We are VERY pleased to welcome back to Novels Alive and our sister site, Be My Bard, the extremely talented author of the Jaded Gentlemen series—Renee Bernard!
Several months ago Renee very graciously agreed to be the first to step into the “10 Questions With…” interview chair and since then she has released an audio book of her debut novel A LADY’S PLEASURE with a great new graphic novel series The Eternity Gambit, coming your way very soon!
This is a new world for me in “The Eternity Gambit” and unlike other paranormal tales of Angels and Demons, readers should be ready for a new twist on a very very old game. After all, it’s the Archangel of Death…and who doesn’t love a hero with a nice dark tortured edge to him? ~www.reneebernardauthor.com
We’ve all pondered the age old question of which came first the CHICKEN or the EGG? As a writer, when creating a new story, which tends to come first for you—the CHARACTERS or the PLOT?
It’s a close race sometimes and like most contests, there are exceptions where it’s easier to make the call. For me, most of the time, character comes first. Then they dictate their challenges and the rest falls into place. At other times, I’ll have the entire movie set in my head, a great scene out of context, and then I have to wait for my leading characters to get out of the makeup trailer and introduce themselves. But if you made me choose one, I’d say CHARACTER.
It’s inevitable that small bits and pieces of a writer’s own personality will make their way into the characters they create. But if you had to write yourself into one of your books, would your character most likely be the hero/heroine, the steadfast best friend, the comedy relief or the villainous mastermind?
I would want desperately to be the heroine and I probably would be, but let’s face it. I’d be providing a bit of comic relief as events unfolded, so my hero better have a sense of humor—or he’ll never make it.
Speaking of villains…do you prefer writing characters that are clearly evil from the second they appear on the page or the surprise villain that no one would ever expect?
My villains tend to be open in their aims, I like it when they don’t see themselves as villains. It’s more interesting when they see their path as the one in the right, or they’re too blinded by some flaw to realize how dark they are. Most of my villains have been easy to spot and openly declared, because it’s exciting for readers to know more than the hero and heroine they’re emotionally attached to… Also, the worst criticism I ever got was for a “surprise villain”. From then on, I make sure you can see who is evil in the game. The tension becomes more of a matter of watching it unfold and wondering how the good guys are going to avoid their doom. We hope.
If you had the power to step inside the pages of any book for 24 hours, which one would you choose and why?
I’d selfishly pick one of my own. Because the magic of seeing my own characters, sitting with them and hearing their voices would be too irresistible a temptation and way too fun to miss.
If you could use that same power to jump through the screen into the world of your favorite television show or movie, which would it be and why?
Over the last few years, books of an erotic nature or with taboo subject matter have become more acceptable—even popular—in the mainstream marketplace. How, if at all, has this change affected the way that you write your own “love scenes”?
Perhaps unwisely, I’ve decided to follow my own instincts and write my love scenes as the characters and the context dictates. Heating it up to try to keep up with a trend or adding heat where it doesn’t belong makes no sense to me. IF the story and characters are more sensual in nature, then sexual encounters in the book would reflect it. But I’ve discovered that I’m even more careful not to just “spice it up” without good cause. Not because I don’t like a bit of steam, but I’m afraid that this new freedom on the page, like so many sexual and personal freedoms we fight so hard to achieve, has a way of getting away from us. There’s responsibility there.
Shock for shock’s sake wins us nothing as writers or as readers. We get numb to it. We start to skip those bits, and we get bored with ALL OF IT. What a loss that is! My aim is always to make sure that every scene has impact. And the best impact a love scene can have is not shock or raw “heat”—but an emotional impact that ensures that the book wouldn’t be the same without that moment.
There was once a time when authors had to rely almost solely on mainstream media like newspapers and magazines to find reviews written on their latest book. Now that the internet has made it possible for anyone with a keyboard to become an armchair critic, has the sheer number of reviews available for your books made it easier or harder to deal with criticism?
I try not to read reviews but if a great one catches my attention, I always say thank you. It’s actually challenging to get honest reviews and it’s hard to ask a reader for that time, to stop and write out their opinion (hopefully in your book’s favor!). I love readers and for the most part, I trust them to be kind when they can be. There are a few people that revel in crushing your soul because they can… but I can’t fix that. You just hang on and pray that there’s enough good buzz to outweigh a one star review that reveals that they never read your book but hate it anyway. LOL
Many authors have branched out into multiple genres over the years. Is there a particular genre of fiction that you have always wanted to tackle but, haven’t tried yet?
I’m ready to branch out! I don’t want to abandon my historical romance readers and I’ll always write historicals, but I long to make a run at romantic comedies, new adult urban fantasy and even paranormal. I don’t think there’s anything holding me back now that I’m largely on my own.
If you could choose one historical/contemporary romance from your own or another author’s library of work to be made into a feature film which would it be and why?
I’m writing an original screen play because it’s a dream of mine to create a story for film.
Tell us a little bit about the project you are working on now or share something about your newest or upcoming release(s).
I’m working on the Black Rose Trilogy for release this fall. It’s a Big Historical Romance that is going to take three books to tell, so I’m going “old school” with the concept of a real saga that takes readers on an unforgettable journey. It’s a darker gothic style that centers on themes I’ve been drawn to: Vengeance, Villains and Power. Oh, and I should warn everyone in light of my answer to question six above that this will be a hotter trilogy (because the characters and stories DEMANDED it be that way). Everyone talks about wanting a new take on historical romance and my goal was to find it and then let the readers decide what they think…