Saturday, February 20, 2010

Welcome Renee Bernard

I am one of the luckiest people in the world.  Why?  Because I know so many really, really cool people and author Renee Bernard is definitely one of them.  Not only is she funny as hell, she's incredibly kind and giving.  And if you've not yet tuned in for her talk show, Canned Laughter, ya gotta give it a try. 

Aside from these great qualities, Renee is also a super talented writer.  And I mean super.  Her books are smoking hot and wonderfully emotional AND you'll always get that great sense of humor in there too.  Renee has a new book coming out in just a few days titled, REVENGE WEARS RUBIES and she was kind enough to stop by and chat with me.

Welcome Renee!  So glad to have you here today.  I read recently that you were once a stand up comedian.  Is it true?  How did that happen?

Renee:  I did stand-up comedy on a lark, after a friend said, Funny at parties, okay, but can you do it up there?" when we were at a local comedy club. So amateur night rolls around, and you guessed it, I'm up there. I never got paid, but they asked me to come back so what can I say, I was the community theatre of comics -- doin' it for the joy (and keeping my day job). So, writing was almost the same track. I wanted to prove that I could do it. That all those scribbles in a notebook on my lunch hours meant more than murdered trees. I was very unsatisfied staring at cubicle walls and winning sales awards and I just dared myself to be the person I wanted to be and do what I really wanted to do with myself. And just like stand-up, I thought..."Even if no one pays me, I'll just be happy if they ask me to come back."

Erin:  Well I'll vouch for the funny at parties part.  I still remember meeting you at the Berkley cocktail party and you making me almost pee my pants from laughing.  :)  Okay, next question:  What does a day in the life of Renee look like? I know you have a newborn, as well as another child (right?) and I know from experience how busy your life must be. When do you find time to write?

Renee:  I keep looking for the hidden cameras! As the mother of two little girls (a toddler and a newborn), there are surreal moments where I'm sure that every mother throughout the ages is looking in on me and laughing hysterically (or crying, but I hope they're laughing). Fiona tried to take one of my books to preschool in her backpack (imagine my horror!) but only because the book was purple--her favorite color. Not because I had anything to do with it. So, to this point, my strange pursuit of writing is still under the radar.

It's chaos. We're helping with my husband's aging parents, so between senior duty and child care, there are days when the only thing that seems sane and stable is the imaginary universe I try to play in whenever I can. I write whenever the baby is asleep and Fiona is occupied, whenever I can really...mornings, evenings, middle of the night if I happen to be up anyway for monster duty. I've learned to improvise with notepads in my purse and recorders on my phone. The dream, (oh, yes! I have a dream!) is to be able to dedicate a scheduled block of time every day and to be able to take all that advice on time management and put it to use. The reality (oh, man! Do I have a reality!) is that Geoffrey has sworn to build me an office so that I can have a room of my own and make all my dreams come true. And in the meantime, I'll just keep plugging away because this girl has a goal to write Faster, Better, and Hotter!

Erin:  Oh, I so remember those days.  I wrote my first 3 books on lunch hours at work.  In my job now, there's no such thing as a lunch hour so I fit it in everywhere else.  All I can say, my friend, is this too will pass.  My kids are all growed up--or almost--and I wonder how I ever survived the years when they were little.  If I did (and my wee bairns) then so, too, shall you and yours.  :) 

Next question.... Plotter, Pantser, or Conjurer. (Plotters=planning, Pantsers=no planning, just take off and run, Conjurer=a little of both and a lot of magic).

Renee:  I think it's eighty percent Plotter and twenty percent Pantser, but I think that twenty is where I try to step back and let the characters make the call. Imposed decisions that aren't true to character are killers for me and can kill the joy fast. So, I map out the arc of the story, the chapters, the path and then I make sure that if the characters step forward with a better idea, I'm open to it. And frankly, it always seems to make for a better story. I'm a terrible dictator, but I love to improv!

Erin:  Improv has become my middle name, although I'm not loving it quite so much.  :)  Okay, last and most important question:  Tell us about Revenge Wears Rubies and what’s in store for the Jaded Gentleman series . . . .
Renee:  I'm having waaay too much fun with the Jaded Gentlemen and I hope the readers will enjoy the boys as much as I do. They are all very different from each other, so their stories will each be distinct to honor my heroes. I have my fingers crossed that my editor won't mind just how different as things unfold... ;--) Set in Victorian London, the Jaded share a past having been in India during the Sepoy Rebellion and are now trying to reclaim their "normal" lives in England--with a few twists.

"Revenge Wears Rubies" is the first in the new series and sets the stage. I confess, I enjoyed torturing both hero and heroine so that they could earn their happy endings. Galen Hawke is a personal favorite. I think I have a weakness for good guys who try to play the villain. Or is it villains that end up being good guys?

"Seduction Wears Sapphires" will be out in August, and it will be Ashe Blackwell's turn to meet his fate. What can I say? The heroine of "Sapphires" is American, independent, out-spoken and not impressed by Englishmen with silly fashions--just what my lady-killer needs! Ashe has to learn the difference between passion and love, and naturally, I insisted he learn it the hard way.

And then it's Emeralds and Diamonds and Opals.... oh, my!

Erin:  The whole series sounds great.  I loved your Mistress Trilogy and I can hardly wait for your new ones!

Readers, as a special treat, Renee is giving away an autographed copy of one of her Mistress Trilogy books-- Readers Choice! to a lucky winner.  Tells us what you think is most important in a romance--hero, heroine, sex, meaningful looks, pepperoni pizza--oh wait, did I say that out loud?  :)  Just tells us what you love about romance.  Don't forget to leave your email or check back later to see if you won!

For more information about Renee Bernard and her fabulous books, go to

Happy Reading!


Mitzi H. said...

What do I love about romance? I may be old but I'm not dead!!! And I love the way it reminds me of the way you feel when you meet that special someone in your life....When your heart beats so fast you can't hear yourself think...The way you know with the first kiss that "this is the one" and of course the wonderful experience of discovering all the private intimacies about each other. Need I say more???
I just love romance novels!!!!

Renee Bernard said...

Man! I'm going to end up sending everybody a book if all the comments are this great! ;-) I'm using that heart beat line in my next book...dibs!

Erin Quinn said...

No fair, I wanted to steal her comment and it is MY blog. Okay, okay, guests are supposed to get the choicest cut, the freshest sweets...the nicest comments but still.... :)

Mitzi, thanks for stopping by and sharing!

Gram said...

Remember that old ad - C+++++ take me away? That is what a great romance does for me - there I am, young again, and probably in a different time wearing different clothes - no jeans and T - and madly in love or hate with some delicious man! What could be better???

Virginia C said...

Hello, Renee! Your books sound delightful, and the covers are gorgeous!

Romance novels offer the hope that true love is attainable, and "Happily Ever Afters" can be ours. They also provide an escape from everyday life. We can view the romantic entanglements and sensual experiences of the characters and imagine ourselves in their place. Some "romance stories" go much further. They present a more realistic look at characters with physical and emotional problems, financial difficulties, abuse situations, unplanned pregnancies and so much more. Sometimes, I want to read about life scenarios which are similar to my own. Other times, I want to be completely involved by characters and life stories far outside my everyday world. You can find all of these things by reading romance novels. Whether you search for the familiar or the exotic, chaste love or deep sensuality, you will find it all in "romance novels".

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Renee Bernard said...

I think you've hit on an important point, Virginia! I think as long as it transports me...but I seem to lean toward wanting it to be better and more exotic (a different time and place) with characters that are more fearless than I am. Realistic conflicts and contemporary tales are so much closer to the bone, I worry that I'll show too much of myself...zany laughs and terrible tears. And I don't know if the world is up for that! (Or maybe I'm missing my calling...)

Renee Bernard said...

And thank you for the compliment on the covers, BTW! I wish I had something to do with them, but it's luck and I'm just thrilled to have them for this series!

Unknown said...

I just got my copy of Revenge Wears Rubies and I'm looking forward to it!
Terrific interview, Erin and Renee.

I love everything about romance, but especially an alpha hero who falls hard, who suddenly finds the love and tenderness within himself for that one and only woman, both of which he thought he'd never have. Melts me every darned time.

Renee Bernard said...

Let's hear it for the Alphas! ;-) grrrrrr.....

Lori V said...

Great interview Erin! I was fortunate to meet Renne a couple years ago at the Glendale Chhocalate Affaire. Very friendly and funny! Anyway what I love about Romance novels is when the characters are fighting thier feelings and the misunderstandings between them, when we as the reader know they both love each other. My stomach is getting all tight and I find myself rooting for them so hard!!! Then FINALLY they come together! I love that feeling of anticipation!

Renee Bernard said...

Thank you! Glendale Chocolate Affaire is the highlight of my year...and I couldn't go this year ;-( But I've sworn to be there in 2011 with bells on (and yes, I have bells!) and no way am I counting calories! But thank you for remembering me!!

robynl said...

what do I love about romance:
1)that special feeling you have for someone when someone mentions his/her name and your eyes light up

2)the great feeling for someone even if you are just sitting beside each other and a glow comes over you

3)as for romance books I love that you can re-live the romance in your own life as you read about others and

that you can see that there are HEA's in books and real life also.


Erin Quinn said...

And the winner is..... Virginia C. Congratulations, you won a reader's choice copy of one of Renee's Mistress Trilogy books!

Virginia C said...

Thank you very much! A delightful surprise : )

Renee Bernard said...

I can't stand it! You were all so wonderful that I think everyone deserves a book!!! So send me an email with your preference out of the Mistress Trilogy (or if you'd prefer to be surprised) and an address and I'm sending EVERYONE a signed book!! ;--)