Interview with Rissa Renae

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
What brings me the greatest joy when writing is 'creating'. Being a writer is like playing god: I build the scenes and the locations, I build the characters and give them personalities and flaws. I watch my creations grow and evolve. And then, I smash the two together in any way I see fit.

As my characters traverse locations and situations I've created, I control their experience. I can be a total jerk-wad and make their passage difficult and horrible, or I can shower them with love and kindness. At the end of their journey, it's always exciting to see how my characters have been changed due to these experiences. I toughen them up this way. Because next time, there just may be a giant pig demon coming to eat them alive!
Who are your favorite authors?
I have favourite authors from all kinds of genres. A few of my top picks are:

Horror: Anne Rice & Clive Barker (I can't choose!)
Fantasy: Robert Jordan
Teen: Danielle L Jensen
Sci-Fi: Pierce Brown
Indie: A.R. Wise (Horror)
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
More often than not, what gets me out of bed each day is a thought or a scene that pops into my head and needs to be written down lest I forget it. And I am terribly forgetful. I also don't sleep much.

Just being out in the world inspires many aspects of my writing. I call it 'research', but others may think I'm just plain weird. I like to people-stalk: follow behind a group of high school girls to hear what they talk about . . . look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop to see what they're doing on their phone. Yup, I'm that creepy gal watching you from across the shop, attempting to hide behind the huge potted plant so I can study your mannerisms in thinly veiled secrecy.

The smallest things inspire me: the sound autumn leaves make when tumbling across a deserted parking lot, the smell of old fry-oil wafting from a dark alley. Each will kick off a scene in my head. If I stayed in bed all day, I'd experience none of this!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was in Second Grade!

I loved the Bunnicula series by James Howe about a vampire bunny who sucked the juices out of vegetables. The family dog, Harold, saw this as a sure sign the tiny rodent was prepping to dehydrate the entire family and thus set off on this wacky tale. The story inspired me so much that I wrote a similar story with my beloved cat Fuzzball as the main character trying to save my family from the treat of vampire hamsters.

Even as a seven year old, I knew I wanted to write crazy little stories like this as a living.
What is your writing process?
I am a 'pantser' through and through, despite my real-world tendency towards elaborate lists and schedules.When I start a new novel, I rarely know where the novel is going or what's going to happen. I piece my stories together scene by scene, and never in order. When a thought pops into my head, I write that into its own file on my computer. Once I have enough scenes, a general pattern emerges and the characters begin to follow a path or a story. I need only to rearrange the scenes and fill in the gaps before a novel is born.

Often times, many scenes I write do not make it into the final novel. About 80% of the scenes I write eventually make it into a completed manuscript. The remaining 20% lives in my computer where they may get re-written and incorporated into another novel, or they may just hang around until I have enough to create a collection of short stories.
Published 2015-10-12.
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