Blogoversary Day 27: Josee Renard

Jen: We are excited to have Josée Renard as our guest as our blogoversary celebration continues. Josée, will you please share a short bio with us?

Josee: Josée Renard writes women’s fiction, magic realism, paranormal and erotica. She writes short fiction, poetry and novels. Josée blames her good friend Anna Leigh Keaton for getting her into writing erotica – she loves Anna Leigh’s books and wanted to try one herself – now she can’t stop. She blames her mother and her two grandmothers for her reading and writing obsession – all of them were avid readers, and they passed the books and the obsession on to her.

Jen: Tell us about What’s New, Pussycat? and where is can be purchased.
Josee: This book is about one of my favorite fantasies – the RenoGuy. I think I must watch a little too much Home and Garden TV!

In What’s New, Pussycat? Theo the RenoGuy has been renovating the house next door to Versa for most of the summer but now the work iss almost done. Versa has been watching him – and drooling over him – the whole time he’s been there. She doesn’t see as much of him now that he’s doing the finishing inside and she misses his great smile and the wave he sends when he sees her on the back porch. She misses watching him turn on the hose, take off his shirt and spray himself down, the cold water running down his chest. God, she wanted to get her hands on that body in the worst way. But she’d spent the past two years in a relationship that had bored her to tears and the previous two getting out of a miserable marriage. But Theo has plans for the girl next door. In one more week the renovation would be done and he’ll move on to another project. He’d spent all summer dreaming about her creamy skin and voluptuous body, all summer singing Tom Jones to her. He’d spent all summer with a hard on. It’s summer’s end and it’s time to make his move.

You can find What’s New, Pussycat? at http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/pussycat.htm

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

Josee: Not being one of those writers who knew at age 6 that I was going to be a writer, I started writing very late. I think I must be a late bloomer because I didn’t go to university until I was 30 and my favorite English professor told me that the essays I was writing read like fiction. Why don’t you write stories? he said and so I did. I wrote poetry and had it published pretty quickly, wrote short stories and had them published pretty quickly. After about 10 years of that, when I realized I’d never make a living as a short story writer (told you I was a late bloomer), I started writing novels. I kept writing stories and getting them published, did some non-fiction writing, and got that published, while I wrote about three novels. The third one I was pretty sure I could get published and the fourth one I did. I met an agent at a conference, sent it to her the next week, she loved it and knew exactly where to send it. It only took about three months from the day I got the agent to the day I got the call. I sold that book and the one I’d finished just before it – the third and fourth books I’d written. That was pretty exciting!

Jen: How does your family feel about your career?

Josee: I grew up in a family – on both sides-of avid readers so they absolutely LOVE the fact that I’m a writer. They’re my biggest fans. My sister and brother both hand out my bookmarks as if they were Halloween kisses. My mom and dad are both gone, but they got to see my first book published and they were over the moon.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?

Josee: Not really. I have many friends who do and I often think that my life would be easier if I had some kind of ritual to get me started or keep me going. The closest I get to “must haves” are my 30 year old ratty Roget’s thesaurus, yellow lined recycled paper and a gel pen. But I can live without any of them and still write.

Jen: What are your biggest motivations to write? What keeps you going?

Josee: Hmmm, that’s a tough question. I probably have two or three motivations that are about equal. I have a group of friends who constantly bug me about writing and are getting published and writing great things; I like the money; and I like (as all writers do) having written and being published. As for keeping me going? Honestly? Because of the way I write, never knowing what comes next or what will happen at the end, the thing that keeps me going is that I want to know what happens at the end.

Jen: Do you have a theme, object or person that appears in all of your stories?

Josee: I do have a theme, I think. It’s not as clear in the erotica though in the longer stories it shows up more often. Whether I write women’s fiction as Kate Austin or erotica as Josee Renard, for me it’s what I call coming of age stories. I think women come of age twice, once in their teens or early twenties, and once again much later on. And that second transition, when a woman becomes who she was always meant to be, is the moment I love to write about.

Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from? Why?

Josee: I’d like to write romantic suspense, mostly because I love to read it. I’ll stay away from writing romantic suspense because you have to plot and I don’t do it, can’t do it would be more accurate. I start with a phrase or a title and I just walk off into the fog, having absolutely no idea of what’s going to happen in the next sentence, let alone the next chapter or at the end of the book. So romantic suspense or any kind of mystery writing is out of the question for me.

Jen: How do you pick character’s names?

Josee: Often I actually start the book with the character’s names – I’ve seen a name on a real estate sign or in a book or a newspaper or magazine and that actually triggers a story for me. Sometimes – once I’m into the book – I’ll pick them by browsing the spines of the books on my bookshelves and combining two names into a full one. More often I get them from the notebook I’ve been keeping for years and years with interesting names in it. I get a lot of those names from movies. I always sit all the way through the credits and have stolen names from almost every movie I’ve ever seen.

Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? If you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?

Josee: I think I would travel back to the English countryside in that last glorious decade just before World War I, the last flowering of the world before globalization of war and everything else. I love the second half of this question though answering it isn’t easy. Okay, I’d take comfortable, modern undergarments for obvious reasons. I’d take beautiful, expensive clothes so I would fit into the upper class. And I’d take an accent implant so I’d sound like Lord Peter Wimsey’s sister.

Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Josee: The list is lengthy, but probably at the top of the list would be my friend Rosemary Phillips. She’s in her mid-80s and I met her at my local RWA chapter. Her husband of almost 60 years died about 10 years ago, and she decided she was going to become a writer. She writes every single day (through all kinds of problems and illnesses), has sent a whole bunch of manuscripts out, and finally decided that she couldn’t wait for a publisher to figure out that they wanted to publish her. So she self publishes two or three books a year and has a book launch for that year’s books every October. She does public readings, she sells her books to libraries and individuals and she never, ever gives up. She’s an amazing woman.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Josee: I’m working on a ten-part serial (makes me feel like Dickens) that will release each second Friday from the middle of August until the middle of December. It’s called Part Time Lovers and it centers around a website of the same name. Jules and Mercy – friends since grade school – run the website and their relationship and the two of them are the thread that runs through all ten separate stories (each one of which is titled after a Stevie Wonder song). It’s going to be a whole lot of fun.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Josee:
http://www.joseerenard.com/
http://www.joseerenard.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/Josee_Renard
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#%21/pages/Josee-Renard/163055307086304

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

Josee: Here’s a question for you – and, although this isn’t part of the actual contest, you will get a sort of prize for it. What’s your favorite name? And why? (It can be your own name or your best friend’s or your husband’s…) We’ll put all these names into a hat and pick one – and I’ll name one of the Part Time Lovers characters with the name you’ve sent us. Make sure we have a way to contact you.

Contest details:

  • The prize is the winners choice of a Josee Mug or Magnet.
  • The contest is open to US and Canada residents, 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 Sunday, July 31.

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