Is there a story behind your book, Beast of Stratton?
This story found its beginnings within my crit group, Rough Diamond Writers. We each picked a fairy tale and wrote a novella. One picked Rumpelstilstkin, another picked Snow White. I chose Beauty and the Beast. I write contemporary romantic suspense and was working with veterans at the time. Their struggle to find peace in the mere motions of daily life found its way on the pages as God gave me Miles and Aimee’s story.
What started you on your writing journey?
My husband! I’ve written poetry and short stories since I was a teenager, but as far as novels are concerned, I give the credit to my other half. I’m notorious for ranting when I’m upset about something. His ear gets most of the abuse. (Poor guy, considering he can only hear out of one.) Well, I’d bought a book…a
Christian romance or so I’d thought. I opened the cover
to the first chapter and within the first three pages found six curse
words…vulgar, blasphemous, and unnecessary (in my humble opinion.) But I kept
reading. When I discovered sex scenes halfway through it, I tossed it and
raised the rafters with my complaints. “I face enough temptation surfing Amazon
to find Christian material to buy.”
“What kind of Christian novel is
My husband looked at me in the eye and simply said, “If you don’t like it, write your own.”
So I did.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
I work as a pharmacist so I would have to say fatigue. I’m tired when I get home, and it’s so easy to just sit in my chair and watch television. When those deadlines are looming, that’s not possible though. My husband helps keep me focused. He pushes me with constant reminders and hints during the evening, but sometimes it doesn’t work. Those word counts dwindle and I have to push hard later.
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I would have to say Miles Stratton’s mother, Ingrid Manotti.
I’m a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. God reveals the story to me as I go including motivations, plot twists and His mission for the book. He teaches me lessons through my characters. What He revealed through Ingrid served as a reminder. It’s what I needed both then and now. I believe it’s a reminder we all need.
What is your strangest habit?
I soak in the bathtub for hours! Give me a good book and some hot water and I’m in heaven. No bubble bath or salts…I’m allergic to everything under the sun. The water cools off, but a couple of cranks and a few minutes later, I’m back in business!
I used to have a hot tub before our brief detour to Texas. Now that was awesome (sigh). I miss soaking in that baby…now I run a steaming tub of water and make myself comfy with my Kindle White or a good ol’ paperback. In the past, I’d snooze but why do that when I’ve got a review to do, right?
What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
Peering up at the Milky Way in the starlit sky in the mountains on a midsummer eve.
The Milky Way makes a hash across a literal blanket of stars as you stare into the dark sky. A few feet away, the campfire pops and crackles and the smoke burns your nose as everyone roasts marshmallows for the smores.
But you can’t pull your gaze away from the majestic beauty framed by the towering pines above. A shooting star splits the picture and your eyes water.
God sure knew what He what He was doing.
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Dishes, vacuuming, windows, bathrooms, laundry, dusting…shall I go on? I hate to clean! That’s not saying I don’t do it, but I hate it. And I’ll put it off as long as I can. Hence, my house isn’t pristine. My husband keeps the kitchen in order…he’s the cook of the house.
I have to admit though, filth is something I can’t stand even more. Clutter’s okay, filth…no. We may have clothes stacked in the basket waiting to be folded and our kitchen table’s doubling as a catchall, but our house isn’t “dirty”.
What can I say? It’s got the “lived-in” look.
Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
I absolutely love the
I’ve been to Atlantis twice now. I would love to return but this time, I want
to go to the Out Islands. My dream’s to find a small resort or rent a house on
one of the islands in the Bahamas and relax on the beach while my husband
fly-fishes in a flat-bottomed boat. Bahamas
He’s an avid fly-fisherman and I love the beach. The crystal clear blue water of the Bahamas is something you have to see to believe. I could snorkel and relax while he’s catching his bonefish. It’d be a dream come true for both of us. Maybe some day.
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Matthew 6:34 (NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I live each day by this verse. God gave this scripture to me a few days after I was confined to bedrest during my pregnancy with my son. I didn’t know if I would carry him full-term, or if we would have enough money to pay the doctor, or hospital. I was alone every single day while my husband worked and believed my body had betrayed me. Tears came at the drop of a hat and I was terrified.
One day I was praying and reading my Bible and God told me to stop worrying and take one day at a time. One moment of my torment did nothing but distract me from the task at hand…facing the trials of the day given to me and serving Him.
Since that time, subsequent trials have come and been conquered. Not through my strength but His. Not by my worry, but by faith. One day at a time.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next release is due in July. It’s called To Soar on Eagle’s Wings.
This is the first book in the Snowy Range Chronicles. I have six planned.
Here’s a little bit about it.
Spring’s in the air. While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new game warden, Steve Mitchell finds a moose mired in a bog and launches his first wildlife investigation of the season. Then the trouble follows him…straight to town.
Rachel Fitzgerald’s on Spring Break. Or at least she’s trying. Between paperwork, harassing phone calls, and her family, she may as well have stayed in her classroom. So much for relaxation. A ‘chance’ meeting with her brother’s old roommate offers her weary soul a shred of hope, but she discovers love, like life, isn’t easy.
He talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future. She wants to soar with the eagles but walks alone. And trusting God proves to be more of a challenge than ever before…
Back Cover Blurb
He appears the beast, but she sees his heart.
Architect Aimee Hart, determined to locate her father, infiltrates Miles Stratton’s engineering firm as a secretary. Her presence wrenches the shaggy, wounded man from his penthouse, and the quest begins.
Betrayed by his best friend, Miles would rather hide than help, especially the man's daughter. But something's not right. Someone’s trying to destroy Stratton Industrial. A decorated war veteran, he's defended his own before and the Beast of Stratton can do it again.
Even with the enemy at his side.
To purchase Renee's book:
Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to
and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well,
after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick
away on her classical guitar. Laramie
Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.
To connect with Renee:
Renee is giving away a copy of Beast of Stratton. The giveaway is only available to
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)
Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart