It gives me heartfelt pleasure to introduce Ramona Rice to you. I met her nearly six years ago when she was seeking deafblind authors to share their personal, and often never-told-before stories to draw awareness to Usher Syndrome, the leading cause of deaf blindness in the world. (There are three types, which are categorized depending on age and other factors).
She is my personal role model. When I feel down, I look to her and her determination buoys me up again. She infuses me with strength to move past my limitations. She once asked me to speak at a conference she was organizing in Utah. It didn’t work out but the honor of being invited always warmed me. To give you an example of her dedication and willingness to spread awareness, she sent me this interview just two days before undergoing major eye surgery, which will take months to recover from. I am sure you will find her as inspirational as I and so many others have. Here’s our interview:
What is your background?
I am 61 years old and deafblind. I have Usher Syndrome Type 2
What are your core values?
I believe in good and hard work ethics, very honest, helpful to disadvantaged communities, and dependable and reliable for kids and grandkids.
What type of work do you do?
I work in Management positions in retail and banking institutions. I am a leading deafblind advocate in Utah.
Can you tell us about your writing? What motivates you to write?
I have written 9 books thus far. Walk in my Shoes and Walk in my Paws are available to the public. They are still selling strong after four years. Book sales are donated to respective organizations.
The last five books are tributes to my kids and grandkids as feel-good books.
How do you approach a new book? What is your writing process?
It was hellish for me to write creative stories. I have always been a technical writer. I didn’t want to be that vulnerable by exposing my feelings to people until I realized that my family needed that from me.
What has been the most challenging part of your book journey?
Once I started writing – oh, so much of my bad, sad, and happy feelings emerged. It helped me to recognize and embrace my journey with grace. I learned to let go and forgive, and I asked for forgiveness as well.
What languages do you speak?
I speak English Sign Language and American Sign Language.
How has Covid-19 changed your writing?
It has restricted me more to be at home so I have produced more books – knowing I did a good thing for my family to learn more about me.
What is the one thing you miss during lockdown?
I miss my independence to explore.
What is your favorite getaway?
I love to meet with my deaf friends every two years for our reunions.
What do you feel the proudest of achieving?
I’m proudest of being a mom and a grandma.
What are your writing goals by the end of 2021?
I’m done with writing since I’ve achieved my goal to spread awareness and to share my feelings.
What message would you like to leave with my readers?
I never thought of myself as disabled. It means – disconnect, not functioning – that’s not who I am, not to anyone, either. Be your best at whatever you wish to do. You are unique just as you are!