Cell Motivation and Packaging Personality
Having enough time on your hands to spend day after day engrossed in books may sound like a dream come true for a modern day bookworm, but standing before a judge accused of growing cannabis to pay for my wife’s cancer treatment, I was about to discover that the reality was far from the dream.
Prison life, for the most part, was pretty much what you’d expect from crime novels and TV detective shows. I was there, could do nothing to change the situation, so I quickly befriended the librarian and was prescribed an ongoing, daily course of literary anesthesia.
For a while this helped no end. One book faded into the next and the days sped by. I found myself exhausting the library’s collection of most of my favourite authors, delving into whichever available new realms and rereading past classics. That is, until the magic began to fade.
With such an intensive reading schedule and limited availability to branch out, I began to find that many books, especially from more prolific authors felt very familiar. Sure the character names were different, the locations and situations they found themselves in weren’t exactly the same, but I couldn’t deny the formulaic feel of the cut-and-paste construction. With nobody to vent these frustrations at other than whomever I happened to be sharing a cell with at the time, I began to open a dialogue.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to preach that the people I began to get to know were all good guys (once you got to know them), not at all. Many were despicable individuals that casually told tales that could make your blood run cold, but even they weren’t without their own shred of humanity. One particular sociopath I spent a week locked in a cell with, would switch from bloodcurdling reminiscence to the disposition of a placated child when Loose Women was on television. Others were more regular guys, the type you might have a brief conversation with at a supermarket, or a bookstore. Further investigation often led to discovering of outlandish circumstance, the type we read of in crime novels that led them to react and end up serving out long sentences.
I have to admit that this revelation intrigued me. Nowhere within the pages of my beloved books could I find such honest and forthright representation of these souls whom I now found myself getting to know. I had never written anything more than a shopping list since leaving school, but found myself begin to jot down thoughts and ideas. The conveyor belt of inmates continued. I got to know more of them, with tales as varied and despicable, heartwarming and tragic as those that had gone before. My ideas took root and plot lines began to grow from the pile of notepads I continued to fill.
The characters were already there, the situations they found themselves in were defined. My writing career was about to begin.
About the Book
An unlikely bond is forged between three men from very different backgrounds when they serve time together in prison. A series of wrong turns and disastrous life choices has led to their incarceration. Following their release, Mangle, Decker and Tazeem stick together as they return to a life of crime, embarking on a lucrative scam.
But when they stumble upon a sophisticated sex-trafficking operation, they soon realise that they are in mortal danger. The disappearance of a family member and the murder of a dear friend lead the three to delve deeper into a world of violence and deception. In their quest for justice they put their lives on the line.
Their paths cross with that of Tatiana, who has left her home country for a better life in the West - or so she thinks. She soon realises she is in the hands of ruthless, violent people, who run an operation supplying girls to meet the most deviant desires of rich and powerful men.
Will she survive the horrors of The Zombie Room? Are Mangle, Decker and Tazeem brave enough to follow her there, in an attempt to set her free?
Genre: Psychological mystery/thriller
Publisher: Book Guild
Release Date: July 2012
Buy Links: Amazon UK, Amazon
About the Author
R. D. Ronald confesses to having spent time in various jobs throughtout a career in business and then spent time in prison after turning to crime to pay the medical bills for his sick wife. 'Renee became ill shortly after we were married, the treatment she needed was expensive. An opportunity came up for me to run a cannabis farm - the extra cash would make the difference to Renee's care, so I accepted. Renee was optimistic about her treatment, but sadly she didn't make it. Not long afterwards, I was arrested and sent to prison.' Work on his debut novel, The Elephant Tree was largely undertaken while he was inside. 'Being locked up 23 hours a day focuses the mind. I'd always loved reading and hoped to write a book one day, and you hear some crazy stories while in jail. In the end writing was an outlet, a way for me to keep my mind occupied. My book touches on some of the issues that have affected me, but is not autobiographical. It does challenge readers however. Life is never clear cut, and the line between good and bad, right and wrong is often blurred. Especially in times of crisis, and this is what I wanted The Elephant Tree to say, ultimately.'
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