Interview & Contest: Zenobia Renquist

Jen: Please help us welcome Zenobia Renquist to Romancing the Book.  Zenobia, will you please share a short bio with us?

Zenobia: I’m a military brat turned military wife (Air Force), and I love world building. I started writing seriously in college but didn’t finish my first book until after I was married and living with my hubby in California. That manuscript was contracted with Samhain Publishing (under my other name) in 2006 after the hubby and I moved to Maryland. We now live in Hawaii (just got here in October).

Jen: Tell us about White Hot Christmas: Stripping Christmas and where it can be purchased.

Zenobia: White Hot Christmas: Stripping Christmas is my contribution to the Changeling Press multi-author Christmas series. It’s also part of the “Win Free Books for a Year” contest. Details are available here

Alex is firmly on the naughty list, and she wants Santa to join her.

Alex thought she was going to a job. Instead she ends up marrying the heir to the title of Santa Claus. The vows have been said and cannot be taken back, even if Alex isn’t the ideal bride Kris was hoping for to re-energize the powers of the House of Kringle. But Alex is about to teach him that being a little naughty — or a lot — can go a long way.

First Chapter available online at http://www.dreneebagbypresentsfirstchapters.blogspot.com/search/label/Zenobia%20Renquist

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

Zenobia: I discovered writing in high school as a way to cope with life and to remember the little fantasies I created to keep myself entertained. As I said before, I didn’t decide to develop one of those stories into something that could be published until college. It took about three drafts before I got the manuscript that I submitted.

I first tried several literary agencies that all turned me down – looking back on that first manuscript and the query letters, I can totally see why. Since none of those panned out, my then co-worker (currently a friend and beta reader) suggested I try an e-publisher like Samhain. I figured why not and send it in.

An editor contacted me, requesting revisions before offering a contract. I did them gladly, and the contract followed. In July 2007, my first novel under my real name – D. Renee Bagby – was published. My penname – Zenobia Renquist – was born shortly thereafter.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Zenobia: Far from ordinary.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?

Zenobia: Not much of a routine. I quit my day job over a year ago so I could devote my time to writing. I usually like to be undisturbed, so I choose times when the hubby is out or after he goes to bed. As a result, I tend to be a night owl. I like having instrumental music playing in the background (not necessarily classical, just something without words) or a movie that I’ve seen so many times that it becomes pleasant background noise.

Once I start writing, assuming the above conditions are met (it’s not always the case, but most of the time it is), I’ll keep going until an outside factor stops me – hunger, fatigue, potty breaks, or an interruption of some kind like the hubby coming home.

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

Zenobia: A few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to answer this question. After taking a hard look at my stories, I noticed I do have a recurring theme – Beauty and the Beast. It is my all time favorite fairy tale (as well as my favorite Disney movie). The majority (if not all) of my stories involve a heroine who must get past the hero’s gruff manner/exterior in order to love him and she her.

I also have a lot of fish-out-of-water stories. Being a military brat, I moved a lot when I was younger. That meant being the new kid a lot and having to acclimate to new locales. Now I put my characters through the same tortures.

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

Zenobia: I will one day (hopefully in the next year) start my foray into horror romance. I think I would do very well with this genre. Most horror (like spicy foods) has no effect on me, but I still love a lot of the nuances of the genre. I’ll be writing to scare myself. Hopefully that won’t make it too frightening.

As to a genre I would never try, I can safely say that is inspirational romance. I am spiritual, but I am not religious.

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?

Zenobia: I am happy their story is told and have no trouble moving on, which is a good thing because I have many stories planned and some started. Once I recuperate from finishing one book, I am always eager to go on to the next. I do have favorite characters and enjoy when I start a book that brings me back to them because they make a cameo appearance, but there is no one character to which I am completely attached.

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?

Zenobia: Those would be the five authors I “grew up” with – Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick, Elizabeth Lowell, Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, and Iris Johansen. I’m sure one day I will meet these lovely ladies. Being part of RWA and attending Nationals (the yearly conference) almost guarantees it. When I do meet them, I will thank them for writing stories that sucked me, spurred my imagination, and tempted me into creating characters as amazing as theirs.

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

Zenobia: I think the most interesting comment came from a former co-worker. I am a person who smiles perpetually. It’s not because I’m happy. It’s more muscle memory. I do it unconsciously and don’t notice until someone mentions it. As a result of my seeming cheerfulness, most people assume I write children’s books when I tell them I am published. I correct them of course, and one of my co-workers decided to give my books a try. The next day she came up to me, grabbed my face, looked me dead in the eyes and said she couldn’t believe something that violent came out of someone so happy. That got a laugh out of me. What can I say? Writing is great therapy.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Zenobia: My next release is also with Changeling Press. It’s called Love Reversed and comes out December 30th.

It’s only an even swap when both parties are satisfied.

Cinnamon came to the Hawaii celebrity retreat to meet her favorite actress. Calhoun crashed to find answers about his missing uncle. Neither of them signed on for the part of the tour that included body swapping. They have to find a way to switch back without anyone realizing their predicament. Long nights of searching for answers become even longer when curiosity takes over. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to see how the other half loves, and they don’t plan to let it slip away.

Buy Link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1749

As for my writing, I have plans to write at least twelve novellas for Changeling Press in the year 2012. That is my goal and I hope to accomplish it. I have at least nine plotted and partially started. The other three are tentative stories that may or may not be back-burnered if a plumper plot bunny catches my eye.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Zenobia: Website – http://zenobiarenquist.com
FB – https://www.facebook.com/Author.DRBagby.ZRenquist
Newsletter – http://ymlp.com/signup.php?id=geusujygmgj

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Zenobia: Not so much a question as a request. I make the same request in all of my interviews (pretty much). Simply this – When you’re ready, Leave Your Reality Behind and come enjoy mine.

Contest details:

  • The prize is an ebook of choice from Zenobia’s backlist (excluding Stripping Christmas).
  • The contest is open to anyone over the age of 18.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • 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, December 21.
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