I consider myself very lucky to have met Josée Renard, or as I knew her initially as—Kate Austin. A woman who writes prolifically under two names, she reminds me of a quote by Shakespeare “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Whether she’s writing as Josée or Kate, she is an incredible author.
I will always have a special place for Josée in my heart because she was my mentor. She gave me the best writing tip I ever received, and I was fortunate to learn this lesson early in my writing career. On a day I was lamenting the rejections I had received from multiple publishers, Josée responded with “Sometimes persistence is even more important than talent, and you’ve got both.” I’ll never forget those words, and they are what sustain me to this day.
It’s with the greatest pleasure that I showcase my mentor, my friend, and a beautifully sensual writer—Josée Renard.
* * * *
Josée is generously offering a couple of my readers a chance to win one of her e-books. To be eligible, just make a comment on this post.
The winners may choose from one of the following:
Jude Carmichael has spent twenty years scared to death. Ten years married to Hank Conroy and ten years running have taught her that he’ll find her wherever she goes. But Lone Butte, Montana, and especially Rory Wellwood, the ever-so-sexy sheriff, have her feeling almost safe.
Jude knows it’s time for her to leave – to keep the people she’s grown to love protected from her ex-husband’s vengeance. Rory is going to do whatever it takes to get Jude into his bed and keep her there. If that means dealing with Hank Conroy, Rory, and the residents of Lone Butte, know exactly what to do.
The happiest moment of Beth’s life – the night she saw the magician – felt like a lifetime ago. Since her parents died, she’s thrown herself into school and then work. Now she’s desperate to recreate that happiness. Her Pleasure Club fantasy does just that – one night with The Magician, a man whose skills – both on stage and in a bedroom – involve a whole lot more than stage magic.
David just wants a night of sex without strings. The magic he finds with Beth will change their lives forever.
What happens when a demon moves in next door?
Ali was once lord of the demons and as mean and nasty as a demon could be, when a little accident changed everything. Now he’s stuck living in a whole different world and doing something no demon has ever done—falling in love with the woman next door.
Maryalice’s past is returning to haunt her. Her disastrous prom date has returned, after 20 years, to finish what he started. She just hopes that Ali, her sweet and shy neighbor, can muster up some nastiness to help her deal with her past.
* * * *
Josée Renard writes women’s fiction, magic realism, paranormal and erotica. She writes short fiction, poetry and novels. Josée blames her good friend Anna Leigh Keaton for getting her into writing erotica – she loves Anna Leigh’s books and wanted to try one herself – now she can’t stop. She blames her mother and her two grandmothers for her reading and writing obsession – all of them were avid readers, and they passed the books and the obsession on to her.
She also writes women’s fiction as Kate Austin.
Inside Josée Renard’s Mind
What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’m not sure there is any such thing as perfect happiness, but as close as I can get is probably a bottle of good red wine, two or three new books by a couple of my favourite authors, fish and chips on speed dial and a whole day to myself to read and drink and eat.
What turns you on creatively? Almost everything. I’ve written books or stories because of:
- Seeing ten herons on a single walk on the beach
- Driving by a deserted drive-in theatre
- A two-line article in a magazine
- A single line in a song
- A phrase in an interview on the radio
- A scene in a movie or a play or a TV show
- Song titles
The serial (ten linked stories, ten weeks) I’m working on right now – it’s out starting in September and the first story will be free – uses Stevie Wonder song titles. The overarching title is Part Time Lovers.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Oooh, tough question. Probably better to ask someone other than me, because if I overuse them, I don’t notice. I do try not to overuse unusual words but if I do it’s probably luminous. I love that word.
What quality do you most admire in a man? Humour. If you can’t laugh at life’s messes – and there are always lots of them – it makes life and relationships way too stressful and complicated. Oh, and a great body *laughs*
What quality do you most admire in a woman? Humour. See above.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be taller. No, I think I’d be less inclined to tell other people what to do.
What is your greatest fear? Being caught in a disaster and not being able to get to my friends and family. Oh, yeah, and being buried alive. That just gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Which living person do you most admire? The Dalai Lama. He has the greatest smile (getting back to the whole humour thing) in the world and he can see the good in everyone. I try to emulate that particular attribute of his.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’d love to be a musician. Never going to happen. About 10 years ago, I decided to try to learn to play the cello. What was I thinking? I didn’t take music in school, had never played an instrument in my life, and I choose one of the hardest instruments in the world. So there I was – tiny hands adding to the complications – learning to read music, learning to play the cello, trying desperately to stretch my fingers. I tried it for about three years and though I got better at it, I never got good enough to really enjoy it.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A cat. No question.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Finishing my first book. When I started writing, I wrote short stories. They aren’t easy to write, but they’re short enough that, even at the beginning, you can see the end coming. That first novel just about killed me. I think I wrote the beginnings of about three before I forced myself – and it was painful – to finally finish one. I almost gave it up dozens of times.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Being judgmental. I think writers in general tend to see both sides of a story – we have to in order to write great books. I’m not sure whether we become writers because we do see both sides or whether we write because we see both sides. Whatever the reason, I’m always defending the other side of any argument. The problem, of course, is that I often defend arguments I’m not really sure I believe just because the other side is so adamant that they’re right.
What is your greatest extravagance? I have many greatest extravagances. In no particular order: books, shoes, clothes, wine, travel.
What is one thing you want to do before you die? Hmmm, tough question. Tough because I think I have done almost everything I’ve wanted to do. I’ve traveled – a lot. I’ve written and had published, so far, 12 books or novellas and about 50 short stories. I’ve met absolutely wonderful people and have terrific friends. I’ve eaten some astounding meals and drank some brilliant wines. I live right on the beach.
So I’ll tell you two things I’d love to do but that are outside my control: go to the Oscars because one of my books was made into a screenplay that’s nominated and have a book on the New York Times bestseller list.
What is your present state of mind? Frazzled. Is that a state of mind? I’m doing a whole bunch of new things for my career – and that’s taking time and energy. Plus I’m writing the ten stories for Part Time Lovers (which are all due on July 31) and I’m doing major revisions on spec for a book tentatively called The Sleep Master. Plus working (I work freelance as a paralegal and I teach junior paralegals), living my life, doing the laundry (*grin*) and all the every day things that keep my life – and my partner’s – running smoothly.
What are some of your favorite curse words? My favourite swear words are almost all in other languages: gobshite (which is mostly used by the Irish), sacre bleu (which is French), kushtamesh (which is Farsi and I have absolutely NO idea whether I’m spelling that correctly). The only English swear word I use a lot is damn and I tend to only use that when I’m by myself. The others I don’t mind using in mixed company because most people don’t get them I actually try not to curse people because of the whole kharma thing – I worry it might rebound on me.
I, however, have absolutely no problem cursing inanimate objects. My computer, my printer, my TV, my sink, my new smartphone. Whatever isn’t working and as I live in an old apartment and am not technologically patient, there’s a lot of that kind of cursing that goes on.
What is your motto? My mom’s favourite saying is also my motto: Life wasn’t meant to be easy, but it was meant to be fun. I live by this. If I’m not having fun, I know I’m doing something wrong.
Connect with Josée
Josée Renard’s sites:
Thank you Josée for a super interview and for your generous offer to my readers. I invite all readers to leave a comment or ask a question for an opportunity to win one of Josée’s or Kate’s books. Two winners will be chosen randomly by end of day May 31st.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!