Ron Vitale was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Influenced by the likes of Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, C. S. Lewis, and Philip Pullman, he began writing at an early age, creating short fiction from his early Dungeons & Dragons role-playing sessions.
In the fall of 2008, he published his fantasy novel Dorothea’s Song as an audiobook on Podiobooks and for sale in the Amazon.com Kindle store, and in 2011 he published Lost, the first book in the Cinderella’s Secret Diaries series.
Currently, he is keeping himself busy by writing his blog, and on learning how to be a good father to his kids all while working on the next Cinderella’s Secret Diaries novel. Learn more about all of the books written by Ron Vitale at http://books.ronvitale.com.
About the Author
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I wrote fantasy stories for young adults. I write stories to inspire others to question who they are and to challenge conventions. Everyone knows that Cinderella was saved by the prince, but I’d rather question why women don’t need to be saved. They can save themselves.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first story when I was about 9 years old. I remember reading the story to my friends during our lunch break at school and being amazed at how they were really interested in what would happen next. With my circle of friends around me, one of our teachers, who was a nun, came up to us, thinking that we were doing something bad. She took my notebook from me and when she saw that it was a science fiction story that I had written, she gave it back to me. I realized then that the written word had great power. Not only could I entrance my friends, but I could stop nuns at a Catholic school!
Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
I grew up in a rather dysfunctional family so writing became a way in which I could recreate my world through words and then bring people on that journey with me.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I really enjoy reading. I love discovering a new book that causes me to really think about my life, but sometimes I just like a good romp that’s fun and exciting. When I’m not reading or writing, I’m also a runner. I’ve run one marathon and several half-marathons. I only started running four years ago, but I’ve learned that it’s a great way to think through problems in my book’s plot to solving my own problems. Running helps relax me.
Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?
I loved technology so I enjoy watching a bunch of the shows on This Week in Tech and I’m a big fan of Twitter. I following #amwriting and #MyWANA—both really great writing hashtags to follow. I’m also a reader of Penelope Trunk’s blog. She’s controversial, but I like her ability to just put her thoughts out there—for good or bad.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
A history on the rise of Napoleon (research for my next book) and “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness.
Do you remember the first novel you read?
I believe it was “The Hobbit” by Tolkien. It’s one of the reasons why I became a writer. Tolkien’s imagination and serious themes (how power corrupts and the importance of the individual) sucked me in. I’ve read the “Fellowship of the Ring” series more times than I can remember.
What would you like readers to know about you the individual?
I believe that books can change a person’s life. I’m a big fan of the power of the written word, but I also can take a step back and just relax, knowing that sometimes it’s important just to have a good read.
Who are your favorite authors and why?
Tolkien and Asimov are my favorites for fantasy and science fiction because of their grand plots and imagination. For my Masters work, I studied Margaret Atwood and Alice Walker—both are amazing authors. I enjoy their work because of their central theme: Their protagonists heal themselves by telling their stories.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I wear women’s deodorant. It’s a long story, but Degree decided to change the shower clean scent to be a woman’s deodorant. I still like it so I now where a woman’s deodorant.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and it’s a whole separate world to itself.
Your Writing Process
Why do you write?
I enjoy exploring my own emotions and on sharing my creations with the world.
What excites you about writing?
Creating a world and its characters and bringing the reader along for the ride.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I work full-time and have two young children so my writing (and running) takes place in the very early morning before I head off to work. It’s hard to do, but I work at my writing and it takes many months but my novels do get written.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write. Don’t give up. Just write. I know that might sound like cliché advice, but it’s harder to implement over decades than one might think.
Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?
I do have various songs that I listen to many, many times while I’m writing a book. I don’t listen to music as I actually write, but I like to listen to help me get into the mood and to feel my characters out.
Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?
I really enjoy cleaning the bathrooms in the house so a few days ago I had my hand in a toilet bowl.
How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
The first book in the Cinderella’s Secret Diary series took me 18 months to write and published. The sequel, Stolen, book me 13 months.
What would you like readers to know about you the writer?
I care about my craft and my books, making certain that I just don’t write something because I’ve nothing better to do, but because I believe they’ll help me become a better person.
Do you have a system for writing?
I come up with an idea, start jotting the idea down and then make a decision (or not) to start a book. Then I sit down several times a week and write. When the first draft is finished, I share it with beta readers and then re-write. I rinse and repeat until I believe the work is done.
Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?
No, I don’t. I usually hit around the same amount.
Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing? Would you be willing to share it?
Yes, I had a moment like that during the re-writing of the first book in the Cinderella’s Secret Diary series. I can’t share it because it’ll ruin the surprise for people reading the book. I remember driving to the train station, listening to an Annie Lennox song and an idea popped into my head. The idea was something like: “What if…” I was so shaken by the idea that I forgot my phone in the car and rushed to get the train, desperately trying to jot down notes. In the end, the idea really helped shape the book.
What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?
I had a woman reader reach out to me and tell me that I really nailed Cinderella’s voice, making her believe that a woman wrote the book. I was humbled by that. I worked really hard to get Cinderella’s voice right—even if she can be annoying at times.
Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written 4 books and have had 3 published. My favorite is Stolen: Cinderella’s Secret Diaries because I trusted myself and allowed myself to experiment with my writing style.
When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?
Yes, I do worry about that. As an indie writer, it’s difficult trying to find readers. But once I do have someone pick up the book, they’re really impressed. I’m very honored by that.
What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
Since Stolen just came out, I’m working on promoting that book and then I’ll start working on book 3.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I do not outline my books. I just start writing and then work on the plot later as it comes more into shape. I have a general idea of where I’m going with the book, but I prefer a more organic plot.
Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
Sometimes I make up my own names. Once I held a contest for a character’s name and a reader won the right. Turned out to be a great name.
Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?
Yes, that has happened to me, but not in some time.
Which of your stories would make a great movie? Who’d play the lead roles?
I can see Juno Temple as Cinderella in the movie version of my book. I think she has the right amount of edginess to her that would really bring the character to life.
Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?
After I finished writing Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost, I told my wife that I felt that I had channeled Cinderella because there were times that I wanted her to do something, but she wouldn’t listen to me. It was as though she had her own intentions on what she wanted to do. Who was I to challenge that?