Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Jennifer Renson and I am twenty-nine years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born, raised and live in Toms River, N.J
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I graduated from Monmouth University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations/Journalism with a minor in History. While there I participated in the university newspaper and literary magazine. After I received my Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Kean University. Since graduating I have been attending Open Mic events in New Jersey. I have three poetry books: Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Uncharted and two young adult/modern day fairy tale books: Carousel and The Cottontail. Some of my poetry is Walking Dead themed (Walking Dead poet) which was published in a few magazines including The Idiom and Urban Lit Magazine. In my spare time, I write for Lost Treasure Magazine and participate in archaeological digging. I love conventions having attending Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con and later this year Walker Stalker. I love spending time with friends and loved ones including my adorable dog Teddy. One day I hope that writing will be my career. I refuse to give up on that dream.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
A few months ago, the prequel to Carousel titled The Cottontail was released. The story is taking readers back to when the palace was alive and well and Feletti has been released for the first time in years.
I recently attended San Diego Comic Con for the very first time. While there I had the opportunity to be filmed talking about The Walking Dead (my favorite TV show and inspiration for some of my walking dead themed poetry). They did not promise the footage would be used however the 100th episode airs in October when the show returns however I have pretty strong feelings it will be shown either on television or online. If anyone from the show happens to read this, the crew both days were phenomenal.
In a few weeks, I will be holding a book signing at the Jersey Shore Comic Book show in New Jersey and in December I will be attending for the first time Walker Stalker Con New Jersey. What happens in between August and December is anyone’s guess but I look forward to more surprises.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing as a child however I am unsure as to why I did. I just remember picking up my first diary and started writing. I’ve been writing ever since with no plan on stopping.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer when I started seeing my poems published in the university literary magazine. I believed that once I saw my work (poetry, stories, articles) in some form of published material (magazine, online magazine etc.) that I considered myself officially a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m one of those writers who will start one story, get inspired by something else. Drop the book I was working on and start the new one. It’s one dangerous cycle. Carousel, was the first book I completed. I used a lot of variables of inspiration. As a child, my favorite ride were merry go rounds/carousels. I wanted to use that as the central mechanism for the whole story. I wanted to write something different. Most of my story ideas are a legit story, with long dialogues, multiple characters, with a set theme. This is my first modern day fairy tale. I sort of thought about what Tim Burton would like or create and went with it. I added elements that both terrified and enamored me. I am glad I did experiment because thus far the response has been wonderful. People seem to be delighted to read something this different and unique.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Like Carousel before this I wanted to keep the title to one or two words to keep it short, sweet, and dramatic. I wanted the title to give the readers one clue as to what they would find as they read the story. In Carousel, we find that the ride is the most cherished gift of the royal family. It is where the villain Feletti was entrapped, where Princio and Marian had met becoming this beacon for all of the important events that shape the story. The Cottontail holds that same method true as a white rabbit haunts Victorio’s dreams, it is the trusted pet, sort of speak, of Feletti and represents that symbol of curiosity.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My writing style doesn’t follow any format or layout. I will write the story in pieces. For Carousel and The Cottontail, I knew from beginning to end what was going to happen and every day I would write on paper the dialogue and scene so that when I could get home to my laptop I could type up everything and save it. I always use scrap paper to write. I do not like to waste anything. I tend to write my stories in black in and my poems in blue ink to keep track of what I’m writing since inspiration has no schedule. It comes and goes when it wants to.
I find that because I am not writing full time (something I am trying to achieve and will one day achieve) it is challenging. I have to make time to write. I have to constantly juggle work, personal life, hobbies, responsibilities and writing. I categorize writing as a separate entity because it is for me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The entire book is pure fantasy and fiction. I did not base any of the characters or events in the book on any part of my life. I noted in the past that carousels have always been my favorite ride as a child. They hold a lot of innocence, wonder and magic that I believe we carry with us as we grow and mature. I wanted to make the carousel the central symbol of the books.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I actually do not travel. I will conduct research online, reading books if need be and listen to countless amounts of music. I am very music oriented and I touched upon that in an article I wrote for a blog a few months ago. More often than not I do not have to research because I focus on fiction and more specifically fantasy. In regards to Carousel and The Cottontail I wanted to better understand Italy during the 1490’s even though the time period is an alternative timeline where readers are transported to 1492 Lucca, Italy with working carousels.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Propel a section of Pulse designed the cover however asked for any ideas I might have. I wanted to make sure a white rabbit was on the cover as well as the palace so that readers could make the connection of this book to Carousel while also being intrigued as to what the story was going to be about.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I wanted the readers to grasp that bravery and growth are things everyone will learn. We learn as we grow and no matter how difficult or terrifying something can become we can face it. Change will happen, sometimes for better or worse but it is unavoidable.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
My favorite writers include T.S Eliot, Oscar Wilde, J.R.R Tolkien, Rafael Sabatini, and the artist Winsor McCay.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I would honestly have to say the friends I have made have supported me since I started. I often didn’t tell them in detail what I was up to because I do not want to come off self-centered. However, they were so proud of me and shared my published works. They continue to support me and I could not be more grateful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do as long as you are persistent and continue to work towards that goal I believe it is possible. It may be easier for some (connections, celebrity status, etc.) than others however anything is possible.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am very content with The Cottontail as my first prequel. I have dabbled in prequel ideas before and am very proud of the results.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned more about Italian culture and history. I already had a general basis of Italian history however I was able to learn more about the clothing of the time, what saints were celebrated, how did they celebrate, what imported food did they eat etc.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
That is a tough question. I have been asked this a few times so I am confident in saying that although Feletti is not the lead, he is the villain but central to the lead, I would like to see Sebastian Stan play him. I know he’s been busy with Marvel portraying The Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes) and I’m sure he has other projects but I think he’d be an excellent fit. As for the lead Victorio, he is a twelve-year-old so the actor would have to be either that age or close enough. I would honestly like to see someone new, someone we haven’t seen yet so that this could be their breakout role.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I would say that the writing process will have its ups and downs. Life happens but you should always stick to it. Read books, meet authors if possible, practice your skills and over time you will begin to find the process becoming easier. Practice does not perfect because we are human beings, it’s impossible for us to be perfect as much as we want to be. But practice does make things better. Practice helps you to grow and learn.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I want readers to know that if you love to write but are hesitating, don’t. If you want to write, write. Write about what you know and love. Everyone is different so not everyone will enjoy what you wrote and that is fine. Pay attention to the reviews and critiques but listen to your heart. Do not let the bitter reviews get you down but bring you up.
“There is no apology for passion.”
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I recently finished Jesse Eisenberg’s Bream gives me Hiccups & other stories. I’m very pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed it and found certain chapters so relatable it’s scary. I picked up Ben Chiappetta’s The Genesis Sphere and I want to pick up Helene Wecker’sThe Golem and the Jinni.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I actually do not. I know as a child I read a lot of fairy tales as most children did.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
In all honesty, the silliest and oddest of things can make me laugh. It could be watching a comedy show by the late Robin Williams to Robin Hood Men in Tights is on again and although I’ve seen it hundreds of times I will still laugh. Same can be said of what makes me cry. I rather be happy and funny than sad any day however there are times where being sad can help with setting the mood for a story or poem. I have cried plenty during sad films and television shows. Once I have cried I then jump to something to make me laugh. Life is more fun when you laugh.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
There are tons of people I want to meet and wished I could meet. I cannot narrow it down to one person in particular so just to name a few: Norman Reedus (an actual conversation so I can pick his brain about his photography, acting etc), Jesse Eisenberg (for the same reasons as Norman Reedus), Mozart, Oscar Wilde, Rafael Sabatini (his work was so profound, I wish I could thank him) and Queen Nefertiti.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Aside from writing I enjoy reading, cross stitching, poetry, swimming, archaeological digging, history and of course comic books.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV shows: The Walking Dead, Chrisley Knows Best (it is hilarious), The Tudors, The Borgias
Films: Indiana Jones trilogy, almost anything DC and Marvel, Sabrina, Dr. Zhivago, almost anything Disney, The Hobbit films, Jane Eyre
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods: Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Chinese
Colors: Teal, Red, Pink
Music: Classical (Brahms, Mozart, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky) Country (Johnny Cash), Barry Manilow, The Doors, David Bowie
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
That is a horrible image. If I can no longer write I will undoubtedly never be happy again. I do not mean to sound dramatic however anyone who writes with a strong passion will feel the same. With writing off the table, I may turn my attention to cross stitching. I would most likely work on creating and selling cross stitched crafts.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I really do not know. I haven’t thought about that. I would want something to the extent of being a loving mother, devoted wife, inspirational writer, animal lover and captivating poet.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
YouTube: Jennifer Darling https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHS5sW_xOgZSXhpUwhK36Bw
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Jennifer+Renson?_requestid=1240538