James Renner is a reformed muckraker who now writes novels and short fiction. He also occasionally dabbles in film and comedy.
At Kent State, Renner founded Last Call Cleveland, a sketch comedy group, along with Mike Polk, Chad Zumock, Aaron McBride, and Jef Etters. For a time, they were the most-watched late-night television program in the dorms–take that Conan!
Renner was once voted one of Cleveland’s Most Interesting People by Cleveland Magazine. It was between him and the Norton Furniture Guy. The editors have come to regret that decision.
In 2005, Renner directed a short film based on the Stephen King story, All That You Love Will Be Carried Away. King sold him the rights for $1. It starred Joe Bob Briggs and the late-great Harvey Pekar. And it premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival.
Renner spends his spare time hunting serial killers and writing about his adventures. One of his true crime stories was published in the Best American Crime Reporting anthology. It was the first nonfiction true crime article to use a dream sequence as a narrative device.
Sometimes Renner pretends to smoke cigarettes because he wants to feel relaxed but is too afraid of the harmful effects to actually light it.
Renner has recently signed a two-book deal with Sarah Crichton Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for a couple of novels: The Man from Primrose Lane (Feb 28, 2012) and The Great Forgetting.