To Stokes County, her family and friends, Arminda B. Roddy’s first novel, “Maya’s Mountain: Where God Stands Up”, is a love letter six years in the making.
Her mantra, in writing and life is “when you want to do something, you will do it,” which comes from her father coaching her in athletics in her adolescence. This mantra drives Roddy, so when the thought “I want to write a book” struck her, she decided she would do it.
“I waited for the idea to come to me and when it did, I started writing. I never forced anything… When I was ready to do it, I did it.”
Inspirations strikes at all times for Roddy, she says “when a moment (of inspiration) would hit me a lot of times I was sitting in that class (the creative writing class she teaches) and able to sit down and type it up real quick” or “find a napkin somewhere” to write her ideas down, if she did not have her own notes handy, while “painting the bathroom.”
Roddy is having her first-ever meet-and-greet, book-signing event this Sunday from 3-5 pm at The Arts Place in Danbury. She will also read excerpts from the book.
Roddy, known by most as Mindy, describes her time as a student at Appalachian State University to be “where I went to become an artist, as well as a teacher but it was there I found my artistic value.”
A self-declared homebody, Roddy says that going away for college was difficult, but she found a “home away from home” at Appalachian.
“When I got to college, I was no longer an athlete. So here I am, determining my identity ‘who am I here?’ and it gave me an opportunity to endeavor more in the arts.”
The experiences and bonds she forged helped to influence aspects of “Maya’s Mountain: Where God Stands Up.”
Many great authors preach to “write what you know,” and Roddy’s novel emulates that statement. She writes her family into this novel. “Maya is me; Jackson is my husband, Annie and Greg are my parents. I tried to ultimately embody their characters as they are; my siblings are mentioned. I don’t spend a lot of time with them, but ultimately I hope this is going to be a series.”
Remembering the excitement of holding her novel for the first time, she said “the moment you hold that book in your hand and you see your name on it, it is the most surreal thing you will ever feel in your life. It didn’t really hit me that it was real until about two or three weeks after I had it my hand.”
Readers will see there are biblical themes throughout. “Maya’s Mountain” is meant to reflect Roddy’s spiritual journey and her enduring faith through her life thus far. On an even deeper level, “Maya’s Mountain” is meant to have similarities to the biblical story of Noah and his ark, “specifically the story of the dove and the olive branches.”
Roddy describes her book as being “very much focused on the idea of authenticity, like hey, we all have imperfections, we all have things about us that are not, not good, we have things about us that are great. Let’s just be human, and love and live together.”
Her book has been well received thus far, giving rise to Roddy’s plans for a sequel. “The next one will be about Annie, which is my mom.” She made sure to add, “I’m invested now in getting them out there but making them quality” and that it will not take six years for her fans to wait for the sequel.
It is also notable that the pictures within Roddy’s book are all personal. Several of them were taken by Roddy, who dabbles in photography, while a few of them are family pictures from her lifetime. Her favorite picture in the book is one of her grandpa and sisters pictured inside of the church that is displayed on the front cover.
Roddy is also planning, short-term, to put out a “coffee table poetry book to feature my photography and original poetry.”
In a small town it is well known that connections are easily forged. Finding her publisher, King-based DW Beam, is no exception. Her mother, Nancy, being the “middle woman” to originate contact with her daughter’s future publisher all because she was bragging about her writing.
“I emailed them just on a whim kind of hoping something would come out of it but not really expecting it to. So, you have to take opportunities that seem out of the way.”
The thankfulness Roddy continually expressed is best summed here: “This community, not just King, but Stokes County, means a lot to me. They’ve raised me up so that I love people, I want to take you in and give you a hug and give you something to eat. They’ve always been so wonderful and given so much to me. I wanted the people of Stokes County and my family to know how much I feel blessed by their presence in my life.”
Gabrielle Troutman is the summer intern for The Stokes News.