Friday, April 15, 2011

Renee Ryan



GET LOST IN HARLEQUIN'S LOVE INSPIRED CHARITY HOUSE SERIES:

THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE book no. 4


Offering an oasis of hope, faith and love on the rugged Colorado frontier.


For five years, U.S. Marshal Logan Mitchell has dreamed of returning to his sweetheart in Denver. He never imagined he'd find Megan Goodwin locked in a prison cell. Megan has no memory of what happened the night the outlaw was murdered. And though Logan is sure of her innocence, proving it is only half the battle. Remembering the killer's identity will clear Megan's name but could lead danger right to her door. Logan will protect her life with his. But forging a true marriage takes trust, faith and the courage to open their hearts to God's plan--where ever it leads . . .


It is my absolute honor and thrill to welcome my friend Renee Ryan to Get Lost in a Story. Plus I get to ask her fun questions besides.


DONNELL: Hi, Renee! If you got your choice to live in a big city or small town, what would it be?


RENEE: Can I choose something in between? You know, say a college town or one with about 250,000 people. Okay, I know, that would be cheating. If pressed, I’d have to say big city. I especially love New York City. Whenever I visit I never get tired of the constant activity, the bright lights, the anonymity, always having something to do within walking distance. Sign me up!


DONNELL: Character driven author or plot driven?


RENEE: Definitely character driven. I usually start by plotting my characters. Who are they? What are their hang-ups, habits, flaws? What lesson do they need to learn? How will they learn it? How will the romantic interest drive that change? Once I know basic answers to those questions the story starts to unfold for me.


DONNELL: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?


RENEE: For the record, I always tell authors to ignore reviews, especially on-line reviews. Having said that, yes, I read reviews of my books. I try not to look for them, but I seem to be one of those people who stumbles across them when I least expect it. If it’s a good review I smile, sigh happily, pat myself on the back and then let the glow last as long as possible. If it’s a bad review, I agonize. I obsess. I get mad. I sometimes cry. I am not a pretty crier. Hence my advice to other authors to avoid reading reviews. Most of us just aren’t made for that much negativity thrown our way. I recently came across a very ugly thread about my last WWII book, purely by accident of course. It’s not important what the discussion was about or whether the readers had a point (which, of course, they did and one I’ve tried to address in my latest book). What stunned me most about the whole experience was that a famous author, one I’ve always admired, joined in the rant. It was very hurtful and completely unnecessary and has made me reassess how I feel about this person. I stick by what I tell my fellow authors. Ignore reviews! If I say this often enough maybe one of these days I’ll follow my own advice.


DONNELL: What name have you been dying to use as a lead character, but haven’t found the right fit yet?


RENEE: Scarlet. And, yep, I already know who you’re thinking about as you read this. No way would I ever attempt that one in a book. But it’s a really great name, isn’t it?



DONNELL: (I wasn't going to say a word ;) What’s in your refrigerator right now?


RENEE: Several bottles of water, milk, eggs, stale bread, a two-year old lean cuisine, iced tea, lemons and beer. Now that my kids are out of the house, and my husband doesn’t come home until late, I no longer cook. It’s very freeing.

DONNELL: I’m a genie, and I’ve just granted your three wishes. What are they?

RENEE: Okay, I would like to give some great answers, you know, like say world peace and salvation for all. But I’m going to go with something a little less serious today.


1. Anything with chocolate, whether solid or liquid, has zero calories.


2. I’m a perfect size 4 without diet or exercise.


3. I have a permanent, live-in maid and chef.



DONNELL: (Great genie; where do I sign up?) What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?


RENEE: My grandfather was a great storyteller. He could tell the same story over and over again and still make it seem fresh every time. I never thought I would be able to do that, not without a lot of training. Add to that, my only C in college was in my first (and only) Creative Writing course. I never thought I’d acquire the necessary skills to pull off a career in writing, at least not where I would be able to produce the kind of books I loved to read. But with a lot of persistence, workshops and rejections, I sold my first book to Dorchester through the inaugural New Historical Voice contest. Now I’m working on my tenth contracted book. A big dream has come true. BIG one.


DONNELL: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?


RENEE: I knew, but didn’t really know, that the Jews weren’t Hitler’s only victims. He sent other people groups, the mentally ill and many dissenters to the death camps to die right along with the Jews. I feel as though many of those voices were truly silenced.



DONNELL: What is your favorite kid joke?


RENEE: What does a pig put on a wound? Oinkment. Hahahahahaha.


DONNELL: :) If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?


RENEE: I would go back to the time when Jesus walked among His disciples. I would love to sit at his feet and hear Him preach firsthand. What a joy that would be.


DONNELL: (Lovely answer, I'd join you.) How much money does it take to be happy?


RENEE: That’s a trick question. I’m not answering that one!


DONNELL: What question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?


RENEE: The names of my two cats, because there’s a story there. My cats are Reggie and Leroy, thank you for asking, Donnell. They were named after two famous Green Bay Packer football players: Reggie White and Leroy Butler. My husband and son brought the baby kitties home from the shelter but didn’t think to ask their gender. Nor did they think to check. A few months later, they took the “boys” to the vet to be neutered. Both cats came home spayed! Reggie and Leroy are girls. We didn’t have the heart to change their names once we found out. It’s all very confusing at our home.

RENEE'S CHANCE TO ASK:

Do you read Christian Fiction? If so, do you like more or less Scripture/God in your stories and what would you consider crossing the line into “too preachy?”


Leave a comment and you’ll be put in a drawing for one of three copies of my latest release, THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE. I dedicated this book to Donnell, by the way. She’s such a great friend and writer! It’s always a joy to spend time with her, even if it’s online. Thanks for having me today!


It's my privilege, Renee, thank you! ~ Donnell

To learn more about Renee, visit her web page at http://www.reneeryan.com/

Readers/Questions/Comments?




19 comments:

  1. Good morning, Peeps! I'll be checking in all day long. Thanks, Donnell, for asking me to join you today.

    By the way, if anyone's interested...THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE is dedicated to Donnell. She's a true blessing to me!

    I'm off to do my P90X workout then I'll be back. Yes, I am that insane. ;-)

    ~Renee~

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  2. You're amazing, Renee. Thank you for joining us today. Also, Reader, Renee Ryan has been asked to be a guest of the Pro Committee this year at Romance Writers of America Pro Panel. For those who don't know what this is. PRO is the unpublished arm of RWA, and Pro Liaison Cynthia D'Alba looks for the best and brightest to guide authors toward publication. Renee knows writing, she understands craft. And she does P90X??? gasp ;) Amazing.

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  3. Welcome to GLIAS, Rene.

    Donnell is a great gal. An instant friend! Wonderful interview. I'll be picking up a copy of your book soon.

    ~~Angi

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  4. This sounds like a wonderful read Renee! I LOVED the interview! It's always nice to get a little insight into our favorite authors!!!

    I agree with you about reviews, it's best not to read them, BUT, it's hard not too!

    I only wish when people tear someone's work apart, that they would think for a moment about how they are approaching it. Take a walk in that authors shoes and see how they would feel if the situations were reversed. I have nothing against constructive criticism, but to be downrght mean, its just NOT right.

    You have to keep reminding yourself that you CAN'T make everyone happy! And hopefully learn and grow from the experiance!

    lol, I had a similar incident with my cat as well! Too funny!

    I do like to read Christian books, its intriquing to me to see how the characters use their faith to help them through a tough situation, but I don't want it to be the MAIN point of the story.

    Again, thanks so much for sharing! I wish you the best of luck Renee!

    Andrea
    atsnider@verizon.net

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  5. I love historical westerns. I realize that if I'd lived in that time period, I would have made an awful pioneer woman! But I love the description of your story. I will have to read this.

    I don't read many Christian Romance...I read by author more than by publisher. I just read my first Love Inspired (a RS by Diane Burke) and I've been reading Rachel Hauck and Denise Hunter for a couple of years. I don't like to be preached at in a book. I like to see the character's religious beliefs as part of their outlook on life and how it affects their actions. But I think there is a fine line there.

    I am STUNNED that any well known author would join into bashing another author. STUNNED.

    I am THRILLED you are going to be part of the PRO Panel. Can't wait to meet you in person!

    Good luck with your book.

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  6. Hi Angi! So glad you dropped by today.

    Donnell, if you saw me do P90X you'd rethink that "amazing" comment. Gasp is more like it. Gasp, gasp, gaps!!!

    ~Renee~

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  7. Hi Andrea,

    Oh, yeah, those pesky reviews are...well, pesky. ;-) I try to learn from them (especially if more than one person says the same thing), but too much advice is just plain confusing. I think the anonymity of the Internet is why reviews are getting uglier. The best part is opening a good review. Best feeling EVER!!!

    YOu make a great point about the Inspirational thread in a book. I'm writing it down now.

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  8. Hi Cyndi!!! Waving frantically. I'm with you, I would never have survived life as a pioneer woman. I love my hot showers and access to dental hygene waaaaay too much!

    Looking forward to chatting face-to-face, too. I'll be there early. NYC here we come!

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  9. I am so jealous I can't come to NY this year. The Pro Retreat is going to be fabulous (but I couldn't attend anyway -- darn it.

    Renee, my son and his girl friend do P90X. They are beyond buff. (takes after his mom LOL LOL (not).

    I agree with Cyndi about the author review. One of the reason I don't do too much on Good Reads because if I'm not going to give someone a great rating, I'm certainly not going to give a fellow author a bad one.

    Sorry that happened. I'll wager you won't be buying her books anymore. There really is something to the old adage -- particularly in this business -- if you can't say something nice, don't say it all.

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  10. Hi Renee!
    I did P90 x

    Once.

    LOL!

    Okay my $.02 on the Christian reads. I admit that I have only read a few. And this is because the first one I picked up was very preachy.
    It really turned me off. But I read another-- I can't remember the author, darn it.
    But it was set in San Francisco during the gold rush. Very interesting. And the character's faith was well written as part of HER. not part of the plot.

    There you go... for what its worth!
    :)

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  11. LOL, Laura. The idea of P90X makes me want to lie down.

    You raise a very interesting point about inspirational. And perhaps Renee can expand. I brought Inspirational Romantic Suspense to the Daphne. I think if someone has a strong Christian or other religious background, there's room for this in books. But just like everything, it can be overwritten, over emphasized and feel out of place.

    For instance I read a book once where a fine looking man walks into a room and the heroine starts praying. He wasn't even the hero, he wasn't even approaching her. It felt over the top. If you do write inspirational along with anything else, it has to be seamlessly written as though it belongs there, and to take it out it would feel like something's missing.

    My two cents ;)

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  12. Renee, I'll have you know I *did* use the name Scarlet in a story! But Scarlet is a horse. Does that count? *laugh*

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  13. Hi, Renee - your book sounds great. I like the element of mystery in it, too.

    Hugs on the hurtful review. Anonymity isn't always a good thing.

    As for your question, for me "too preachy" is when I feel I'm being given a sermon. I like the author's message to be woven in to how the characters live their lives and handle their issues and problems.

    Barbara

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  14. Hi all,

    I'm having trouble posting from this computer. ARGHHHH...

    Anyway, as far as the inspirational message goes, I tend to agree with all of you. Nothing too preachy, please! Praying when a good looking man walks into the room, really? How...ummmm, unrealistic? I try to make the religious conflict a part of the internal conflict for my characters. Often this conflict is based on some past event, not so much different than any other internal conflict. Except, of course, the character ultimately solves the issue with a return to a stronger faith.

    And now I'm off to make my recovery drink...aka a big ole smoothie (the best part of P90X)!

    ~Renee~

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  15. Hey, Gail!

    Scarlet for a horse? Brilliant!

    ~Renee~

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  16. I don't care for being preached at in a book. A friend of mine, Laura Scott, writes for the Love Inspired Suspense line. I love her writing and she tells a great story. In the end, that's what counts for me.

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  17. Renee, your book sounds wonderful. I'll definitely be looking for THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE. Both my CPs write inspirationals for Love Inspired; Jenna Mindel (contemporary), and Christine Elizabeth Johnson (Historical). Neither of them "push" or "preach" but the spirituality in their stories flows beautifully across the page, and it sounds like that's the way you write, too. Thank you so much for sharing with us today.

    -Kathleen

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  18. Hi Edie and Kathleen! Thanks for stopping by.

    You both mentioned Love Inspired authors. The editors at Love Inspired are really good about keeping the "preachy" feel in their books to a minimum. That's why I love writing for the line. ;-)

    ~Renee~

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  19. Renee, I'm with Cyndi in the stunned corner regarding another author weighing in on a negative review. I have my first book coming out in August and the ARCs are already out there - I expect the first reviews to start popping up, and I'm already scared :).

    Congrats on the new book, it sounds very intriguing!

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