Renee Dyer is a romance author with a huge heart and a passion for a cause—keep reading my interview with her and you’ll find out why!
Renee, thank you for answering questions for me today. I first met you at the North Shore Author Signing in Massachusetts in 2014. Please tell me and my readers how long you’ve been writing (both published and unpublished).
Do doodlebooks count? I got my first one when I was four and I never stopped. Those little books turned into journals, and then poetry, short stories, and eventually novels. At eight, I told my mom I would write books one day. I didn’t imagine it would take me thirty years to accomplish that goal, but you know…life. It was actually a month before meeting you that I published my first book. I was so nervous going to that signing. I was fan-girling like a teenage girl at a boy band concert, but every now and again it would dawn on me, I’m an author too. It was such a strange day.
Renee, please tell me about your book He Loves Me Healthy, He Loves Me Not and what inspired it as well as what’s coming!
Oh, this book. In October of 2006 I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation. It was then and still is a brain condition that little is known about. In January of 2007 I found out I had to have brain surgery. My life was turned upside down. Within six weeks, I had two brain surgeries, almost dying in between them. For a few years I got better. Almost felt like the me I was before the diagnosis, and then my brain went haywire again. I dealt with it as long as possible, but eventually it lead to another brain surgery. It’s hard to explain in a short answer, but the book is my story and my husband’s story. One day as I was writing the third book in my Healing Hearts series, I thought, the most incredible love story I know is the one I live every day. This man has held my hand through the worst-case scenarios and he still does. I felt that story needed to be told—the story of what happens when love is truly tested. How far can it be pushed and will it survive? Can love really conquer all?
What inspired you to write your first book?
It’s funny. It wasn’t supposed to be a book at all. I wasn’t planning to write anything at that point. I was at a low point in my life and my friend Amie, whom you met with me at North Shore, started getting me to read romance novels. I fought her at first because all I thought when she said romance was the awful books my grandmother gave me as a teen. But she introduced me to Kelly Elliott, Molly
McAdams (Oh, Chase), Gail McHugh, Heidi McLaughlin, you. My world view was forever changed and something woke up in me. I wanted to write characters that made people want to laugh with, cry with, fight with, fight for. Amie and I would talk and I’d make comments that I would write things a certain way and one day it clicked and she said, “Wait, what do you mean write? How have I known you this long and I didn’t know you write?” So, I began to write her a short story and the personalities were based off the friends in our neighborhoods. Actually the story was based in our town. Well, she liked it so much she kept telling me to write and write and write. And then she made me show our friends. She refused to let me keep it to myself. That’s how I became a published author. Without Amie, I don’t know that I would have taken that step.
I know you write romance, but how else would you describe your books?
Heartbreaking. Seriously, I don’t try to do it, but I always write things that make people cry. I think because I had a lot of tragedies in my childhood, I can tap into that when I write. But I also love writing funny. I don’t want readers being a snotty mess the whole time. That’s just gross.
Do you have a bestselling or “breakout” book you’d like to tell me about?
Not yet, but I have two in the works that I think may just be the ones. One, I’m possibly going to be co-writing with another author. Can’t say who just yet because we haven’t crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s.
Do you plan to write in other genres? Do you have any other books on the horizon?
Oh, yes. I’ve had a vampire series in my head from day one and I can tell you it is like no other vampire book out there. I’ve checked and checked and checked. My mom is thrilled. I don’t know when I’ll get to it, but I have notes written and a couple characters plotted already.
I currently have seventeen notebooks going with different book ideas. That does include the rest of the Healing Hearts series. I swear book four is trying to be the death of me. I’ve been working on this book for seven months and I’ve rewritten it more times than I care to mention. Funny thing is, I absolutely love it. Guess I’m a glutton for punishment. I can’t walk away.
It seems a good many authors struggle with writer’s block. How do you cope with that particular problem?
Honestly, I walk away. I’ve tried to write even if it’s bad. That just makes me feel like shit about myself. I go do other crafty stuff, so my brain stays in the creating mode. I make swag. I bake. I craft with my kids. Or I take a lot of showers because my characters tend to like to see me naked.
Heh. Any rituals you perform before, during, or after you write? Anything you do to get “in the zone”?
The zone in my house is a little corner of my couch with my kids running around like maniacs, screaming while my husband eggs them on. I have learned to just type no matter what’s happening. It’s actually weird to work when it’s silent in my house. Give me chaos anytime.
Any of your characters you love more than any others? Hate? Any of them “speak” to you more loudly?
I will always have a fondness for Alex because he was the first character I envisioned and my entire Healing Hearts series came to be because of him. I just love everything about him.
There’s no way to not love Nick because he’s based off my husband.
Davyd is a douche and saying I loathe him is an understatement. Everyone who reads him agrees. I literally felt sick every time I wrote him.
Grams, oh, she is that all-knowing, give-you-a-hug-and-make-everything-better character.
And Mick, I could write this character all day every day. She’s loud. Doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks and you never know what’s going to come out of her mouth. She’s actually based off one of my good friends.
Tell me about something exciting or weird that’s happened to you since becoming an author.
My seven year old asked me if he can read my books, so I of course told him no. To that he told me, “Well, you’re not cool anymore. Not until you write a book I can read.” I took that as a challenge. He was just barely six at the time. His name is Sam and he loves sharks. I wrote him a Sammy the Shark book (not published). He was thrilled. My then ten year old (now eleven) Aiden was upset I didn’t write him a book, so we’re writing a book together. This is not the co-writing book I was talking about. I’m just waiting for my twenty-one year old to make a request.
Very cool! What else do we need to know about you and/or your books?
They’re long. Hahaha. It’s true. Honestly, over the next couple months, I’m rewriting the first two books in my Healing Hearts series. I love Tucker and Adriana’s story, but my writing has grown since I wrote them and I feel they deserve to be my best and I feel the readers deserve that too. I’m a Virgo; nothing is ever good enough. I try to be as realistic as possible, but sometimes the dreamer in me comes out. It’s why I write fiction. We all need to get away from ourselves from time to time. I’m no different.
Renee Dyer is a tea drinking, Supernatural obsessed Patriots fan (no hating!) who writes what the voices tell her…
He Loves Me Healthy, He Loves Me Not goes live August 30, 2016. If you want the book, I recommend you pre-order it, because a portion of what you spend will go to a good cause!
Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/X1ioVc
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/fG2VZ4
Amazon AU: https://goo.gl/HtnAod
Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/iPi5wb
24 Symbols: https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1581003
If you want to connect with Renee, you can start here:
Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorReneeDyer
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/reneedyer
Pinterest Page http://www.pinterest.com/reneedyerauthor/
Google + Page https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ReneeDyerRomanceAuthor/posts
Goodreads Page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7529668.Renee_Dyer
Links to Renee’s books:
Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/WakingUp-US
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/WakingUP-BandN
Beneath His Darkness
Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/BHisD-US
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/BhisD-BandN