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 pen name is Renee Wildes and I’m currently 50 (until April)
Fiona: Where are you from?
I rent a 4-bedroom house in Wausau, WI
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I’m a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, the only vet tech in a family of nurses. I’ve been married for 20 years, have two teen-aged children, a boy and a girl. My daughter’s boyfriend currently lives here also. I have an Associate’s in Applied Science degree from Madison Area Technical College as a Laboratory Animal Technician (Vet Tech) but currently I groom dogs at my local Petsmart salon. We have a full range of critters – 3 cats, a very kitty-whipped dog (black Chow), a hamster, and a horse (gray Morab mare that my daughter shows, mostly 4-H).
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have a new website–http://reneewildesromance.com
I have a new seven-book contract with Champagne Books with a new title releasing every three months. The first of my fantasy romance Guardians of Light series, (retitled A GUARDIAN’S HEART) comes out February 2018.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began seriously writing (with aim to be published) back in 2000. I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and an on-again-off-again RWA member who started by entering every RWA contest I could afford and qualify for. My first manuscript was a godawful contemporary romance named Second Chances, which I hang onto as proof of how far I’ve come LOL. But my favorite genre is fantasy so that’s what I gravitated toward—with the occasional segue into paranormal and sci fi romance. I started finalling, and then winning, contests, got requests, and found my first publisher, Samhain. When they closed, I moved to Champagne.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started reading when I was four and started pencilling my first horse stories when I was six.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Second Chances aside, my first published fantasy romance DUALITY was born from me having a recurring dream/vision of a redhead in a burning tower. When I learned she STARTED said fire, I had to run with it. It fleshed out from that one scene.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Duality from the multiple two-sided contrasts—Dara is mortal, only child, orphan, dragon fire-mage & human peasant, warrior & healer. Loren in immortal, elven prince & warrior-priest, empath, second son. They are such complimentary contrasts to themselves and each other, the title created itself. Mortal/Immortal, Peasant/Prince, Only Child-Orphan/Second Son, Human-Dragon/Elf, Fire Mage/Empath, Healer/Warrior… So much nuance in one word.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I grew up reading fantasy, and am a huge Tolkien & Joseph Campbell groupie (my son and I recently did an 8-hour (round trip) cross-state road trip to compete in a LOTR trivia contest at the Kenosha, WI Charcoal Grill restaurant!). I am a die-hard plotter and known for my fully-fledged world-building, esp. cultures and ceremonies. I am a terrible poet, though, and struggle with rhymes, so the hardest part is when I have to create/pen magic spells. Trying to make them sound like an adult wrote it—and not a five-year-old…
I also struggle with smooth transitions, moving from time to time and place to place.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As high fantasy, I can’t claim literal realism, but I can channel universal emotions and reactions. We’ve all experienced joy, hurt, betrayal, disappointment, love, loss—the full range. Whenever I want to encourage a specific reader reaction, out comes my “mood music” (I have a band/song for every occasion) and I dredge up some appropriate emotional memory from my misspent youth!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I’m a homebody with a full-time day job. I don’t have the time or budget for actual travel. But I spend a lot of time researching library & Internet, and talking to friends who have been places.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publisher (and my Champagne editor) Cassiel Knight did the temporary “placer” cover. The final official version was done by Trisha Fitsgerald.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That there is life after loss and love—when you both work at it—can overcome any difficulty or differences.
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?
The book that got me started thinking “Maybe I can do this, too” was Barbara Hambly’s “The Ladies of Mandrigyn.” Voice-wise, I’m very similar in informal, direct style to Mercedes Lackey, whom I worship. She is the queen of world-building, esp. cultures. I am in awe of the epic scope of J.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s uber-complicated & conflicted characters, and Lori Foster’s ability to write the male POV. I adore the humor in Mary Hughes’ novels.
But my favorite book period is Elizabeth Vaughan’s “Warprize” because her heroine Lara is so HUMAN.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My friend and former critique partner Karyn Powers has been with me from the beginning, supporting both woman and writer as I try to juggle my multiple hats.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do, but the realities of publishing—the instability and constant change—mean very few can make a living by exclusively writing. Most of us have to have at least one day job. Writing is time consuming, but the income fluctuates wildly in both amount and schedule. It’s not just the writing. It’s the editing, research, marketing, fan interactions, continuing education… Trying to find time for all that around family commitments AND a day job? Welcome to the lifestyle of the seldom-rich and sometimes-famous!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Being able to compare the Duality of a decade ago to the A Guardian’s Heart of now let’s me see my trends and weaknesses with fresh eyes. We authors all have favorite catch phrases we overuse, and bad habits. Champagne edits have really opened my eyes to my own writing, and I know what to look for going forward. Like most, I’m an okay writer but a fantastic re-writer! LOL Good editors are worth their weight in gold!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’ve learned to not fear the dark. They more a character has to struggle, the more they learn about themselves and the more into it a reader can get. I want the reader to care, to worry, to laugh and cry and threaten to smack me and then rejoice…and mourn the end of the last page. I want “where’s the next one?” emails. I want reviews to confess they were late to work b/c they stayed up all night reading because they couldn’t put it down.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
My characters Dara and Loren were originallyinspired by Cara in Dragonheart (Dina Meyers) and Haldir in LOTR “Fellowship” and “Two Towers” (Craig Parker). Nowadays, I really don’t know… I really liked Rose Leslie’s spirited portrayal of Chloe in The Last Witch Hunter (up against Vin Diesel); I could see her as Dara. For Loren? Maybe Alexander Skarsgard…
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
(1)Don’t be afraid to dig deep when it comes to close emotional POV—get visceral. and (2)Grow a thick skin—this is a fickle business, don’t take anything personally. One opinion is just that…one opinion. Move on.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for traveling this long road with me. I hope I keep making you think and feel for years to come, and that you come away from my tales learning something new about yourself, the world and the people around you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m taking a break with Janet Evanovich’s “Hardcore Twenty-Four” (the new Stephanie Plum).
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I started out with C.W. Anderson’s “Billy & Blaze” books when I was a little kid. Later I graduated to the Trixie Belden series.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Since hitting pre-menopause I’ve become an emotional SAP. For example, I still cry at the end of Cool Runnings even though I’ve seen it a hundred times. I sniffled while reviewing proofs of my daughter’s senior pictures. I laugh at the antics of our critters, and my daughter’s snarky comments when our mare gets particularly mare-ish and doesn’t want to do what she’s supposed to. I adore real-life foibles, and love sass and snark. When people come together to change their world, I choke up. There’s so much BAD around us, I like to celebrate the GOOD, both big and small.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Eleanor of Aquitaine—she was a formidable woman ahead of her time, who took a bad hand and effected tremendous, lasting change in her world from behind the scenes that echoes through time to today.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy scrapbooking and horseback riding. Hanging out with horses is the perfect de-stressor. I love museums and art galleries. I loathe cold weather, so in the winter I’ll curl up with a soft blanket and a good book or movie.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Movies—historical and fantasy (Rob Roy & Last of the Mohicans, LOTR & Willow)
TV—I’m eclectic (Librarians, Supernatural, NCIS, Bones, BBC version Musketeers)
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food—I love Mexican and Cajun
Color—shades of blues
Music—again eclectic (Celtic, Nordic, orchestral metal, New Age) I can listen to Medieval Baebes, Nightwish, Forever Still, Garmarna, Enya, and Celtic Women all in the same day
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I think I’d have to be dead, but I would have to say I would still be surrounded by animals or hanging out in galleries and museums
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I have nothing left to say.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Blog accessible via website: http://reneewildesromance.com
Amazon authors page