Today I have the pleasure of welcoming bestselling author, Renee George. If you're looking for something humorous, and mysterious, or something dark and sexy, you'll be sure to find it in Renee's back list.
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Welcome to PNRLovers, Renee.
Please tell us about yourself.
First the obligatory writer stuff. J I am a bestselling author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, erotic romance, contemporary romance, mystery romance, and romantic comedies that highlight varying themes including traditional, ménage, gay and bisexual relationships. I have been a published author since 2005, and have written and published over 30 books in the past decade.
I have been married for twenty-five years, so over half my life, to the man I started dating the night I graduated from high school. This coming May will be our 30th date-aversary. J We have a grown son, who took two years off to find himself after high school, and now he’s almost 21 and he’s found himself living back and home and going to college. I have been a factory worker, a college student (several times over), I was in the Army during Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm. The military taught me something I’d never learned before, discipline and responsibility. Also, the military is where I learned to love strong, black coffee. Believe, it was necessary! Still is. I have a nursing degree, and I worked in many different nursing jobs from 1992 to 2005, when my first story was contracted with a small online publisher. Also, it was the same year I received my English degree in creative writing.
I am often neurotic, happy, depressed, hopeful, and realistic. Usually not all at one time. J Luckily I have my BFFs Michele Bardsley and Dakota Cassidy to talk me off the ledge when I get to close to jumping off. They are my soul mates! I grew up very poor (seven people in a two bedroom 65X12 trailer kind of poor), but I have never used that as an excuse to be uninformed. I’m a social liberal, but because I grew up without means, I am often conservative when it comes to my pocket book. I like to see the best in people, because I believe that no situation was ever made worse by kindness. When someone gets rude with me, I try to remember that the way they’re behaving says more about them than me. (I’m not saying it works all the time, because my feelings can get hurt! LOL).
I am a reader first, and I hope that shows in the way I tell stories. I don’t want anyone to be disappointed because they felt like I’d left something out or phone in. I am a slow writer, so I always feel like I need to apologize to fans for not getting books out more quickly, but I just can’t. (My life would be so much easier if I could!) I do love getting emails from fans of my books. It makes me entire day (sometimes my week!).
On a personal note, could you tell us a story (or some random fun facts) about you that we wouldn’t otherwise know?
Every time I meet Charlaine Harris I cry like a baby after she’s out of my presence. I don’t know why. It just happens. The first time was in Houston in 2007, when I rode 34 floors with her in an elevator. She hugged me, told me to keep writing, and she was very sweet. Soon as she was off to some interview and away from me, I started crying. The second time was in Oklahoma in 2008 when Michele and I took her to dinner before a book signing. It was raining, so when we arrived at the bookstore, I dropped her off in front of the Barnes & Noble then found a parking space. The minute I turned the engine off, I started crying. Again. *sigh* I have never had that kind of “fan girl” visceral reaction to another author. I just love her work so much (and not just the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries). I’d read a book by Charlaine Harris if she wrote it on a toilet paper roll. I’m sure you all have favorite authors that you feel the same way about!
We all know how time-consuming writing and publishing can be. How do your loved ones feel about your writing? Are they resentful, supportive… or a combination of the two?
My family is super supportive. My son’s old bedroom has been converted into my office. My husband and the man-child no to give me space and quiet when I’m on a hard deadline. I’m super grateful they aren’t the kind of people who think writers are hobbyist, and that all it takes to write a story is having some magical creative gene. When I’m writing, promoting, and everything else that goes with this business for ten to twelve hours every day, they understand that what I’m doing is work. I am a full-time work-from-home author. My husband is an executive for a manufacturing company, and he leaves the house Monday through Friday for his job. Guess who cleans the house most of time and without an attitude? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not me. He knows that I’m not being idle, laying around watching soap operas while eating bon-bons as the words just magically flow from my fingertips (by the way, that has never happened! I would love the magic.). Anyhow, I’m a lucky, lucky woman. And it’s why I plan to stay married to him for at least another 25 years. LOL (He’s stuck with me now!)
Considering the nature of romance writing, do you get any of your family or close friends read them? How do you feel about that? How do they?
My sister Robbin is one of my beta readers. She is an avid reader of romance and mysteries, and I know I can trust her to tell me when a story line doesn’t work. She is seven years older than me and is not afraid to get brutal. (Luckily, I can take it!). Whatever makes the writing stronger is a blessing in my book. Oh, and she loves my writing, so I feel great about her being a part of my writing life.
What inspires you to write? Is there a specific place, person or thing that makes the words flow from your soul to your keyboard?
I get inspired to tell stories, but not always to write. Sometimes I’ll think about a story so much, that I’m actually disappointed when I sit down to write it and the words aren’t already on the page. I love writing outside on my new screened in porch. I live in a rural area, and there is something about the trees, the breeze, and the animal noises that get me going. Now that it’s getting colder, I have to make do with the easy chair in my office. I’m not sure if there is a specific inspiration that gets the words flowing. Panic. Maybe. Yes, panic. Deadline panic forces the story out, because at that point there’s no other options. LOL
What is the one thing that you feel has most contributed to your success as an author?
Having great fans is #1. There is almost nothing better than word of mouth to grow your reach as an author. I love my fans. They are amazing. I am more appreciative for their support than they can possibly know. Every reader who buys a book, reviews it, and gives it a shout out on their blogs and in social media is contributing to that author’s ability to keep going and growing. Also, I think having a great support system of fellow professional authors who want the same thing from their business as I do is also a huge contributing factor. We come together to promote each other’s work and lift each other when we stumble. You can’t be an island and survive, at least not survive with your sanity intact. I am glad I have loyal, trustworthy people in my life who have my back. I try not to take it for granted.
How about the opposite? What has been the most detrimental thing that stood in your way as a writer? How did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle is me. I can sometimes let my depression dictate my behavior, and I have to convince myself to just keep going, knowing the bad feeling will pass. Beyond my own ability to sabotage myself, I believe the ever changing climate of this industry can be another detriment to success. Being popular as a writer means being able to constantly adjust to what’s trending, while still being able to keep true to your style of storytelling and your voice. I don’t always fall on trend, but I write books hoping that if they aren’t what’s selling today, maybe they’ll be the ones selling tomorrow. It’s scary because you can’t rely on a steady income. In July and August my sales went from really great to really awful, and my husband asked me, “What are you doing different?” My response: “Absolutely nothing.” In this age of digital publishing, you have to constantly look for new ways readers can find you.
I love this question!!! Okay, so I will pick Midnight Shift, it is an urban fantasy/ ménage/ thriller novel. The three main characters are Benoica Dilian, Trace Calder, and Ian Arent.
Benie – a total bad ass for sure would be played by (don’t hit me!) Jennifer Lawrence. She is strong and mighty. I love her so much.
Trace – an ex-soldier and telepathic werewolf, he would be played by Jensen Ackles. (Anyone who knows me knew that one was coming!). He is hot and sexy and serious and funny. All the things Trace is.
Ian – a young genius and new werewolf, he would be played by Dylan O’Brien. (Oh, yeah, I totally nailed that one!). LOL I am such a huge fan of his role as Stiles on Teen Wolf, and as Thomas in The Maze Runner movies. He is the right amount of sexy and nerd.
What’s coming down the line for Renee George? What can your fans look forward to in the months to come?
Just this month, Taming the Monster anthology released with my third Midnight Shifters series book, “A Door to Midnight.” In December, there are two Christmas anthologies, Alphas Unwrapped (featuring “Ravished by the Alpha”, the third book in The Cull series) and A Very Alpha Christmas featuring the fourth book in the Midnight Shifters world, “Midnight Before Christmas). 2016 will bring the next Peculiar Mysteries novel, “Thank You For Not Shifting” and more novels from the Midnight Shifters world, along with more books in my popular contemporary MM series, Cocktails. It’s going to be busy! But that isn’t anything new. J Readers can find out when my new releases come out by joining my newsletter.
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or a recently released one?
“A Door to Midnight” (Midnight Shifter Book Three) featured in Taming the Monster anthology. Available for a limited time for 99 cents at most eTailers! Released October 13th, 2015.
His palatial home sat on a thousand acres of land outside of Boonville, encapsulated by
dense woods. Despite its spectacular size, the mansion could not be seen from the rural road that led to his property. She’d taken a taxi to his place, and even in the sunlight, the mile-long driveway had been intimidating, choked by tall oaks and silver maples clawing their way toward the darkening sky.
Emily gulped hard, steeling her nerve to knock on the massive doors. She had a feeling that once she entered Tsavaras’s domain, she might never see the light of day again.
The knockers were large monster heads, one on each side, both at least a foot long and a foot wide. The one on the right had a peaceful expression, a calmness in the way its lips turned down, its eyes open wide, its eyebrows slightly angled up on the inside, while the one of the left had a narrowed brow, squinted eyes, and a snarling curl to its upper lip. The animals both had large brass rings in their mouths, with brass orbs the size of baseballs attached to the bottom of the rings.
Big brass balls. She would need to grow a pair to get through her months of servitude.
“I’ve made a deal with the devil, and he will be given his due.” She grabbed the knocker on the left as if to dare it to bite. If she was going to be brave, she was going to go all the way. The heavy brass clanged, creating a booming sound that chilled her blood. For a second, her heart seemed to freeze mid-beat. Marcus Tsavaras was a man, she reminded herself. Just a man...with a lot of money, and apparently, an old-world belief in indentured servitude.
The door didn’t make a sound, not even a creak or groan, when it swung open. A man stood just inside with his face half-hidden by a shoulder-length cascade of dark chocolate curls. She stepped forward, her stride faltering when the light from fading sun caught his face. A white gnarly scar ran down the right side off his face and neck. It had twisted branches at the edges that appeared to be growing toward the unmarred skin on the left, threatening to overtake his entire appearance. Most startling were his eyes, the color of gold leaf. He had to be wearing contacts. Nobody was born with that eye color.
He had to be more than six and a half feet tall. He wore loose pants and a tunic shirt, obscuring his form. Was it an effort to hide his body?
“I’m Emily,” she said, her voice shaky.
He smiled for a fleeting second, the unscarred side of his face looking almost youthful. “Welcome, Emily. I’m Ky.”
“And I’m Zan,” she heard another man say from the darkness. He stepped from behind the right side of the door. His golden gaze, much like the man’s on the left, raked her from head to toe. His mouth quirked into a predatory grin. “You are quite lovely. This will be an interesting ninety days, don’t you agree?”
He bore a cruel immortal beauty usually reserved for the likes of Dorian Gray and Dracula—high sculpted cheekbones, deep-set eyes framed by thick dark lashes that brushed his skin when he blinked, plump lips, narrow, but berry ripe, and like the scarred man, he had gold leaf eyes. His red T-shirt clung to him like a second skin showing every cut of muscle and bulk beneath. His waist tapered to narrowed hips where the practically painted on slacks fight tightly over his thickly muscled thighs and a bulge at his groin that could only be described as daunting.
Emily licked her lips nervously. “Are you brothers?”
“Of a kind,” Ky said.
“Two sides of the same coin,” Zan added.
What did that mean? She clutched the handles of her suitcase, more nervous than ever.
“May I take your bags?” Emily noted Ky didn’t wait for her to answer as he stepped around to take the luggage. When he brushed against her, the fevered heat from his body invaded hers. Before she could take another step, Zan held up his hand. “Do you enter freely, Emily Henley, and pledge to serve Marcus Tsavaras for the term of three months from this day, no more, no less?
“Do you agree to keep all you see within this household private and in strict confidence during and after your service with Mr. Tsavaras?”
“Yes.” She’d already signed the scariest confidentiality agreement she’d ever seen when it had been messengered to her apartment.
“Do you understand that if you choose to leave before the ninety days is over, or if you reveal any details about your service to Mr. Tsavaras, your contract is forfeit, and your father’s debt will resume with interest?”
Jeez! Who would she tell? No one but Dad knew about her agreement with Tsavaras. For all his flaws, and since her mother’s death he’d exhibited many, she loved him more than any other soul on earth. He’d promised he would keep himself straight, and she hoped that was true. She didn’t know if she had the heart to get him out of any more jams.
“I agree. Threatening me isn’t necessary. I’ll take your boss’s secrets to the grave.” She crossed her chest. “Hope to die.”
Zan raised an eyebrow. “Good.” He made a flourishing gesture toward the interior. “You may enter.”
Emily followed him inside. Ky shut the door and walked behind her. The foyer’s floor was white marble, which offered a sharp contrast to the redwood wainscoting and vulgar aubergine color of the walls. Gold sconces lit the way to the opened tall doors at the other end, and a sudden gorge of fear rose in Emily. She turned, crashing into Ky’s chest.
His curls hid enough of his scars to make him almost handsome. “I’m sorry. You’re contract has started.” She shrunk back at the intensity in his eyes. “Do you understand, Emily?”
“Yes,” Emily said, swallowing hard. “I can’t leave.”
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The Cull: www.ozarkshifters.com
Midnight Shifters: www.midnightshifters.com
Peculiar Mysteries: www.peculiarmysteries.com
The Lion Kings: www.lionkingshifters.com
Thank you so much for spending your time with us. I loved reading your answers and getting to know you better. Best of luck with your upcoming releases.