Seeing Life Through a Mirror
By Carin Chea
If inspiration were personified, it would be in the form of Caesar Rondina.
A multi-published author and popular motivational speaker, Mr. Rondina hails from an extensive entrepreneurial background that funneled into the health and medical fields.
There, he would go on to work tirelessly as a firefighter and paramedic, influencing over 76,000 lives in his career.
On the eve of not one, but two, book releases, I had the privilege of speaking with the prolific author and professional soul healer who had just returned from several speaking engagements, with a slightly hoarse voice to prove it.
You are a master of many things. You were a business owner for 17 years, a paramedic, a firefighter, and you are currently a public speaker and author. How did you progress from working heavily in the medical field to becoming a full-fledged published author?
To summarize it in less than 3 days, when I was in my early 20s, I had always loved electronics. That was a part time business for me. In my 20s the economy was really bad. The company I was at closed so I started my own business. In the process of doing that, and with the onset of the internet, I learned that the retail part of my business wasn't going to survive.
I went to school and became a paramedic, and then became a volunteer fireman. I loved it. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I sold my business and that was the beginning of my medical career. The difference between saving a life and not saving a life is not in how good your skills are.
The difference is the degree of trust you place into your patient. If your patient trusts you, you can save them. If they don't trust you and they're fighting you every step of the way, you'll never be able to help them.
I'm proud to say that I took care of 76, 251 patients as a paramedic, and I delivered 13 babies. I would see 70, 80, 90 patients a week between the fire department and ambulance.
From there, I was very involved in management, and that's where my bestseller came from. It's now a tutorial on udemy.com, which is an online educational source. They don't just publish your tutorials. They take your materials in front of a review board.
Prior to that I also (as a 3rd job) I ended up publishing over 150 medical PowerPoints. I've had featured articles in a few medical magazines.
How did you get into motivational speaking?
I had a couple of passions in my life; you can even call those crusades. One of those things is motivating people, inspiring people.
Right now, we're living in some of the toughest times ever where people are being put down, and not being lifted up enough. My first 4 books were completely devoted to self-help topics.
I'm a multi-genre writer. It was time for me to branch out. I branched out into the audiobook market. I found a fantastic gal who's narrating for me. It has been a roller coaster ride from there.
I've always done motivational speaking. I was a fireman during the time of 9/11. In my career, when you've treated that many patients, you've seen the whole gamut. I've had people die in the back of my ambulance crying, saying that they didn't get to tell their wife that they were "sorry" the night before.
The worst part of the job is, unfortunately, you see people at their worst. I've heard over 70,000 stories, from the gang president who's been shot multiple times to the woman who's been beaten multiple times. I thought the public never got the true story, and what better way to tell a story of motivation or inspiration than from someone who has seen it?
I have a saying: If I haven't seen it, it probably hasn't happened yet. That's how much I've seen.
You've authored Life Through a Mirror, which is the first installment in a murder mystery trilogy. Tell us about this first book and the direction the other two books will lead us.
I wanted Life Through a Mirror to be real. It's obviously a fictional thriller, but I don't want people to think, "This is impossible. These things could never happen." The court scenes are exactly the way they're run in a real courtroom. I know because I've testified so many times. My crime scene development is very real because I've been on thousands of crime scenes. They're very thorough and very interesting.
The trick for me was to take my 2 main characters (Ally and David) and show the readers how their lives are progressing. It was important to me to show how family is an important bond, relationships are a different bond. I promise you one thing: When the reader finds out who committed the murder, they'll wonder," Where did that come from?"
The challenge was developing a character flow because the characters go from one book to the next. Their lives evolve. It's an exciting series. It was tremendously fun writing it. But, it was also challenging. When you're writing a book series, and you open the introduction of the 1st book, you've got to know what the ending of the 3rd book is.
Book #2 can't be a repetition of book #1 because people are going to close it by the third chapter. They have to be a continuation. Their lives have to evolve in a suspenseful way that makes the reader want to buy the next book. I have to say, the reviews on it have been fantastic.
We have been in talks for how, after the 3rd book is completed, there may be a movie made on my books.
You also have a non-fiction book coming out called A Woman's Fear, which tells the stories of female abuse survivors. How did this come about? Was it inspired by your real-life experiences as a medical professional?
Female abuse is one of my personal crusades. In taking women to the hospital and helping them get set up in support groups, I wound up getting involved in these female support groups. I would speak to them.
I'll never forget the first group I walked into. There were 30 women, and when they saw a man walking into their group of women who had survived domestic violence, they had hate in their eyes. But I knew: Listen and don't speak. Eventually, they warmed up, and I thought, "I always wanted to write a book about this."
I sent out a pilot and wanted to get a feel from readers. I didn't want people to think I was jumping onto the bandwagon of Stormy Winters. It's truly my passion. We got about 450 emails from women asking if this book could come out any sooner, because it was scheduled to come out on July 2019. I shot it out to 12 of my beta readers and the remarks were just phenomenal.
So, I called the publisher and asked what kind of deadlines I had to meet. I was only on chapter 3 of the book. They said, "In order for us to have pre-orders for December, you have to have the initial manuscript to us in 2 weeks." I literally did nothing but eat and write for 2 weeks. I got the edits and beta reviews and did some rewrites.
Right now, it's set to be released on January 7th, 2019. The book is all about domestic violence and child sex trafficking, but it really highlights prevention and awareness.
This book is about really taking this problem to the forefront so that women are aware of it. Every story in this book (and there are about 35 stories) is a combination of true stories told to me from the support groups, as well as experiences I had as a paramedic. No names, locations, times are ever referred to.
Are there any recurring themes that your readers can find in your writings?
It's important to express the type of writer I am. First, I don't write in such technical jargon that any reader ever has to stop reading to google a word to see what it means. Once I capture a moment, I don't want to pull them out of that moment. I write in everyday plain English, because that's how we talk and communicate.
To me, writing is a triangle. One side is a connection to me and the book. The next part is a connection from the book to the reader. And the one thing that I think lacks in many, is the connection from the reader back to the author. I think that's one thing that's missing in writing. I want the reader to know me. If they see me in my books, they'll be able to relate to me better.
What or who inspires you the most as a writer?
I take all of my passion, emotion, and experience, and it goes into all the books I write. We live in a world where people really feel that no one cares about them. But, there are those of us out there who care.
I have a unique phrase: The truth is the hardest thing to talk about. I always take questions when I do speaking. I firmly believe in engaging my audience. I'm very casual.
As you can tell, I'm a very relaxed guy. I want people to ask questions, and once someone said to me, "A lot of the stuff in your books we hear in the news." I said, "Never fear what you hear on the news. You should be afraid of the things you don't know about."
I think it's a travesty that there are so many shootings that go on, but you only hear about it on the news when someone is killed. It's a travesty; what about their family? Their loved ones?
You know, I have a small staff, and I'm the only one that answers my emails. I want to be available and open to my readers. That's why I have a chat option available on my website.
In one evening, I might have 10 or 15 conversations through chat. If you send me an email through my website, I am personally responding to it. I attribute this to my pre-hospital medical career, which was very much a one-on-one experience. I love talking to people and that was due to my medical career. It doesn't get more personal than telling someone their loved one has passed away.
I had a woman come into the firehouse once. She kept missing me, but she finally caught me when I was working. She said, "Because of you I'm alive, and I wanted to introduce you to my daughter whose life you saved." I just broke down in tears. That's what makes it worth it.
If someone were to write a book based on you and your life experiences, what would the book be called, and what genre would it fall into? Also, who would play you in your Lifetime Movie of the Week biopic?
First of all, the book would be a non-fictional narrative. I wouldn't want it to be an autobiography or biography. Regarding what the book would be about? Honestly, I don't want it to be about me. I want it to be about helping other people. The book would really be about being humble, and not taking for granted what God has given us.
I love Jeff Daniels, especially that speech he gave in The Newsroom. You could see the passion in his voice and his eyes. That's the type of person I'd want to portray me.
To keep track of Caesar Rondina's multiple projects, including the much-anticipated "A Woman's Fear," (set to be released in January 2019), please visit www.CaesarRondinaAuthor.com.
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