RCCD student Abrendal Austin combines her past with a passion for writing as she works on her third novel.
Abrendal Austin’s journey started in the 1980s after she read a story about a poor black woman and her life.
The book’s name is “Ossie Guffy” and the story takes you back in time when African American women struggled with poverty and the horrendous challenges they faced.
Abrendal was immediately inspired by the easy read of the book and felt she had stories of her own that could make a great novel. She had always been a reader and had a passion for writing short stories.
She was in her 30s when she enrolled in a 12-week fiction technique course taught by Marion Pace at Riverside Community College and she loved it. By 1989, she decided to focus on becoming a novelist.
In 1992, Abrendal signed up for classes full time at Riverside Community College and Norco College while working as a reporter for local newspapers including the Black Voice, the Corona Weekly Review and the Corona Norco Independent.
While taking Norco College’s newspaper class, Abrendal entered a contest and received the Best Feature Award from the Orange County Register in 1992 for a news story.
The winning story was about the Norco campus during winter break. The only person available for her writing assignment to interview was a campus cop.
At this point in her life she set her goal on a bachelor’s degree and she wanted to increase her writing skills and expand her career as a novelist.
“It’s all about learning and why I go to school, and that’s how you get better,” Abrendal says.
In 2005, Abrendal published her first novel, “A Fugitive’s Wife,” a fictional book based on a true story. This novel won her an award from USA book news. The story is about a happy, young African American couple in Los Angeles during the changing times of the early 1970s.
The book is based on Abrendal’s own experiences. Years before she wrote this book, her husband had been charged with a crime he did not commit and both were on the run from the law and fled to Los Angeles. Then, at nine months pregnant, Abrendal realized her husband had another woman. Her perspective of her life changed dramatically and she knew it was up to her to work toward a brighter future. She eventually left her husband.
Two years later, Abrendal published “On a Clear Day You Can See
LA,” a sequel to her first book. The story continues as the young woman returns to Los Angeles and her life is turned upside down as the past catches up with her. The character is a young woman who followed her heart, which took her on a path of many directions.
Abrendal is currently working on book three in this series that will bring her fictional character full circle.
This semester Abrendal will finish her coursework at Riverside Community College and Norco College and will transfer in the fall to California Baptist University in Riverside. She plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2012. She says she will continue to write short stories and publish fiction.