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Wearing abnormalities on his sleeve like a badge of honor, Randy L. Pendleton has an unbridled imagination. Born in Athens, Ohio circa 1983 to a woman who herself had a witty tongue, Randy showed promise with his vivid, unwavering wordplay and a sense of humor often described as wry/wicked. He gained an obsession with reading, losing numerous hours daily with everything from books to news articles. His earlier attempts at a writing career were truncated following a diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type two (NF2) at the age of sixteen. Randy shunned the notion of normalcy, opting instead to adopt defeatism, to accept that he will never live a normal life. Despite bilateral deafness and paralysis in his face and right hand, he continues on the alchemy of building a career utilizing his writing skills, with the pursuit of recognition in his eye--for himself and for the entire disabled community. Randy has interests in film production and acting. He hopes to release an Independent film in the near future.

A much longer autobiographical piece can be read here.

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Download the many paralyzed faces of Randy
(and of course, the book's cover)

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The above photos courtesy of Brian Lintala Photography. Thanks, Brian!

When You Leave This Way

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Impress your friends with these twelve factoids about Randy:


1. Randy was born on Thursday, February 1st 1983. He died on Thursday, February 1st 1983 as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Although revived, he lives with bilateral deafness and paralysis in his face & right hand, both stemming from neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).

2. At birth, Randyís given name was Randy Lee Childers. The surname was legally changed around the year 1990. Some parents give their kids ďeloquentĒ names & call them by abbreviated variants i.e. William to Will. But Randyís mother hated the name Randall, thus his legal name is Randy. Websterís Dictionary defines randy as ďsexually excited.Ē Basically, the name means horny. He found it perfectly okay living with this name until Austin Powers came out. ďDo I make ya horny, baby? Randy? Do I make you randy?Ē Thanks a frigginí lot, Mike Myers.

3. Thanks to the paralysis in his right hand, Randy is a one-handed typist. He types better/faster with one hand than most people he knows can with two.

4. A 2001 graduate of the Wellston high school (in Wellston, Ohio), Randy had a brief stint in the University of Rio Grande (Ohio). Following one semester, he decided that college wasn't his thing, thus he returned home to pursue a writing career. Most of When You Leave This Way was written in his hometown of Wellston; several chapters were written in Chillicothe, Ohio. Presently, Randy resides in Jackson, Wellston's sister-city.

5. Randy studies film constantly for continuity errors, plot holes, et cetera. It helps with his writing. He is very knowledgeable with film and production. Because of this, pretty much no movie scares him anymore--he is too aware of all thatís behind-the-curtain to be scared. He still thinks the scariest film heís ever seen is Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Randy has had a few nightmares in the past several years from that stupid movie--and he hasnít seen it in over fifteen years! He's never associated himself with coulrophobia but hey, even Johnny Deppís terrified of clowns.

6. Throwing in a little vanity here, in the name of fun: Randy is not the only author in his family, as Sam ďMachine Gun PreacherĒ Childers wrote Another Manís War (it was made into a film, Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerald Butler). Joe Childers wrote the Burning of the People, which likely was never mass-produced. Randy comes from Wellston, a small town in southern Ohio. It is the birthplace of Kansas City Royals team hall of fame pitcher Jeff Montgomery (the two are of the same alma mater) and is the hometown of 2002 Miss Ohio, Lauren Kelsey Hall--an old classmate of his and a super-nice girl. The up-and-coming music group 2Steel Girls are Wellston citizens. For you political nuts: Senator John Carey--not to be confused with John Kerry--hailed from Wellston, too. Okay, vanity rant: over.

7. Randy once proudly wore two feet of hair. Yes, boys and girls: twenty-four inches. Stress bald him, and he's still trying to grow it all back.

8. No joke: Randy has a pathological hatred of butterflies. Weíre not making this up. Just the thought of one makes him cringe, ball a fist, and wanna strike someone. Itís a clinical hatred, not a jokey one. Heís gone on rants, bordering on the psychotic, over those disgusting creatures.

9. His ambition knows no limits: Aside from books and indie film, one of his biggest desires is to write--brace yourself--a stage play. He had wanted to for a long time. And no, he isnít gay.

10. Randy is a skilled businessman, having been involved with web development and promotion since 1999. Other than PHP/MySQL, he is skilled in HTML/CSS and has dabbled in PERL, Javascript, C, C++, ASP, Visual and Dark BASIC, and MS Access. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something he studies, and he has a fair understanding of link generation, keyword research, and so on. His talents have been freelanced in the past, though he lacks the time to do so anymore. Randy is also a skilled domain investor, still retaining a handful of domains for a rainy day.

11. Did you know he could sing and act? Little known fact about Randy L. Pendleton: He was once accepted into a school-type singing group, calling itself New Dimension (with or without pluralizing. Canít recall). But he opt to not become an official member. He can still act--pseudo shock, crying-on-command, and all those fun, Oscar-worthy things--but medical issues destroyed his ability to sing.

12. Typing in the third-person point of view deeply disturbs Randy. The borderline-schizo routine scares him: Randy knows where he sleeps at nights.

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Q & A

What is your book about?
Raised by an alcoholic preacher and his in-denial wife, Brandon is cued in on something theyíve kept hidden from him all his life. Answers aren't found: A bizarre series of events results in multiple fatalities, one orchestrated by Brandonís own hand. He leaves his hometown behind, accompanied by his friends and siblings. This unknown piece of Brandonís past is mulled over, as is the whereabouts their new life becomes. From chance meetings with tough teens, cryptic adults, and predators, they discover life isnít easy on their own, and Brandon further realizes that childhood is over--and he stole it from those he loves.

Where did you get the idea for this book?
The concept has numerous origins, some spawning from my primitive years. My mother wedded a terrible drunk. The word my mom used most to describe the guy was simply: Belligerent. Heíd get loaded and, well... Letís just say he wasnít a pleasant drunk. My sister and I actually did run away from home once, out of anger over his presence. We returned later that day, thankfully. Anecdotes from those days, in the early 1990s, paved the way to this story.

It remained dormant in my mind until long after Iíve become an adult. Like many writers, I grew a disdain for my hometown. Iím better with it now but at a time, just the thought of living where I was suffocated me. Being disabled felt limiting, and I had this impression that my spirit was shackled. Everywhere I looked, a ghost--a memory or recollection--was there to greet me. I was in my twenties yet still felt like a prisoner, held within a cell to which never truly existed. Iíve had a few dreams around the time, visions of running away from it all. This story was my shrink, the therapist that grounded me. Given, I actually did relocate for a time while writing this. But Iíve learned a lot about myself and the nature of humanity & solitude. Through the writing of this, Iíve come to terms with living a life less ordinary and, more importantly, to leave as many ghosts--these relics of past atrocities--as possible where they belong: Dead and buried in the past.

Did you draw from real-life experiences when writing ďWhen You Leave This WayĒ?
In a bizarre sense, this book is like a warped memoir, with things grotesquely exaggerated. Much of it is there: The abusive, drunk dad; the running away; the struggles with poverty. I've given Brandon his own "ghosts," too. Exaggerated or not, there are glimpses and pieces of Randy Pendleton in this thing. The book has serious, dramatic tones in some parts and funny, comical elements/dialogue laced in. It mirrors my own life in that regard. Really, you shouldnít have a disease or genetic disorder and be all gloom-and-doom all the time. That takes the fun out of living.

Where does the title come from?
Undoubtedly anyone will believe this, but the title comes from a country song. Back in my days before deafness struck, I was a huge metal guy. Particularly, I was a major Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath fan. But Iíve always been kind to any song thatíd make me feel lousy. Seriously--if it made me feel miserable, Iíd listen to it. One song in specific is When You Leave This Way (You Can Never Go Back), from the group Confederate Railroad. There was always something to that song. Among other things, I had a strange dream where I boarded a train and left everything behind. That song and the dream fused together in preparation for this story, and I started pre-writing a few weeks afterward. I gave this the working title When You Leave This Way during the writing of the first draft. As no better titles came to mind, I stuck with it.

What is your writing background?
I donít come from a family of novelists or writers. At least two family members I know of had written a book before me, but neither is in the trade of authorship. My skills were passed to me by my mom, who died when I was fourteen. She herself was a good writer. At the age of thirty-two, she succumbed to cancer. My high school graduation didnít conclude with me receiving a diploma with Honors. I did, though, pass the Ohio State twelfth-grade proficiency test, with Honors, in Writing. That's something, I suppose. Iíve written short stories and poetry throughout my youth, ending most of those endeavors (after a brief stint in college) to pursue a career as a novelist.

Are there any specific authors whose writing styles or subject matter inspired your book?
I think the biggest props would have to go to V.C. Andrews. One reader lauded my writing abilities, saying this book reminded her of Andrewsí works. That was a feather in my cap: While pre-writing for this book, I had a specific goal to make this something Andrews would have appreciated.

Do you share any traits with your characters?
Brandon, the main character, is one of convictions. He regrets all heís done thus far in his short life. Iíve based him partially on me. One of the adults, Garrette, is cryptic and very calculative--the same as me. Valen is a tough teen who know what it takes to survive. There is a little bit of me in pretty much every character.

Does your book shed light on a different perspective of a common issue?
Iíve covered numerous angles with this thing. It looks at the consequences that follow some really disturbing actions. Itís a fact that everything seems different to a person when he/she is the subject of peril. My book looks into the turbid scope of reality and what we--as people--go through in our personal quests for beacons in the darkness, those coping mechanisms we are promised when those we love assure of, ďEverything will be okay.Ē What would happen if we lost faith? Where would we run to when things turn beyond the realm of decadence? Growing up in hostile conditions creates the wrong breed of human... or does it? When things seem their bleakest and there is only one true option, is it better to follow that anfractuous road... or would it be the wiser to not act, at all? Everyone in this book carries weight from their actions. The most common issues are addressed, in not-so-nice ways.

Who will like your book?
The general consensus from all Iíve heard from readers is When You Leave This Way feels like Andrewsí Dollanganger series and a ďGothĒ version of Gertrude Chandler Warnerís Boxcar Children books. Fans of Flowers in the Attic and other Andrews works might enjoy my book; those who love the Boxcar books might want to take a peek, yet it needs to be noted that some language in my book couldnít possibly pass for the grades-two-through-six demographic.

Why should someone want to read your book in particular?
The book is grounded into reality and is very relatable in its depiction of poverty, family drama, and its overlying tone of coming-of-age. Donít get me wrong: Iíve read and enjoyed many coming-of-age stories. Yet there is still that feeling theyíve left me with, that sense telling me, ďI canít relate to anything Iíve just read.Ē J.K. Rowling threw in some real-world issues in the Harry Potter books. Still, her depiction was reserved. I know racism exists in the world--and Rowling did well with the terminology of ďmud-bloodĒ--but people canít relate to much else there. In the real world, we canít solve a perplexing issue with the uttering of words and wand-waving. Iíve grown up amongst deteriorating mobile homes, infested with roaches and rats, and not-so-magical characters: Druggies, thieves, cons et cetera. This is the real world--the reality many people grow up in. My story is relatable to most people and by the epilogue, the readers will feel for Brandon and his friends. This isnít the glitter-and-gloss, Twilight look at life. And I truly believe people will appreciate that.

How many people are on your team?
I am assisted by the gifted artist (and close friend) Jamie Knakmuhs (pronounced knock moose) in graphic issues, such as cover work. Iím in discussion with a publicist. A personal assistant will be employed following the release of this book to the public, and I have somebody on phone duty. Presently, I havenít an agent. Any agent interested in representing me/my work should feel free to contact me.

Where can a person find a copy of your book?
Upon its release (tentative release date: April 28th 2014), it will be available @ Amazon and select bookstores nationwide in the United States.

Do you have any other projects in the works?
A second novel, Dehumanizer is being revised and will be ready for the world in 2015. During the year 2014, a memoir will be penned--written concurrently with the editing for Dehumanizer. A follow-up to When You Leave This Way will follow. The third and final book in the Unfairytale Series will be written directly after book two is complete.

Where can a reader find more information about you, the author?
Until my memoir is released, readers can read through a mini-autobiography Iíve written, located here.

What do you have to say about your book/writing experience?
So much could be said about the writing process of this story. It couldnít be summed up in two or three short sentences. Iíve put in a lot to get this story written. What I got in exchange outweighs the effort infused. Writing this book was my pacification, the little voice in my head that had long since been mute. Iíve come to terms with who I am--genetic disorder and all--and Iím now awash with a serenity that wasnít here, in my heart, before I started on this book. Iíve found genuine peace of mind.

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Wanna contact Randy? Find the info below. He won't bite. Hard.

Shannon Belcher, Special Assistant
(614) 619-9245

Contact Randy directly here.

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