Renee Ryan’s interview

» Posted on Feb 17, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Renee Ryan’s interview

This week I’m hosting Renee Ryan with The Marshal Takes a Bride and Cynthia Hickey (and her heroine) with Fudge-Laced Felonies. If you want to be entered in the two drawings or one of them, please leave a comment with your email address (this is necessary in order to be entered and for me to get in touch with you if you win). Or you can email me at The drawings end this Sunday evening.

Renee Ryan’s interview:

1. What made you start writing?

I know this may sound odd, but I don’t consider myself a writer. I’m more of a storyteller. As a child I hated, hated, hated creative writing courses (still do). I assumed because I couldn’t “write on command” that meant I wasn’t meant to be a writer of any kind. So I graduated college with a degree in Economics and Religion and ultimately ended up teaching high school Econ and Latin. Not the most exciting courses, I know. To keep my students’ attention I quickly learned to teach through storytelling. Once my oldest child reached middle school I decided it was time to focus on parenting (I’d seen too many teenagers get into trouble because of lack of supervision). I started writing out of sheer boredom. My storytelling skills had been honed in the classroom. The hard part was learning how to write.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I started writing seriously in 1997. I sold my first book through the inaugural Romantic Times/Dorchester New Historical Voice contest in 2001. That book hit the shelves in July of 2002. My February 2009 Love Inspired Historical release, THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE, is my second book. That’s seven years between book releases. Needless to say, I learned a lot about patience and persistence during that very long dry spell.

3. How do you handle rejections?

I keep writing. I know this sounds overly simplistic, but it’s really that basic for me. I’ve received over 200 rejections on various manuscripts so I’ve learned to compartmentalize each project. Rejections aren’t personal, they’re business. A rejection is simply one person’s opinion on a particular project at a particular moment in time. I try not to let it get more complicated than that.

4. Why do you write?

I consider my writing a ministry as much as a career. I’m the quill, God is the Author. I pray for the words daily. I write to both entertain and inspire my readers. I admit it’s a constant battle to remember the outcome is for God’s glory not my own. I’m a work-in-progress.
5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

I’d like to think I would spend my free time volunteering for worthy causes. I’m sure that would be partially true. But mostly, I think I’d be procrastinating. I’m a master procrastinator. Did I mention I was a work-in-progress?

6. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on another Love Inspired Historical, book two in the continuity, AFTER THE STORM: THE FOUNDING YEARS. It’s been a fascinating learning experience.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Doesn’t every writer? I’m constantly tapping into emotions I’ve experienced and lessons I’ve learned whenever I’m putting characters on a page. I truly believe we don’t write “what we know,” we write “who we are.” Human emotions are universal. And really, aren’t we all walking wounded on same level. Or am I the only odd ball here?

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE is my current release. The story deals with two of my favorite themes: forgiveness and redemption. The hero has lost his wife and can’t move on; the heroine has had her own set of tragedies and can’t move on either. Both are wounded, yet neither are victims. They’re strong characters who are learning to face the harsh realities of life, even if their approach is highly flawed. Add a precocious five-year-old little girl and these two are doomed, at least in terms of holding onto their status quo.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never, never, never give up (see my response on rejection above). Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your talent. Get rid of emotional vampires, those people who try to suck out your good mood. And, of course, write. You can’t sell if you aren’t writing. Do the work, enjoy the process, success will come — perhaps not quickly or in the form you expect, but it will come.

10. How important is faith in your books?

Very important, mainly because faith is such an important part of my life. I write characters who believe in God but who are struggling with flawed thinking and/or wavering faith. Only when their faith is strengthened are they able to grasp their happily-ever-after.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Sins of the heart, forgiveness, redemption, trust!

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

By far, my favorite book is my WWII romantic thriller for the Love Inspired Historical line. The book is set in 1939 Nazi Germany. It’s fast-paced and action packed, with a VERY heroic hero (well, I think so anyway). The men and women of the German Resistance were some of the bravest people in human history. I tried to capture that heroism in both my hero and heroine, but especially my hero. I’ll let the readers decide if I pulled it off.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

I treat my writing like a regular job. I write Monday through Friday. If I’m on deadline I’ll also write on Saturday, but I always take the evenings off and try to honor the Sabbath. I start my day with an hour of exercise, a quick shower and then devote the rest of the time to writing. For me, consistency is the key. I have days where I fall off, but that’s because I’m a master at procrastination. It’s always an effort to stay focused. Deadlines are great incentives!