Saturday, August 30, 2014

Author Saturday Spotlight: Renae Kaye *Interview and Giveaway*

Sometimes I can't exactly express into words why I love an author. I realize quickly , when that happens, it's because the writer is so emotional you feel it all. Renae writes in a way my whole body and mind lights up. It's like she activates it all and it's a beautiful thing.

I had the great honor of asking Renae a few questions and really got to see how she ticked. I will share that with you all as well, in a bit.

Renae is hosting a Reader's Choice Giveaway for everyone today. You will have the chance to win either, Loving Jay, The Blinding Light or her new book The Shearing Gun (Which is available September 19th)

I've read Loving Jay and The Blinding Light so let me share those blurbs, covers and my review of them...

One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he's not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.

An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality... unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he knew in life had been a convenient excuse to stay hidden. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.

My Review: 5 Stars
This book could have been twice as long and I still wouldn't have tired of it. I loved it soooooo much! It was a breath of fresh air. Jay was delightful, funny and the perfect diva! Liam *sigh* sweet, protective so in love with Jay, Liam! I adored him. I read a lot of books of all genre's and with all sorts of plot. I was deep in a dramatic, moody all consuming book and was desperate to just feel and enjoy something. This book was PERFECT and on top of it I became consumed anyway and I wish I could do it all over again!

Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it's prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.

Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.

Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore

My Review: 5 Stars

I love a book that when it ends I feel no other book will do! I am in book hangover mode. This is the second Renae Kaye book and she is EASILY a fast top favorite author. I am blown away by her and hope she never stops writing. Patrick is a rich blind man who has a heart bigger than most realize. Jake faces the world with eyes wide open and a selfless heart. What happens when these 2 meet is breathtaking! This is a MUST READ! 

I haven't read the Shearing Gun yet but I will share with you all the cover and the blurb for it...

At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.

Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year



Thank you so much for agreeing to this. I am such a huge fan of your work. You are truly a talented person and I'm grateful that you share it with all of us.

Thank you <blushing madly>.  I’m just a newbie author starting out, so I’m really happy to hear that my work is touching people.

 I have read Loving Jay and The Blinding Light. Both outstanding books. One thing I LOVED was that you strayed from the norm. Many writers have either gorgeous men, cute men but rarely do writers have MC's with disabilities. In both Loving Jay and The Blinding Light you have MC's that are. Is there a reason behind that?

I have a special spot for reading books where the hero is not perfect.  In fact, I love it when the hero is just an everyday guy off the street.  When I sat down to write, these are the types of characters I immediately turned to.  I believe that every man is hero material, you just need to appreciate what is special about him.  You will find that all of my characters are average everyday guys – the type of man you could possibly meet on the train. ;)

Any person could be gay – rich, poor, fat, thin, smart, cute, disabled, confident, shy, religious, athletic.  As for disabilities, I deliberately chose to make Patrick blind in The Blinding Light – as this was the inspiration behind the book.  I imagined that there was a guy who was driven mad by the smell of his new housekeeper who he never met.

But I will confess something to you.  I didn’t occur to me that Liam from Loving Jay was “disabled” in any way until after the book was released. 

Liam was very confused when I first “met” him.  He told me about this guy he saw on the train every day and was attracted to.  But he didn’t understand the attraction.  He knew he wasn’t gay, because Jay embodied what it meant to be gay – makeup, flamboyance, and style.  But Liam had to come to the conclusion that being gay has nothing to do with whether you like football or not, and has nothing to do with “manly” pursuits his father judges people by.  The accident played into his confusion since it happened at a crucial time in his life – exactly when he was discovering his self-identity and sexuality – and he was getting very confused over the whole masculine and gay thing.  But this never set out to be a book about disabilities.  It was a book about accepting who you are.

So it was purely a coincidence that my first two books have disabilities in them.  I promise that my third book doesn’t.  The Shearing Gun has Hank and Elliot, and they are great.  Although, I’m sure Hank could do with a slap across the back of the head…

 Have you ever considered doing a series?

Of course.  I’m sure that every author does.  But I find it hard to plan that far ahead.  Stand alone stories fit my writing style, but I’m hoping you will get a spin-off of Loving Jay next year.

Currently I’m working on a story that involves a friend of Jay’s.  He’s had a bad experience and we are working through it at the moment.  Jay and Liam are there to lend him some support.

Another book of mine, which will be released at the end of the year, has a few characters that my beta reader and editor have begged for more information about.  So they are on my list of TO DO stories!

 Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I start with a concept and then I just write with it.  I don’t plot or outline at all.  I think this gives more of a realistic feel to the characters – they don’t know what is coming and neither do I.

With Loving Jay I started with a question: What if there was a guy who didn’t realise he was gay until he met this beautiful, glittery peacock of a man?  Then I worked on that – why didn’t Liam realise he was gay?  Maybe he had it drummed into him from birth. Maybe he looks at all his brothers and sees the example set by them. Maybe he did try to be gay, but it didn’t work for him…

With The Shearing Gun, I started with the concept of a firmly closeted shearer who believed that he would never get shearing work if it became known he was gay.  Then I gave him a man he couldn’t resist.  I worked through the questions – why is he closeted? Why does he think he would be shunned?  How does he hide it in his everyday life?  How would he react to someone coming into his life who is gay and insists on flirting with him?

 How do you relax?

Relax?  Let me just look up that word in the dictionary… J

As a mother to two small children, I don’t really have time to relax.  But if I get the chance, I’ll crawl into my bed with my kindle.  Usually one (or more) of the cats will find me and we’ll have a nice cuddle while I lose myself in another world.

 Can you tell us about any of your future work?

In September, my next book is out – The Shearing Gun.  In the US they have cowboys?  In Australia, we have a lot of sheep.  This is my version of a rural Aussie novel.  Hank is a shearer who is firmly closeted, but he falls for the newbie doctor in town.

Then at the end of the year, I have Safe In His Arms to be released.  This was a very hard novel to write – two men with tragedy in their backgrounds.  It’s not a light-hearted read like Loving Jay at all.

I’m currently working diligently on two books – the afore mentioned spin-off from Loving Jay, plus a spin-off from Safe In His Arms.  The former is very light and humorous, the other not so much.  But they are both set in my hometown of Perth and both have my everyday characters in them.

 When an idea strike for a book, how does the process go: From start to finish?

The character hits me more than the idea.  I like to dwell on my characters for a while, flesh them out, have a back story, work out what they like to do, where they work, where they live, what’s their problem.  At any one time I have upwards of 20 such characters chattering away to me in my head.

Then I sit and put them in a scene.  That first scene is crucial – it needs to be energetic. It needs to suck the reader immediately into the story.  It needs to set the tone.  For me, I think about how I would tell an audience if I was on a stage – how would I convey the bits they need to know and keep their attention? 

Then I write. And write. And write.

For me, I work through the story from beginning to end.  I don’t write the end scene before I’ve reached the end.  I grow with the character and the reader’s knowledge about the character grows each chapter. 

Of course I reread what I’ve done occasionally and make a few changes – an extra sentence here, change the word there – but mostly it’s just a matter of slogging away on a daily basis, putting words on a page and progressing the story.

Once I’ve finished, I put it away for a couple of weeks.  I move on to another project.  I read other people’s books. I forget about my story, so when I pick it up again, it is like I’m reading with fresh eyes.  Once I’m happy, I send it to my BFF to read.  She is my beta reader and is the only one who gets a sneak peek.  Any changes she recommends, I work over whether I wish to rewrite, then submit to my publisher.

 What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I believe in honesty.  A reviewer straddles a very hard fence between the author and the reader.  A bad review can bomb a story out of the water before it has even reached the reader, so the reviewer has a lot of power to influence the success of a book.

So yes – a reviewer should be honest, but at the same time, they should not be brutal.  I don’t think a lot of reviewers are aware of the amount of work that goes in to producing a novel, and for that, really, an author should get some credit. 

I enjoy reading through my reviews, because I enjoy seeing what different reviewers get out of it, so I enjoy in depth reviews, not just two paragraphs.  Small plot points that I hardly considered when I wrote the book, are often what is dwelt on – good and bad – and it is fascinating to me. 

Of course good reviews are going to boost sales for an author (and make them feel good about writing more), but sometimes bad reviews are crazy.  Some people seem to rate all but a handful of books at one or two stars.  This is not helpful, as I believe anything under three stars is because the book is badly edited, badly constructed or completely misses the mark.  Most professional sites avoid the “if I was writing this novel, this is what I would’ve done” theme, but some do. 

Reviewers have power – and they should use it honestly, wisely and carefully.  Give credit where credit is due, give encouragement to writers who were good but just missed the bar of brilliance, give constructive feedback where you feel it necessary, but don’t take your anger and negativity to the internet.

 Who designed your covers?

Maria Fanning did Loving Jay. It was exciting for me for I’d never gone through the process.  I wanted a lake view to capture the feeling of the final scene where Liam’s brother was married overlooking Yangebup Lake.  So I snapped pictures of the lake and sent them to the artist, because I didn’t want a lake that was obviously not Australian.  Maria ended up using my photo on the cover, so that lake is authentic – that is Yangebup Lake. 

Bree Archer designed The Blinding Light – twice over!  I didn’t have a set idea for this one, apart from I wanted something to show some sort of blinding light.  She made me a brilliant cover, then two weeks before the cover reveal, another author used the same photo for her book!  In a panic we had to do the cover over.  Bree was wonderful with this.

Paul Richmond is the artist for The Shearing Gun.  I think he has captured my vision remarkably.  The cover shows the historical Dumbleyung pub – which any person growing up in the country will know that the town revolves around the pub!  And just in case you didn’t realise from the title – the book has a shearer in it.

 Tell us what the perfect writing atmosphere for you would be?

Silence.  I mean it.  I’m usually surrounded by kids playing, kids interrupting, kids screaming.  And the TV seems to be always on!  My writing spot overlooks where the kids have their TV and toys, so I can keep an eye on them. I’m usually listening to Sesame Street, Peppa Pig or Jimmy Giggle as I write.

A perfect writing atmosphere would be the absence of sound.

 How can your readers follow you through social media or website?

In the 12 months since my first contract with Dreamspinner was signed, I have slowly built up my sadly lacking knowledge of social media.  So I have a lot to offer people now:

Website (with blog):
Twitter:  @RenaeKKaye

I also blog each Saturday at Café Risque which is shared by a number of authors:

Renae has been so unbelievably marvelous! Her books , for me, are ALWAYS a one click buy. She writes in a way you immediately want to do it all over again! I look forward to MANY more books from her!

The winner will receive their choice of Renae's books: Loving Jay, The Blinding Light or The Shearing Gun as an eBook. If they are a member of Dreamspinner, the item will be placed on their Bookshelf. If not, I can email the book in either .mobi, .PDF or .ePUB form. 

If your choice is The Shearing Gun, then you will not get your copy until it releases on the 19th. 

Contest runs until the 5th of September! I will email the winner, you have read the rules so let's do this...


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