I’m a big fan of historical romances, but I haven’t come across many that are set in America in the 1920s. Probably because I haven’t looked, but it still made this interview was a welcome treat when I realized Renee Alexis’ latest historical is set in that same timeframe. So grab your latte, sit back and enjoy.
Welcome to Coffee Time Romance, Renee. Start off my telling me about your writing journey.
I’ve always written. Before that, I drew pictures…very detailed pictures where people were always in action, etc, running, playing. In middle school I won a few writing contests…winning fifty dollars one time. Being very excited, I wanted that feeling to continue and people loved my stories. It wasn’t until years later, however, that I became serious about having a writing career. I read a very famous erotic fiction writer’s collection of books and wondered if I could do the same thing. I tried it, queried Kensington Books and they jumped on it—landing me a career to build on.
Fifty dollars for a middle school kid is like hitting the lottery! It is a thrill when people enjoy your work, and it’s great to see you experienced that thrill at a young age. Tell me about your novel, Mid-Day Rendezvous.
What a fabulous story! I still love it to this day, seeing it as the most innocent, yet erotic book I have—if that makes sense. I say that because the girl, Evelyn, is shy, naïve, sweet but very adventuresome. She takes a chance boat cruise with a friend and her rich family, not expecting to find love aboard, but soon realizes Emerson Cohen, famous tennis pro will be a guest; a man she’s had a crush on since he entered the sporting world. They meet, he’s outgoing, flirtatious and sees her as the person she is deep inside—a person she was afraid to unleash. They have a world-wind affair but neither want to part after the yacht returns to New York Harbor. They see one another but as usual, there is a dark moment where she finds him on an outing with a very famous female tennis player. The outing, unknown to Evelyn, was to select the perfect ring. Somehow, he makes Evelyn understand the ring was for her and they wed. It ends forty years later at their anniversary party—the two are still very much in love and live happily ever-after.
I loved the ending and seeing them together after years of marriage. Even though you know romance has a HEA, it’s always fun to actually “see” it. I’m a fan of historical romance, but haven’t read many set in the 1920s. What inspired you to choose that timeframe?
I love Titanic, and besides, that era of the 1920’s was so glamorous, so new, so full of life with prohibition in its hay-day. Everything was exciting. My parents were products of the 20’s, though very young, they remembered many things and told us kids about them. I figured telling good romances in that era would let readers into the inside life of the ‘roaring twenties. My other book, “Diary of a Dead Porn Queen” also takes place in the 1920’s.
Hmmm, so you grew up hearing stories about the roaring twenties. Which makes me wonder if Evelyn and Emerson were inspired by or based on anyone you know?
Not anyone I know, but definitely a montage to people from the silent era of movies. I would LOVE to find a real-life Emerson Cohen!
Wouldn’t we all girlfriend! What made you decide to write erotica?
Reading erotica from other famous authors inspired me. I bet myself whether or not I could write something just as racy. I won! Kensington’s Aphrodisia Line gave me the jumpstart. I love it, but I love contemporary and old western historical just as much. “Wild Amber and Midnight Sun” are my western historicals.
That’s right, you also write western historicals as well. Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
I’m starting another story set in the late 1920’s. Not sure of a name yet but the girl is in the 1920-something water follies and meets the man of her dreams while he is vacationing. It takes place in Atlantic City, NJ.
That sounds like it’s going to be a fun story! Now with another project in the works and promoting your current projects, how do you make time for writing?
If you love it, you do it. I work during the day still because writing is very unpredictable unless you make it big right away—unlikely but possible. Me, I work still but write at night and on weekends. Ideas are always swimming around in my head so I carry a notepad. Funny thing, the people I tried hiding my career from are the people who read my books the most—my assistant principal and children’s parents. They know me, trust me and know I keep everything separated. Work is work—writing is in the after-hours!
That’s fantastic that your co-workers support you. It is hard to have a full time job and continue to pursue your writing. Any advice for aspiring writers in a similar situation?
Keep your day job! Write until you’re too old and tired to do it! Keep your stories alive and exciting. Change-up from time to time but never write about something that doesn’t get you stirring and excited—ie, I could never write science fiction, it doesn’t get me going that way. I’ll watch it on TV though. Never give up on your dream of becoming a published author. For me, it didn’t take too long, but it was a learning process and still is. Keep trying and sooner or later the right publisher or agent will find you. You’ve got to let them know you’re out there, however. Join groups, enter contests, attend the RWA conferences. Good connections get good results.
Great advice, Renee! Before I finsish my coffee and let you go, is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I never thought I would write romance. I’m a horror movie fan—go figure! Look for my books. The older ones are still online, as well as the new ones. I have two new books coming out sometime this year thought eXtasy Books entitled, “Docking in an Italian Port,” and “Million-dollar Mistress,” both set in the 1920’s. Look for them. Thanks to my fans always. Without you, I’m not here writing for this fabulous interview.
Yay, my interview was fabulous! Okay, last fun question, if money were no object what hobby would you pick up?
Writing, definitely. I also make gemstone jewelry which is also fun, but the writing, I could do it all day and night. There’s so many scenarios to use and worlds to create. It’s a blast!
Sounds like the makings of a story about a jewelry maker in the twenties who is also a writer J
Thanks so much, Renee, for stopping by today. Please let everyone know where they can connect with you online.
All interested may go to : www.reneealexis.com. By the books, they’re fun. They are also offered online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, eXtasy Books etc. Thanks so much for the interview. Sure hope it reaches lots of fans.