Please welcome back author RENEE VINCENT, who has brought a guest with her!
Renee: Thank you, Anya – I was very excited when you asked me back. I know that Dægan was excited as well, considering this is his first official interview. I just hope he gets here soon.
In the meantime, we can go ahead and begin with the questions that don’t revolve around him.
Anya: Tell us more about RAELIKSEN.
Renee: Ræliksen is about a Norse warrior who has fallen in love with an Irish maiden whose very father—an Irish King—is hell-bent on ridding Ireland of her pagan foreigners. And that includes the ruggedly handsome hero of the story, Dægan Ræliksen.
(Note: Some say Dægan bears a strong resemblance to a well-known Scottish actor. I don’t see it myself.)
While the story may seem like the typical Romeo & Juliet—a powerful love forbidden by many—the reader will soon find out that it is nothing like the Shakespearian tale.
Ræliksen is indeed a sensuous love story between two people of opposite worlds, but it also incorporates a lot of action, while stringing along interesting details of the past, ensnaring the reader in a web of complex plot twists. Ræliksen will not fail to bring the reader full circle in the end.
Dægan: Certainly there is more to the story than that.
Renee: Well, hello Dægan. It’s about time you got here. (clearing her throat inconspicuously) You are very late.
Dægan: My horse can only carry me so fast, as opposed to the three hundred and fifty horses you have under the hood of your truck. Which, by the way, still baffles me.
Renee: Dægan, I don’t literally have that many horses under the hood of my truck, it’s just the amount of horse “power” it has. Oh, never mind. Can we just get back to the interview?
Dægan: Of course.
Renee: So, what is it you think I have failed to mention about the story?
Dægan: Did you tell the readers about the “first kiss”?
Renee: I didn’t tell them about that, but I was contemplating about posting that very scene in the excerpt at the end.
Dægan: Oh, good choice. I especially enjoyed that scene.
Renee: I’m sure you did. And as I recall, you didn’t exactly baby-step your way into Mara’s heart.
Dægan: She was frightened…
Renee: And angry.
Dægan: Aye, but being the…what’s that strange term you authors use…Alpha male?
Renee: Yes, that would be the term.
Dægan: So being the Alpha male, I had an obligation to show Mara that there was no reason to be frightened or angry with me, and that oft times requires a bit of blatant forwardness.
Renee: That kiss was blatant and forward all right.
Dægan: It was certainly a good start, but what really set the forward motion of the story was how I saved Mara from a fleet of other Vikings coming ashore for the war with the Irish, which, I might add, I had no fight in.
Renee: Well, there is that.
Dægan: And…that my spineless twin brother was leading that fleet!
Renee: Dægan, I really didn’t want to go into that since that was part of the intricate web the readers were supposed to find out on their own.
Dægan: Indeed, but I was under the impression that we were to present a high level of intrigue for those who have not yet picked up your book. Do you not think the conflict with my brother, alone, greatly instills that?
Renee: Yes, it does, but the point was to let the reader find out for themselves that your twin has a part in this tale.
Dægan: Hmmm…I suppose I have given that away. My apologies, Renee.
Renee: No worries. But you may need to apologize to Anya for being tardy. She is a busy woman.
Dægan: Of course… (reaches out and takes Anya’s hand, kissing her knuckles warmly while uttering his apologies and how beautiful her name sounded on his lips.)
Renee: (rolls her eyes) Could we please?
Dægan: What? I did as you suggested.
Renee: Yes, while laying it on a bit thick, don’t you think?
Dægan: At no fault of my own…you made me charismatic and undeniably charming. I am just staying true to my character.
Renee: Very well. Next question, Anya.
Anya: What was the hardest thing about writing RAELIKSON?
Renee: Not being able to write as fast as the scenes were playing out in my head. I lived and breathed this story, and admittedly Dægan consumed me.
Renee: As if you didn’t know. I mean look how many late nights you and I spent together—very late nights. And even when I wasn’t writing, you were always there. You would even invade my dreams, melting my heart with your words…
Dægan: (narrows his eyes) You sound as if you were in love with me.
Renee: Doesn’t every reader fall in love with the hero?
Dægan: I haven’t the slightest notion about that. Remember, this is the first romance novel I’ve been in.
Renee: Well, if you must know, it is very typical for a reader to get so engrossed into the hero’s character, so much in fact, that they subconsciously put themselves in the place of the heroine.
Dægan: Even in the bedroom scenes?
Renee: Especially the bedroom scenes.
Dægan: Is that so? (ruminates over that revelation)
Renee: (sees that Dægan is putting far too much thought into it) Next question.
Anya: What is the hardest thing about writing the sequel, Mac Liam?
Dægan: (sighs) Must we talk about him?
Renee: What’s wrong with talking about Breandán Mac Liam?
Dægan: Do you not remember what happened in Ræliksen? He is in love with Mara—my Mara—and sees fit to tell me about it.
Renee: Love triangles add the necessary conflict sometimes needed in a series.
Dægan: And my twin didn’t give me enough to contend with?
Renee: Hey, I wrote your character to possess a significant amount of resolve and graciousness, even toward those who brought tension and strife into your life. Breandán Mac Liam was not as big an issue as you made him out to be.
Dægan: You realize I am biting my tongue right now.
Renee: I do, and you should be. There is no reason to belittle Breandán. Besides, you know as well as I that he would not act upon his feelings given that Mara already loved you. And do not forget that he ultimately saved your life.
Dægan: (flips his hand in a dismissive manner) I would have found a way out of that predicament.
Renee: Can I answer Anya’s question now?
Dægan: If you feel you must.
Renee: Thank you. (smiles sarcastically) Writing Mac Liam comes with its many challenges, most of which I can hardly talk about as I don’t want to give anything away. But the one issue I have is being completely infatuated with two men at the same time.
Dægan: I beg your pardon?
Renee: It seems the more I write on Mac Liam, the more I start to fall in love with him.
Dægan: Are you trying to break my heart?
Renee: No, of course not. But I can’t help the way I feel.
Dægan: (taps his foot impatiently) What does Breandán have that I don’t?
Renee: It’s not about that. I don’t wish to compare you two and I doubt Mara will want to either when it gets down to it.
Dægan: You mean to tell me Mara is actually considering Breandán?
Renee: (bites her lip and shakes her head) I really can’t say much more on that.
Dægan: (looks directly at Anya) Next question, if you will.
Anya: Have you completed MAC LIAM?
Renee: No I haven’t. But I have high hopes for its release in 2010.
Dægan: That makes one of us.
Renee: Oh, don’t grumble.
Dægan: You have hardly written about me in the sequel.
Renee: Because…the sequel is about the Breandán, not you. Hence the title, Mac Liam.
Anya: Any tips for struggling writers – do’s and don’t’s, or mistakes you’ve learned from?
Dægan: (interjects quickly) My advice would be to not write about love triangles.
Renee: You certainly speak your mind, don’t you?
Dægan: Again, no fault of my own.
Renee: Well, my advice would be to not give up—persevere despite your struggles. That being number one.
Secondly, set your goals to be ‘attainable’, but dream as big as you want. Use each attainable goal as stepping stones toward that distant dream and you’ll get there. It may not be overnight, but you will get there.
Thirdly, gain a thick skin. As your writing is out there for all to see, there will be those who praise it, and those who do not. While their criticism may not be what you want to hear necessarily, it will make you a better writer as you work to improve yourself.
Dægan: And, as I said before, write one hero at a time.
Renee: I think we should leave that up to the discretion of the writer.
Dægan: Indeed. Ill-advised, but, nonetheless, ‘tis the writers’ prerogative.
Anya: Do you belong to writer’s groups, or do you have writer friends who support/critique your work?
Renee: I belong to the American Romance Writers (RWA), the Kentucky Romance Writers (KYWA), and just recently joined the Ohio Valley Romance Writers (OVRWA) as well.
I highly recommend joining writer’s groups as there are many successful authors and aspiring writers who belong to local chapters and give support to those within the group, whether by their own example or by their critiques.
Everyone I have come into contact with in those groups has been very helpful and quite willing to aid their fellow writers in any way they can. You can never have too many friends in the competitive world of publishing.
With that being said, I must add that your friendship, Anya, has been a blessing to me. Thank you again for taking the time to interview me and for allowing me this spot on your blog.
Dægan: That goes double for me, Anya, my dear. (takes Anya in his arms, dips her over his forearm, and plants a big one on her surprised lips.)
Renee: I am so sorry, Anya. I’ve written Dægan to be quite spontaneous and evidently, incorrigible as well. He really needs to remember that he is NOT in a romance novel right now.
Anya: I’m finding it hard to speak, much less think. You know I have an appreciation for finely crafted male chests . . . and biceps and shoulders and all those other good bits.
Dægan seems to have rather a lot of all those things, and I swear he is flexing his muscles on purpose just to watch me drool! Makes it difficult to focus on the conversation, but I’m doing my best!
A huge thank you to you both for visiting with us!