Interview with Renee
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
For the most part, I like to spend time with my husband. I also like to go hunting, camping, or fishing. During the winter months, I design quilts and do some sewing. If I’m not doing any of that, I’m spending time with family or reading.
What does your family think of your writing?
At first I was a bit uncomfortable telling everyone what I write, but that made it seem like I was ashamed of it and I’m not. Now, I’ll tell just about anyone that asks. My entire family knows what I write and they’ve been nothing but supportive.
Do you have any suggestions for people who want to become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Always learn from your mistakes. If an editor points out something that you’re doing wrong, learn from it so that you can keep from doing it in future stories. Another thing I’d suggest for everyone is to get a beta reader. They are so helpful and can point out things that, as the author, you might be too close to the story to see. Overall, just be willing to learn and be open to constructive criticism.
What do you think makes a good story?
It depends on the type of the story. Overall, things need to be believable and the reader needs to be invested in the characters and care about what happens to them.
What are your current projects? Would you be willing to share a small excerpt?
The one I’m working on the most right now is currently called Rough Stock Wranglers (or Studly Ranch Hands depending on who you ask). The title will need to change as it’s a revision and as much as I love the original title, it no longer fits.
Shelving his feelings of remorse to study later, Marc shoved the other man hard enough to send Casey careening into a nearby chair. His brain realizing he’d gained the upper hand, he pressed on and within moments Marc was rolling on the floor with Casey as they each tried to gain domination over the other. Marc managed to land a few more punches, but then hands were grabbing him and pulling away. His entire body hurt but he ignored the pain and struggled to get free.
“Fuckers. Let me go.” The more he fought, the tighter he was held. Despite his attempts, Marc was no match for the men trying to drag him away. Through the haze of anger he saw two men pull Casey out of the fray and resumed his struggles, determined to make the other man admit that what he’d muttered had been a lie.
Marc’s vision began to clear, the adrenaline draining out of him, and he recognized the two men holding Casey back as being the two hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. He turned his head to see who had him and met Rick’s gaze. A groan slithered from his throat as he looked on his other side and found Jason regarding him as if he was a snake about to strike.
“You can let me go now.” Marc tried to jerk his arms free.
“Sorry, boss man, can’t do that.” Rick’s grip tightened to the point Marc was sure he’d have bruises. Other than the ones he’d have from Casey.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
I always feel like I could have done something different, and that’s something I keep in mind for if and when I decide to revise something. I try to put the best I can out there for the readers, but there’s always something I realize later that I should have added.
Who designed the covers?
The covers for both of my stories through Dreamspinner Press (No More Hiding & Wide Open Spaces) were designed by Maria Fanning, and she did an awesome job! The cover for my self-published book (Challenging Fate) was designed by my good friend, and fellow author, Alicia Nordwell.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sleeping. Seriously, I was so into writing Wide Open Spaces that I’d stay up late to work on it, and I’d start on it again as soon as I woke up. I don’t think I’ve ever had that good of focus when I’m writing, but I wish I could do it more.
WIDE OPEN SPACES
States of Love – Wyoming
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.
No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Devon sank down on his couch as exhaustion swamped him. Most of it was from moving in, but the change in elevation didn’t help. He’d gotten used to being closer to sea level, so going back to the dry air at over six thousand feet was going to take some getting used to.
Bloody noses had become the norm while he stayed with Blake. Devon didn’t want to deal with them repeatedly and considered getting a humidifier until he managed to acclimate.
He looked around his living room. Boxes were scattered everywhere, and he should be unpacking, but he was too tired. At least he hadn’t had to carry everything in himself. Blake, Travis, and Seth were waiting for him when he pulled into the apartment complex. They shrugged off his objections and insisted they had nothing better to do. Devon appreciated it, but he wasn’t comfortable around them anymore. He managed to be a proper host, but damn, he was glad they left after a couple beers each. They made noise about getting together again soon, but Devon had used getting settled in as an excuse to keep from committing to anything.
He stood and wandered into his small kitchen. He didn’t bother opening the fridge or any of the cupboards. He knew they were empty. His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten for a while. Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.
An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.
Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?
He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.
He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.
About the Author
Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.
Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.
When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.