Renee Writes

Posts tagged Interview

Liebster Award – My Second Nomination! :-D

First of all, thank you to Allison D. Reid for nominating me for this award. It’s the second time I’ve been nominated since starting this blog a few years ago, so that’s pretty cool. 😀

Now to answer Allison’s questions:

1. What is your favorite book, or if you prefer, your favorite author?

This always changes with my mood, but so far Terry Goodkind is probably my ultimate favorite. I absolutely love his Sword of Truth series. 😀

2. Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, if so where?

It’s a tie between Scotland and Italy. Scotland because it’s just so beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to see it in real life. And Italy because my mom is of Italian descent, and it would be nice to see the place where some of my ancestors have come from.

3. What do you enjoy about blogging, and how has your blog changed in unexpected ways since you started it?

I originally started my blog to share my writing and gain new readers. Since then, it’s also turned into a place where I share what I learn about writing and the industry with other authors as well. I love blogging as long as it’s not something I HAVE to do and something I just do when the mood strikes me. I find I enjoy it a lot more when I’m not forcing myself. It’s another way for me to get my thoughts out of my head and maybe entertain/inform others in the process.

4. What’s your preferred writing and/or blogging space?

My desk is in the lounge room right next to a huge sliding glass door that overlooks our back yard. I love having the TV going behind me for background noise when I write/blog. When the weather is nice, I also like to take my laptop out onto the deck and sit outside to write. I haven’t had much chance to do that with the hot weather, but it’s cooling down now. Just have to wait for a rain free day. 😀

5. How do you find inspiration?

I don’t often have to go looking for inspiration. It generally comes to me in the form of dreams and a very vivid and overactive imagination. When I do need inspiration, usually for short stories, I use a plot generator to get my creative juices flowing. I don’t use one idea though. I usually read through a few of them until inspiration strikes and my imagination takes over.

6. What do you like to do for fun when you need a break from writing (or from your blog)?

Read… I read or play Star Wars: The Old Republic online. Or I watch movies with my family and play board games with my daughter. Sometimes we’ll even bake together or do science experiments, but that happens less often as she’s getting older.

7. What started you down the road of writing and/or blogging?

I’ve always liked telling stories I’d make up on the spot. My friends thought I was crazy, but they loved my stories. I never considered writing them down until I was in college. My English instructor suggested I get some of my work published. But it still took a while before I finally came around to making a career of it. Blogging came naturally as a result, I guess. It just made sense to have a blog as a way to keep my readers informed.

8. Are there any Indie authors you would recommend to readers looking for a good book?

Yes, definitely. If you like epic fantasy with a steampunk feel and assassins, you’ll really love Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge series. You can download the first book free on Amazon. I’m also really enjoying Joshua Robertson’s dark fantasy book, Melkorka. It’s taking me forever to read because I’m more tired than usual lately and I fall asleep almost as soon as I start reading (that’s normal for me when my immune system is out of whack). And I’m loving Allison’s Wind Rider Chronicles too. It’s Christian fantasy, but its themes are subtle and non-preachy if that kind of thing bothers you. It’s a really good story, and I definitely recommend it.

9. How do you keep yourself motivated?

I don’t have to be motivated to write. If I don’t write my anxiety and stress levels go through the roof. Writing keeps me sane, and I love it. There are days I don’t feel like getting my brain in gear, but I just tell myself I’ll write and paragraph and stop, but I very rarely stop after a paragraph.

10. What superpower would you choose and why?

Considering I don’t have a car, flying would be a good one to have. Even if I did have a car, flying would be awesome!

11. What four people would you invite to a dinner party; contemporary, historical, or fictional?

Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi most definitely. I mean, real Jedi in my house. How cool would that be? Jamie Oliver, because I’d need his advice and help with the menu. And my grandfather. I didn’t get to see him before he died, so I’d love to see him one last time. Preferably as a spirit and not a zombie…

I’m supposed to nominate 11 others, but just about everyone I would nominate have already been nominated recently, and the rest don’t have blogs. So I’m breaking the rules this time. I nominated people last time, so I think I can get away with it. 😉


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Author Spotlight: The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Tiffany McDaniel with her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything. Tiffany shared a bit about herself in an interview, but first…

An Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. She is the winner of the Not-the-Booker Prize for her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything, which was a Goodreads Choice Award double nominee.

About the Book

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Original Watercolor by Tiffany McDaniel

Why did you decide to be a writer?

Writing is the first thing I remember doing as a child without being told to do so. I’ve always had an innate desire to write down what’s in my head. I never decided to be a writer. I just embraced the story within me.

What inspires you to write?

For me, the inspiration always comes from the characters. I’m inspired to write a story that honors the characters and honors their truths.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

I have eight written novels and on average they’ve taken me a month to write. One novel I wrote in eight days. My pace may sound fast but I don’t like for the story to sit for too long or it loses its essence. The quality control comes in the drafting and copy-editing stages, which can take longer.

What are your goals as an author?

My goal would be to make a career out of words. I hope to be an author that readers can trust with their time and that I not only entertain with my writing but that I also write something that encourages thought. I hope to be part of a larger conversation. A conversation about who we are. A conversation about who we want to be.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

Aside from writing, I enjoy the outdoors and doing things in nature like gardening. I also like baking. Art is a big part of my life and I use all mediums from charcoal to pastel, pencil to paint. I also love film.

Original Watercolor by Tiffany McDaniel

How many books do you have on your “to read” list? What are some of them?

I have quite a few. The new Shirley Jackson biography by Ruth Franklin and Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco among them.

What is your writing process?

I never outline or plan the story ahead. I like for the story to evolve one word and one page at a time. Directing a story too much can domesticate it. I like to preserve the story’s wild soul.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

I always start writing a new novel with the title and the first line. These two things put me on the path to the rest of the story. Titles can come from anywhere. In the case of The Summer that Melted Everything, it was one of those Ohio summers that was so hot I felt like I was melting. A little arranging of words, and the title was born out of true heat.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

My advice would be to never give up. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen. I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything, which is my first published novel but my fifth or sixth written. For me it was a long eleven year journey full of rejection and perseverance. For those writers still on the journey to publication, it’s important to never give up and never turn your back on your dreams.

Author Spotlight: The Sand Prince (The Demon Door Book One) by Kim Alexander

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! Kim Alexander is returning today to share the new cover for the first book in The Demon Door series, The Sand Prince. Before we get to the book and new cover, let’s learn more about Kim!

Kim Alexander grew up in the wilds of Long Island, NY and slowly drifted south until she reached Key West. After spending ten rum-soaked years as a DJ in the Keys, she moved to Washington DC, where she lives with two cats, an angry fish, and her extremely patient husband. She began writing when she ran out of authors to interview (and they pulled the plug on her channel, Sirius XM Book Radio.)

Kim was in her twenties when she finally read a book not prominently featuring spaceships and/or wizards. Turns out Jane Austen was pretty funny!

The Sand Prince is Kim’s first novel and begins a fantasy series called The Demon Door. Her husband tells her she needs to write at least ten more books if she intends to retire in Thailand, so thank you for your patronage.

If you’d like to know more about Kim, keep reading for an interview below.

Connect with the Author

Amazon Author Page

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About the Book

Two worlds, bound by magic, divided by a door.

On the war-ravaged demon world of Eriis, Hellne, the fierce young queen, fights to keep her people alive…

On the green and gentle human world of Mistra, the demons have faded into myth. Only a handful of old men and children still guard The Door between the worlds…

Rhuun, the Prince of Eriis, uncovers a forgotten book written by a human, sparking an obsession with the other world. When he is forced to flee Eriis, he must escape through The Door or pay the price in blood.

The humans of Mistra are not what Rhuun was expecting—and one insufferable young woman in particular is about to find out that the demons of Eriis are not mythological after all…

Get it today on Amazon!



Keep reading for an interview with the author:

What genre do you write?

I write epic fantasy. I love exploring other worlds.

Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it?

I have a short novel about to come out which is my first stab at fast paced urban fantasy–it was a lot of fun to write! It’s called Pure and it’s a re imagining of The Unicorn in Captivity.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

Because this is a full-time thing, I can write a long novel in less than a year. When I say ‘long’ I mean roughly 120,000 words. I can do a shorter one (35,000 or so) in about four months.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

My MC’s best friend Ilaan, a demon of Eriis, is extremely clever, has an unusually high degree of power, is in a happy relationship with his boyfriend, and is an all around badass and pleasure to be around. At least in book one.

What authors have most influenced you?

Let’s see….Anne Rice for deliriously lush prose, Frank Herbert for world building, China Mieville for fearless writing, Neil Gaiman for being alive in the world…I could go on (and on!)

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

My last career was to interview authors for Sirius XM Book Radio. I was fortunate enough to have literally hundreds of mentors (whether they realized it or not.)

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received as an author?

Someone on Goodreads compared my work to Katherine Neville, who is a hero to me. Honestly, all compliments are welcome. I still cry when I get good reviews. We’re sure not in this for the money! (Yet.)

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

You can’t fix what you haven’t written. Sadly, I can’t remember who said it, but it’s the truest thing in the world.

What made you decide to self-publish?

My publisher (Booktrope) went out of business! I got my rights back and got back to work. It’s not easy but I certainly don’t do it alone. I have an editor, Carly Bornstein, who knows what I mean even when I clearly do not, and a writing girl gang called The Fictionistas. You have to have a team!

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I’m a pantser. And now that I’m wrapping book 3 of my series and diving into the fourth and final book, I’m kid of regretting that decision! I finally broke down and put up the serial killer wall of post it notes and string in my office.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.

My series, The Demon Door, has at least 40 named characters, two worlds, multiple time lines, tons of politics and world building, and is hugely difficult to boil down to an elevator pitch. I joked with my editor that my next book would be about time traveling crime fighters. One thought led to another, and I actually started writing that series. (It’ll have to wait to see the light of day, though!)

What are you working on now?

Book three of The Demon Door series. It’s called The Glass Girl. Everyone cries.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

Figuring out where on the ‘stage’ all the characters are at this point, who knows what, when they learned it, what they’ll do with it, and how many of them to kill off.

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I do Author Spotlights every Friday, and I'll be glad to be a host for blog tours and guest posts. Get the details if you're interested.

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