Local author releases her first crime, mystery novel

by:NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

Jan Williams is starting to get her life together, but her life starts to take a turn for the worse when she faces life-threatening situations and decisions must be made.

Rhonda Russell, a local author, recently published her fourth new crime novel, “Walking Into a Nighmare.” She grew up in Colorado and attended North Eastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado.

Russell, who is from Lubbock, published her first book in 2011 and is currently working on her sixth book, which won’t be published until next year. “Walking Into a Nightmare” is her first published crime novel.

“The story starts off as a girl named Jan Williams finishes college, and she is an only child,” Russell explains. “She is striking out on her own to find a new job, and she’s excited to get away from home. In the town she’s moving to, she’s far away from her parents. When she is prepared to leave, she runs into a life-threatening dilemma.”

Russell explains how Jan ends up in the hospital, though she eventually goes home and gets better before moving to another town.

“Jan is a designer,” Russell says. “She designs for electric and other companies and starts working for this one company where she befriends this guy and girl, and they become the three musketeers because they do everything together.”

Russell continues her story with Jan meeting a man who her boss doesn’t like her dating, which becomes a problem during their relationship. Russell skips to the middle of the book, explaining how Jan ends up in the penitentiary after losing her mother and her father from the stress of defending her.

“Before ending up in the penitentiary, she marries the man she met and later loses her and his baby after her husband were burned in their house,” Russell explains. “She is arrested for the arson, and for some stolen drafts and drawings from her office. She lost everyone but her two friends. When she’s doing her time, there are some girls that dislike her, and they catch her alone and try to mutilate her by stabbing Jan.”

Russell says Jan is put into the infirmary, and the penitentiary feels they are responsible for what has happened. To fix things, they bring in a plastic surgeon, and if she agrees to the surgeries, she will get an early release. So Jan accepts.

“While doing her surgeries, her two good friends are on their way to see Jan,” explains Russell. “When they stop at a restaurant, they see Jan’s husband, and it becomes a tangled web of dilemmas and situations. At the end, Jan is released, and her and her friends go after the boss and try to get revenge and send information to the attorney general.”

A walk into a nightmare

Russell has written three other books, and they’re classified as Christian romance. This is her fourth book, but her first murder mystery novel.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever write anything else,” Russell says. “I just follow where I’m led from the good Lord. I didn’t even know I was going to write six books!”

Russell’s first book was nominated for the New York expo in 2012 and in 2014. The publishing company was requesting if they were going to present it this year, but there hasn’t been a definite answer.

“They’ve been trying to get me to go to New York, and I don’t have any desire to go,” says Russell. “But if my book keeps advancing, the good Lord is going to have to find a way to get me there.”

Russell’s “Walking Into a Nighmare” is recently being looked over by a New York producer who is interested in producing the book as a movie.

“I’m excited,” explains Russell. “This is what I wanted from any of the books. It’s a dream come true!”

Russell explains her process of becoming an author and how she published five books.

“When I finished a book, and when I lay down to go to sleep, it’s like I’m reading this book that hasn’t even been written yet,” Russell explains. “So, the next day I start writing down what I read the night before. It’s just like the good Lord is putting all of this in my mind. I’ve never had writer’s block, and I never do because I don’t push it. I think you should have some kind of an outline. For me, I tell myself, ‘I’ll only write for an hour or two.’ But the next thing I know, it’s nighttime already because I get so adsorbed in my writing.”

‘Walking Into a Nightmare” has sold at least 40 to 50 copies every month, and Russell thinks she did a very good job.

“I was nervous when I first started writing my book, because I didn’t know what to do,” explains Russell. “Well, I found a great publishing company, and they have great marketing. They’re so wonderful, and I’m so blessed I found them.”

She encourages authors to not be discouraged and do what their heart desires.

“There are going to be days where you’re discouraged, because it’s like any other job,” says Russell. “Whatever strongholds you come up against, don’t give up. My advice is to not be afraid. And if that’s what your heart desires, then do it. Find the best publishing company that is best for you. I did a lot praying, and I know if it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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