Welcome, today we are talking with Renee Rocco! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions. First, I think it’s important for readers to get a little insight on an author that they don’t necessarily get from your professional bio. You’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.
Hello, and thank you for such a warm welcome! It’s been far too long since I’ve been on the other side of the pen, so to speak. I’ve missed mingling with the romance community.
Can you share a little something about you that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website?
I am obsessed with all things pertaining to medieval England and Scotland. My dream is to write a book on William the Conqueror. But, before I do, I’d like to first visit England, so I can get a better understanding of the country and its rich history firsthand.
What is your favorite:
- Animal – Broadly, cheetahs. Specifically, our dog, Jack. I’m absolutely crazy about our little guy.
- Food – Although I’m American born and raised, I have to go with to my Italian heritage for this one. Lasagna, for sure. But with homemade noodles. Store-bought ones make the meal too heavy now that I’m on the wrong side of 40 and certain foods no longer agree with my aging metabolism.
- Movie – My go-to is Kingdom of Heaven, closely followed by Avengers—all of them.
- TV show – I have a few, and I love each equally. I’m totally hooked on Castle Rock. And don’t even get me started on how much I’m into GLOW (I’m also old enough to have watched the actual GLOW). The Handmaid’s Tale, Harlots, Shameless, and American Gods are also on my must-see list.
- Actor – Peter Stormare.
- Singer – Everyone from the 60s.
- Author – Julie Garwood, without hesitation. My husband, Frankie, even arranged to have her sign a copy of Saving Grace for me. He pulled it off without me knowing!
What are your pet peeves?
Blockers. No, not that kind! The slow mover sort of blocker. I’m originally from New York. I do everything fast. If someone wants to go at a slower pace, that’s fine. Just please move aside so us quicker folks can hurry along on our way.
Who is your hero?
Not to be cheesy, but, my daughters and my husband are my heroes. The last few years have been rough. The company Frankie worked for (for eighteen years) went bankrupt almost overnight. He and the girls handled our new reality with awe-inspiring grace. Through them, I learned how to isolate the stress, and deal with each new day as a challenge rather than a setback. So, if you’d asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have answered with Queen Elizabeth I. But now? My heroes are my family.
Give us one thing on your bucket list.
To visit the Tower of London.
What would readers find surprising about you?
This one is difficult because I put all of myself out there in my book and on my blog, Diary of A Suburban Misfit. But, I guess I’d have to go with that I’ve recently signed up to volunteer in a local hospital. I want to help give people their smile back and figured, if not there, than where? I have a genuine fear of leaving this world without having done something positive. Although life keeps kicking us when we’re down, in the broader view, Frankie and I were blessed with two amazing children when the odds were never in our favor. That means something, you know? I haven’t always been the nicest person, or the most compassionate. With more years behind me than I have left in front of me, I now live my life in a way that reflects the person I’ve evolved into. But, I do still love a seriously sarcastic parenting meme!
If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?
My brother, Anthony, who was killed in a hit-and-run thirteen years ago.
Any bad habits?
Not sure if this is considered a bad habit or not, but I compulsively bleach/color my hair. I honestly don’t know how I have a single strand left on my head at this point.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
A couple of years ago, Frankie and I attended Bizarre AC (a horror convention held in Atlantic City). I pit-stopped in one the bathrooms. While I washed my hands, I saw a woman join me at the sink. It was Hostel’s Barbara Nedeljakova. If you know the movie, you’ll remember she’s the dark-haired woman who helps to arrange for the kidnappings of Elite Hunting’s victims. So, there I was, absolutely start-struck. I gasped and jokingly blurted out, “oh, my god, please don’t kidnap me!” She gave me this weird look, and was all, “um, okay.” She probably thought I was a lunatic.
To this day, I’m still mortified.
Now that our readers know a little bit more about Renee Rocco, let’s get down to the business of your book, Infertility Sucks, (Diary of a Suburban Misfit Book 1). The first part of your title reveals the seriousness of the topic, but the second half suggests that there might be a bit of humor in it, too. Am I reading it right or am I way off base?
Nope. You hit the nail on the head. But, I don’t think it’s intentionally funny. Like, I didn’t purposely write it with humor. I wrote it as if I’m talking to a friend, as opposed to telling the reader a story. It just so happens that some of the situations reflect the social awkwardness I mentioned above, and my lack of brain/mouth filter. And seriously, visiting an OBGYM has its hilariously uncomfortable moments, which I write about in graphic detail.
How long did it take you to write this book, and why did you decide to write about something so personal?
It took me roughly six months from start to finish. I never thought I’d write again, so every word of that book was a huge accomplishment. I started it for myself as a way to help me face my ugly years and put the past to rest. Ultimately, it grew into something bigger.
The day I decided to write the book, I’d been working with the windows open. I heard my daughters laughing outside and was struck by how far I’ve come in my life. I thought about all the woman who might have felt, or currently feel, as I had. Lost. Alone. Broken. Ugly inside and out. I started the book that evening, which also happened to break a ten-year bout of writer’s block.
Please tell us a little bit about what’s covered in, Infertility Sucks.
The book touches on my turbulent childhood and rocky first marriage, but it mainly focuses on my experiences after being told I’d never have children. I had to fight for the diagnosis, and treatment, of my infertility. To have our first child, I had to undergo two cycles of in vitro fertilization. sank into a deep depression following her birth, that lasted three years. During that time, I wrote a few paranormal romances, got published, made a complete mess of my private and public worlds, and began the fight back to getting healthy while growing Lyrical Press. It took a long time to recover, but through it all, Frankie stayed by my side. We got one heck of a surprise in 2009 when we found out we were having a second child after being told it would be impossible for me to get pregnant again. And right when everything finally fell into place, life slapped us right in the face. Frankie’s job was pulled out from under him. Starting over in our 40s is…rough.
What was your hardest challenge writing this book?
You’d think it’s when I got real about how they check for endometriosis (a finger in the butt). Or how I soaked my OBGYN’s scrubs—twice—with amniotic fluid while I labored with Jesse. You’d be wrong. The biggest challenge was getting honest about the toll infertility and depression took on me. I had to face some ugly truths about myself and confront demons I didn’t even realize still lurked in the shadows. I like to think I came away from the experience a better, and more self-aware, person.
What are you hoping that readers will take away from reading it?
I’m hoping readers will see that it’s not a book just about infertility. It’s about never giving up, no matter what life throws at you.
Any advice for someone who’s going through what you went through and feel like just giving up?
It’s okay to cry and be angry. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s normal to want to give up. But, at the end of the day, you have to find your laughter. You can’t lose your smile. And if you feel like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, you need to always remember that there’s an army of your fellow infertility warriors supporting you. We’re a tight-knit bunch who welcome new sisters with open arms.
Since this is book 1 of Diary of a Suburban Misfit what’s your next topic going to be about?
The second book is Mommy Swears Because You Cry. I’ve only recently started it, having taken a few months off to recharge after spilling my guts in Infertility Sucks. Now, I’m focusing on the embarrassing, frustrating, and absolutely hilarious aspects of parenthood…
…like the time Tyler pulled down my shirt, and my boob popped out, in a busy convenience store. Or when she pooped on Santa. Or when Jesse sneezed directly into my mouth.
I’d like to thank you for allowing me to talk about Infertility Sucks. A memoir isn’t exactly your usual genre, so I truly appreciate allowing me to share my story with your readers.
I’d like to end your interview with a quote from an Amazon reader who read Infertility Sucks, and said: “Anyone who has suffered from infertility or is going through the process right now should read this book! It’s inspiring, encouraging and REAL!!”