• Jan Fischer Wade
  • Author Interview: Rochelle Weber - ROCK CRAZY - Delving into the bi-polar mind....
Author Interview: Rochelle Weber - ROCK CRAZY - Delving into the bi-polar mind....
Written by
Jan Fischer Wade
October 2011
Written by
Jan Fischer Wade
October 2011

Today I am interviewing Rochelle Weber, author of the newly released ROCK CRAZY! She is opening up about her background, suffering from bi-polar disease that leads to rage attacks, her new book AND some fabulous writing tips! 

Thanks for being with us today! I am just going to jump right in and start asking questions!


JF-W: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

RIW:   Although I wrote my first story in second grade and then wrote more when I was in high school, I never thought of myself as a writer until I started working at a radio station in Charleston, South Carolina.  I was the receptionist/secretary and I started just before they held the first Spoleto Festival there.  It was amazing!  I had a Press Pass and I got to attend concerts, the opening of Gian Carlo Menotti’s newest opera, and the day-long grand finale that was held at one of the antebellum plantations, a wing of which survived the Civil War because a Union General commandeered it for his headquarters.  That week, I was writing home about the festival and I let one of our producers see the letter.  She said, “Rochelle!  You can write!  I feel like I’m there!”  She became my mentor and encouraged me to go back to college.  I started writing all of the press releases for the station, scripts for radio programs, and I even took over our church’s column in a local weekly newspaper.


JF-W: That’s wonderful someone was there to encourage you. What happened after that?

RIW: When my husband got out of the Navy, however, we went on the road.  I became extremely depressed.  He worked outages at various nuclear power plants and we weren’t in any one place long enough for me to work or go back to school, and after six years of him being at sea, I didn’t want to stay home alone in Charleston.  It was a terrible time and I didn’t write at all.


JF-W: Tell us about Rock Crazy.

RIW:   Katie McGowan is bi-polar, and she’s run the gamut of medications, but nothing works anymore.  Everyone says her she should have a microchip implanted in her brain that can regulate her mood swings.  But Katie doesn’t want to be a robot.  In a tough love move, her husband, Scott takes her to the Moon—and dumps her. Katie’s stuck on that God-forsaken “rock,” and thinks she’s space sick. But she’s wrong; she’s pregnant. Now the surgery’s too dangerous and she has to go off her meds until the baby’s born.  Scott’s elated that he’s going to be a father and assumes Katie will take him back.  He has no clue how badly he’s hurt her, how thoroughly he’s broken her trust—or that he may not get her back at all.


JF-W: Are experiences in your book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

RIW:   This book is very autobiographical.  As I said, my ex worked outages at various nuclear power plants around the country.  In Rock Crazy, Katie stays home and goes to school.  Because of the rage disorder and ADHD associated with her bi-polar disorder, she never quite graduates, but it keeps her busy and they can afford it so her husband, Scott, just keeps paying her tuition while she racks up “Incompletes” and changes majors.  In my case, I packed up our two kids and went on the road with my husband and by the second year of moving around I begged him to settle somewhere for the kids’ sake as much as for mine.

We didn’t know I was bi-polar when he divorced me because he “couldn’t take my mood swings anymore.”  Part of me didn’t blame him.  I wanted to get away from me, too.  My manic phase wasn’t euphoric—it was violent.  I flew into terrible rages and I suffered from PMDD, not PMS.  And the place where he divorced me was 750 miles from home.  It might as well have been the Moon.  Fortunately, I wasn’t pregnant.

It took several years before I was diagnosed, and the meds worked fine for about a decade.  Then menopause hit and the hormonal fluctuations pretty well negated the meds.  I’m not sure how many times I ended up on the locked ward at the VA during that time, but it was at least five times, plus a few trips to the ER when I was not admitted.  I had the cops called on me several times, but usually by the time they got there I was in Stage Two of my cycle—crying and apologizing, so I managed not to get arrested.  Fortunately, no one I assaulted or battered during those episodes ever pressed charges.


JF-W: Those years must have been extremely difficult for you, I am so glad you found the help you needed, and that you have realized your writing dreams.  Tell me, is there a message in Rock Crazythat you want readers to grasp?

RIW:   I didn’t really make Katie bi-polar to send a message, but I suppose it would be that if you are bi-polar and you haven’t asked for help—please do so.  And if you live with someone who is bi-polar, give them a break.  They don’t want to be that way.  I don’t hallucinate like Katie does, exactly, but I do have The Voice.  When I fly into a rage I hear a voice telling me, “This is inappropriate behavior.  You can’t do this.  Stop it now!”  Yet I’m powerless to stop.

One doctor said it’s like being on a roller coaster.  “Once the ride starts, no matter how badly you want to get off, you can’t.  You’re strapped in and you’re on for the whole course.”  I used to wonder why one of the meds I’m always on is an anticonvulsant.  I guess physiologically there’s a close relationship between the chemical makeup of bi-polar and seizure disorders.  My rage attacks have three parts:  the rage/tantrum; crying and apologizing; and finally—exhaustion.


JF-W: I think it is absolutely incredible how medicine has evolved over the years, and thankful that it has no doubt improved your life. Can you name one entity that you feel supported/supports you outside of family members.

RIW:   Of course, there was my first mentor, Marcia.  And today I have my MuseItUp Publications Family and my on-line author friends.  I also have some friends in Mensa who have read my work and think it’s pretty good.  Actually, my family isn’t noted for being supportive, so when my 75 year-old sister said she liked Rock Bound, I was amazed.  In the past, the only thing she’s been proud of was that I got my BA and at that she was pretty skeptical that I majored in writing.  She was pretty sure I’d end up asking people, “Do you want fries with that?”  Fortunately, I could type and take shorthand.  Unfortunately, I was already making more as a secretary than I could in any entry-level job in the publishing industry and being 37 and divorced I couldn’t afford the cut in pay.  Nor did I have time to write.  Well, I’d given up custody of my kids and I couldn’t stand the empty house so I never went home after work.


JF-W: What are your current projects?

RIW:   I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo and write about a morbidly obese woman who needs to lose about 170 pounds.  Around the time she breaks two-hundred pounds, she meets and falls in love with a rock star on a come-back tour.  She’s amazed he actually cares for her while she’s still considered obese, and extremely shy not only about being rotund, but about the skin hanging from the hundred pounds she’s already lost.

The weight loss part is also autobiographical.  I weigh 165 right now, down from 296.  My goal is to get to about 130/135, which is “normal” on the Body Mass Index chart, or at least to be able to shop in the “Misses” department instead of “Plus Sizes.”  To find out how I did it, you’ll just have to wait for Crystal Lady.


JF-W: That’s fantastic Rochelle! Your WIP sounds really good too, you will have to keep us posted. Do you have any advice for other writers?

RIW:   First, there’s the usual DON’T QUIT!  Never give up your dream.  There were a lot of years when I didn’t write, but there were stories percolating in my head and I kept the work I’d done in college.  Ya know what?  I take that back.  I spent many of those years in Overeaters Anonymous and I edited newsletters for almost every group or area where I participated.  I may not have been writing fiction, but I was writing.  Everywhere I went, I was also elected Secretary because my minutes were clear and concise and sometimes entertaining.  I even got elected secretary of the patient council when I was on the locked ward at the VA.  I can’t even have a nervous breakdown without getting elected secretary! But really—anything you write is good practice for writing fiction.

Second, after you’ve written your first draft, set it aside and work on something else.  Go back to it a few weeks later and edit for content.  Look for:

Info dumps    Places where you need to show, not tell.


Point of View Problems:  Head-Hopping changing point of view in the middle of a scene or even a sentence.  Seeing things the character can’t possibly see.  “Her face turned red.”  If you’re in her POV she can’t see this.  Better to use, “She felt her face heat up and knew it must be turning red.”


Eyes Instead of Gaze:  “His eyes raked her body.”  Eew!  Hopefully his eyes stayed in their sockets where they belong and his gaze raked her body.


Too Many Adverbs:  Watch for words ending in “ly.”  The action should tell us that the person was excited, sad, mad, etc.  We shouldn’t need an adverb to convey that.


Overuse of the Word “That:”  “He knows that she said that…”  Really?  “He knows she said…”


In MS Word, you can actually do a global search for the last two things.  Go into search and replace.  Click on “More,” “Format” “Highlight.”  You’ll want your plain “ly” in the top space and in the bottom, the highlighted “ly.”  Click “Replace All” and every instance of “ly” in your ms will be highlighted.  Do the same thing with “that” using a different color.  Then, as you go through your document, you can either eliminate words you don’t need or select it, click on your “Highlight” icon and click on “No Color.”


JF-W: These are fabulous tips Rochelle, thank you so much for sharing them!

RIW:   Thank you for having me here today, Jan.  I’d like to leave some links where  people can find me.


JF-W: I am so glad I was able to interview you today! Thanks for joining us!


Rock Crazy: Tiny URL:  http://tinyurl.com/museituprockcrazy

Trailer URL:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7hcvpa5weE

Website:  http://www.rochelleweber.com

Blog:  http://rochelleweber.blogspot.com

Blog:  http://rochellesreviews.blogspot.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/rochelle.weber.2

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Rochelle.Weber.Author

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/RochelleWeber


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  • Elizabeth Young

    I enjoyed this interview Jan, but would like to add that not everyone who suffers with bipolar disorder suffers with rage. My father did, but I don't. I never understood the Patty Duke type of violent rage, and feel far more aligned with the bipolar disorder portrayed by Richard Gere in 'Mr. Jones.'

  • Rochelle Weber

    Thank you everyone for the good wishes.  I was away for the weekend and unable to access the internet.  And thanks again, Jan, for hosting me.


  • Jan Fischer Wade

    Thanks for visiting Kat!  Have a great weekend! Cheers! Jan

  • Kat Ward

    Jan, thanks so much. Loved the writing tips—especially ways to find "that" and adverbs.

  • Tia Silverthorne Bach

    A great interview. Thanks, Jan.

    Rochelle, good luck with NaNo and Rock Crazy. It sounds interesting and relatable, Moon and all. Thanks, too, for sharing your wonderful tips.

  • Jan Fischer Wade

    Thanks Deborah - I think we kind of run in the same circles out there in cyberland!

  • Deborah Batterman

    Only in the most interesting places (I hope), Jan. Seriously, I'm not stalking you (ha ha), but my radar does tune in to posts, tweets, etc. that you put out.

  • Jan Fischer Wade

    Thanks for stopping by Deborah! I see you all over! : )

  • Deborah Batterman

    Nice interview, Jan. And good luck, Rochelle, with 'Rock Crazy', not to mention NaNoWriMo.