Blogoversary Day 14: Giselle Renarde

Jen: Our blogoversary celebration continues with a visit from Giselle Renarde. Please help her feel welcome at RtB.  Giselle, will you please share a short bio with us?
Giselle: Sure! I write erotic fiction across genres, everything from paranormal erotic romance to contemporary ménage to transgender sci-fi. My short stories appear in more than 50 erotic anthologies (and counting), including Best Women’s Erotica 2011 and Best Lesbian Erotica 2011. Watch for my work in some of the 2012 Best Of anthologies, too! I’ve got dozens of e-books on the market, a handful of paperbacks, and my novella Ondine is available as an audiobook. In addition to writing, I do a lot of volunteer work. Canada is my home and native land, where I live in bliss (HA!) with two cats. There’s a girlfriend in the picture and she gets pissy when I don’t mention her in my bio, so here’s your honourable mention, Sweet!

Jen: Tell us about Anonymous and where is can be purchased.
Giselle: Anonymous is my first MMF ménage novel, and it’s available from Amber Quill Press. You can buy it as an ebook and in print from Amazon, as well. Set pretty transparently in Toronto, Anonymous follows Hannah and Nathaniel, a married couple who share one particular fantasy: he wants to get it on with another man…and she wants to watch. Well, poor Hannah lost her job when the economy fell in the toilet, and she’s been sending out resume after resume but getting no bites for positions at her level. Maybe it’s boredom and frustration that encourage her to hire an anonymous male prostitute for Nathaniel. Who knows? But the experience brands Hannah in a way she’d never have anticipated, and even when she finds a new job and Nathaniel brings home another young hottie to share, Hannah is obsessed with discovering the true identity of “Mr. Anonymous.”

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Giselle: I’m sure everybody says this, but I was one of those kids who made little story books after school. I loved to draw, so my books were all “finely” illustrated. In my teens and young adulthood, I didn’t write at all, aside from academic papers and the like. In fact, I came back to creative writing when I, like Hannah, had lost my job in business and a friend dared me to write some erotica and try to get it published. I just so happened to be watching a documentary about one of our fine Canadian short story writers, Mavis Gallant, around that time, and she mentioned that when she started she sent out three short story manuscripts. She told herself that if they were all rejected, that was it, she’d pack it in right away, but if even one was accepted she would endeavor to carve a life out of writing. I did the same and one of my stories was thankfully accepted for publication (I didn’t realize at the time how crappy it was) and I worked hard with my editor to get it up to snuff. In fact, the editing process was so grueling that I told myself I would never write again. But I got over it and kept writing, and with the help of great editors over the years, I’m now much more confident in my work. Looking back, I can’t believe how naively I came into this business. That first story, by the way, was ‘The Birthday Gift’ which is now available in its second edition with eXcessica Publishing.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Giselle: Authentic, quirky, sizzling.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Giselle: I couldn’t stick to a plot outline if my life depended on it. My stories are completely character-driven and I’ve learned not to fight them. For instance, the book I’m working on now: I’d fully intended it to be M/F erotica with a little MMF to spice it up. Well, that’s no good for my POV character, who spends most of the novel struggling with her attraction to other women. What I’m ending up with is MMFF ménage with what’s shaping up to be a F/F HEA. Who knew? And, of course, I would not have planned that because MMF is more marketable by leaps and bounds, but I know if I fight with my characters I’ll end up with a mess of a manuscript.

Jen: Do you struggle with deadlines? How do you deal with the pressure?

Giselle: I love deadlines. I find it hard to work without them, which is why I have pieces in so many short story anthologies and only…let’s see…one novel on the market. Okay, and a handful of novellas too. But even the novellas I’ve mostly written in response to calls for submissions—with deadlines.

Jen: Would you still write novels even if you didn’t get paid?

Giselle: Writing is my full-time job, and then some. I don’t have a “day job”—writing is my day job. It seems a common misconception that all writers write simply to fulfill some emotional or muse-related internal mandate, and although I probably wouldn’t have chosen writing as a career if those factors were irrelevant, I would never want to give the impression that royalty cheques are not important. Authors seem to be painted as greedy for wanting to be paid for our work, but it’s not like I’m taking my royalties to Tiffany. We’re talking about paying the rent and feeding the cats…and myself, if there’s anything left over.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?

Giselle: The market, particularly in erotica and romance fiction, is super-saturated. It’s not easy to draw attention to yourself and your work, but there’s nothing more rewarding than when readers do take notice. I write a lot of fiction involving transgender characters, and when I started hearing from readers who are trans and genderqueer, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. That was incredibly validating.

Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?

Giselle: They do stay with me. There are a lot of sequels in my head, which may or may not come to fruition. My characters live in my heart. Their lives keep going even after I stop writing about them. Non-writers tell me I sound crazy when I say things like that. Oh well.

Jen: What five authors or people, past or present, have been important to your writing? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?

Giselle: Canadian authors have greatly shaped my choice of setting and subject matter, and in particular my choice to write unapologetically Canadian fiction. Authors like Ann-Marie Macdonald, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence, and Mavis Gallant. And, like most of Margaret Atwood’s twitter followers, I would like to one day produce something worthy of a retweet. LOL

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?

Giselle: I get a lot of comments about my work being quirky and different, but my heart is most warmed by what I hear from transgender readers. An anthology of my transgender erotica was recently released by loveyoudivine (it’s called My Mistress’ Thighs and I highly recommend it—but of course I would, I wrote it LOL) and the response has been wonderful: that I’m not just writing ABOUT transgender people, I’m writing FOR transgender people, and there is a huge difference. One forum moderator said that if you’re looking for trans erotica, “Giselle Renarde is not to be missed.” It’s a niche market and one that most readers probably don’t think about, but it’s crucial to me that I’m writing transgender characters that resonate with the trans population.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Giselle: I’ve got so much on the go. A lot of novellas coming out before the end of 2011 (including Stacy’s Dad Has Got It Going On, Callie and the Hipsters, A Tale of Fur and Flesh), a lot of new short stories in Cleis anthologies like Best Bondage Erotica 2012, Best Lesbian Romance 2012…gosh, there are so many I can’t remember off-hand. I have a story in Tristan Taormino’s upcoming trans erotica anthology called Take Me There. A lot of stories in Xcite’s wonderfully naughty anthologies, too. I will have the final installment of the Red Satin trilogy on the market this Christmas—and if I don’t I think there are a few readers who will hack me to pieces because the second installation (The Night Before Red Satin Christmas) was a cliff-hanger. I’m cruel, I know.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Giselle: My website is http://www.wix.com/gisellerenarde/erotic and my blog, which is updated far more frequently, is http://donutsdesires.blogspot.co. I’m on Twitter @gisellerenarde, so please follow me. I’m moderately interesting at times.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Giselle: I always like to ask readers if they’ve read any books or seen any films lately that featured transgender characters. It seems to me that trans people are always portrayed as psychos and prostitutes when they’re represented on TV shows, and that kind of makes me afraid that the general population’s view is skewed in that direction. I know trans people who are medical doctors, university professors, small business owners, work at different levels in government…the list goes on. So, my question is: have you seen transgender people featured in books or movies lately? Which film or book (or play or, okay, TV show) was it?

Contest details:

  • The prize is an electronic copy of my anthology My Mistress’ Thighs: Erotic Transgender Fiction and Poetry.  A side note fro Giselle: It’s a big-ass book—over 300 pages!  This book is quite varied in terms of stories, some titillating start to finish, others gushy and romantic, a few historicals, some fantasy, some comedy, all involving trans characters. I know you’ll enjoy it!
  • The contest is open to anyone over the age of 18.
  • You must leave a comment for entry.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Wednesday, July 20.

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