I’m excited to have a guest visiting today and tomorrow, one of the nicest authors you’ll meet: RENEE VINCENT.
RENEE: Thank you, Anya for allowing me to be here today.
ANYA: Tell us about yourself — also a little about your career, your family, your pets.
RENEE: I am a mother of two beautiful girls and married to the most wonderfully supportive husband in the world – for nearly 17 years. And out of those years, I have been working on my writing career for the majority of the time, while being a Radiologic Technologist at Children’s Hospital for three years, and eventually a pre-school teacher for nine years. All of this included living on a 100-acre farm with horses and dogs, and the time to write was not as often as I’d have liked.
But I did write.
My work involved the same story with the same premise—a “Viking” warrior in love with an Irish princess— though character names and plot conflicts would often change.
In 2005, I had just the right amount of encouragement from my sister, Lindsey, to finish the love story, though it took her voice from heaven for me to hear it – literally. After her passing, I worked on it day and night for months—solely for her—and finally after eight grueling months, I wrote the last line of the manuscript.
But my joy soon faded as I researched publishers’ guidelines. I had written twice the amount of words needed for a romance. I needed to cut out half the story before any publisher would look at it. That, in itself, took another year or so to accomplish. I struggled terribly with removing unnecessary scenes without damaging the natural flow of character development, story pace, and plot twists—not to mention my ‘voice’. But eventually, I was able to do it, creating a better version of the story.
In 2008, with the help of my sister’s words, my dreams came true. My first historical romance, Ræliksen, went into print, and, of course the book was dedicated to her. I hope that I have made her proud as I can boast that my book has traveled to seven other countries.
ANYA: What made you decide to write a book?
RENEE: I guess you could say it all started at the age of five, when my parents had given me a personalized children’s book where I was featured as the hero of the story. I can still recall how excited I was to see my full name in print and know that no one else had a book like this. From that day forth, I dreamed of seeing my name on the cover of a book. And by the way, I still have that children’s book.
ANYA: What are the most important things in your life?
RENEE: My family. Period. With losing my 20 year old sister, I was quickly brought to my knees and yet, awakened. Though we all know that life is short, I don’t think anyone truly understands what that means until they have to say an unexpected good-bye to a loved one.
I have always loved and needed my family, but now, I treasure them. And I try not to take for granted the time I am allotted here on earth.
ANYA: Tell us about your sister.
RENEE: Gosh, where do I even begin when it comes to my sister, Lindsey? Well, she and I are thirteen years apart and as a teenager, I was just the older sister who babysat her and someone she could look up to.
As we got older, and as she got into college, we started to connect. She was going to be a doctor, and was even scheduled to take her MCATs in the spring of 2006, taking some prep courses at NKU while getting her degree in Biology. I even remember her taking me into NKU’s library to help me do research for the book and logging into their computers for added help.
She was a wonderful aunt to my two girls and knew just how to make people smile.
What I’m trying to say is that Lindsey was always willing to help—always willing to give of herself—and even though her time on earth was very short, she touched so many people. Her layout alone was a tribute to that fact as people waited for three hours minimum just to see her and pay their last respects. It was held in the gym of her high school and lasted for nearly eleven hours.
Lindsey was a big advocate of organ donation, and was able to donate her corneas after the accident. A thirty-five year old woman’s sight was restored because of my sister. Even after her death, she was still helping people—still giving of herself, literally. And that is how I remember my sister.
It was a very difficult time in my life when she passed, not to mention having to deal with the fact that she died on my daughter’s birthday. But I don’t dwell anymore on those things. I know she is at peace.
As Lindsey used to always look up to me for being the elder sister, I now look up to her. (Which is why the dedication in the book reads in both Irish and English: I look up to you now.)
ANYA: Would you tell us about the Ræliksen soundtrack?
RENEE: I have met so many wonderful people through the research of this book. I have remained in contact with many of them living both here in the US and abroad. My relationship with these select few has grown tremendously and they are among my dearest friends.
One of them, in particular, is Irish musician, Mícheál Ó Caoinleain. He has arranged and orchestrated the music for my book trailer. After that, he came to me with aspirations of doing an entire soundtrack for Ræliksen. I was ecstatic with the offer, and of course, I accepted. The soundtrack is available in both the US and Europe.
ANYA: Tell us something about your work for Susan G. Komen research.
RENEE: Well for starters, I am a member of the Buffalo Girls Association of Northern Kentucky and for four years they have hosted the TRAIL RIDE FOR THE CURE benefiting the SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE (a horse trail ride event).
In the years past, I have raised money for the cause by getting people to sponsor me and my family in the ride. But in 2009, I was a published author and I thought that I could do more to help the cause. So I decided to donate all the proceeds of every Ræliksen book bought between August and October. With the help of my dedicated fans, friends, and family, I was able to write a check in the amount of $600 to KOMEN.
I was very glad to be able to give back to the community when so many had supported me. I am hoping to have another book published in time to do the very same thing for KOMEN in 2010.
ANYA: Where do you live now, and where else have you lived?
Renee: Born and raised in Kentucky—never lived anywhere else. Though, if I had my choice, I would live on the west coast of Ireland.
ANYA: What are some of your favorite books/authors?
RENEE: My favorite author of all time would have to be Emily Brontë with Wuthering Heights. But the authors that I just can’t get enough of are Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsey, Amanda Quick, Elizabeth Lowell, and Catherine Coulter. Since I’ve been published, I’ve found there are some local authors that have squeezed into my favorites too, like Lori Foster, Shiloh Walker, Maddie James, Jan Scarbrough and Teresa Reasor, just to name a few.
ANYA: Where’s your favorite place to read?
RENEE: In my writing office (which was previously my living room) surrounded by my castle pictures and my Limited Edition Phantom of the Opera painting by Jon Paul Ferrara, lounging back in the reclining couch, with a soft heavy blanket over my legs and a cup of coffee—lots of cream—within reach.
ANYA: What are the books you remember best from your childhood?
RENEE: Oh my goodness. Let’s see…Pokey Little Puppy for when I was a little one, Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls in my elementary years, and Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews in my early teenage life. Those are the ones that I will never forget in my youth.
ANYA: Are there any books that have made a strong impact on you?
RENEE: Well, just to be clear, I have always been intrigued by the Norse and read many research books on the matter for enjoyment. But one book that moved me so much as to want to write a love story about them was the first “romance novel” I borrowed from my mother-in-law. I loved it, and it was very well written from a historical stand point. However, I cannot recall the author’s name, nor the title as it was so many years ago. I only remember the cover. (And many times, I have gone to used book stores to search for it, only to come up short.) But because of that book, I knew what I wanted to write about, and that passion never faltered.
ANYA: What is your favorite genre, time period, setting to read and write about?
RENEE: My favorite genre would have to be historical romance although I have found out lately that I like contemporary as well. I never used to, as I’d rather be taken to a whole different time and place (hence, my tag line…). But I’ve read a few contemporary romances and have found them to be refreshingly different, in a very good way. But as a rule of thumb, I seem to choose historicals for my reading pleasure.
Since Ræliksen is the first book I’ve written in its entirety, and Mac Liam is still a work-in-progress, the time period I write in is 10th Century, though I’m thinking about writing a combination of a historical/contemporary in my next project. No, not a time travel, but something deeper—more intricate. I have visions of a woman with a love so deep in her heart, so close to her soul, it seems it’s almost instinct for her to love him—though he is a complete stranger. That’s all I’m going to say on that.
Renee, thanks so much for sharing so much with us today! Renee will be here to respond to any questions today and tomorrow.
Check back here on Friday, when Dægan, the hero of RAELIKSEN will be present to answer your questions! Be sure to read the excerpt of RAELIKSEN, which can be viewed in a separate post.
You can follow Renee at these links:
Ræliksen is available in hardback and paperback at Barnes & Noble.com,
Amazon.com, Borders.com, and The Country Heart in Alexandria, KY
* eBook available at iUniverse.com