I don't know what the weather is like in your area of the world, but I'm loving the cool temperatures we've been experiencing on the east coast of USA. I'd love for every day of summer to be like this...but I digress. :)
Today I'd like to welcome, Renee-Ann Giggie to our 'love of story' feature. What is your passion as a writer?
I want to write stories that will lead others to Christ. That’s why I weave this message of hope, faith – and lack thereof – and redemption in my stories. When you read a romance, you know the two characters will end up together in the end. In most cases, anyway. I do the same, but through the conflicts and despair, my characters come to know the Lord. What you don’t know, however, is HOW they’ll get there.
I also want my readers to see there’s always someone worse off than we are. I know it sounds like a cliché, but that’s what I hope people will see in each of my stories.
That's wonderful! What is your most difficult writing challenge?
Ending each chapter with a good page turner/cliffhanger. When I read, I love it when the last sentence of a chapter makes me gasp, or I’m left asking “Oh no, what’s going to happen now?” Or “What’s he/she going to get out of this mess?” I literally have to turn the page and read more.
As a pantser, I don’t know where the scene is going, let alone the chapter. I put fingers to keyboards and develop ideas/prompts as I go. There are times where the ideas seem to come out of nowhere and I think “Where did that come from?” I know God’s giving me inspiration, but it surprises me just the same because I don’t expect it. However, like most writers, I sometimes get writers block, or just can’t come up with a good way to end the chapter on a “oh no!” kind of note. That’s one of my biggest struggle.
That definitely is a challenge as an author, to end a chapter with your reading longing for more. How did you develop a 'love of story'?
My Mom, a newspaper reporter, always had a book, gazette, or magazine opened. I have pictures of me as a toddler, flipping through pages of a magazine and mail-order catalogues I couldn’t yet read. When I was a little older, I looked at the ‘pictures’ in our big family bible. There was something about the written word that fascinated me, even when I couldn’t yet read/understand it.
I wrote my first story in grade two, as part of a composition competition, and I won. My teacher was so impressed, she wanted me to read it in front of the principal and all the grade two classes. It was then I began to write short stories and silly poetry. By the time I was in my teens, Mon used my poetry found as ‘fillers’ among articles and columns of the newspaper where she worked. I often said I’d be a writer one day. Then ‘life’ happened, and I was always too busy to make it a priority. Writing remained nothing more than a hobby for many years.
Ahh! A fellow author who started at a young age. :) Tell us about your new book.
My new release (Feb 2016) is called Emma’s Prayer. It deals with Emma Leigh, a teen mom who makes the hardest decision of her life. She puts her son up for adoption. She soon regrets her decision and wants him back. When the opportunity presents itself, will Emma take back what’s rightfully hers, or will she come to terms with the consequences of her decision?
Across town, Cynthia Manning, a small town speech therapist, suffers another miscarriage. She and her husband Logan turn to adoption. They’re delighted when a baby boy is placed in their home. Is heartbreak inevitable?Emma Leigh struggles with her faith, thinking she’s unforgiveable because of her sins. The story has a strong message of love, hope, and redemption. The idea to write this came from something I saw on TV about teen moms. That became my prompt. Teen Moms. As a pantser, someone who writes “by the seat of my pants,” that’s all I needed. A prompt. I developed my main character and the story took off from there.
It sounds like a gripping book. How does faith play a part in your writing?
The main goal of my stories is to share the love of Jesus Christ to those who struggle with their faith, and with those who don’t have any. To me, without faith, there’s no hope. That’s why the message in my stories contains both. I want my readers to see that no matter the situation, no matter what they’ve been through or what they’ve done, Jesus loves them.
Amen. Do you listen to music or snack while writing?
Music? Never. When I write everything has to be quiet. No TV, no music, not even an instrumental piece. I have very short attention span, and get distracted too easily. That’s why I rarely go to coffee shops to write except to ‘get out and get ideas.’ I get very little writing done in any noisy environment.
Snack? Sometimes. Usually, though, it’s just a cup of French vanilla cappuccino or a tall glass of water.
I'm a mix. Sometimes I need quiet and other times I need background music playing. :) Who are your favorite authors?
Wow, that’s a tough question because there are so many. Let me give you the top three. Years ago, I might have said Mary Higgins Clark. I read and loved many of her ‘whodunit’ stories. However, it was while reading one of Davis Bunn’s series that God reignited my love for writing, something I’d done ‘just for fun’ all those years. I’ve read many of his as bestselling novels. Terri Blackstock is another author whose books I can’t get enough of. Jerry B. Jenkins is awesome too.
You named some good ones. :) One final question - Where can readers find you?
Thanks again for stopping by today, Renee-Ann. It's been a pleasure getting to know you. What questions do you have for her? Don't forget that any comments this month will be entered for their chance to win the following: