There’s something about blonde writers and literary blondes in general… and I don’t say that just because I naturally am one (our secret, okay?) I say that because there’s just something special about them… I mean think about it… Mary Shelley was often described as a blonde — yes, I know most of her portraits are brunette — Thor is blond, Princess Buttercup is blonde, Emma is blonde, Sookie Stackhouse is blonde, Eric Northman is blond (at least he is in the HBO show at that’s good enough for me), Kalyna has blonde hair (okay, biased here, but still), and Supergirl is blonde. You get the idea, right? Anyhow, Renee Charles adds something to the literary blonde line-up with her romance writing. How could anyone add anything to the romance genre, you might ask? Easy. Add Zombies and a bit of spice. At least… that’s what Renee told me…
Meet Renee Charles
Author, Renee Charles believes all love is legendary. Being the only female in a house full of giants (husband and two teenage boys) she tends to lean toward the strange and unusual, but inevitably the softer side shines through.
Whether life leads her to a snow-covered mountaintop, sun dappled forest, or the bottom of a ravine, (yes, ditches happen) she always has a pen and note pad ready so wherever the next adventure takes her, she can take notes.
Her own romance began in an insane asylum. Luckily, both she and her husband only worked there. But it makes sense her romance novels have strange beginnings that lead to passionate endings. Romance with a twist.
In the face of zombies, werewolves, and big foot, she always seems to find a happily ever after to leave you with a sigh at the end.
When did you first tell a story?
In 7th grade, I actually wrote my own version of an “Afterschool Special.”
What was it about?
It was about a girl who was the only person that knew her older sister had been raped, and what to do about it. Since I was an only child, it was obviously 100% fiction, but caused a lot of raised eyebrows. I switched to writing bad poetry for a few years, which turned out to not really be my skill set.
Did you ever make up imaginary friends or beings for the sake of boredom or general mischievousness?
Oh yes, my imaginary friend’s name was Honey and she had wings and could turn into a fish at will.
Who influenced you the most as a writer?
I loved John Steinbeck in high school, his use of the English language gave me goose bumps every time. Oh is my inner nerd hanging out?
Favorite book, ever. Yes, I am limiting you to one.
Geeze, really? One? Morning Glory by Lavyrle Spencer. I love the way she wrote two broken people being a little less broken in their love for one another.
Easiest part of writing for you would be….?
The action. I tend to get going and forget to stop and smell the roses along the way, then I have to go back and write about the roses.
What is your most dreaded, please-don’t-make-me part of writing?
Promotion. I am just not comfortable asking people to read my book, even though my greatest hope is that they do and find themselves swept away by them. I just hate to ask.
If you could have dinner (and dessert) with any fictional character who would it be and why?
Any sage advice you can pass on to fellow writers that you wish someone had told you sooner?
You cannot write in a vacuum, no matter how many books on the craft you read, you must must must network and learn from other writers in order to grow and learn.
Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals? How do you write?
I am all over the place, between work and family I write when I can. If I waited for the stars to align and the right song on my MP3 player, I would never get to it.
What is the color of your editing pen? Yes, I’m serious.
Purple pen and yellow highlighter. It’s a mess when they mix.
Of the senses (all six), what is your favorite sense to write?
Touch… I love a light grazing of the knuckles to raise a goosebump or two.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you break through it?
Oh yes, it is a very real thing and you can’t let it stop you. Change direction and write something else…but keep writing. Another scene to be used later, or not, gets my characters moving again.
There’s all the hoopla over being a Pantser or a Plotter – which team are you a part of or are you somewhere in between?
I used to be a pantser until I learned that having a road map makes the journey quicker. Now I use plot points and free write to get from one to the other. Makes for less writing yourself in a corner.
Meet Renee’s Writing
Tell me about Only Love Survives.
An idealistic school teacher and ex-corporate mogul manage to find love despite a looming worldwide catastrophe. Can their love survive while everything around them is dying? Will they learn that when facing the end of the world, Only Love Survives?
What makes Only Love Survives a unique zombie book? What genre would you put it in?
It is first and foremost a Romance… that happens to be set in a Zombie Apocalypse. I think there should be a new sub-genre of romance …Romance Horror.
Who was your favorite character to create?
I love Megan. I love the way she sees the zombies as tortured souls instead of monsters.
What is the hardest part about writing this book?
Describing the zombies without turning people away, a thin edge to say the least.
What is the easiest part about writing this book?
The banter between Megan and Sam…. half the conversations are ones I’ve had with my husband.
Have you always loved and written zombies/romance or was another genre & subject your first love?
I have always loved zombie movies and romance novels, it was natural to combine them. But there are not too many out there. I have always loved any romance with paranormal tendencies.
Do you have any genre-specific tips?
Ummm…the faster your zombies move, the less time your hero and heroine have to make love.
Do you have any other projects that you’re working on?