Home > NewsRelease > From Trauma to Triumph: The Healing Journey of Jason and Rhonda Halbert in "Caretaker"
From Trauma to Triumph: The Healing Journey of Jason and Rhonda Halbert in "Caretaker"
Norm Goldman --  BookPleasures.com Norm Goldman -- BookPleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, Quebec
Monday, May 13, 2024


Bookpleasures.com welcomesthe dynamic authors, R.J. Halbert (Jason Halbert and Rhonda Halbert),whose recent novel CARETAKER - Book One of The GoodpastureChronicles, has just been published.

Jason is a musical maestrowhose accolades include Emmy and Grammy Awards for his remarkablecontributions as a producer and songwriter. 

With a career spanningover two decades, he's not only left an indelible mark as MusicDirector and Producer for the likes of Kelly Clarkson but has alsolent his creative genius to various film and television projects. 

Beyond music, Jason's passions range from bee-keeping to Sci-Fi, andhis knack for storytelling is as legendary as his musical talent.

Partnering Jason in thisliterary endeavor is his wife Rhonda Halbert, whose journey fromhomeschooling their children on a tour bus to managing music andtelevision talents speaks volumes of her versatile skills.

A published photographer,music supervisor, and culinary enthusiast, Rhonda brings a uniqueblend of creativity and practicality to the table.

Together, Jason and Rhondainfuse their shared experiences and boundless imagination into acaptivating narrative that promises to break generational curses andignite sparks of hope in their readers' hearts.

Norm: Good day Jason and Rhonda and thanks for takingpart in our interview.

How did yourexperiences in the music industry influence the creation of"Caretaker?"

Jason: I think myexperience in songwriting, as well as an understanding of how themusic industry operates, from creation to distribution, set thefoundation for telling a story, then having an understanding of howto produce that story and get it out to the public. 

The terminologymay not be one to one with the music industry, but the generalconcepts are. 

Norm: "Caretaker"explores the theme of breaking generational curses. Could youelaborate on the significance of this theme and its personalresonance for you?

Rhonda: Jason and I havecome from dramatic childhoods. When we got married at 18 & 19years-old, we made a promise that we would change how we raise ourkids, and that we would break the cycles of brokenness. 

Because thatis such an important part of our lives and our family, it was anatural and important story we wanted to tell. 

We believe that thefuture can be changed for the good by breaking generational cursesfrom the past, and letting go of the bitterness and anger that cancome from that.

Norm: Could you discussthe process of blending elements of thriller and supernatural genresin "Caretaker?" What challenges did you face in maintainingsuspense while introducing supernatural elements?

Rhonda: I have found thatmost people are naturally hesitant to dabble in the supernatural,with Jason being one of them. 

I feel that makes it easier to maintainsuspense and thrill, because most people either don’t believe ordon’t want to acknowledge the supernatural realm. 

We’ve actuallyhad some personal supernatural experiences from our past, so we tookthe liberty to express a version of these experiences to help tellthis story. 

As new authors, we started by drawing from what we knewand experienced, then allowed our imaginations to expand and exploregoing further and pushing the chilling possibilities. 

That’s myfavorite part of writing this trilogy.

Norm: Family dynamicsplay a significant role in "Caretaker." How did youapproach portraying the complexities of familial relationships amidstthe supernatural elements of the story?

Jason:We attempted to approach the complexities of familialrelationship from the perspective of our belief that people tend tooperate on a spectrum, rather than just one black or white emotion. 

Ibelieve at times it is possible to hold two conflicting emotionssimultaneously, and that doesn’t lessen the depth of eitheremotion. 

We have our characters excited, yet scared … hopeful, yetheld by despair. We were also careful to try and give legitimatereasons for the family to be uncertain as to whether some of theseexperiences were actually supernatural or mental in nature. 

Norm: "Caretaker"has been praised for its fast pace and suspenseful storytelling. Howdo you maintain momentum throughout the narrative, and whattechniques do you use to keep readers engaged?

Rhonda:One technique that we incorporated came from the advice of anincredible author friend of ours. Our original manuscript wasapproximately 14 long chapters.

He suggested we break the book intosmaller chapters to keep the momentum going. Amazingly, without evenchanging any words, just dividing into smaller chapters reallyincreased the pace of the reading experience. 

Norm: The setting ofthe story, particularly the house on the hill, feels like its owncharacter. How did you go about crafting such a pivotal location, andwhat atmosphere were you aiming to create?

Rhonda: Jason and I haveowned 3 different homes, and each one came with some crazy storiesand tales. We took a little of our experiences with each house andwove it into one fantastical story. Jason has always called me acloset Goth. 

I’ve always been drawn to places that look abandonedand disheveled, or have been around for hundreds of years. I’vebeen known to question what the walls would say if they could talk. 

So the house in CARETAKER is our way of answering that question.

Norm: Could you discussthe role of trauma in shaping the characters and their journeythroughout the story? How does the theme of resilience intersect withthe supernatural elements?

Rhonda:  Starting in2020, Jason and I began one of the darkest and hardest seasons in ourlives. Of course we all experienced Covid, which was tragic in somany ways, but that was just the beginning for us. 

I lost 2 dearaunts, our beloved family dog of 18 years, and then my mother to ahorrible disease which I spent all of 2020 taking care of her untilher death. It was such a traumatic experience. 

Then 2021 maintained itstrauma by Jason and I losing our home to a flood, around 10 morepeople to Covid, a dear friend to cancer, and our nephew was shotfrom a random apartment across the way, and he died at only 19 yearsold. 

Near the end of the year Jason’s mom was diagnosed with abrain tumor, and she later died from the surgery and infections inearly 2022. This was the lowest point of our lives and we couldn’tdeal with our own pain anymore. 

So, we put our characters throughsome traumatic moments, gave them situations to experience what wewere feeling, and then we worked out our feelings of depression,anxiety, fear, and brokenness through them. 

I wanted to look into themetaphysical to find different answers, because I didn’t like whatwas going on in our physical world. It gave us the ability to look atthings from a bigger perspective, and then gave us opportunities towork out our own healings, much less the healing of our characters. 

Ihave always been attracted to the power of the physical andmetaphysical, and how they interact with each other. What if we couldopen our eyes to see the metaphysical and what it is trying to say tous, and when we do, can we affect our physical world around us?

Norm: What do you hopereaders take away from "Caretaker," both in terms ofentertainment value and thematic resonance?

Jason: We hope readersapproach the book from several vantage points, and encourage them tore-read the book a few times from different perspectives. 

On itsface, the book can be read as a literal journey of a family seeking afresh start, and working together to overcome obstacles. 

On a secondreading, they may find some allegorical truths that deepen theexperience. 

And we hope that upon further readings, the reader maydiscover some hidden easter eggs and spiritual truths that aren’tquite as obvious after their first experience of completing thenovel. 

Norm: Where can ourreaders find out more about you and “Caretaker?”

Jason and Rhonda: Readerscan go to RJHalbert.com to learn more about us and our history, orthey can follow us @R.J.Halbert on Instagram or Facebook.

Norm: As we end ourinterview, "Caretaker" is the first book in The GoodpastureChronicles. What can readers expect from future installments, and howwill the series continue to explore themes of family, trauma, and thesupernatural?

Jason and Rhonda: Our hopeis to have Book 2 out in time for Christmas this year. This bookpicks up right where we leave book 1, and takes the reader on a newjourney discovering an ancient past that plays into the modern dayfamily. The trauma continues to build in the family, and the househas a lot “to say” about it. 

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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