Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Welcome Renee Bernarrd

Today I am thrilled to introduce my new featured author, Renee Bernard. I had the pleasure of meeting Renee in San Francisco at last year's RWA Nationals conference and she was so much fun that I new I wanted to host her here!

Renee's novels have won Romantic Times “Best First Historical Romance of 2006” and appeared on the USA Today Bestseller List. Her next book Revenge Wears RubiesI is the first book in her new Jaded Series with the second, Seduction Wears Sapphires releasing July 2010. She is a very busy lady!

If you read my interviews before, you already know that they are a bit unconventional...but then again, so am I. :-) So let's dive right in.

Erin: Renee, tell us, what's the kindest act you have ever seen done (either to/by you or another)?

Renee: Tough one. I seem to be surrounded by incredible people that amaze me every day, and they inspire me to try to keep up. My husband, my friends…No one gets recognition for those well-timed “pot luck dinners” when a friend’s refrigerator is empty, or the loan of a vehicle when a family needs a car, or a box of gently-used toys when a little person’s birthday is around the corner. I’m lucky to be part of a group that just quietly gives and receives, but I think it’s important to do what you can.

I think putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is the first step. I wish I could say I’d done something heroic beyond all the little things, but maybe the little things will add up one day. I remember when I was a college kid in an airport in a foreign country and I met a young American mother with three small children who was in tears. Her husband was military and she was joining him, but her flight had stranded her for the night. The exchange booth had closed and she didn’t have any local currency to buy anything to eat or make do while they waited. I just emptied my wallet and gave her everything I had. I wouldn’t need yen where I was going! It was the most natural thing to do in the world. No big deal. I didn’t give her my name. I just told her how great Japan was and what a wonderful adventure she was about to have! And then I caught my flight.

Kindest act? No way! That’s what anyone would have done!! I believe that. You do what you can, whenever you can, because the next time, it’s you with that empty refrigerator or in tears somewhere out of your element.

Erin: Okay, maybe you weren't throwing your body on a bomb before it went off, but that was a great act of kindness in my humble opinion. She will probably never forget you did that for her and someday she may pay it forward.

Next probing question: What is your worst nightmare?

Renee: I can’t say. It’s too embarrassing and a yearly occurrence at RT conventions. Needless to say, friends of mine will tell you it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever seen, so I am at least grateful to keep my friends entertained.

Erin: This wouldn't have anything to do with the dance floor would it? :-) And if so, yes it was the funniest thing I've ever heard (missed the show but caught the replay, lol). You know my readers are going to be dying of curiosity, right?

And easier question....if you could have had the starring role in one film already made, which movie would you pick?

Renee: “Elizabeth”…Cate Blanchett was wonderful, but what red-head wouldn’t want to play that role? Power, a throne, dresses beyond imagining, surrounded by men and danger… Now, there’s a fantasy role a girl can sink her teeth into!

Erin: LOL. That's funny. But then there's that whole virgin queen thing--or do I have my royals mixed up? I loved the first movie--which now I can't remember the name, but still haven't seen Elizabeth. Will have to watch it and picture you on the throne. :-)

Last question before we talk about your wonderful books! What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done.

Renee: Brave or stupid? Because I find that sometimes, at least for me, these things seem to coincide… ;-)

Erin: Personally, I think it takes courage to be as stupid as I am, lol.

Renee: Okay, this is NOT a poor me story but seriously, the bravest thing would have to be following my heart and quitting a perfectly wonderful job with benefits to pursue writing full-time. Two weeks later, my husband (who had supported this brave decision) announced out of the blue that he was leaving me. That day. His car’s packed. Thanks for all the fish. (Now, mind you, there’d been “I love you’s” right up until the big surprise and not a single fight…so when I say out of the blue, I mean Out of The Blue.)

But here’s where the bravery/stupidity kicks in! My job had evaporated behind me and the urge to seek the security of another cubicle was beyond measure. Even so, the opportunity and courage to jump off cliffs doesn’t come everyday and I had this strange feeling that it was now or never for me. So I stuck it out. I took hilarious part time jobs to try to keep groceries in the cupboard, sold everything that wasn’t nailed down and tried not to make a face every time someone wisely stated in a seminar “don’t quit your day job!”

So there you have it. I’m poor but happy, and I’d like to think there’s a measure of bravery in that. (And as an end note, I met a fantastic man who swept me off my feet and married me and who demonstrates what real love and loyalty are every single day… so there you go!)

Erin: Now that is a great story and it even has a happy ending. That's beautiful. I dream of quitting the day job every single day of my life. (sorry if any of my co-workers are reading this. Really sorry if my boss is, lol).

Okay, onto the book questions... Your books are set in the Victorian period. How is this different from the Regency period?

Renee: You mean, beyond that silly fifty year difference? ;-) Just kidding.

Erin: See above, re: stupid and me.....

Renee: My last trilogy was late Victorian and my next series is early, but essentially, you have so many developments during the period that make it very fascinating to play with as a backdrop. From the industrial and social changes, and strange schisms in behavior, boundaries were falling and more and more restrictions were being created at the same time. The rules tightened, but behind the scenes, people were naughtier than ever. Ah, joy! Human nature is always a constant, but I love the Victorian eras quest for ideals and reform, allowing them to achieve so much and occasionally fail so spectacularly.

Erin: Okay, that is very cool. I didn't know any of that (not surprising when considering the source). Tell us about what your next release. When does it come out?

Renee: My next books are part of “The Jaded” series, and the first book “Revenge Wears Rubies” will be out in March of 2010 , followed by “Seduction Wears Sapphires” in July 2010. Set in early Victorian London, it’s about the members of an informal gentlemen’s club known as “The Jaded”. The men became fast friends while trapped in India during the Sepoy uprising, and after a miserable year in a raj’s dungeon, they share a bond of suffering and survival that colors their view of the world they return to. To seal their fate, not one woman whose memory they clung to, remained loyal—and so the nickname for the brotherhood is extremely apt.

Erin: That sounds fabulous. I can't wait to read! So why do YOU you think we’ll love this series? (because I know we will)

Renee: I hope the readers will fall in love with these heroes as deeply as I have. The Jaded are each unique, and from different walks of life (so not all blue-blooded playboys this time!) and definitely almost too hot to handle. Second sons of nobility, a soldier, an artist, a doctor, a scholar, a rake—hopefully these books will give historical romance readers a nice new vantage point at the world of Victorian London. And the women who restore and heal them are going to be equally unique and compelling. Add a hint of danger and intrigue and it’s a compelling mix.

Erin: Okay, I am COMPLETELY sold. I just searched on amazon and they aren't available for pre-order yet, but I'm thinking soooon.... right? Please let me know and I will let readers know!

I'm running a contest to celebrate having Renee here. Make sure to check out the CONTEST PAGE on my website to enter. Renee is giving away a copy "A Rogue's Game" or reader's choice from the Mistress Trilogy and I am giving away a copy of one of my previous titles. In addition, I'll throw in a Borders Books gift certificate and a HAUNTING BEAUTY mug!

Thank you, Renee, for stopping by and sharing your stories with us!


Theresa N. said...

That was very nice to give the Mom money to help out. I think you all know not everyone is that nice. Your book sounds great I love the Victorian India connection.
Theresa N

Renee Bernard said...

Thanks, Theresa! Although, I think *most* people are that nice--a girl can hope, right? (which is why I'm always surprised, I guess, when I watch the news and people aren't...and why I think I watch it less and less these days... ;-)

Ah! The real reason I like to write fiction! I can make people as nice or as villainous as I want...and they always get just what they deserve! (insert evil giggle here)

Lucy said...

Fantastic to hear you've got a new series coming out, Renee!

Erin Quinn said...

Thanks for stopping by to say hi Theresa and Lucy. Isn't Renee amazing?

The Unadorned said...

Hi Erin,
The interview proceeded rather incisively and I liked it. It's difficult to write historical novels for the simple reason that a lot of research is unavoidable. No extempore business, you know.

Please visit my blog and catch up on my progress--oh yes, you had earlier dropped by my blog some two years ago when I was trying to promote my previous book through it. In the meantime I've published my third book, a short story collection with post office settings. It is in a language you would not understand. I've translated a sample story and posted in my blog.