Author: Roni



Today is Emily Zylaz’s birthday. This is the day that she has chosen to kill herself. After struggling for many years to cope with the roller-coaster of mental illness, a devastating failed marriage, and a soul-destroying career that is going nowhere, she’s giving up.

Feeling like the only solution to all of her problems is to take her own life, Emily plans to hang herself at midnight. She believes no one will care that she’s dead, that she won’t be missed, and that everyone will be better off without her and her fickle moods.

As we journey alongside Emily, counting down the hours on her last day alive, we explore the twisted labyrinth of her troubled mind and learn why she so desperately wants to die.

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Listen to the ABC Radio interview about Broken


Traci Sanderson on June 11, 2015 Five Stars – ‘Broken’ doesn’t always mean irreparable!
**As a full disclosure, I was given free copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts … honestly, now that I’ve read it, if I’d not recently depleted my Amazon credit balance, I would be PURCHASING a copy of it just to give it the legitimate rating it deserves! This is a gripping, emotional tale of one woman’s journey of self-discovery. I was skeptical at the beginning, not knowing how the author was going to offer an entire book about a single day’s worth of thoughts and actions of the main character, Emily, who has decided to end her life on this particular day. To my delight, my original ambivalence about the pages being filled with depressing, suicidal musings, was unfounded.Though some of it is a bit redundant, the author adds another important element to the story with each chapter. Each day is like a mental journal entry until the story finally unfolds in the most surprising, amazing way that I never saw coming! The writing is engaging and precise. The most impressive thing is the way the author weaves occasional, brief flashbacks into Emily’s current thoughts without needing to devote an entire chapter or section to these memories. It’s easy to follow and breaks up the current events in an enchanting way that adds helpful backstory on the characters. The one thing that kind of threw me was the way the author waited until the very end to describe Emily’s appearance in detail. I can see why, but for the majority of the time, I had to conjure her up in my own mind. And she did not match the image I had created. Though this book is fiction, one doesn’t have to have any experience with suicide or mental illness to connect with this story. Anyone who has ever experienced loss, death, or even despair could be enlightened by it. The truth of the matter is, we are all broken in some way or another. I will definitely be reading more from this author!

Kat Caffee on May 13, 2015
Five stars – Well handled, engrossing book with a tough subject to work with
“I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review. I like stories that take you on an emotional roller coaster ride while you’re reading through them. However, I do not like tales of suicide or self-mutilation, and so when I was asked for a review of this book, I almost declined before I even started. Once I opened the cover, I was in even more doubt, and settled in for a difficult read. Then Roni turned the tables on me, and sent me flying through the pages. This is not an easy read, as there are atrocities in the character’s life that she has to deal with on her own, and with very little support from her family. Yet, even when the story dives into the darkest actions one human can inflict on another, it is handled with simplicity, dignity, and as much elegance as possible while staying true to the story. This is a very fast paced, tightly written story designed from the first sentence to keep the pages turning and make it hard to put down. The glimmers of light that are cast out when everything seems blackest provide a new level of tension, along with a heightened element of “What will happen next?” The narrative alone carried this story for me, as I saw very little in the way of character development. Usually, when introduced, the characters have to grow into their final person, yet in this book, you are introduced to the final person first. The rest of the tale is a series of flashback regressions that explain how this person got to where they are. Definitely an interesting approach, and one I haven’t seen done so well before. When the history of the character has been set out, the story begins stitching the pieces together, showing how the jigsaw fits together to make a complete picture. It is here where the word-smithing of Roni really gets to gleam. She has shown each of the facets of the characters involved in the history at one point or another, and now she shows the composite. At no point through the tale do any of the characters feel like a paper cut-out, even if you can’t tell just where the depth is… yet. Though it is a hard read (content wise), I look forward to coming back and reading again when I can pry the 8 to 10 hours it will take to get through it. Just to see how many layers Roni has tucked away between these covers.”

VIDEO Review from Ann Quinn on May 7, 2015
Five stars – It’s a fantastic story
“I wanted to see if [the author] could cover the topic without being disrespectful to people who suffer depression and I feel she did a fantastic job. She’s very sensitive to the topic. I’m trying not to cry… I highly recommend it.” (Video is 8 minutes)

Kelly on May 6, 2015
Five stars – A great read that will get under your skin
“I’ve read several of Roni’s books and I think this is the best so far. Detailing what is to be the last day of protagonist Emily Zylaz’s life, hour-by-hour, Roni takes you on a journey into the psyche of a damaged person wanting to be well, but seeing no alternative to suicide. Although this premise may sound depressing or off-putting to those not used to the subject matter, readers should not be fooled into thinking this book fits into any particular genre. It is at once stark, moving, funny, horrifying, thoughtful and delightful. Moving at a fast pace and at the length of a novella, don’t be surprised if you read it in one or two sittings. Emily is a complex character, and the author makes sure we get to know her properly, even if only for a short time. Roni really inhabits Emily’s skin, and as such Emily will get under yours. You will wish you knew her in real life, so that you could be friends.”

Zan Steadham on April 26, 2015
Five stars
“Broken is infused with an absolutely authentic voice that gives the hidden thoughts of the abused and emotionally ill a chance to speak for themselves. A must read.”

Denis Vukosav [AMAZON TOP 100 REVIEWER] on April 24, 2015
Five stars – It’s a good day to die.
“Broken, a novel written by Roni Askey-Doran, is another example that proves how well-made pieces can be found in portfolios of smaller independent publishers – the thrilling story full of expectations, twists and turns, together with excellent atmosphere will keep reader on the edge of the seat until the very last page. The author introduces reader to Emily with the very first shocking sentence that immediately attracts attention – “It’s a good day to die.” Emily plans to hang herself right at midnight, precisely on her birthday. The reader will follow the main character through her whole (last?) day, hour after hour, while slowly we learn about all the reasons that have led her to such decision. Emily speaks about all the kinds of abuse and sorrow she endured during her painful life, starting with her father abandoning her, being alone and unloved by her sister and mother, sexually molested by her uncle, and raped and beaten by her ex-husband. We also find out about the loss of her baby, problems at work, all of which brought this woman to the edge that she finally and irreversible wants to pass. While slowly the puzzle of Emily’s life is put, we also learn about people for which we begin to believe or hope will save Emily by providing hope that all is not lost and that she deserves another chance. And as the night progresses and hours pass, the reader can’t wait to find out the outcome of this story, while more secrets and shocking twists are being unfolded… Given the author’s style it will be hard to resist turning this novel’s one page after the other, wondering what is going to happen next. Though this is not author’s first novel, it’s the first that I had the opportunity to read, and I’m glad about that. Roni Askey-Doran created a very interesting suspense thriller novel that is both characterized by distinctive style, provocative subject and great pace. Both her main character and her story overall are well-developed that make ‘Broken’ an appealing title worth recommendation. Therefore, Roni Askey-Doran with ‘Broken’ made a real page turner that will both keep you interested and excited, guessing about the outcome of the story and the fate of main character – a novel certainly worth reader’s time that shows the real gems can be found at independent publishers if you know where to look.”

Elizabeth Horton-Newton on April 19, 2015
Five stars – Beautiful, Tragic, and Touching
Roni-Askey-Doran grabbed my attention from the very first sentence in “Broken”. I had to find out what would drive Emily Zylaz to decide to commit suicide on her birthday. As I followed Emily through her day and learned more about her journey to this pivotal day I began to understand how she came to that point in her life. After a childhood where she felt abandoned by a father she never knew, unloved by her mother and sister, sexually assaulted by an uncle, raped, and abused and beaten by her ex-husband, Emily has led a life of pain. Feeling hopeless and insignificant she believes no one will even miss her when she is gone. On a day when she loses her job she also makes new friends although she doesn’t see them as such initially. As every step she takes toward her well thought out plan to hang herself is foiled by unknowing participants I wanted to cheer. Surely this woman would begin to see she had every reason to live. With a surprising and thrilling conclusion that left me breathless “Broken” flew to the top of my must read books to recommend. Beautifully written, the language is colorful and engaging drawing the reader into the story. I couldn’t put it down, desperate to learn if Emily would succeed or fail. This is a touching story of fear and loneliness, love and secrets, and the glimmer of serendipity that can change a life in a flash. I highly and joyfully recommend “Broken”.

Rhoda D’Ettore on 16 April 2015
Five stars – Finished in Two Sittings
“It’s a good day to die.”

The above is the first sentence in Broken, a Contemporary Women’s Fiction / Suspense / Drama, written by Roni Askey-Doran. This is exactly my kind of book. Although I rarely read first person, especially written in present tense, this book drew me in from the very beginning. How could it not? The first line makes you wonder upon reading it. The story opens as Emily explains to the reader her plan to hang herself at midnight, on her birthday. We follow her day on an hourly basis, as she weaves us a tale of social anxiety, bullies, sexual harassment, abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, sexual) and more. There are flashbacks throughout the story giving us an in depth look into the forces that drove this woman to teeter on the brink of suicide. As the hours pass, characters are introduced that begin to give her a glimmer of hope. The hope of not feeling no so alone. Will she reject that hope? As the night moves along, secrets and twists unfold that shocked even me. But it’s still not over as the crescendo of suspense forced me to finish this read in two sittings. What will Emily do? Will she give up on life or flirt with the prospects given to her throughout the day? There is only one way to find out. Buy the book. The writing: As I stated, this is written in a first person, present tense. Ironically, this is my least favorite point of view, yet I was drawn to the character and the story. In the beginning of the story, the build up is all in Emily’s head. Therefore there is no real action, no dialogue. Is seemed like a conversation you would hear from your best friend or a diary entry. As the chapters flew by, the characters and action became much better defined and developed. The emotions poured off the screen as the narration became better along the way. What I fear is that some authors and editors who shout “show, don’t tell” will miss their opportunity to take a look into the true to life consequences of our choices, upbringing, and lack of understanding of others. The beginning is full of more storytelling, however, the author and character both seem to emerge from a cocoon. This leaves us an intense, gripping book touching on tough subjects while it hacks away at stigmas placed on the mentally ill.”

Pauline Barclay on 7 April 2015
Four stars – but I am so pleased I did read Broken
“Well written and an emotional page turner. The author sent me a copy of this book and I admit at first when I read the description I didn’t think it was for me, but I am so pleased I did read Broken. The author has the ability to get right inside her character’s head and deliver to the reader what is going on there. I have no problem recommending this book. Put it on your to read list!”

Janice Leibowitz on 3 April 2015
Four stars – A good book that you can’t put down!
“It’s Emily’s birthday, and she has decided, that it’s also the day she’s going to end her life! She’s taken one knock too many, from what she remembers as a dysfunctional upbringing, to her disastrous, abusive marriage, the loss of her baby, and her uninspiring job, she just can’t take anymore and is of the opinion that nobody will miss her, so there’s really no point in carrying on. As we accompany Emily on her last day in existence, we meet the various people who contribute to the unusual life she leads. Each chapter constitutes an hour in Emily’s day, and it is this clever format that contributes to the reader not being able to put this book down! You just can’t wait to see what happens next as the day progresses. And even though we are following Emily through her day on an hourly basis, the author has also managed to ingeniously weave flashbacks and memories into the time frame, so that we’re able to get an in-depth look into what has led Emily to this day. We gain much insight into what makes her tick, and why she is the way she is. This book incorporates important lessons: that first impressions don’t necessarily count; that many things are not as they first appear to be; that most people go through some sort of trauma at some point in their lives; that everyone reacts differently to the obstacles placed in their paths; that there might actually be some people out there who are genuinely nice people!

Bookworm on 30 Mar. 2015
Five stars – A compelling read
“Its the first time I have written a review but felt compelled to do so after reading this compulsive page turner, the author has captured the suspense and held it right to the last pages. This is not my normal read but a friend committed suicide and that is what caught me initially. Well thought out story and fabulous descriptions only small thing I personally didn’t like was the name Djordan ,but a small price to pay for such a good book.”

Kerry P. on 25 Mar 2015
Five stars – Brilliant!
“What a yarn! I’m speechless. Gob smacked! You should get a prize for the most suspense in one story. Broken goes along at a pace that kept me intrigued from the first page to the last.”

Wendy K. on 19 Mar 2015
Five stars – Awesome!
“OMG … such suspense. This is a good story, the scenes are glorious, the descriptions done so well. It is fucking awesome, Roni.”

5-Minute Q&A:

What inspired you to write Broken?

On my Mother’s birthday, the tragic news broke that comedian Robin Williams had committed suicide. Immediately, I felt it was a story that needed to be told. The one lingering question we all have after such a tragedy is always “Why?” and the aim of Broken is, in part, to explore some of the possible answers to that question. At that time, I was working on something else, but this compelling story wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote the outline and began to work on it seriously. It is my hope that, long before our friends and loved ones ever come to make a decision like that, we will be able to avert more tragedy by understanding how people get to such a bleak point of despair that they consider death a viable solution. As we all know too well, and far too painfully, when someone we love decides they want to die, it’s too late to save them after the fact. We need to be there for them long before that decision is ever made. It’s time we all talked to each other about suicide, and open the discussion wide so that nobody ever feels it’s the only solution to their problems.

Tell us a bit about the main character.

The main character is Emily Zylaz, of undetermined age, living in an unspecified city. I did this on purpose so that people of all ages, and all nationalities could read the story and relate to the character. Emily might be 22 and living in New York, or turning 35 in London, or 28 and from Sydney, or Capetown, or Hong Kong. I wanted to create a character that readers from all age groups and all walks of life could relate to on a personal level. Slightly chameleon-ish, Emily can be whoever the reader wants to think she is. As for her story, Emily has had it pretty rough. We know she’s strong, but she’s also a sensitive human being and, when we meet her, she is actually at the end of her rope. The reader walks alongside her throughout each hour of the day, privy to what she thinks, and how she feels, as a witness to every moment of the day she has decided will be her last, and we all try to understand why she so badly wants to die, cheer her on as she conquers a demon or two, as well as wonder if she’s going to make it to tomorrow.

Isn’t writing a book about suicide depressing?

Writing to me is like breathing, so no, the writing part wasn’t the slightest bit depressing. It was exciting to sit down each day with the characters and work with the continuously evolving story. Most days, when I sat down to write, I was just as eager as my readers to find out what would happen next.

Can you describe your writing process?

Firstly, I planned out this book, chapter by chapter. Then, filled out the details of my main character so I had an idea who was narrating the story. From there, the rest just flowed. As I wrote, the original plan was trashed and the story pretty much developed itself. Most of the best “aha!” moments came to me while I was washing dishes or chopping onions. Creating all the suspense was the most fun, and having a few readers along the way was extremely helpful. I’d write a chapter and send it away, then the feedback would come and I’d make adjustments according to how the readers responded to each chapter. It helped to make the story a lot tighter and any obvious flaws were picked up as I wrote.

Have you ever felt suicidal?

Yes, I have. More than once. Depression is such a dark, insidious disease that it can work its way deep inside your mind and convince you that death is the only way to make all the pain go away. One of the things that has saved my life, apart from the unconditional love of my family, is knowing that I’m not alone. There are others who have suffered, and who are still suffering, as I suffer. There are others who have grieved, hurt, struggled, fought, lost, cried, who have been bullied, abused, ostracized, beaten, and almost given up, just as I have. In this, I am not alone. No one is alone. There is always someone who will be there for us. Suicide isn’t the solution. I would urge anyone who feels suicidal to talk about it – just talk, to friends, to family, to complete strangers, to support groups, to helplines or call centers, to doctors or health professionals, to anyone. I would also urge anyone who hears someone talk about suicide to show compassion. Suicide is currently ranked as the third leading cause of death worldwide among people aged 15-35 years. We need to open up an honest dialogue about support and prevention, and we need to do it right now.


Mompiche: A Foreign Perspective


Mompiche Front Cover sm

Ver la entrevista con Roni debajo


“The first time I got off the bus and stepped onto the beach in Mompiche, I fell head over heels in love. I adored the spectacular beaches, the tranquil lifestyle, the soul-lifting music and dance, the amazing variety of fresh seafood, and the incredible range of tropical fruit. Since then, it’s been one hell of a journey.
The last five and a half years have been a period of learning, observing, absorbing and integration. When I first arrived in Mompiche, I wasn’t able to string together a coherent sentence in Spanish. Full immersion into a culture with people who didn’t speak a word of English quickly changed that; my desire to communicate was the only motivation required.
Imagine, if you will, a single foreign woman living in a country not her own, striving to live harmoniously with people who are so vastly different from her own tribe. The biggest struggle being a clash of cultures so profound that, at times, there has never been a way to build a bridge between them.
Acceptance of the casual ‘the way things are’ attitude on my side of the coin has sometimes been like swallowing a bucket of nails. It is in my nature to fight against injustice, to protect nature, to give a voice to the voiceless, and to encourage change for the better. Oftentimes, practising the ‘when in Rome’ adage can be an excruciating exercise. However, I came to Momiche to live in
peace and it has been vital to find a way to exist serenely among concepts and actions with which I don’t always agree. Endeavoring to seek out the positives and appreciate the beauty in a fishing village so remote it has barely made a spot on the map has been arduous, but worthwhile.”

– Roni Askey-Doran

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Mompiche: A Foreign Perspective is comprised of 125 photographs that journalist and photograher Roni Askey-Doran has taken over her five plus years of residency in the remote fishing village, depicting local people going about their daily lives, wildlife in peril, and the beautiful landscapes surrounding Mompiche, Ecuador. Each photograph is accompanied by a brief comment in English and Spanish.

Mompiche: Una Perspectiva Extranjera está compuesta por 125 fotografías que la periodista y photograher Roni Askey-Doran ha apoderado de sus cinco o más años de residencia en un remoto pueblo de pescadores, que representa la población local que van sobre sus vidas cotidianas, la vida silvestre en peligro, y los hermosos paisajes al rededor de Mompiche, Ecuador. Cada fotografía está acompañada de un breve comentario en Inglés y Español.


John Bartley on December 14, 2014
“Mompiche is a photo essay that realistically depicts life in, what the author makes clear, is a fishing village. While the photography may not have the technical perfection of National Geographic, many of the chosen photos are amazing and wonderfully convey a sense of “real life” in Mompiche. Some of the pictures are funny, some serious, some sad, some whimsical, some joyful, but all present everyday life in the village. Some of the food-related pictures are mouth-watering; you can almost taste and smell those shrimp in the pan. The captions are in English and Spanish. Regardless of the language, the author is clearly insightful, caring about the environment and concerned about living things, whether plant, animal or human. Even the village philosophy is revealed – “no one thinks about tomorrow.”





Interview with the author / Entrevista con la autora

What inspired your latest book?

It was all about sharing the beauty of the village, the beach, and the people. In the midst of so much struggle; climate change, rapid development, and destruction of the environment, I really wanted to focus on the positive aspects of Mompiche and show off its magnificent diversity.

¿Qué le inspiró su último libro?

Se trataba de compartir la belleza del pueblo, la playa y la gente. En medio de tanta lucha; el cambio climático, el desarrollo rápido, y la destrucción del medio ambiente, que realmente quería centrarme en los aspectos positivos de Mompiche y mostrar su magnífica diversidad.

Is this your first book of photography?

Yes. I’ve worked as a photographer in the past, but have never produced a book of my own works. It was a grand undertaking and I enjoyed every moment, from selecting the photos from thousands of pictures, to choosing each accompanying comment, and even designing the covers.

¿Esta es su primer libro de fotografía?

Sí. He trabajado como fotógrafo en el pasado, pero he nunca producido un libro de mi propio arte. Fue una gran compromiso y disfruté cada momento, desde la selección de las fotos de miles de imágenes, a la elección de cada comentario que acompaña las fotos, e incluso el diseño de las cubiertas.

How long have you worked on this project?

Five and a half years. The idea for this kind of book has been in my head for decades. Over time, I gathered photos from several aspects of life in Mompiche, until I felt there were enough good images depicting real life in the village to make an interesting book.

¿Cuánto tiempo llevas trabajando en este proyecto?

Cinco años y medio. La idea de este tipo de libro ha estado en mi cabeza hace décadas. Poco a poco, me reuní fotos de varios aspectos de la vida en Mompiche hasta que sentí que había suficientes buenos imágenes que representan la vida real en el pueblo para hacer un libro interesante.

You have traveled all over the world and can live anywhere you want, so why did you choose Mompiche to build a house?

Actually, it was such an easy choice, simple lifestyle, beautiful beach, fantastic foods, far away from the cities … I needed the tranquility. The climate is excellent too. The seafood …

Ha viajado por todo el mundo y puede vivir en cualquier lugar que desee, así que ¿por qué elegir Mompiche para construir una casa?

En realidad, se trataba de una opción tan fácil, sencillo estilo de vida, una hermosa playa, comidas fantásticas, muy lejos de las ciudades … necesitaba la tranquilidad. El clima es excelente también. Los mariscos … 

What would you say has been the greatest challenge of living in Mompiche?

Fitting in. Mostly because I refuse to be something I’m not. I don’t pretend to like things I don’t like. I don’t tolerate things that are intolerable: abuse, violence, injustice, the mindless destruction of nature, etc. I say what I think and many people don’t appreciate that. It seems to be culturally unacceptable to be truthful. Lately, I don’t say anything much. Mompiche leaves me kind of speechless sometimes.

¿Qué le dirías ha sido el desafío más grande de vivir en Mompiche?

La integración. Sobre todo porque me niego a ser algo que no soy. No pretendo que gustar las cosas que no me gustan. No tolero las cosas que son intolerables: el abuso, la violencia, la injusticia, la destrucción sin sentido de la naturaleza, etc. Yo digo lo que pienso y muchas personas no aprecian eso. Parece culturalmente inaceptable ser veraz. Últimamente, no digo nada. Mompiche me deja sin palabras a veces.

What is your favorite thing about the village?

There are so many magical places in and around Mompiche: the cemetery, Black Beach, the river, the mountains. I guess one of my favorite places is Las Lianas, a secret waterfall nearby the river. It’s so peaceful there.

¿Cuál es tu parte favorita del pueblo?

Hay tantos lugares maravillosos en y cerca de Mompiche: el cementerio, la Playa Negra, el río, las montañas. Creo que uno de mis lugares favoritos es Las Lianas, una cascada secreta por el río. Es tan tranquilo allí.

Is there anything about Mompiche you don’t like?

A few things. The mining. The destruction of the environment. The corruption. The lack of education has the most impact because it affects the way people think about everything else around them. If everyone in Mompiche had access to education (not only in schools), they wouldn’t blindly accept many of the things that are happening now.

¿Hay algo en Mompiche que no te gusta?

Algunas cosas. La minera. La destrucción del medio ambiente. La corrupción. La falta de educación tiene el mayor impacto porque afecta a la forma de pensar acerca de todo lo demás a su alrededor. Si todos en Mompiche tenía acceso a la educación (no sólo en las escuelas), no aceptarían ciegamente muchas de las cosas que están pasando ahora.

What’s the most unbelievable rumor ever spread around town about you?

Haha! That I fly around on a broom at night, wearing black vulture feathers, hunting for children to eat.

¿Cuál es el rumor más increíble jamás se extendió por el pueblo acerca de usted?

Jaja! Que vuelo en una escoba en la noche, vestida con las plumas de buitre, cazando niños para comer.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?

I would buy all 10 properties surrounding mine and fill the entire area with tropical fruit trees and organic gardens. I’d create a lush food forest and either exchange or sell organic vegetables cheaper than the trucks selling the produce that comes from the mountains.

Si pudieras volver atrás en el tiempo, ¿qué harías diferente?

Me gustaría comprar todas las 10 propiedades que rodean mi tierra y llenar todo el área con árboles frutales y jardines orgánicos. Me gustaría crear un bosque de alimentos y intercambiar o vender verduras orgánicas más baratos que los camionetas de verduras que vienen de las montañas.

Describe Mompiche in three words.

Beautiful. Remote. Complicated.

Describir Mompiche en tres palabras.

Hermoso. Remoto. Complicado.

You were a chef at one time in your life. What is your favorite traditional Ecuadorian food to cook?

There are a few favorites, but my number one is definitely Encocado: fresh wild fish, shrimp or lobster cooked in delicious fresh coconut sauce and seasoned with wild cilantro is the best food on the planet.

Usted fue una chef en un momento en la vida. ¿Cuál es la favorita comida Ecuatoriana tradicional para cocinar?

Hay algunos favoritos, pero mi número uno sin duda es Encocado. Pescado, langostinos o langostas recien salido del mar, cocida en una deliciosa salsa de coco fresco y sazonado con chillangua es la mejor comida en el planeta.

Which tropical fruit do you eat the most?

I eat a lot of bananas – a lot. I may have been a monkey in a previous life.

¿Qué fruta tropical comes más?

Yo como muchos de los bananos – muchos. Yo podría haber sido una mona en una vida anterior.

How do you view the traditional roles for men and women in Mompiche?

I’m only looking in from the outside, but what I see is too many women stuck in unhappy relationships. I feel that if they knew more about opportunities available for women, they could become more independent. So far, my experience of men in the village is that many of them are quite chauvinistic. Again, I believe education could change these attitudes. At the same time, it’s not my culture, and I can’t change it. It’s very difficult to accept, too.

¿Qué opinas de los roles tradicionales de hombres y mujeres en Mompiche?

Sólo estoy mirando desde el exterior, pero lo que veo es que demasiadas mujeres atrapadas en relaciones infelices. Siento que si sabían más sobre las oportunidades disponibles para las mujeres, podrían ser más independientes. Hasta ahora, mi experiencia de los hombres en el pueblo es que muchos de ellos son bastante machistas. Una vez más, creo que la educación puede cambiar estas actitudes. Al mismo tiempo, no es mi cultura, y yo no puedo cambiarla. Es muy difícil aceptarlo, también.

Are you married or involved with anyone in Mompiche?

Hell, no. Hahaha! I like my life just as it is.

¿Está usted casado o involucrados con cualquier persona en Mompiche?

Diablos, no. Jajaja! Me gusta mi vida tal como es.

Has Mompiche changed in the time you have lived there?

It has changed a great deal. When I arrived, there were palm trees on the beach. The road was just a dirt track. There was only one car in the village. The old bridge went over the river, that’s gone now. Electricity was unreliable – well, that hasn’t changed!

¿Ha cambiado Mompiche en el tiempo que lleva viviendo allí?

Ha cambiado mucho. Cuando llegué, había palmeras en la playa. La carretera era sólo un camino de tierra. Sólo había un carro en el pueblo. El viejo puente fue por encima del río, que se ha ido ahora. La electricidad era poco fiable – bueno, eso no ha cambiado!

If you could change one thing about the last five years, what would it be?

If I had the power to stop the sea from rising every year, and threatening the village, I would do that.

Si pudieras cambiar una sola cosa de los últimos cinco años, ¿qué sería?

Si tuviera el poder de detener el mar se eleve cada año, y amenazando el pueblo, me gustaría hacer eso.

Which do you read more, fiction or non-fiction?

Non-fiction. I like to read stories about events that have changed people’s lives.

¿Qué lees más, ficción o no-ficción?

No Ficción. Me gusta leer historias sobre los eventos que han cambiado la vida de las personas.

Do you believe there is intelligent life on earth?

Judging by the way that human beings are destroying mother earth faster than she can regenerate herself makes me think that no, there is no intelligent life on earth.

¿Cree usted que hay vida inteligente en la Tierra?

A juzgar por la forma en que los humanos están destruyendo la pachamama más rápido de lo que puede regenerarse a sí misma me hace pensar que no, no hay vida inteligente en la Tierra.

Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.

Sometimes, while I’m writing, I wear pyjamas all day and eat nothing but chili popcorn.

Cuéntanos algo sobre ti que nadie sabe.

A veces, mientras estoy escribiendo, me pongo el pijama todo el día y comer no más que canguil de ají.

What’s next for you?

I’m writing a book about life in Mompiche – non-fiction – called Ya Mismo: Thirty Minutes North of Zero. I’m not sure when it will be finished, it’s still a work in progress.

¿Qué sigue para ti?

Estoy escribiendo un libro sobre la vida en Mompiche – no ficción – llamado Ya Mismo: Treinta Minutos al Norte de Cero. No estoy seguro de cuándo va a estar terminado, sigue siendo un trabajo en progreso.

Ya Mismo

After thirty years on the road, Roni Askey-Doran abandons her nomadic lifestyle to set up house in a remote coastal village in the middle of the world. A tiny fishermen’s haven nurtured by the Pacific Ocean, Mompiche barely earns its dot on the Ecuadorian map. Pursuing her dreams to design her own eco-friendly home and get her hands dirty in rich topsoil, Roni easily settles into the small community but quickly finds herself challenged on many levels.

In a culture far removed from her own she encounters some unique problems; from bathing in buckets of cold water every day to frequent power failures, doing battle with flesh-eating parasites to almost dying of dengue fever, and enduring the daily harassment about being unacceptably single to machete-wielding lunatics threatening to kill her. Not to mention the lack of chocolate and marshmallows in the store, the disappointment of discovering the once-a-week fruit and vege truck is out of garlic, and struggling to survive the leanest times on five dollars a week. As the bamboo shack rises from sticks in the mud to take shape and the first organic tomato plants begin to bear fruit, the neighbors begin a relentless campaign of terror to force out la gringa loca – even resorting to witchcraft.

Ya Mismo: Thirty Minutes North of Zero is a crazy story that unfolds from the moment Roni steps off the bus and follows a winding trail through a complex and mystifying culture that first embraces her but then chews her up and spits her out. Wheedling the recipes of traditional dishes from the local women, Roni learns to feed her soul as well as her body, losing over thirty kilos (70lb) along the way. She learns to dance like a Latina, speak like a Mompichera and celebrate the unique traditions of her adopted culture, simultaneously despairing the mindless exploitation and destruction of precious natural resources, and waging war on the army of land crabs that chomp on her vegetable seedlings.

Ya Mismo is a gritty rollercoaster of a tale about what can happen when you force a square peg into a round hole. This amazing story is still being written. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the infrequently updated blog: Ya Mismo: Thirty Minutes North Of Zero.

Status: Work in Progress.
Expected finish date: One of these days.

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Phew! Argh! Eeew!


Phew! Argh! Eeew! Travel Tales I Never Told Mum is a fantastic collection of short travel tales so enthralling, so gripping, and so chilling to read that you’ll never leave home again.

When this intrepid young backpacker first embarked on her adventures around the globe, even her own wild imagination could not have conjured up some of the unforetold events that took place in her thirty-five years of travel.

Despite being hijacked in Bulgaria, nearly dying of Malaria in India, being imprisoned in Ecuador and almost blown to pieces in Turkey, Roni lived to tell her stories in the vivid and humorous style for which she is known. The only person she never told was her mother….

In the safety of your armchair, hang on for dear life as Roni takes you on a journey you will not soon forget.

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Kiwiscantfly on 22 Oct 2017
Five stars
“Thoroughly enjoyable book. Not only does it transport you to the regions that many of us will never venture describing them beautifully, but regales with many a tale of adventures, some wonderful, others frightening.”

Ros on 26 Dec 2017
Four stars
“Roni tells the travelling tales the rest of us can never tell our mums! What doesn’t kill you makes for a good story.”

mark masserant on 27 Jul 2018
Five stars
Format: Paperback
Another great read by Roni! I think you’ll love it. Exciting and humorous in a way only Roni can do it. Check it out!

Going Bananas

Half blog, half cookbook, Going Freaking Bananas provides an insight into the many different ways in which bananas can be consumed, 101 ways to be exact. Several types of bananas, both green and yellow, and even purple feature in this book with easy to read recipes and fun stories.

If you thought just peeling and eating was the only thing you could do with a banana, think again. This lovely little book will enlighten and entertain with new ideas about how to eat your bananas. Check out the BLOG here.

Status: Work in Progress
Expected Finish Date: up in the air

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Annus Horribilis

At the lowest point in her life, Kirsten Smith wakes up under a lantana bush on New Year’s Day. Determined to reinvent herself, she vows to rise above her worst moment.

Throughout the year, Kirsten and her best friends are flung into a hysterical romp through life; their mishaps and adventures ultimately force them to question themselves and their perceptions of love, beauty, sex, men and even their friendship.

Hilarious and heart-breaking, Kirsten’s year of self-renovation culminates in an enchanting love triangle, an unexpected new family, and a surprising new career. (Warning: this novel is slightly naughty.)

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Ruth B. on January 28 2015
Five stars
– Riotous 
“This made me laugh! A little bit loud and inappropriately at times too! If you are after a light, easy read that is funny, politically incorrect, with a good story line and some inventive invective, this is the read for you. Roni, I enjoyed this read immensely. Made me snort several times….to the point of tears.”

Alicia H. on February 9 2015
Five stars
– Hilarious
“You have to read
Annus Horribilis if you have ever had an embarrassing moment…it will make you laugh out-loud, and mostly likely pee yourself in mirth! On top of that you will forever see you own personal misadventures as not so bad and funny to boot! Thank you Roni and Kirsten for showing us the lighter side of life even when its heavy!”

Lyne February 21, 2015
Five stars – Funniest book I have ever read
“I cried laughing reading this book! It is not only funny but has touching moments that will make you want to giggle and cry at the same time. This characters are hilarious and truly demonstrate loyalty in friendship. This story rollicks along at a snappy pace and is truly entertaining. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to laugh!”

Theresa Price  on November 2, 2014
Five stars – Brilliant
“Roni is certainly an eloquent writer… I was laughing the whole way through! Hilarious… brilliant… Highly recommend this!”

Q&A: The Guardian (would happily do it if I was asked…)

The questions remain unchanged from the original Q&A Rosanna Greenstreet (@celebQandA) did with Miriam Margolyes …

Life and Style > The Q&A

Roni Askey-DoranSM

“Just give me a second, I need to put my vibrator away.”

Q&A: Roni Askey-Doran

Born in Launceston, Tasmania, 48, never attended college. In 1978 she won a Grease Disco Dancing contest, was awarded Best Beachwear Design in a state Fashion Design Competition in 1982, and in 1999 was awarded Best Travel Writer in a Lonely Planet Writing Competition. She is a champion for Mental Illness awareness and writes comedy, drama and true life. She currently lives in Ecuador.

When were you happiest?
In 2009, I spent one whole year working on me, on my spiritual, physical, emotional and mental health. I didn’t work, I took a whole year off just to focus on myself, it was bliss.

What is your greatest fear?
That I won’t achieve my goal: to write books without ever having to wonder where my next meal is coming from.

What is your earliest memory?
Walking through an airport with my parents and seeing this sea of bare knees under the hems of short pants and skirts passing by my eyes. I was three years old when we moved from Adelaide to Sydney.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Anyone who has overcome insurmountable odds.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A sense of lostness that sometimes creeps up on me and causes terrible lethargy.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Years ago, I was giving a seminar and the mobile phone in my jeans pocket kept vibrating for almost the entire hour that I was speaking. As I was packing up my things, some people came over to talk to me and I said out loud, “Just give me a second, I need to put my vibrator away.”

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My fat thighs.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Tasmanian tigers.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I don’t think I can say that here.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Leaving the toilet door open.

What is your favourite word?

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
When I was a teenager, everyone always told me that I was stupid. It took me ages to ‘unbelieve’ them.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I never feel guilty about things that give me pleasure, but my favourite pleasure is lying in a hammock with a good book and a bowl of chili popcorn.

To whom would you most like to say sorry and why?
To all the people who have suffered for my craziness.

What was the best kiss of your life?
It was a full moon… we walked on the beach….

Which living person do you most despise and why?
Tony Abbott, for his efforts to destroy Australia’s environment.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, Gertrude Stein, Jack Kerouac, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A bestseller.

What is your greatest achievement?
To stand tall and proud in the face of life’s challenges.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

How would you like to be remembered?
As a talented writer and an adventurous woman.

Where would you most like to be right now?
Scuba diving.

Tell us a secret.
I never use soap to wash my face.


Pendulum FRONT 17 Oct 17 tiny
Zara Kaplan has been sexually abused by her grandfather since she was a child. At sixteen, Zara runs away. In the city, Jay Thorndyke rescues Zara from the streets, and the unlikely pair become fast friends. In the heart of the red-light district, Zara is plunged into a whirlwind of wild parties, alcohol, and drugs.

Zara’s friends have no inkling of her tormented past, or her checkered present. She can’t find the words to tell them her horrific story. Wrapped up in their own troubles, Zara’s friends are oblivious to her plight.

Seeking relief from her tortured memories, Zara sinks deeper into an abyss of reckless oblivion, heading down an ominous road littered with sex, drugs, and death.

Can her friends save her in time?

Pendulum will soon be available in the Bookshop in paperback and e-book.
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Chasing Unicorns

CHASING UNICORNS ChasingUnicornsWPBookshop

Carl Rutherford is an award-winning businessman. He’s a respected member of the community, a board member on a number of prominent construction companies. His friends include the mayor, the police commissioner and several high-profile senators. Carl is also a pedophile.

Chasing Unicorns is the journey of Carl’s victims and how they survived. Carl is arrested and brought before the courts. He is confronted by his victims, each of whom has struggled to come to terms with the abuse.

During the judicial process, the four women unite and march together to seek justice. Jade, Ruby, Katie and Lizzie form strong bonds and lasting friendships. Can they win against such a rich and influential man?

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Melanie on April 19, 2015
5 stars I loved it!
Chasing unicorns is a gripping page-turner. Wanting to know what happens next kept me reading (too) quickly and until the small hours of the morning. Now that I’ve finished it, I know I’ll read it again – more slowly this time, to really take it in properly. There is a lot to take in and to process: this is a novel about child abuse, based on the true story of the author’s own life and struggles. Yet it is far from being a depressing read. Besides the tough – shocking even – moments of the abuse itself, the feelings of the victims, and the wreckage it causes to their lives, this is actually a story of hope and survival. As you follow these 4 women in their fight for justice, the pain of the abuse is slowly superseded by the combined effects of their resolve to regain control over their lives, and the support and love of their family and friends, both female and male. Strength, courage, hope, love, joy: this book shows you can climb out of hell and turn your life around. Truly inspiring!

Lyne on February 21, 2015
5 stars I loved this book!
“This book kept me turning pages and avoiding responsibilities until I finished the last page. It was more than a page turner, it was a story that got me concerned and involved with the characters and their stories and I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened to them. This book is full of hard emotion and it dealt beautifully with some very real issues. I read this book a while ago and it stays with me, every single part of it and I would be happy to see a sequel. Do yourself a favour and read Chasing Unicorns. Chances are you will find yourself more involved in a book than you have ever been. I loved this book!”

Susan Johnson on November 29, 2014
5 stars I would highly recommend it
“A story of three women and the tragic events that connects them. Chasing unicorns is about the victims of a pedophile. The story begins with one of his victims attempting to take her life. Luckily she survives and with the help of a friendly detective, starts to take action against the abuser. During this time the detective happens across another victim who is working as a prostitute. As the book unfolds the reader realizes the pedophile actually has a 14 year old girl captive. The book is extremely well written and deals with such a delicate issue with the respect and tenderness it deserves. These are stories that need to be told but be warned the book is graphic and can be uncomfortable for some. I would highly recommend it.”

Little Book of Strine

frontcoversmall“G’day mate! Owyergaan? Ya’ orright, or what?”

For those who don’t get the drift, at last, here is the ultimate all-in-one guide to the bizarre spoken language of Australia! Ever spoken to an Aussie and wondered what they’re rabbiting on about? This book will help to decipher Strine so all youse will be able to twig on and join the yabbering! “Yeah mate, no wuckers!”

Whether you’re at home, out with Aussie friends, or headed Down Under to go walkabout, this little phrasebook is the answer to your all your ridgy-didge language strife. Over 250 pages of definitions and entertaining illustrations will make a bonzer difference next time an Ocker crosses your path.

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WARNING: This book is not politically correct, and contains explicit content not suitable for children or those easily offended. (See the Disclaimer on page 3 for clarification.)

With over 250 pages of the wonderfully colloquial Australian language laid out in easy-to-read print and colourfully illustrated with original eye-catching designs, this laugh-out-loud guide to Australian (pronounced “Strine”) will amuse you and your family and friends for years to come. Just like a regular dictionary, “Strine” words and phrases are accompanied by their true meanings, synonyms and sometimes their origin. The Little Book of Strine is the perfect culture and language guide for anyone who is travelling to the Land Down Under, has Aussie friends they can’t understand, or ! Entertainment and education all rolled into one great little package!

The Little Book Of STRINE
The Language of Australia: Deciphered







I’m Bipolar And I Know It!

CoverIBAIKIKindle DETERMINED to treat her Bipolar Disorder with compassion, awareness, love, and understanding, instead of prescription medications, Roni Askey-Doran embarks on a dangerous solo mission to salvage her sanity and somehow create the balance in her life that she desperately needs to survive. I’m Bipolar And I Know It tells her amazing story in vivid colors, the challenges and triumphs, the almost insurmountable odds, and her ultimate success in learning to live alongside her terrible mental illnesses with true inner peace and eventual happiness. Roni describes each arduous step she took towards her ultimate healing. Written in a no-holds-barred tragi-comic style, her hard-won successes and her dismal, sometimes life-threatening failures are outlined in great detail, guiding the reader through some quite unexpected methods of healing and some very surprising outcomes.

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Read the Introduction.
Hear the ABC Radio Interview.
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Melanie on June 17, 2014
Five stars – Not just for bipolaroids but for everybody!
“I’m a friend of Roni’s and I had no clue she was bipolar until I heard about the book. I bought it because I like her writing style and because I wanted to support her, but now that I have finished it, I think it should be on the self-help shelf of every library! This book is not just for bipolaroids, but also for anybody who suffers from depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, or has a low self-esteem… or even anybody who, like me, is usually cheerful but has faced some difficult situations in life which have brought moments of despair and self-doubt. AND it’s also for friends and family. Which means EVERYBODY can benefit from this book. Far from being theoretical, Roni talks about her own life and how she has managed to deal with all the difficult situations she has faced. She offers the reader a very practical toolkit, in which each of us should be able to find something useful for his/her on life. Above all, this is an amazing survival story.”

Famous Last Words

The Thing About Semen
The Question of Lithium
The Sweet Life
Breaking Up With The Supermarket
From Suicidal to Sensational
and more…