This week we are extremely pleased to welcome back an amazingly talented author who is constantly evolving and blazing new paths as she goes…the lovely, hilarious and uber-creative…Renee Bernard, everybody!
Back to school time. In your high school yearbook would your “Mostly likely to…” title have read, “…become a Bestselling Author,” or something completely different and what might it have been instead?
I shudder to think of what that title would have been. There may have been hints of the writer there with that love of essay assignments and anything theatre/drama/or books. But it would probably be something unflattering about ruling a kingdom of nerds or worse, “Most Likely to Perfect Invisibility”. I loved Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokosuka, Japan and while I was still an adolescent disaster…I might have landed on my feet if I’d gotten to graduate from there. But then I had the miserable honor of moving in the middle of my junior year back to the US and was transferred to a civilian school where I disappeared into the black hole where anyone who hadn’t either grown up in that town and mastered whatever magic it took to be popular falls into. I limped through it, head down and still cringe at the memories of being not even cool enough to hang out with the show choir gang. That’s right. The real version of the cast of Glee slushied me whenever they got the chance… It’s funny now, but only because no one remembers it but me. 😉
Trick or Treat? When you’ve hit a mental brick wall while writing a story, do you have a special “trick” for getting back on track, or have you found that simply giving yourself the “treat” of time away will help break the spell?
I do both. The trick is stepping back and asking the characters what you’re doing wrong or identifying why you’re bored/stuck and making sure that it isn’t because as a writer you are making boring/dead end choices with that plot. It’s never the character’s fault. If you blame them, they stop talking to you altogether and that’s another level of writer’s block you do not want to mess with. Trust me on this.
And then I treat myself to massive pep talks that involve chocolate and alcohol.
You are attending a Halloween costume ball as your favorite literary character and suddenly find yourself falling through a wormhole into their universe. How much time would you want to spend there before you start looking for an escape route home or would you want to stay indefinitely?
Am I in their universe or directly in their shoes? It makes a huge difference. I mean, for example, if you admired a character in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE you better believe I want to be in their shoes and not the next hapless mortal strolling on a dark street thinking “Gee, this is creepy!”
But if I could step into the world of the Eternity Gambit and get to hang out for office parties and staff meetings….oh, I’m there! Give me an employee badge and I’ll definitely want to linger for a while-
Speaking of going back in time…Authors sometimes go back into their backlist and re-release a revised edition, or in the case of novellas, a new expanded edition for a fresh reading by their audience. Is there a story from your collection of work that you would like to or already have plans to release again with revisions?
I’d love to rewrite and re-release my very, very first book, BLIND APHRODITE. That poor thing. It just needs a little fleshing out, but I wouldn’t polish it up too much. Warts and all, it was my first historical romance and for all its flaws I think it was a solid start for me. Authors joke about the skeletons and dead bodies (old manuscripts) hiding in their drawers that will never see the light of day, but I toy with the idea of yanking a few out into the sun.
I wrote a time travel that is gathering dust. (No one reads time travels anymore, I am told repeatedly. Somehow I still don’t believe that. Ahem, can you say OUTLANDER anyone?) I even have a science-fiction/fantasy romance out there in the big wide world somewhere hidden where only one or two people have uncovered it…
And one day, I may write an alternative ending or two for previous books just to see if anyone else enjoys the exercise. 😉
When it comes time to laying out the big spread for Thanksgiving, are you most likely to be the one to give Martha Stewart a run for her money in the kitchen or the one they only trust (culinary speaking) to bring over some packaged rolls?
I pride myself on putting out an awesome spread. I may not make it pretty like Martha, but I’m aiming for flavor and the comfort-food zone during the holidays—not marzipan sculptures and exotic sauces. I love to cook.
It’s the cleaning up afterward and the endless dishes that I long to delegate to someone else.
Many authors include a list of acknowledgments or “Thank you” messages in the beginning of their books. Is there one person that you always try to remember to mention and why?
Easy. My mom. She is in every acknowledgment and I do my very best to make sure that no matter what else is going on in the madhouse of my life, she knows how much she means to me. If anything drives me to keep going, it’s the idea that my mom is watching and cheering me on. We’re very close and my love of romance and my dream to be an author is a direct gift from her. In her eyes, I’m already a huge success but I’m determined to really make it happen if only to have a chance to repay her for that unconditional faith she’s demonstrated in me. She’s my champion, my best friend and my inspiration
Whether it’s shopping for gifts to put under the Christmas tree or other holiday gift giving, are you one of those people who starts stockpiling in JULY or will you be scrambling at the last minute to complete your list?
I want to be a July stockpiler. I admire those people. But every year, no matter how good my intentions are, I’m a scrambler. I scramble and scratch and pinwheel like a wild woman and then magically, it just all comes together and no one but me has any idea of the carnage in my wake.
There is just something special about love stories set around the holidays. Do you have a favorite holiday romance that you would recommend or one of your own that will be gracing the shelves this year?
I just discovered Lisa Watson’s Christmas books, A HEART FOR CHRISTMAS and TWO HEARTS FOR CHRISTMAS and there’s just something about a sexy guy who owns a Christmas tree farm that I didn’t expect to like so much!
When it comes to making “New Year’s Resolutions,” do you tend to make ones that will be easy to keep or are you still working on ones you have made in the past and are determined to accomplish this year?
I’m a work in progress. I don’t believe in quick fixes so I make sure that whatever I’m focusing on: it’s challenging, it’s positive and I can’t really fail if I give it my all. It’s the journey, so every little step counts. My resolutions evolve and flow but I never drop them altogether. A girl has to do whatever she can to improve, right?
Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today and for sharing some holiday secrets.
To close out this session, is there is a story that you are working on now or one recently released that you would like to share something about?
I’m in a weird three way writing mental split right now. I’m working on a comedy series, The Eternity Gambit, and DEVIL MAY CARE, DEVIL OF A JOB and DEVIL IN THE DETAILS are coming along nicely (and at a very strangely quick pace). Then there’s THE CONCUBINE’S DAUGHTER, my historical fiction/romance set in Meiji Restoration Japan and Victorian London I’ve been cooking on for a long time.
But I’m also about to start a dystopian series that has nothing to do with light and happy giggles. I meant to push it out, but I’m losing sleep, getting crabby and daydreaming like a woman possessed and these are signs that my writing schedule is about to get turned upside down by THE IMBALANCE. Brace yourselves, dear readers. I think the year ahead for me is going to either flow as if I had a plan or just turn into a chaotic creative churning blur (the equivalent of a literary yard sale where you never know what you’re going to find)!
Look for these and all of Renee’s books at your favorite local or online retailer
First book in the new Eternity Gambit series from USA Today bestselling author Renee Bernard. This is a romantic comedy series with an original paranormal twist that defies categorization and turns every notion of Heaven and Hell on its ear.
Workplace comedy is always fun but when the company in question in H.E.LLc (Hades Enterprises LLc) and your job is being Lucifer, let’s just say, there are some unique challenges beyond Casual Fridays and who keeps taking your lunch out of the break room. Even if Hell really is just a place where evil is tracked and analyzed in endless cubicles—no brimstone and not a human soul in sight—there’s no room for error. This Lucifer (who is the seventh unlucky archangel to get the position behind the black onyx desk) is about to have his entire world rattled when a very sweet and likable mortal woman crosses his path. Now, if Lucifer can just figure out how to win the girl and get himself fired, he’ll be one very very happy angel.
From acclaimed USA Today bestselling author, Renee Bernard, comes this new trilogy of gothic power and twisted sensuality. Here’s a slice of historical romance not generally found in the mainstream—so pull up a chair, settle in for a good read and hang on! This digital boxed set includes all three books in the Black Rose Trilogy so once this harrowing carriage ride takes off, you need never look back…
LADY FALLS is the birth of the Black Rose and the end of innocence. Wells is no ordinary girl. Plucked from an orphanage by a scheming earl, she has been raised like a thoroughbred, groomed for one purpose: Revenge. Unfortunately, the Earl of Trent never let her in on the plan, so when she meets the man of her dreams, Sir Phillip Warrick, she has no idea that every lesson, every tutor and every impulsive inch of her was crafted for his seduction and destruction. What she does know is that love is the prize she wants most and that nothing should stand in a woman’s way to getting what she wants.
LADY RISES reveals the transformation of Raven Wells into Lady Serena Welcott, a woman with wealth and power all her own. In a dance of desire, Serena has her own struggles reconciling the man she once loved with the irresistible rake she has vowed to hate. Vengeance is its own mistress and it’s a race to the finish as the Black Rose takes on a quest to carve out justice and find mercy even where it’s been forgotten. Love may rule but Lady Serena Wellcott doesn’t believe in playing fairly and she also doesn’t believe in surrender.
LADY TRIUMPHS does not disappoint for chills and thrills as Lady Serena Wellcott (formerly known as Raven Wells) at last turns her attention to settling an old score with the Earl of Trent, Geoffrey Parke. The stakes are impossibly high but Serena is a fearless gambler. Every element of her upbringing and every tragic misstep comes into play. Raised for vengeance, she will return to the earl as his creation and serve him a slice of his own poisonous fruit with a smile on her beautiful lips. The Lady has planned the perfect murder. The only problem is, it will likely be her own.
Renee Bernard is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and recently, contemporary romantic comedy. She won RT’s Reviewer’s Choice award for “Best Debut Historical” in 2006 and never slowed down (she missed the memo). By the end of 2014, she will have fifteen books out there in the world. She has published with Simon & Schuster and Berkley as well as branching out into independent publishing, audio books and comic books. For over four years she has been the host of “The Romance Bookmark” (formerly “Canned Laughter and Coffee”), a weekly internet radio show with between 80-100K registered listeners via Readers Entertainment. From wine wrangling—to stand-up comedy and public speaking, there’s nothing off the table. (No really. Nothing. Except anything involving dancing and a pole. She’s past that now.)