Name Rena Marks
Old enough to know better! I’m at that magical age where a wisdom has hit and I still look good! LOL
Where are you from
Colorado, in the United States
A little about your self -i.e. your education, Family life etc
I’m on my second marriage, and it’s going well! My children from the first marriage are grown and gone. My ex is grown and gone, too. LOL
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The first book I’d written (but never published) is about a small mountain town in Colorado. It’s hysterical, with many zany characters, but focuses on a young girl who has fallen into a money trap–she’s become an author writing erotica! Now normally, writing erotica wouldn’t be funny, unless you happened to be a virgin and had no idea what you were talking about. So poor Julia goes on a quest to lose that pesky virginity, and meets her brother’s handsome ex-partner on the police force. While her brother is off on his honeymoon, she decides to housesit for him, where she meets all the neighborhood people, determined to help her snag a man!
Right now I’m exploring the possibilities of Kindle Scout, in which readers determine which books they would like to see published and nominate the selections. I’d love your vote! The link is: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/10025D6MR9SUB
I’m getting down to the wire, only about a week left! I’d appreciate any and all votes for Juliah’s Recipe For A One-Night Stand!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I love to read and one day I was between series, waiting for my favorite authors to release the next books, when I decided, “I can do this for someone else! The more authors, the better. Then no one has to wait for the next release.”
Now, writing erotic romance was a different matter. I decided to publish in erotic romance because it was a hot seller and I needed fast cash to pay my divorce lawyer.. It was the best decision ever. Learning to write erotic romance opened the field in ways I could never imagine! It rounded my writing and taught me so many more genres were open and ready to pluck ideas from.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer as soon as I typed “The End” on my first book. The fact that I could complete an entire book, and that it was interesting, is when I decided I was a writer. There was so much more to learn at that point, marketing, inspiration for the next book, branding, improving your writing technique. It was all a blast!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book, which is still unpublished, is about the wacky little mountain towns of Colorado. The second book in that series is what I need the Kindle Scout votes for! If it makes it, I’ll publish the first and third books. They are: Tori’s Secret To A Happy Divorce, Juliah’s Recipe For A One-Night Stand, and Valentina’s Day for a Cupid’s Encounter. They all have the same characters, the heroes are the police officers in the town, and the heroines live in the same neighborhood.
My first published book, Born Again, was inspired because of a book conference at the time, in which the featured publisher said, “This is the next book we’re looking for. A vampire versus a werewolf, tempered by a human female.” This was long before Twilight, LOL! My current WIP was that exact scenario, but the publishing house was erotic romance and so I stopped working on it, and wrote another with the same demand. It turned out very different from the one I had been writing, and only took me a month to complete. It became my first published novel with that publishing house.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m a very diverse writer. I can write in first person for paranormal, urban fantasy, or young adult work. I can write in third person for romance. I can write different books at the same time, though at that point I think an editor is very necessary!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Sometimes the titles come first, before you write the book. Other times, you title it “New work” until something snaps and you name it. And lots of times, you change the title over and over until it fits, LOL.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I love to stretch the imagination. If you don’t believe in the existence of other beings, you’ll see a possibility where they can exist. If you do believe , you’ll be transported to a magical time and place away from human life for a while! I’ve written reincarnation, vampires, werewolves, demons, and contemporary comedy series in which the heroes are police officers in a small mountain town.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of my books are spun from my creative imagination. I may use the name of a place, or a person, but that’s about it. The character then writes himself. For instance, I met a cashier at the grocery store who’s name was Afton. It was such a cool name, she became a character in my urban fantasy novel Kiss Me Before I Die. I knew nothing else about her aside from seeing her name tag!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
They can be, but like anything, you twist and exaggerate it until it becomes nothing like the original event or person. That’s what makes a story interesting-the fiction aspect. The embellishment.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I was a fan of urban fantasy author Kim Harrison. On her blog one day, I asked a question. “How does one begin writing?” She suggested joining a writer’s group. I researched writer’s group and began from there. If she hadn’t made that suggestion, I probably would never have managed to stick with writing, and publish.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Writing takes so much time, I rarely read. If I do, they’re “quickie” stories, short books I can read in a day. Because I’m a speed reader, books don’t take me long anyway! I love the action of urban fantasy, but sometimes I need the happy ending of paranormal romance. Lots of times, actually. Sometimes I want a quick entertaining read, something that doesn’t take you through time travel or lots of details.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Larissa Iona! Love her novel, Bound By Night
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Right now I’m working on re-writing and editing my previously published novels and self publishing onto Amazon. It’s taking more time than I expected, especially the marketing aspect. I’ve been out of the writing business for five years, my fan base has moved on! After this, I may write sequels to the novels I have, such as Kiss Me When I Wake. And I may also write a completely different novel at the same time, because that’s when I work best.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Definitely fellow authors. They share their knowledge, trials and tribulations. One author, Jory Strong, has even gone so far as to walk me through self-publishing step by step after I’d gotten out of the industry for five years. A lot had changed in that time!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
One day, yes! To be a successful career, you need to be able to pay the bills with your earnings as a writer. If I can market my books enough to do that, I would love to be able to write all day, every day!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope! I write my books with the possibility of sequels for the characters. New ideas are born every day.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
From reading! I love living in a fantasy.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I believe my next venture will be alternate realities that live alongside our own. Perhaps fairies. Perhaps witches. Although, there is one WIP that I have tucked away about an angel who has been sent to Earth to figure out what is going on with our planet. She unlocks a bigger mystery than she can imagine.. So far, it’s named Tainted. That could change though…
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I tend to write fast, so I have to set it aside and reopen it much later to add more detail to it. Sometimes I believe the readers can read my mind, LOL
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite, because they all have certain strengths and it really depends on my own mood, what I am into at the moment. Sometimes it’s paranormal romance, like the Sherrilyn Kenyon novels. Sometimes it’s urban fantasy, like Kim Harrison. Sometimes it’s dark paranormal, like Laurel K Hamilton. Sometimes it’s comedy, like Janet Evanovich. Steampunk, Kady Cross.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I did in the past, and it was a blast! The best conference was RT- Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention! Now, with the changing world of writing, it’ not as necessary to travel unless you’re in the learning phase of writing. A sad aspect! I’m glad I had my fun while I could.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Right now, I design them. I couldn’t use the covers that my books were published under, and so the current novels on Amazon were designed by lil old me!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Going through a horrid divorce taught me to write erotic, if primarily for the money. Writing erotic was also the single most difficult thing about writing! There are only so many scenarios to write about, especially when the entire market is blasted with trying to write hotter and hotter. But, I believe it made me a better writer because I know I can be diverse! There’s nothing I can’t tackle if I set my mind to it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that you must learn about writing in order to write. I think we’ve all been attacked by the “free” books on Amazon, which used to be a brilliant marketing ploy by authors writing a series. They’d offer the first book free, hoping to hook you enough to get you to purchase the rest. Nowadays though, “free” books have been likened to first time writers, who know nothing about the craft. Kudos to them for completing an entire novel! However, they’re not done yet. Now you must learn to polish your craft, learn how to show instead of tell, take workshops, learn about grammar, join critique groups to find the weak spots in your novels, the areas that don’t flow, etc.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep learning! Don’t stop with publishing a book. We used to think publishing meant “The End.” That’s no longer the case, not now that anyone and everyone can publish on Amazon. Now, you have to make yourself bigger and better, learn about technique, and editing. You’re never to old to take an English class. There’s always things to brush up on.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please remember that reviews where you purchased the book (Amazon) are what enable books to rise in rankings and search engines. When I was a reader, I always clicked on the “star” rating at the end of electronic books. That doesn’t do it for us! Misleading, I know. It takes an actual review on the website. Your reviews matter and keep an author in the business of writing.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Oh, good Lord, no! I’ve been reading since before I knew I was reading! I read the cereal boxes growing up, every word, even the ingredients. I read crime magazines in the 70’s, before we learned to censor and shield kid’s eyes! Because of that, I always read adult novels as a kid, because my reading level was advanced.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love to laugh, but I refuse to cry. I think we were blasted by the “tug your heartstrings” novels, mostly from Oprah’s book club. Life is sad! Life is stressful! I’d rather laugh. I love comedies, which is why I wrote Juliah’s Recipe For A One-Night Stand.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Princess Diana . She had an interesting life. And despite the trials she faced, she did an amazing job raising her sons.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Honestly, nothing. I’m in a better place. Don’t spend money writing on a headstone I’ll never see! Cremate me, throw me away, and have a big party! Give away some of my books and hope that encourages young ones to write also.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to bellydance. I also took salsa dancing lessons. My husband and I love to hike, and I absolutely love cooking. I spend a good portion of time organizing my recipes from good, better, and the best!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Criminal Minds. Quantico. Big Brother. Mike & Molly. Law & Order, SVU. Loved Revenge! Dollhouse. Anything by Joss Whedon. Scorpion.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love all kinds of foods. If it smells good, I’m willing to try it! I love deep colors, burgundy is probably my favorite. Music? Anything goes, but my least favorite is rap. Not that I don’t like it! I just tend to listen to easy listening because it’s easier to write to. If I drive in the car, it’s country music. While at work (I work in a metaphysical shop during the day) it’s oldies. Anything goes!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Something in the health field, or spiritual healing. Alternative medicine.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I’m currently working on updating everything! When it’s all up and running, it’ll be tied to my name, Rena Marks. I’ll never change my pen name for different works, I’m a firm believer that the name is the brand. If I change genres, I’ll market it as separate but under the same name.
My Amazon author page is: http://www.amazon.com/Rena-Marks/e/B0038J24NQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1443621801&sr=8-1