Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Interview & Giveaway: Rae Renzi

Happy Valentine's Day! It's my pleasure to welcome fellow Carina author Rae Renzi! Rae's debut romance, RiverTime, releases today and she's been gracious enough to stop by and answer my nosy questions. She'll also be giving away a copy of RiverTime to one lucky commenter!

About RiverTime:

Casey Lord needs a break. Her great-on-paper boyfriend, Reed, is pressuring her to marry him—but she's not sure if he sees her merely as an asset to help his political career. A river-rafting trip in the remote wilderness provides the perfect opportunity to clear her head. Until a flash flood sweeps Casey away from her group—and straight into the arms of Jack, a mysterious man also stranded by the flooding river.

Jack won't tell Casey his last name, and her innocent questions about his life are met with evasive answers. Yet they have to trust each other to survive, and as the pair await rescue, their uneasy truce slowly blossoms into friendship—and love. They agree to keep secret whatever differences may separate them in the real world.

When rescue finally arrives, will it spell an end to their budding relationship or can they find a way to stay in RiverTime?

Welcome, Rae! Tell us a little about yourself.

Talking about myself doesn't come easy, but the basics are that I (mostly) grew up in a tiny town in Oklahoma, although my parents were quasi jet-setters (literally-- my father was an experimental test pilot for McDonnell-Douglas), which made for a two-sided childhood: we were familiar with the cosmopolitan, but intimate with rural small town. I now live in Texas, where I'm an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience. I have written science for years ("publish or perish" is not a myth!), but only recently decided to delve into writing fiction.

Describe Casey Lord and Jack Raines the hero and heroine of RiverTime, and what inspired you to create them.

RiverTime is my debut novel, and also the first novel I penned (not always the same thing). To create the heroine, Casey Lord, I confess that I took the easy route: she is more-or-less autobiographical. Jack Raines, though, was wholly imagined. He was assembled from bits and pieces of various people I've known, and tweaked towards an ideal. His family background was inspired by the (real) stories I heard from friends who work with children and youth raised in acute-risk circumstances. I loved bringing to life someone who had surmounted significant obstacles, but was not untouched by them.

How much research was involved in writing RiverTime?

Most of the research I did related to getting the physical details right for the river and the canyon scenes. A six-day river-rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon provided me with a multitude of experiences and sensory impressions to translate to the page, including nearly capsizing in whitewater rapids, brushes with snakes, scorpions and hypothermia, and breathtaking views from the bottom of the mile-high Canyon.

What appeals to you about writing romance?

Everything! Writing (and doing) science is about breaking things down, tearing them apart to gain understanding. Writing romance is about creation, about building a relationship that ends in love. In my case, there is usually some adventure thrown in for fun. It's fantastically uplifting. In fact, after a really hard day at work, I can't wait to get home and create something on the page. It's like going to a super-duper spa.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I think that most of these categorical designations are probably better described as a continuous line. In this case, if dedicated plotters are at 1, and complete pantsers are at 10, I would be around a 6.

What is your writing schedule like?

Every morning—and I do mean every--I wake up, get a cup of hot chocolate and crawl back into bed with my laptop. Weekdays, I usually stay there for a couple of hours before heading for the halls of academia, and I write again in the evening if I can. On weekends (bliss!) I write as long as I like, or until the mundane world intervenes.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I'm currently working on an adventure story with dogs, in which the romance between two of the secondary characters from RiverTime (Ditsy and Nocona) is developed. I've also just about wrapped up a very different kind of story—a love story with ghosts staffing a dating service.

Do you have a website or blog?

Yes! My website is I'm also on Twitter: @RaeRenzi.

What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

I just finished The 
Time Weaver by Shana Abe´, which is a wonderfully romantic fantasy, and The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns, which is a powerful literary novel. Along the lines of fun non-fiction, I'm reading Bats Sing, Mice Giggle, which reveals some of the extrasensory (extra to humans, that is) abilities of animals and plants, by Drs. Shanor and Kanwal. It's loaded with surprises and delights, and a few kind of scary facts.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

There is some research out there that suggests that people who get pleasure from engaging in a process are happier than those who get pleasure from achieving a goal. This makes a lot of sense: you can wallow in goal success only so long, but the writing process never stops. My advice is to write for the pleasure of writing. If it isn't fun for you, think again.

Thanks for stopping by, Rae. And don't forget to comment by midnight 2/19  for your chance to win a copy of RiverTime!


  1. Happy Valentine's Day...please enter me.

    pocokat AT gmail DOT com

  2. Rae, congratulations on the release of Rivertime. It sounds like a great story. I'm from Texas, also; it seems like Carina Press likes us Texan authors. :-)

  3. I really loved what you said about the happiness/process vs. happiness/goal connection. I'm reading your book now and loving it! :-D