Interview with Ronald Veronda

Where did you grow up and how did it influence your writing?
I grew up in San Leandro, California, next to the San Francisco Bay. We lived a block from the water, just south of the Oakland Airport. My father worked at The Naval Air Station in Alameda. Airplanes coming and going were an exciting part of my childhood. The bay and the inlets and fields surrounding it were my playground. It was a great neighborhood with it's own elementary school. We were lower middle class, I guess, but it was a safe and nurturing place to grow up. We could play on the streets—leave home in the morning and come home at night. No one worried.
Did you grow up wanting to be a writer?
I never wanted to be a writer. Don't get me wrong, I had and still have a great imagination, but I became a writer out of necessity—for others. While working as a teacher and school principal, I was shocked at what the world was becoming. The situation in the communities around me became dark. Slowly over the decades, I saw drugs come into schools. I saw gangs appear. I watched homelessness become a reality. And then I had to deal with school violence and suicides. That gets your attention. I had to stand up and do something. I couldn't write, per se, but I knew I could learn. I was terrified of public speaking, but I had things to say. My voice became a voice for them.
What prepared you to be a writer?
They say if you want to understand life, spend a lot of time with very young children or spend time with the dying. Life is clear at both ends. (It's that damn middle part that is the problem). I had good teachers. They loved what they did and passed on the excitement of learning. I've spent decades in classrooms with children and sadly had to deal with death along the way. I became a devoted observer of life, and things slowly became clear to me. I came to see that we begin this life as miraculous beings—every single one of us—full of courage, loving, inquisitive and happy. And then life progresses into what we see in adulthood, kind of a mess. But I could see order in the process. We could attach to thoughts and actions that caused suffering or we could attach to beliefs and actions that would reduce our suffering and the suffering of others. It all made sense.

I knew I couldn't get into every household to create the changes we needed to become a healthier, less violent society, but I also knew, as a public school educator, I could shift the schools to maximize this change. In other words, I came to see that how we educate (and raise) our children was the key. Our schools are a perfect venue for creating massive, positive social change. I began speaking formally about what I was seeing and what children and teens were teaching me. My speaking was received very well; the voices of the kids seemed to take me over and the passion was undeniable. Moving from speaking to writing was a natural process.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It has been apparent to me, and many others, that we are in a very unique time. There is a world-wide renaissance in play; a rebirth to a healthier, wiser way of living. It is also obvious to me that schools can be a major venue in this shift; grass roots change on a world-wide level. But first we have to move ourselves out of the old "schooling" mentality of the industrial age and set up a inner and outer version of education that deals with life instead of simply a job.

Books serve as springboards for discussion. They also provide a great vehicle for outlining change and focusing action. My first book, "No More Turning Away" certainly did that. "A Renaissance in Education" is designed to help guide us to a wiser world as well, with the necessary shift of mindset as well as specifics of what and how to make the change. There are some touching stories of kids I've worked with and dozens of lessons for us adults and children to use.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
While working with alienated children and teenagers, I was highly motivated to speak publicly about what I saw and what I was learning. I then started writing it all down. I couldn't stop writing; it poured out of me. It was like I had tapped into something big. When I wrote my first book, I couldn't get a publisher. When you are creating change, coming from a new place, it is hard for people who are "attached to what is" to hear you. I "indie" published as a way of sharing the message, and assuring that it wouldn't be shelved, stifled or blocked. I was—and still am—determined to give this wisdom voice. Independent publishing was the avenue I needed.
Published 2015-05-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

No More Turning Away, A Revolution In Education, Solutions For a Violent World, Second Edition
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 55,720. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Philosophy & social aspects
They say if you look for something hard enough, you just might find it. “No More Turning Away” tells the story of a small group of educators who—after decades of watching their schools and communities become overcome by alienation, drugs, homelessness and violence—decided to do something about it. What they learned was shocking in it’s effectiveness and scope.
A Renaissance in Education: Creating a Wiser, Healthier and Less Violent World
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 61,920. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Philosophy & social aspects
“A Renaissance in Education” illuminates an emerging worldwide rebirth and introduces our society to a proven, more effective educational design that not only changes our schools but in turn transforms our communities. With “true” education schools create the impetus for positive social change instead of serving as an end-point for social disintegration.