Jen: This week we are happy to have Renee Vincent visiting the blog. Renee, will you please share a short bio with us?
Renee: First, let me extend my deepest gratitude to Jen and Jessica for having me on their book blog. I have looked very forward to this week.
I am an author with a passionate interest in Irish and Norse history. I live in the rolling hills of Kentucky with my husband and two children on a beautiful secluded farm of horses and hay fields.
When I am not writing, I love to spend my time on the back of a horse, whether with my family or with my friends. There is nothing like feeling the sunlight on your face, the wind in your hair, and the power of the animal beneath you as you enjoy the beautiful scenery. Seeing the world from a saddle is, by far, the best view and the best therapy for a heavy heart or a troubled mind. My therapist’s name, or my horse’s, rather, is “Statues Suddenly Lucky”, a full-blooded Tennessee Walker, and of course, he goes by the name of Lucky for short.
I am a sucker for a good cup of coffee (lots of cream and sugar…and whipped cream if I can get my hands on it), great conversation, and a lilting Irish accent. I love to read and I can’t resist watching great epic historical movies.
Jen: Tell us about Ræliksen and where it’s available.
Renee: Ræliksen is a love story quite unlike anything you have ever read. I must admit, I did not follow the usual “guidelines” when it comes to romance novels. I blazed my own trail. I absolutely love romance novels and cannot think of reading anything else. But I wanted to give my readers more than just a quick, page-turning story that would soon be forgotten once it was finished and another opened in its place. I wanted to portray the passionate and brutal way of 10th Century life—something more tangible and realistic—while still giving the readers an erotic, yet heartwarming romance where an irrefutable devotion between the two lovers existed and thrived.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published?
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.
Ræliksen is my first book that was published in December 2008.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Renee: Unique. Stirring. Sensual.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Renee: At the insistence of my husband, I should plot it out on paper, but I have never been able to do that. I would spend more time changing the outline than I would writing on the story itself. I do, however, plot extensively in my head. I have a specific beginning and ending, and fill in the middle with plot twists, character developments, and suspense elements, on a “go with the flow” mentality.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Renee: Literally years worth. From the time I had gotten out of high school, I had been fascinated by the life and pursuits of the “Viking” men, reading research books for pleasure.
You could actually say that my English-Literature teacher had been the reason for my passionate interest in the subject. He was just one of the teachers who knew how to read difficult passages, such as Shakespeare or The Odyssey, and—simply by his grand narration—you could walk away understanding so much more than you bargained for.
With historical novels, I believe there is no such thing as too much research. Even now, I find things out that I hadn’t found a few years ago.
Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Renee: When it comes to names, authenticity means the most to me. For instance, if a character is from Scandinavia, then I wouldn’t give him a French originated name. Along side that, the name must also roll from the tongue easily enough.
While some names can involve a lot of research to find the perfect one, others can just jump out at you. When it came to finding a name for my villain, Domaldr, in Ræliksen, it sort of found me. His name, when pronounced, just exudes an evil air. And when I researched it, I uncovered that there was once a Scandinavian king by that name who had been cursed by his own mother. Soon after her spell, he had lost many men to disease, lost battles left and right, and his luck never improved.
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Renee: Yes! In fact, they consume me. Most of my thoughts throughout the days—when I am not writing—involve contemplating the next chapter, figuring future plot sequences, or rehashing dialogue. Sometimes my best lines have come to me in the middle of the night. Of course, I have a notepad on my nightstand for those such instances.
Jen: If Ræliksen was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Renee: The hero, Dægan Ræliksen, would undoubtedly be Gerard Butler. There would be no one else who could play the bold, handsome, and charismatic warrior any better. If you have seen him in the movie Beowulf & Grendel, or even Attila, you’ll agree that Gerard was made to play Dægan.
For the heroine, I’d want a woman who was naturally beautiful, petite, and had eyes that could look right through you. Rachel McAdams would be my choice. She can bring about a believable chemistry with anyone who plays opposite her.
Now, I can only cross my fingers and hope for Hollywood to take to notice.
Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
Renee: Since this is my first release, I can only tell you what I did at the time. My husband had planned a dinner with a few of my closest friends and their families, keeping it from my knowledge. So when I walked into the restaurant, they were all seated at a long table, waiting on my arrival. After drinks were ordered and brought, they had lifted their glasses to me and toasted to my success. It nearly brought me to tears and I hope they all know how much that meant to me.
For my next release, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d want to be with my wonderfully supportive husband, my two girls, and my closest friends.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your book?
Renee: Not sure if this comment falls under the category of most interesting, but it certainly took me aback and warmed my heart. I received a fan letter from a woman in Vista, California, complete with Norse stationary, and she told me that I was one of her favorite authors. I held that very dear to me, as she also included that she reads about a book a day because of an unfortunate medical condition that keeps her home bound. She and I have kept in contact with each other and I feel blessed to have made that kind of impression on her with my writing.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Renee: My favorite author of all time is Emily Brontë with Wuthering Heights. But when it comes to historical romance novels, I love Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsey, Catherine Coulter, and Elizabeth Lowell. Recently, I have found contemporary romance to tickle my fancy as well, with Lori Foster and Shiloh Walker.
Right now I am reading Lori Foster’s Too Much Temptation. I had first read Never Too Much and loved every minute of it. Ben Badwin’s character alone makes you want to keep turning the pages. I found out half way through it that Lori had another independent title about the older brother. So before I even finished Never Too Much, I ordered Too Much Temptation, so that I could start reading it right afterwards. Despite me reading them in opposite order and having no trouble following along, I, however, recommend reading them in the order that Lori had intended.
Jen: What is next for you?
Renee: Right now I am busy working on the sequel to Ræliksen, entitled MacLiam and I hope to have it released in 2010 sometime. Ræliksen is a love story about the Norse hero in love with an Irish maiden, named Mara. MacLiam would give you the Irish hero who is also in love with the same heroine.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Renee: My website is http://www.reneevincent.com/ Please feel free to drop by and look around. I’d love to hear from you either by email or by signing my guest book. Interacting with my fans and reading each and every comment makes it all worth while. Without the dedication of romance fans like you, my passion to write timeless love stories wouldn’t have much of a purpose. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Renee: I am proud to say that my book has been read by people all across the world, including Ireland, Norway, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the US. One common theme in the feedback I receive seems to be that the plot twist at the end was not foreseeable. Readers hadn’t expected it and were greatly intrigued by the intricate web-working of small details which led up to that grand, final moment.
I, myself, prefer a romance with a deep story and possibly a twist at the end that I did not see coming. As a fellow romance reader, what are your thoughts on the matter?
Do you prefer to read a romance novel that requires a bit more thought process—one that suspensefully strings you along a complex plot, while tantalizing you with lots of sensual romance?
Would you rather an easy-read novel—one that gets through the plot quickly, and dives into the sensual romance at a speedier rate without too much thinking on your part?
Jen: Readers, Renee is giving away an autographed book of Ræliksen and the Ræliksen Soundtrack that was made by a very talented Irish musician to one lucky reader. To enter the drawing, you must first leave a comment or question for Renee. Then you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only people that complete both parts of the entry will be eligible for the contest. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, December 6.