Author Interview: Rochelle Renee

1. Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

“Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery was the first book that REALLY catapulted my love and passion of writing into the stratosphere, so to speak. I loved the entire “Anne” series of books and especially the movies that were produced by Kevin Sullivan Productions, with Megan Follows as the heroine.

2. Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?

Everyone of my heroes is a real life man in my life. I feel it’s essential to model my characters after someone I know. It gives an authentic feel to the writing, and readers give me feedback about my characters, saying “It feels so real, like I am right there in the story with them!”

It’s therapeutic for me to also model the heroine after myself sometimes; I am able to give a backstory that has details of things I have gone through myself, and it’s quite healing.

3. Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?

I create soundtracks for every book I write. I have an eclectic playlist featuring doo wop, love songs (soft rock), instrumental, some R&B or old soul, such as Motown or old Philly soul. It depends on the mood of the book and what my characters are going through in each chapter. Music is very healing for me. I couldn’t live without it.

4. Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both?

For me, writing is energizing. It’s my happy place, my safe haven, tucked away from the turmoil or hustle of the world. It soothes me.

5. How did you come up with the title of your book?

For my latest book, published July 2021, the title “Love Walked In” came from an old Gershwin song. Paul Weston is one of my favorite bandleaders from the 50’s/60s. His version of the song Love Walked In was what inspired the title and concept. Then, I heard Ella Fitzgerald’s version, and her beautiful lyrics really set the tone for my characters and what I was feeling at the time.

6. Do you participate in writing challenges on social media? Do you recommend any?

Each November, for the past 10 years, I’ve been a part of NaNoWriMo, and I love it! Half a dozen of my books have been written during that 30-day writing challenge in November. I recommend every author partake in the Nanowrimo challenge. It’s a fabulous way to get out of a writing slump and to reach that coveted goal of 50,000 words!

7. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Read, read, and read!!! Sign up for a creative writing course. Submit your work to publishers and let them send feedback! When I was a teenager, I’d submit my work (which was ghastly) to publishers and they would just send a rejection slip and not tell me what I did wrong. For 30 years, I didn’t get feedback. But now, I’ve been fortunate to hear from editors who actually give me constructive criticism that helps! For example, do not let a secondary character take over, and do not feature mostly external conflict. Let the internal conflict be evident from the primary characters. I feel this feedback helped me most! Also, I graduated from college with a Journalism diploma, which greatly helped with tight writing and helped me become a better editor of my work. Get as much training as you can and find a trusted person who can help you in the editing process.

8. How many books have you written? What is your favorite?

I’ve self published 10 books, which are available on Amazon for sale. But I’d say there is 20 books in total that I’ve written. The others are still in the draft process.My favorite is PASSION, which is loosely based on my life as a single mother, and is semi-autobiographical in many ways. It also broke my 13 year span of writer’s block.

9. If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?

I’d really love Julia Roberts for my female lead, and for the male lead, someone like Simon Baker or Matt Passmore. I love my Aussie leading men!

10. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I was 14 years old with just a typewriter (my parents were not computer savvy at all) and I sat down and told myself I was determined to finish my first novel. It was June and I worked on it till September. The title was Dreams Never Die, a young adult equestrian romance about a girl named Rachel who finds a white Arabian stallion named Phantom, roaming free on her country property. The book was inspired by a movie my mother took me to see at the theatre called “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.” It was about a diving girl who goes blind diving horses at a traveling circus show in the 1930’s. Such a good movie and emotionally driven. That film made me want to write about horses and young love, so I did!

Amazon author page

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