Interview with Rob Renée

Who are your favorite authors?
I'm probably the worlds number one fan of the late Roald Dahl. I've read other books obviously, from Jules Vernes, HG Wells, Clive Cussler, Joseph Heller, Playboy, Andy McNab, Anthony Lavisher, Terry Pratchet. Playboy was a joke, just to check if anyone was reading or just pretending! I can't remember everything I've read to be honest.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have 7 children. When I'm not writing or marketing my books I am running around after one or more of the children! My partner and I spend a great deal of time "teaching the way" and taking & collecting them to school, friends, swimming etc. I have to admit that I do like a good xBox fix in the evenings as well. I'm a Battlefield 4 fan. Add me if you like, we'll start a war! Tag "ridad".
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes it was in school. I used to write stories regularly in school, and they often got me into trouble! My first one was about a mad professor and it was called Professor Plonker. I also wrote a story in Comprehensive School about a boy who woke up with x-ray eyes. Needless to say he used them well in school, and I was in detention. I also wrote a short story called South Survivors about a captured American pilot and his subsequent torture and retaliation. It was a kind of Rambo spin-off, but I hadn't seen Rambo at the time. It was published in Readers Digest as a 2 part story, and in the school newspaper. Looking back, I think it was a bit rubbish!
What is your writing process?
I don't actually have one! With Meet The Poo's I literally sat down and wrote it in one go. I went back over the following days to add/edit and then drew illustrations on my laptop. It was very raw, and about 2 weeks after I self published it I decided to re-illustrate it. I'm 100% pleased with it now. Peter Poo to the Rescue was written in stages. In my mind I wrote down the topic, added lines to factors that would need to be discussed to reach the end of the book, then wrote one page at the start, a chunk in the middle, then back to join the two together which made the ending easy. I'm working on several other books as well, but because I'm so busy I've written plots, names, profiles etc on the 1st page so when I go back to work on them I remember what I had planned. It'll probably change by the time I'm done though!

A quick insight - The Human Whisperer is going to be a good book. I'm on chapter 3 now, but no chapters are complete. In my head I know the story, and I know it will not change because I think it's spot on, very Disneyesque. I'm so excited when I write that I literally have to jump ahead to future chapters to write about things that I just HAVE to get out of my head! It's no way near complete but I'm very excited about it, and actually read it over and over just because I love the story so far. It's going to be for older children, but with my own excitement I think it will also appeal to adults of a certain nature!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember reading was definitely Roald Dahl, probably Fantastic Mr Fox. I remember that I could actually taste the chickens! That led me onto every other book he wrote, even the Tales of the Unexpected series.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I was a web designer, so I love the power of the internet. I made my own website, iPhone app etc - but Facebook allows you to reach thousands of people for free. So, Facebook wins hands down. By the way, you can check these out if you want to know more!
Describe your desk
What is a desk? Haha. I write on the kitchen table. Sometimes it's clutter free, usually there are a couple of cornflakes though!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Cheshire and lived there, North Wales, South Wales and other places... My dad was in the Royal Air Force, so I grew up all over the place, wherever he was posted! I had no siblings living with me, and sometimes when you've just moved somewhere you have no friends, so I was left to my own devices and the most common thing to do as a bored only child was to use your imagination. My mother used to always say to me "use your imagination", so I did. It usually ended up with me in trouble. I learnt to make friends quite easily, and learnt over the years that I am (and in the words of my partner) just like Marmite. People either love me or they hate me. Growing up taught me a few things: if you don't ask you don't get, the bigger they are the harder they hit you, a bird in the hand is what gets bird poo on your hand, never spit into the wind and lastly - be yourself. The latter being the most important one! So my influence is simply simplicity. I write like I talk, I speak what I like and if you don't like it that's fine. I'm not a big Bible fan, but I hear it's sold quite a few copies...
What was the first thing that you wrote?
Other than hieroglyphics, my name.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I know several people, including one of my own children, that have suffered with Encopresis. It can lead to an unfounded and irrational fear or phobia of passing a poo. Health professionals inform me that 1 in 7 children suffer from this, and the majority of their parents are not aware. Instead, most children are looked upon as lazy, naughty or simply late to learn. The majority of children that suffer with a phobia could not tell you why they have a fear, but it is assumed that they have subconsciously been affected at an earlier stage in life, by anything out of the ordinary with their toileting, such as constipation, diarrhea, food in their poo, bad wind etc.

You can laugh, but if your child suffers with this (maybe you did, as a child), you will be reading on with a deadly serious face wanting to know more. Many people have told me that they feel a sudden guilt, because they had never considered the possibility of their child's soiling habits being something deeper than laziness. Don't feel guilt, but do keep reading.

I originally wrote Meet The Poo's for one of my own children. We had spent years running between doctors, health nurses and pharmacies. We'd tried making our child blow balloons up on the toilet, adding oil to their food, reading books on the toilet, ignoring it, encouraging, praising, punishing, reward charts, reward toys, promises of reward etc. Nothing worked. You can tell a child to blow as many balloons up as you like, offer them £1000 and a new car - if they have a phobia it will not work! They have a mental block somewhere, a program, which stops even them from knowing why they are scared to poo. The aim of Meet The Poo's was to add another program, or reprogram, the area of thought which caused the phobia. By creating a magical world inside, loveable characters, realistic yet fantastical stories and a happy ending with lots of praise, I hoped to bury the phobia. The aim of writing more and more books is to keep introducing primary causes of the phobia and dealing with them. For example Peter Poo to the Rescue deals with constipation, visiting the doctors and taking medicine. Future books are under way to deal with diarrhea, wind and even pieces of undigested food in poo! 2014 will see the introduction of the Wee family, which will aim to help with Enuresis, or wetting. My aim is that the books will also become toilet training aids for children that do not suffer a phobia, a universal parent help series!
What was the last thing you wrote?
Read the very last word of this line. I predict the word will be final. That's the last thing I wrote. See, it was final.
When did you first start writing?
It was just a couple of seconds after my pen touched the paper. I had to take the pen lid off first though.
What do your fans mean to you?
They keep me cool in the summer or when I'm sat in the kitchen and the cooker is on.
Published 2014-08-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Meet The Poo's
Series: The Poos, Scared to poo. Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 1,210. Language: British English. Published: November 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Health & Daily Living / Toilet Training
Meet The Poo's is written to help parents of children that have a sometimes unexplained and seemingly irrational fear of passing a poo or using the toilet. It is written to take the emphasis off the child to use the toilet, instead removing pressure and blame. Peter Poo causes the accidents and needs your child’s help, an entirely different approach.
Peter Poo to the Rescue
Series: The Poos, Unable to poo. Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 2,170. Language: British English. Published: November 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Health & Daily Living / Toilet Training
A child that suffers from Encopresis is often, wrongly, seen as a naughty or untrained child, so these books aim to reduce the stress on both the child and the parents and encourage better understanding and communication of the problem. Encopresis can lead to a child having a phobia of the sensation of passing a poo, and 1 in 7 children are affected by it - some into their teen years.