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Interview with Alice Renaud

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself?
A. I live in London, UK, with my husband and son. By day I’m a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night I write fantasy romance about shapeshifting mermen, water monsters and time-traveling witches. My first book, A Merman’s Choice was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in the fantasy romance Sea of Love series, inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, Music for a Merman is out now.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books?
A. The third book in the Sea of Love series, Mermaids Marry in Green will be out later this year. A feisty shape-shifting mermaid and a warlock team up to save London from a water monster… sparks fly in more ways than one.

Q.3 What made you write the Sea of Love series?
A. Years ago, when I was still living with my parents in Brittany, I saw a group of men come out of the sea. They’d been swimming, and they were wearing full-body wetsuits, with palms on their feet. It made me imagine shape-shifting mermen who could switch between an aquatic shape (with legs but webbed hands and feet) and the human form.

Q.4 Do you feel any competitive pressure from fantasy films? If not, why?
A. No, I think films and books are very different. But I think writers try to write in a more visual style now than they did a few decades ago because readers like to picture a scene as if they were seeing it on TV.

Q.5 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
A. Wrong: we’re male, bearded, real-ale drinkers. 
True: we’re Tolkien fans, and we love to escape reality.

Q.6 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
A. Witch, so I could change all the people who annoy me into salamanders.

Q.7 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. The sex scenes… because you can’t rely on your own experience.

Q.8 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
A. I usually start with an idea for the hero and heroine. Then I imagine how they meet, the first time they make love, what splits them up, what reunites them. Then I fill the bits in between and write a brief outline of the chapters.

Q.9 How do you select the name of your characters?
A. Names are very important to me. I always start my planning process by finding the characters’ names. For fantasy characters (my mermen, mermaids, warlocks, and witches) the name always has a meaning and links to something in the story. 

For example, my hero’s name in Music for a Merman is Rob Regor. Regor Island is one of the islands where the mermen live. The name is based on a real island off the coast of Brittany, in France, where I grew up. I use a variety of resources: real place names, baby naming websites, and dictionaries. Words from ancient languages like Latin or Welsh make good names for fantasy characters.

Q.10 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. Publishing two books and one short story in my first year as a published writer.

Q.11 Outside of your family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author?
A. Laurie Sanders, my fantastic writing tutor, and editor.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
A. With a full-time job and a family I have little time to write, I just write when I can, as much as I can. I revise later - it’s about getting words on the page.

Q.13 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
A. I read all my reviews. I respond to the good ones and save the best bits for ads. I take criticism on board, but would ignore trolling reviews - some people just want to be mean.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. I need tea. Lots of it.

Q.15 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
A. Read.

Q.16 Who designed your book covers?
A. Jessica Greeley at Black Velvet Seductions.

Q.17 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
A. Take writing classes and get a critique partner or two. Get on social media and build your network. And don’t give up.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I’d love to meet Shakespeare and discover how he wrote his plays.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. I still love The Lord of the Rings, which made me want to be a writer. I also love Terry Pratchett’s books, they are so imaginative and full of humor.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. It’s been exciting, tiring and sometimes depressing, but overall I’m so glad I’m finally publishing stories and I have made some great friends among other authors, especially the ones at BVS.

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  1. I love this peek into your mind, Alice! Thank you for sharing - :D

  2. Love the witch part Alice. I can see where it would be satisfying to turn people you don’t like into salamanders. Lol. Really enjoyed books one and two in the Sea Of Love series. Book three sounds like a wonderful read too.

  3. Good golly, Alice, a salamander?? Remind me not to get on your bad side.

    You are too modest! You should have said that you received an award for your series--first year out! Your books are fabulous!! And you're a good person and friend, too.

  4. I enjoyed reading how you select names for your characters. I agree with the advise for aspiring authors. Start building your followers before you finish the book.

    Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your creative mind.

  5. Cracking up at the witch comment.
    Great writer, great interview.

  6. What a great interview... I so loved getting that insight into your thinking thank you so much what a great blog and what a great site :) thank you so much!

  7. I enjoyed reading this interview - Alice had some handy advice for writers! I love the hero's name in Music for a Merman - Rob Regor.

  8. Alice,
    Great interview. I can't wait to see how they save London.
    I'd better stay on your good side just in case you end up with some powers. I wouldn't want to be turned into a salamander.