Posts Tagged ‘Michael Ondaatje’
Today is Saturday and I need a day off. So instead of racking my brains for something pithy to say about one of the books I’ve read recently, I’m going to slump into an armchair and have a cosy chat with a literary lioness.
Or should that be a fox?
Anyway, she’s never lost for words so I’m going to leave most of the talking to her.
For Josee Renard is in my living room and we’ve been admiring the gleaming torso on the cover of her latest book, Superstition. But let’s try and drag our minds back to literary matters, shall we, Josee?
For someone who has never read a Josee Renard book, where should they begin?
Well, with my favorite book, of course! But really, it’s going to depend on what kind of book you like to read because I’m the kind of writer who likes to bounce around a lot. I’m easily bored, both in life and in writing, so I tend to do many many different things. I’ll tell you that my personal favorite – right now – is Winter Warming, probably mostly because I was sure I’d never write suspense. I think I could do that in this book because it’s a novella rather than a novel. And I love the two main characters, Jude and Rory. I love the small town they live in, I love everything about that book. But if you like menages, you’ll probably like both The Pleasure Club: The Demon (which is a short story) and the follow-up The Demon Next Door: Morteza because I had to tell what happened to them after the short. I often write short, so there are a lot of shorter stories you could start with – What’s New, Pussycat? is a real summer story, about the gorgeous reno guy next door.
I see you have an extensive catalogue, Josee. I’ve also noticed you have an alter ego called Kate Austin. Kate also writes erotic books and she even seems to write about similar themes. What’s going on there? Isn’t it hard keeping two writing careers going?
I think, no matter what name I wrote under, or how many names there were (and no, I’m not contemplating any others, it’s hard enough keeping the TWO of them straight, not when I’m writing but when I’m doing promotion or things like that), I’d probably write about similar themes. But Kate writes for a womens’ fiction audience, which means the books aren’t anywhere near as hot as Josee’s books. Oh, there’s a little sex in them, but those books are really more about a woman’s journey, which sometimes includes a romance, but that’s not the centerpiece of the book. Josee’s books, which are shorter, may center on a romance or a sexual encounter. It’s actually – remember my comment above about being easily bored – good for me to have two choices. I’m often working back and forth on two or three things at the same time. That tends to work for me, because while I’m working on one thing, my subconscious is processing what needs to happen in the other.
Josee’s books are exclusively e-books and Kate’s books – though there are a few of them published as e-books – all began as print books. There’s a pretty clear delineation between the two, but I expect that anyone who reads them both will recognize the writing style and the general themes.
Yes, indeed. One of your themes is that of the demon lover. To be honest, before coming across your books, I had never had an erotic fantasy about a demon. I’ve had a few since, but for other demon virgins out there, can you tell them succinctly what they are missing ?
Ah, but these demons aren’t really scary. They still have some powers that humans don’t, but they’ve come to earth and been transformed to mostly human because they don’t want to live in the underworld any longer. Because they’ve never had sex before, because they’re incredibly loyal to the women (or the men) they fall for, they’re protective and caring, they’re very willing to learn, and they’re completely open to everything and anything. They have no preconceptions about sex and so they’ll try anything. I find that very tempting.
Me too! That definitely makes me want to read more paranormal romance. As an avid reader, do you have a preferred genre? Are there genres you avoid?
It’s hard to have a preferred genre when you read as much as I do, but I love romantic suspense – Suzanne Brockmann is at the very top of my must read list, along with Jayne Anne Krentz and Nora Roberts. I love literary fiction – the two books on the top of my pile right now are by Michael Ondaatje and Guy Vanderhaege, both brilliant Canadian writers. I love women’s fiction – Alice Hoffman, Barbara Kingsolver, Susanna Kearsley. I love Linnea Sinclair’s space operas and Neil Gaiman is one of my heroes. I don’t read as much mystery as I did many years ago (I got bored with them) and I read very few thrillers (too much detail, not enough character). I read a little paranormal, but mostly from writers I’ve come to enjoy. I’ll read almost anything if I love the characters. The thing I actually don’t read much of is straight-up romance – I think, looking at the list I’ve just given you – it’s because I like the big cast of characters you get in those other types of books, that feels much more real to me. And, oh yeah, I read the classics. My degree is in English so I love Dickens and Austen and Woolf and ….
I can, however, be convinced to read almost anything if three completely disparate people tell me I must read it! It’s a superstition I have – hear it three times, it’s important for some reason.
It’s a good job no-one’s listening in. Otherwise all those inventive authors out there will dreaming up ways to spam you in triplicate. Kate Austin says on her website that we can ask her anything. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever been asked and is there a question you secretly dread?
I don’t think there are any weird questions, maybe it’s because of the way I was brought up. We discussed (okay, as we got older, it was probably argued) politics and science and religion and anything else you could come up with at our dinner table from the time I can remember, and that old saying There are no stupid questions really stuck with me. And while there may be a question I secretly dread (maybe this one? *grins*), it’s buried pretty deep in my subconscious. It would probably be something like: Why did you make that character do that when it’s obvious they’d never do such a thing? That question would break my heart because it would mean that I’d done something wrong.
Do you have any more alter egos itching to express themselves and write, for example, a massive mainstream book like Gone With The Wind?
No more alter egos, at least that I know of. But interesting you should ask that, but Kate’s just finished a mainstream book – not exactly like Gone With the Wind, but definitely a departure for me, more literary, even some historical elements, which is something I very seldom do. Probably for the same reason I’m not a writer of suspense, too many details, too much research. It’s just not the way I write, but this book is very complicated, very complex, starting in 1910 and running up until 1952, with a story within a story, so the timelines were very confusing for me. It took me a while to get them write. But it began because I’m fascinated by World War I and so I wanted to maybe write something around that period. I also often write about small towns – again, it’s about that cast of characters – and so I wanted it to be set in a place which was affected by the war but in an oblique kind of way. I loved writing it, but it was very hard work. It’s now in the hands of a publisher – no knowing what’s going to happen with it.
Something wonderful, I hope.
When she’s not reclining on the sofa in literary salons, you can find Josee at: