to “wait outside” the office as I write in seclusion. They have been amazingly supportive, especially my retired husband who is waiting patiently for the day we can do nothing but play! But he knows that this is not only my career but play for me–my ultimate restoration.
Success and goal achievement is much more difficult without a backup team. I am so grateful for those who were put in my life at certain points when abandoning ship would have been imminent. They were my lifesavers!
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