Sunday, 27 March 2016


Join Dana Van Werner on her desperate journey. Let this Child of Privilege inspire you, uplift you, and touch you in her uniquely personal way. You just may discover a part of yourself in her.

Title: Child Of Privilege
Author: Ross Ponderson
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Social Issues, Romance
Release Date: 27th August 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Dana Van Werner is riding a bus bound for nowhere.

In her pockets, she carries a bus ticket, $260, hope, her own wits, and an unbreakable will. In her memories, she carries the nightmares of frequent beatings, growing up in constant fear, physical and verbal abuse, and her father's unfathomable hatred. Dana, a 19-year-old debutante born into wealth, privilege, culture, and social standing, ponders her new world--the "real" world--for which she is laughably ill-prepared.

She doesn't know where she's going, where her next meal is coming from, or where she'll sleep tonight. She does, however, take comfort in two certainties: that the brutal beatings at the hands of her father--a psychotic, powerful attorney--are finally over; and that her decision to run away from the palatial mansion she once called home has probably saved her life.

This lovable, down-to-earth teenager (more "girl next door" than debutante) grows up quickly as she confronts intercity buses, seedy motels, wet t-shirt contests, jail cells, honky-tonks, and predatory night people. All the while, she is relentlessly pursued by private investigators hired by her revenge-obsessed father to bring her back under his control. 

You'll find yourself cheering the courage, strength, and determination of this endearing heroine as she searches for a new home and a new life, and finds a gentle, caring man--a bachelor deputy sheriff--who truly loves her. 

But she has no inkling of the nightmare awaiting her at the end of the road.

A dizzying chain of events is triggered by an accident that claims the life of someone Dana loves. Suspicions surrounding the tragedy--and her own anger--force the teenager to return home. Upon her arrival, a humiliating family secret kept carefully hidden for years is callously revealed. This sets the stage for the inevitable final showdown between father and daughter as long-simmering anger, resentment, and hunger for revenge finally erupt into a terrifying flashpoint.

This emotional rollercoaster will lift you to heartwarming heights, plunge you into tearful depths, and amuse you with moments of wry humor. 

Amazon UK


Ross Ponderson is a retired IT guy from the USA. Formerly spending far too many hours writing programming gobbledygook, he is now writing actual, human-readable words in the hope that millions of people will indeed enjoy reading them. His favorite stories to write are those chronicling ordinary people meeting extraordinary challenges with extraordinary courage, strength, and determination. He's a FIRM believer in happy endings, both in life and in his novels.

He has enjoyed writing since his grammar school days when essay assignments delighted him while provoking groans of pain from his classmates.

His pleasure centers include writing (of course), reading, railroading, Subway sandwiches, history, surfing (the web, not the waves!), museums of any kind, 1970's music, wishing he had become a professional musician (much to the dismay of his weary keyboard), and strolling through the local malls. He ALWAYS brakes for book emporiums, ice cream shops, and music stores.

"Child of Privilege" is his debut novel; his second novel is currently being first-drafted. Hopefully, many more will follow


Which do you prefer? . .

Paperback or E-book?  
Paperback.  Strange answer for an author with an eBook, don't you think?

Read a book once/Re read books more than once? 
 Re-read.  Many times.

Books or Movies? 

Action, Drama, Mystery, Romance? 

Library or New books from a bookstore? 
New books from a bookstore.  Gotta keep them in business!

Morning or Evening? 
Evening (definitely!)

Early Nights or Late Nights? 
Late Nights.

Shower or Bath? 

Optimist or Pessimist? 

Coffee or Tea? 

Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter? 
Autumn by a long shot.

Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate or White Chocolate? 
Milk Chocolate.

Mild Cheeses, Medium Cheeses or Strong Cheeses? 
Mild Cheeses.

Flat Heeled Shoes, Medium Heeled Shoes or High Heeled Shoes? 
(Laughing heartily) Flats!

Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes or Green Eyes? 
Brown Eyes.

Long Hair or Short Hair? 
Short Hair.

Bitten Nails, Natural Nails, or Nail Enhancements (i.e false nails) ? 
 (Laughing heartily again!) Naturals.

Wine, Beer, Soft Drink? 



An Excerpt from Child of Privilege Chapter 22


    The clear blue waters of Miller's Lake felt crisp and refreshing around Dana's bare feet.  Fortified by a stout meal, a hot shower, and a good night's sleep, Dana had spent the day exploring the picturesque farming community of Beckett Junction: from its historic railroad station; to the cluster of towering grain elevators on the south end; to the railroad branch line and siding that sliced to the south; to the small factories and light industries to the east; to the truck stop and motel and the Interstate 770 overpass to the north; the quaint downtown business district; and finally to the peaceful, tree-lined shores of Miller's Lake to the west.

    The lake was over 1,000 spring-fed acres; its shoreline dotted with affluent residences, rustic cottages, and comfortable vacation homes.  With the onset of autumn, the trees hugging the shimmering lake burst forth in brilliant hues of red, orange and gold, the colors reflecting in the gently rippling waters.  Although the air was clean and invigorating with the season's characteristic chill, the water felt so refreshing and cool against Dana's tired, burning feet.
    The pier upon which she sat was one of only a handful still jutting into the lake waters this late in the season, protruding from a cozy park a short walk from downtown.  This time of year the compact sandy beach was deserted, as was the swing set and playground several yards away.  An angled string of stacked picnic tables resembled a comic conga line from some classic old movie.
    In her solitude, she wiggled her toes in the water and kicked her legs playfully.  The clear water foamed and splashed beneath her, moistening the cuffs of the jeans she had tightly rolled up nearly to her knees.
    In the warmth of a late afternoon sun well into its descent into the western horizon, Dana faced the reality that some painful decisions loomed before her.  The prize money from Red's was rapidly dwindling and would soon be depleted with several more nights at the motel at the north end of town.  Then there was the decision about leaving town to remain ahead of her father's detectives ... and where she would go from here.  She knew Reavis Macklin must've surely been debriefed by this time, her father gaining precise information on her whereabouts.  Soon his people would be in Beckett Junction itself searching for her.
    In a town that size, there weren't many places to hide.
    But there was also the exhaustion beginning to haunt her, a fatigue deep in her bones from four long weeks of buses, cheap motels, fitful sleep, rushed meals, and continually looking over her shoulder in fear.  Dana wrestled with the pangs of a longing to settle down, to once again put down the roots she had torn from the toxic soil of North Briarwood.  Four long, lonely weeks on the road had taken a toll on her mind and body.
    She yearned to call someplace "home."
    Her brooding was interrupted by a dog barking nearby on shore.  She spotted a sleek black Labrador retriever galloping onto the pier and ambling curiously toward her.  His claws clicked sharply on the weathered wooden planks.
    He approached her inquisitively at first, sniffing curiously around her.  She began speaking softly to him and petting him gently.  He returned the affection by enthusiastically wagging his tail and licking Dana's face.
    "Looks like he's made a new friend."
    Surprised by a sudden male voice, Dana saw Greg Parmenter standing nearby.  Wearing a red plaid flannel shirt, khaki pants, and hiking boots, he could've passed for an ad in some outdoors magazine.
    "Are you following me or something?" she shouted from the pier.
    Using her question as an invitation to join her, he shuffled onto the walkway and approached her.  "Hey, my buddy here takes me for a walk past here just about every day.  I have a cottage a little ways down the road."
    "I didn't ask where you lived," she said sharply.  She paused for a moment.  "I'm sorry.  That was rude."
    Greg nodded his acceptance of the apology.
    Dana gently stroked the dog's silky black coat.  "What's his name?"
    Dana did a double-take at the jet-black canine.  "Whitey?" she asked quizzically.
    "Hey, don't blame me.  He's not mine.  He belongs to a neighbor, an old guy who can't always get out to walk him.  So, Whitey and I sometimes go cruising together looking for girls."
    Dana laughed.  "Thanks for the warning."
    Greg eased his muscular form down onto the pier next to her.
    "Why don't you join me?" she asked sarcastically.
    He countered with a syrupy smile, "Thanks, I already have."
    "Dana, can I ask you something?"
    She turned away from him and surveyed the lake.  "I know what you're going to ask," she said softly, "and it doesn't have anything to do with you.  So, don't bother, okay?"
    "What are you running from?" he asked sincerely, ignoring her request.  "And what's the deal with your father?"
    She kept her attention focused on the distant eastern shore of the lake.  "Something you don't want to get involved with," she answered distinctly.  "So, just let it go, okay?"
    "Not everybody in this world is out to hurt you.  You may find this hard to believe, but there actually are people out there who would like to get to know you, be your friend, and just enjoy being around you ...  myself, for one."
    He waited for some sort of reaction from her.  There was none.  He sighed deeply.  "But you just won't let anyone get close, will you?"
    Dana pulled her jacket tighter around her and shivered a little.  The sun was nearly gone by now and a definite chill was settling by the water.  She pulled her feet from the water and hastily slipped on her socks and shoes.  "I'm getting cold," she said quickly.  "I think I'll be getting back to the motel."
    She stood up and quickly brushed past a confused Greg Parmenter.  "It's 6 blocks away," he called as Dana strode back onto shore.  "I can drive you."
    "No, thanks," she answered.  "I just got the sudden urge to walk 6 blocks."
    Greg quickly stood up and called to her.  "Dana, there's a restaurant next door to the motel.  It's called the Country Kitchen.  Meet me there for breakfast, will you?  Eight o'clock?  Okay?"
    "Yeah.  Sure," she shouted back.
    Dana started a brisk pace back toward the little motel by the freeway overpass.


Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be
In a perfect world (do you know anybody with one for sale?), I’d happily spend the rest of my days cranking out novels that would become instant best-sellers (I know; I am truly delusional!).  

However, because of that nagging entity known as “real life,” my writing has been restricted to a leisure-time pursuit.

I’ve been writing in one form or another since my preteen years when I would scour the local newspaper for news and sports stories, commandeer my mother’s ancient typewriter (which displeased her to NO end), and type out my very own household rag (complete with editorials and carbon paper smudges) which I then inflicted upon family and close neighbors.  Thank heaven we had very tolerant people living around us!

I moved on to providing short humor pieces to a number of hobby newsletters I subscribed to at that time.  I even had my own humor column for about a year.  Guaranteed space!  Now that’s writer heaven!

Next were the literary and little magazines whose kindhearted editors delighted in providing a platform for new writers.  Thanks to their generosity, a number of my early short stories saw the light of publication.  I already had visions of the best-seller list in my head!

Then “Child of Privilege” came along and anointed me an official “novelist.”  

Although my real-life career ultimately settled on Information Technology, I wanted to be a professional musician (keyboards), disc jockey (“rock and roll radio!”), and a songwriter at various points in my life.  

Someday, I WILL grow up.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?

After Child of Privilege was finished in 1997, I entertained the same lofty hopes and expectations that intoxicate every new author: I was absolutely convinced that my novel was destined for the best-seller list and I for “best-selling-author land.”  But reality came a-knocking in a hurry.  

Every publisher (it was still worthwhile to query publishers back then) and every agent yawned, “No, thanks.”  After a disheartening (and expensive) encounter with a less-than-scrupulous agent, I packed the manuscript into a box and tossed it rather unceremoniously into a closet.  It fermented there for nearly 19 years while I got on with my life.

Then I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing in 2014.  As a result, my novel’s time-in-waiting was unusually long.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?

I am currently retired from a long stint in Information Technology.  But, after some classes at a local community college, I hope to start a second career in Social Media Creation in the near future.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words, what would you say?

My novel is entitled “Child of Privilege.”

An emotional, suspenseful story of one woman’s strength and courage in freeing herself from the horrors of Domestic Violence.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?

I’m self-published through KDP.  

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
About a year, all things considered.  If I could rely on writing as a paying, full-time endeavor, I could probably crank the books out more frequently.

Writing is very natural for me; it never feels like “work” even if I grind away at it all day.  I do it in the hope that I might someday share my words and stories with the entire world.  A noble goal, don’t you think?

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?

I already consider the second novel (currently trying to grind out the first draft) as much more difficult than the first.  The first was written with considerable help from blissful ignorance.  I’m struggling to apply the lessons learned from Child into the yet-unnamed #2.  My standards for plotting, characters, and writing mechanics are much higher this time around; a textbook case of “If I knew then what I know now….”

What can we expect from you in the future?  i.e More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

I enjoy writing stories about women meeting extraordinary challenges with extraordinary courage, strength, and determination.  It’s also more challenging because it forces me to interpret life from a completely different point of view than my own.  It would probably be much easier for me to write a “guy novel.”  But easier is not always the best way to advance in your craft.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?

Yes.  The first draft of my second novel is about one-third finished (a lot of numbers there!).  I don’t foresee writing a series at this time.  Both of my books are standalone.

What genre would you place your books into?

A blend of Women’s Contemporary Fiction and Romance, with a touch of Suspense.  I have a true talent for making things complicated!

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

Women (starting with my mother) have played monumental roles in my life and have helped me to become the person I am.  Perhaps I enjoy telling their stories as a small token of “payback.”

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?

I love all my children despite their faults and varied traits: Richard Van Werner, the savagely aggressive and so-evil-to-the-core lawyer; Maggie Van Werner, who sold herself into a kind of gilded slavery in exchange for her high society lifestyle; Dana Van Werner, strong beyond her years, intelligent, beautiful, kind-hearted, but quite capable of putting up one hell of a good fight when pushed into a corner; Reavis Macklin, a vulgar, hormone-driven reptile; and Angelo Saranello, a leg-breaker with a conscience.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?  What/Who is your inspiration?

I guess I’ll be forced to give away one of my secrets here.

There are several beautiful shopping malls in my area.  When I’m in need of a plot idea, an inspiration, or a new character, I’ll set aside an afternoon or evening and simply stroll around a mall and people-watch.  Or perhaps find a comfy seat in the Food Court, get a slice of pizza or a sub sandwich (SUBWAY is my favorite), and watch the people drift by.

I find it an invigorating mental exercise to select random individuals in the crowd and try to imagine who they are and what their life stories could be.  You’d be surprised how many ideas have developed while simply sitting there, snacking, and speculating.  

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

First, I MUST have a plan for that writing session or the computer stays off.  I need to know which characters I’ll be working with, what I plan on doing with (or to) them, and how I intend to construct a given scene.  I’ll usually head for the master bedroom with its comfy old recliner/rocker and tables on which I can put my feet up and write for hours.  No music, no TV; just blessed silence.

I’ll sustain myself with water and unsalted pretzels (and maybe M&M’s) at my left hand, and beer or wine at my right if a session is going particularly well.  Then I’ll write until I’m literally dozing off with the keyboard in my lap.  Ah, the glamorous life of an author!

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? i.e Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?

I tried family/friend reviewers with Child of Privilege with less-than-stellar results.  The reactions ranged from apathy to boredom to jealousy to outright contempt.  I’ve since decided to rely solely on my own instincts.  I also maintain relationships with several trusted blogger/reviewers and will solicit their feedback when the time comes.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

I’m happy to gift a Kindle download to any blogger or reviewer who will commit to providing a fair and honest review ... and then follow through on that commitment.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?

As tempting as that would be, I would deem it highly unprofessional of me as an author to even consider doing that.  I would also lose respect for any reviewer who would comply.  If the news is bad, accept it, learn from it, politely thank the reviewer, and move on.  

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?  Who designed the Cover of your books?

KDP has a proprietary Cover Creator application on its publishing page, so I thought I’d give it a go.  I must admit to having a bit of fun playing “mix and match” with the wide range of color and design options available.  I was nearly ready to give up when I spotted the picture of an adorable little girl playing in the mirror.  I instantly fell in love with her because the novel opens with Dana (the lead character) at just about the same age as the little girl in the picture.  It seemed a perfect lead-in to the story.  I’m thrilled to have received many Facebook likes and compliments on it.

I plan on exploring some of the royalty-free picture websites for the 2nd novel’s cover when that time comes.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

I attempt--to the best of my ability—to avoid using actual names for antagonists or despicable characters.  I have no desire to cause anyone needless embarrassment should the novel go viral.  I also research very carefully to find fictitious locations for the same reason. 

Do you decide on character traits (i.e shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?

A little of both.  I’ll begin the first draft with a basic sketch of each proposed character.  Along the way, I don’t hesitate to gently adjust personalities in order to accommodate the subtleties of a particular chapter, a specific scene, or the overall storyline.  People grow and change constantly; I see no reason why literary characters shouldn’t do the same.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?

Both again.  I’m discovering in this interview that I am one indecisive author!

Plotting and planning are good and I believe in them.  But most authors will agree that the creative process includes sudden ideas, inspirations, “ah-ha moments,” and “what-if’s.”  I have no reservations about “going with the flow” when it happens.  In fact, the final version of “Child” deviates in many respects from its initial master outline.  Spontaneity can be good! 

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
(Laughing) Oh, if only I knew the answer to THAT question….

Have you suffered from a "writer's block"?How did you get past writer's block?

WARNING, MISTER AUTHOR!  WARNING!  That’s what writer’s block means to me: my batteries are low and need recharging.  Get up, get away, and shift your mental gears.  Do whatever is necessary to escape the computer for a while: take a walk; go out for fast food; stroll around the mall; write an email to someone you haven’t corresponded with in a long time; make an entry to your blog; watch something worthwhile on TV (good luck with finding that!); or listen to your favorite music (1970’s pop music works best for me).

Sooner or later, the block will break.  Like they say in the dating world, it’ll will happen when you least expect it.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?

Music has been my lifelong “go-to” oasis.  I grew up (musically speaking) in the late 1950’s, the 60’s, and the 70’s listening to the artistry of Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Carole King, the Carpenters, the Beatles, Gordon Lightfoot, a sizable number of the “British Invasion” rock bands, and many of the other artists who defined that era.  For many years, I wanted to make my living in the music industry.  I’ve weathered many of life’s storms wearing my headphones for protection.

I’m also a railroading enthusiast.  Actually, anything that involves transportation interests me: buses, trains, planes, trolleys, etc.  I enjoy journeying to several museums in the area and simply spending a relaxing Sunday afternoon strolling around the grounds and riding the demonstration trains.  There’s something about a steam locomotive thundering down the tracks….     

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

My personal favorite is a novel entitled “Mister Roberts,” a story about a WWII naval officer serving aboard a decrepit U.S. Navy cargo vessel operating in the South Pacific.  The idealistic Lt. Doug Roberts truly longs to be in combat, to be in the thick of the war with the Japanese.  Unfortunately, he’s trapped by a petty, monarchist Captain who isn’t about to let his most efficient officer get away.  So, Roberts languishes there and dies a little with each passing day.

Through a twist of fate (not to mention an act of forgery by a crew that loves him), Roberts is finally transferred to a destroyer stationed at Okinawa.  He is finally in the war.


Not long after Roberts’ departure, the crew finds out that he has been killed in action by a kamikaze attack.  Another officer (a close friend of Roberts’) is so enraged that he commits a blatant act of vandalism against the Captain’s prized possession and then boldly storms into the commanding officer’s quarters and confesses.  He effectively succeeds Roberts as the Captain’s resident thorn-in-the-side.

This story has been a novel, a movie, a Broadway play, and a short-lived TV series.  It is an endearing story with lovable characters and a storyline that courses repeatedly from bitter to sweet to funny and back again.

I’ve read the book many times and enjoy it to this day.  I also have the movie (starring Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Dick Powell, and James Cagney in stellar performances) on DVD.  Thoroughly enjoyable!

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)

“Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter” by Randy L. Schmidt in hardcover.  

I was a huge fan of the Carpenters during their heyday.  It’s quite a shock to discover that--despite her beautiful voice, her success, and her fame and fortune--she was a deeply tormented, sad, and lonely young woman.  Very moving and revealing reading about a woman whose talents I admire to this day.

(What a coincidence, I am also reading a book about Karen Carpenter! It's an e-arc and is called Some Kind Of Lonely Clown: The Music, Memory, and Melancholy Lives of Karen Carpenter by Joel Samberg, it's due out 6th January 2016! I am also a fan of the Carpenters. the book I am reading is quite interesting so far)

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?

The Magnificent Ambersons.  I’ve had some sort of mental block about this story ever since I was assigned to read it in school.  For some unknown reason, I simply couldn’t get into it.  Something about it bored the daylights out of me and I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to read it.  As a result, I unwisely set it aside and ignored it.  BIG mistake; it was the subject of a test later that week.  Oops! 

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Mark Twain.  Now if I could only figure out how they’d like their steaks cooked....

Where can readers follow you?

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