"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Interview with Author, Giselle Renarde

Author, Giselle Renarde, has two holiday stories out, Red Satin at Torquere Press and The Night Before Red Satin Christmas at Love You Divine

I found both stories to be rich not only with the holidays, but also in depth of character and the complexities of the plot. Giselle is an amazing writer with a lot to offer a reader. Her creativity seems endless, her ability to compose it into a tapestry of  words which become diverse stories is nothing short of profound. There is an openness to her stories, a tell-it-all attitude that seems insightful and freeing. While getting caught up in the passionate dance of her couples you will also find yourself immersed in a world of new possibilities. Love is what the holidays are all about. And, love takes acceptance, right? In fact, Ms. Renarde’s dedication in the front of The Night Before Red Satin Christmas is “For everyone who thought they could never go home again.” So, if you want your romance with a strong story and a whole lot of sizzle, you must check out Giselle Renarde.

So, I am thrilled to have her here today to answer a few questions.

Kiki: Every year, my dad buys us all pajamas for Christmas --that's his thing that he does --and we change into them and wear them for the rest of the day, even at dinner."  ~Quote from Red Satin ~ In my family, my mom gives us all pajamas on the 24thth, young or old. So, this line in your story caught me, and leads me to a few questions. First, where did the idea for this line come from?

Giselle: I don’t think I’ve gone a year without receiving pajamas for Christmas.  When I was younger, I used to get them from my aunts and my grandparents, and now they seem to be a recurring gift among siblings.  To me, comfy pajamas are an inexorable part of the Christmas experience.  Even now, I’m wearing the Christmas tree pajamas my mother gave me last year.

Kiki: So cool! I’m wearing my snowmen ones :) Do you have any tradition you look forward to over the holidays?

Giselle: Time with family is what I look forward to the most.  My mother still lives in the house we “kids” grew up in, so there’s a great sense of going home every time we stay with her at Christmas.  We spend Christmas at home, just our core family group, and it’s kind of like reliving childhood for one day.  Our traditions are pretty generic (decorating the tree, hanging stockings, opening gifts, preparing and then eating a big turkey dinner) but the beauty of these traditions comes with doing them together as a family.

Kiki: And, as far as your writing life goes, what percentage of real life - details, setting, examples - fall into your writing?

Giselle: There’s a little bit of my life in all of my stories, especially in that they’re all set in Canada, but when it comes to the Red Satin series I’ve pretty much just plonked my life down on paper.  Since we’ve been talking about family, I’ll admit that the warm, earthy, and accepting character of Maisie’s mom in The Night Before Red Satin Christmas is modeled very much on my own mother’s positive qualities.  I’ll also admit that I infused the inattentive, workaholic, Blackberry-obsessed character Deb in my novella Only Angels with some of my mother’s negative attributes.  (Shh…don’t tell her!)  It’s amazing how, no matter how many people we meet in life, we always come back to family, even in writing.

Kiki: That is so true. Your characters have such complexity, they are so rich and diverse, shown by all the little details you add into the dialogue and descriptions. Do they just come to you, or do you work to create them, build them up?

Giselle: When I first started writing, I got all kinds of advice about how to build my characters.  I was told to make up worksheets listing all their attributes, from their looks to their food allergies.  Everything.  Well, I don't do that.  I’ve tried, to a certain degree, but I found writing like that didn’t work for me, primarily because my characters build my stories, I don’t.  I know that sounds a little airy-fairy, but I really do feel my stories percolate in my unconscious and when I sit down to write that’s like pouring a cup of coffee.  I can add to it if I wish, but the basic element, character, is already made.

Kiki: Where did the inspiration for Regan and Maisie come from, their relationships and their conflicts?

Giselle:  Regan and Maisie, more than any other characters I’ve written, are based on my girlfriend and I.  Like Maisie, my girlfriend is male-to-female transsexual, meaning she was born and raised male but feels in her heart that her body is not aligned with who she is on the inside, and she now identifies as a woman.  The conversations about gender, identity, and safety she and Regan engage in throughout Red Satin are taken directly from life.  Writing that story was a lot like dreaming about your day (except I’ll admit that we’ve never gone at it in a dress shop fitting room LOL).  The Night Before Red Satin Christmas is a little more fanciful, and a lot less based on real life, but still sparked by conversations we’ve had about gender, relationship, and sex.

Kiki: Thanks for being so honest. I love to get “real” and “personal” answers. Details, obviously as I keep coming back to that word, are one thing I love about your writing. For example, Garlands of evergreen boughs trimmed in thick, red ribbon hung above their heads. She pictured the little pinecones coming loose and falling into the French horn. What would a French horn sound like, full of pinecones?”  ~Quote from Red Satin This thought pattern is smart, funny, Christmasy…and serves to relive and build the emotional and sexual tension building in the story actually. There are many examples of this in the story, touches of the Christmas all around them. So, I must ask, if you don’t mind telling, how do you feel about the holidays?

Giselle:  You know, I can’t recall what inspired that pinecone bit, but I have a suspicion it had to do with the d├ęcor at The Eaton Centre, our big touristy mall here in Toronto.  The last time I was there, I noticed the Mrs Fields booth had one of those gigantic cookies that was iced with the words “Happy Birthday Maisie.”  That can’t be a coincidence.  ;-) 

I’ve gone through phases of being down on the holidays, especially back when I worked in business and the commercialism of the occasion was much more glaring, but now that I’m settled into a cozy poor writer’s life I love the holidays.  My girlfriend is a Christmas fanatic, and her enthusiasm has definitely rubbed off on me.  So much so that I’ve even changed the colour scheme on my blog as I go for a month-long “Festive Frenzy” celebrating the holidays.  I’m not an avid consumer, but I love giving those who are close to me meaningful gifts.  And I know it sounds sappy, but it’s true: the greatest gift is time with those you love.

Thanks so much for having me, Kiki.  Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Giselle Renarde
Canada just got hotter!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Giselle! You're a busy woman! Just stopping by to lend my support. And Kiki...you are so right. She is amazing!
    Great interview gals!


In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.