Q&A With Renee Rosen
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Q&A With Renee Rosen
I have the honor of doing a Q&A with USA Today Bestselling author Renee Rosen. Renee is the author of the novels “The Social Graces,” “Park Avenue Summer,” “Windy City Blues,” “White Collar Girl,” “What The Lady Wants,” and her new novel “Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl,” about Estee Lauder will be published on April 25th 2023. I’m so excited I can’t wait to read it.
Q: Renee at what point in your life did you realize that your calling was to be an author?
A:I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a writer from the time I was a little girl. I was forever making up stories, writing poems and plays. I even wrote my first novel when I was in high school. Thankfully that was never published and never will be.
But I do draw a distinction between being a writer and being an author. Being a writer is very isolating, very introverted work. You pretty much live up inside your head. The author part if the very extroverted, public face of that interior world. For 90 percent of my time, I think of myself as a writer. The other 10 percent, when I’m promoting a new book, is when I become an author.
Q: What advice do you have for those who want to write historical fiction? What advice do you have for those who struggle with writers block?
A: For those wanting to write historical fiction, I would say the first order of business is to either find a time period or a person (or people) that absolutely fascinates you. I would try to find something that hasn’t been done before, or if it has, I’d try to find my own take on the subject. For example, if you’re writing about WWII, I would mine that field until I found a rare story that has not been told before.
Also, be careful and mindful with your research. I learned the hard way not to read fiction based on the same subject. Fiction is often embellished and you don’t want to accidentally pick up someone else’s “invented” facts or timelines and insert them into your own work.
Lastly, I would say do not fall in love with your research. It’s easy to do. We become so utterly enthralled by all the gems we’re unearthing in our study of a subject or person, but we can possibly put that all in our book. Choose what I’ll call “the telling details” and avoid info dumps. Ask yourself if this bit of history or fact is advancing my story or revealing character. If it’s not, set it aside.
As for writer’s block, I’m not sure if it’s a real thing or not. I think we all have certain days when the words aren’t coming, when it’s hard to focus, when we realize we have an utter 90K word mess on our hands, but that’s part of the process, isn’t it? Writing a novel is not like opening a can of soup and heating it up. It’s a struggle, complicated riddle for us to figure out, but it’s also an exhilarating joy when we do.
But that said, here’s a few helpful tricks. There’s nothing more daunting than an empty page. If I wake up in the morning and I have nothing to say, I’ll go back to the previous chapter when things were flowing. I’ll read, make a few tweaks and before I know it, I’m into the next scene or chapter.
This is a little like the old Hemingway trick. Hemingway always stopped writing for the day when he was in the middle of a scene that was really coming together. That way, the next day he knew exactly where he was going.
Also, a very talented and wise writer, Michael Cunningham taught me that if your story is not moving forward, it’s because you don’t know your characters well enough. This has proven correct every single time. Our characters have a destiny to fulfill and if we’ll just step out of the way and listen to them, they will tell us their stories.
Q: If you were to collaborate with another author, who would it be and why?
A: I know this is becoming more and more common, but honestly, I can’t imagine writing with another person. I drive myself nuts enough as it is. I wouldn’t want to inflict that upon anyone else.
Q: What made you interested in writing historical fiction?
A: I love to learn. I believe I’ve gotten a better education by conducting research for my novels than I did in school. I’m fascinating by historical events and people who were trailblazers.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels? I think your novel about Estee Lauder would make a great movie or limited series.
A: I’ve had a few nibbles, but nothing has come of those as of yet. Personally, I’d love to see Estée as a limited series. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens!
Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you spoil a little bit about it?
A: I am! The book I’m working on now is about Ruth Handler, the woman who created Barbie. I know there’s as many Barbie haters as there are Barbie lovers out there, so this is my promise to my readers: Whether you played with Barbie or chopped off all her hair in a fit of protest, this will be a novel that speaks to the feminists in all of us. On that, you have my word.