Interview with Richelle Renae

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up as a latch-key kid in a small town in Michigan. The freedom of being parent-free taught me not only how to take care of myself, but how to explore my environment. My home crouched on a small pond originally carved out of the Kalamazoo river to drive a grist mill that was built in the 1860s. Four seasons across 20 years spent in and on the pond and among its surrounding forests and marshes provided countless hours of exploration, teaching me an appreciation for nature that I could have never gotten from any classroom. That love of nature has a way of sneaking its way into my work.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing professionally as an IT support person and have been published in a national paralegal magazine. Though I've kept journals off and on since I was a young adult, I didn't really start writing fiction until just a couple years ago when I watched a friend go through the process. Seeing her accomplish a dream that had been one of my own since my late teens gave me the inspiration I needed to get my first novel written. I hope to release that novel, and a second one that I wrote a year later, at some point in the near future.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I actually give quite a lot of details about how my short stories evolved within the books I as I publish them. A White Crow developed during an on-line writing course. The course required a much shorter version of that story, so I ended up writing a first-person account of Mac as he started off on his day. Writing a "sub-story" from Mac's point of view actually helped me improve the writing in the final short story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I made the jump into Indie when I realized how hard it is to get noticed by agents. Beside having a good story and a great query, it's important to have a good platform for promoting your work. My so-called platform accounted to about 100 family and friends on Facebook, 50 or so followers on Instagram and 3000 followers on Twitter. While 3000 sounds like a lot to someone getting their feet wet in this industry, I think those agents are looking for counts closer to 100,000. So, I puzzled out how I could tackle this problem and came up with my Read Write Ponder series. Since A White Crow is the first book of the series, I have no idea how well-received the series will be. I'm crossing my fingers and tossing the dice.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the juice that keeps me going. Fresh squeezed! They inspire me and keep me working hard to give them more. I look forward to hearing from them and discussing elements of my books.
What is your writing practice?
I did NaNoWriMo to write my first two novels. The first year, I started as a pantser, developing the story from a single vision I had in a dream. I took my time and completed the challenge of 50k words in November and then completed the novel at 60k words by the end of December. I spent almost the whole next year editing, though I did do NaNo again in November and wrote my second novel. The second novel, I plotted out and wrote it all during word sprints. And I hate it. I am so unhappy about how it turned out that I don't even feel like editing it. Eventually, I may do a full rewrite, but that story lost its magic moment with me and I am really to move on. I have a dozen short stories for the Read Write Ponder series to be completed and edited in the next year, and I've plotted another novel. So, I guess my process is to think a lot about something, take notes, plot and then write.
What is your editing practice?
My editing process is all over the board. I tend to write and edit at the same time, even though you hear many experienced authors say, "Just get it on paper." As I write, I build a timeline of events to keep the order and timing under control. This helps minimize edits for large plot holes based on the timeline. Much of my actual editing entails cleaning up my bad habits. I tent to do more telling than showing, so I really try to take a hard look for the places where I should be showing and rewrite those sections.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is sharing my work and having people be surprised by something in the writing. I like books with twists and turns and surprise endings. Think "Soylent Green" and that surprise moment in that book. If you haven't read it, I don't want to give it away, but it was one of the first stories I read that had a shocking twist (for me). I enjoy those moments when people say to me, "How could you?" or "That was a big surprise" or "Why did he/she do that?"
Who are your favorite authors?
So many favorite authors! I feel like I will be sorry for leaving out some of my all-time favorites by starting a list here, but let me take a swing at the authors and their stories for who seem to be my current influences.
Cormack McCarthy - The Road
The Martian – Andy Weir
Dog Stars – Peter Heller
The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion
World War Z - Max Brooks
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Besides my full-time job, when I'm not writing, I have a husband, four children (ages between 9 and 21), and two dogs that keep my running. With my kids all in sports (soccer, diving, baseball), my evenings are a routine of "Quick! Eat this sandwich! Get in the car! We gotta roll!" followed by bedtime routines, and finally an hour or so of writing. I also try to cram in time for on-line courses and building connections on social media.
Published 2017-03-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Word for Writers: Headers and Footers
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,860. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Handbooks & Manuals, Nonfiction » Computers & Internet » Office productivity applications
Indie authors often struggle with the production side of creating their books. This guide has been written to provide support on Microsoft Word's tools for creating headers and footers for print copy production. Take the guesswork out of adding page numbers and page titles.
Sheltered Hope
Series: Read Write Ponder, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 5,120. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors, Fiction » Educational
When a boy finds a stray puppy, it comes as a surprise to everyone that he's allowed to keep her because his father is a hard man who thinks chores are more important than pets. It isn't long, though, before Hope wriggles her way into everyone's heart.
Golden Meadows
Series: Read Write Ponder, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 5,970. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors, Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
A man who's always seen the world through an artistic lens, where boat railings are covered in vermilion paint under cotton candy clouds, would like nothing more than to get validation from the son who's always thought his father was crazy. What if he isn't crazy at all? What if faeries are real? Sometimes fathers and sons have lenses that will never be focused the same.
Alms of Freedom
Series: Read Write Ponder, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 4,520. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Female authors, Fiction » Literature » Literary
When a woman visits a foreign country for the first time and heads out to the bazaar to purchase a gift for her host family, the host's son joins her to act as interpreter. The boy teaches her enough common phrases to allow her to communicate with the vendors, and not get swindled, but it isn't until she trips over an old crone selling wishes, that she learns the most valuable lesson of all.
A White Crow
Series: Read Write Ponder, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 8,470. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Educational
Mac and Lisa are a young, recently engaged couple still working out the kinks of their new relationship and coming to terms with the challenges of living together in the big city. When Mac casually borrows the one item that Lisa attributes all her success to, both their lives are dramatically affected.