No More Hiding; by Renee Stevens—Author Interview
Please welcome my friend Renee to the Land of Make Believe. I first met Renee on the Gay Authors Website and I’ve been a fan of her work of five years now. Her new release—No More Hiding—is now available from Dreamspinner Press and she’s stopped by to talk about herself, her writing and her new book.
Welcome Renee. We’ve known each other for a while, but start by telling everyone else a bit about yourself.
Oh boy, time to talk about myself. Ok then. I live in Wyoming with my husband and our house typically is like a zoo with 3 dogs and 3 cats. I spend most of my time outdoors when the weather is good, especially camping. I got into writing as a teenager but didn’t do much with it until I hit my twenties. I read just about everything, contemporary, paranormal, sci-fi, and a few others. I like sewing quilts, but I have to be in the right mood to sit at the sewing machine for hours at a time. Other than that, I spend most of my time being a homemaker and writing.
This is a fun time for you, your new book, No More Hiding, is officially available for purchase. What was it like when Dreamspinner Press said, ‘why yes, Renee, we’d like to publish your book?’
I still remember opening my email and seeing the words “Contract Offer: No More Hiding”. I was seriously in shock. I couldn’t believe it and just stared at the words for a minute before finally opening it. I think I re-read that email like 3 times to make sure I wasn’t imagining things and then I called my husband. I was so excited once it finally sunk in.
Your first stories were posted for free on-line. Talk about how that was for you.
It’s been great. Not only have I got some awesome feedback from it, but I’ve also met so many wonderful people. I wouldn’t be where I am with my writing without them, as they’ve helped me learn where I need to improve.
You write in different genres, which ones and which is your favorite?
I mainly write contemporary and paranormal. I actually really enjoy writing vampire and shifter stories. There are so many “legends” about both and it’s fun to play with them. I think the hardest thing is there are so many cliché’s with both genres and if I want to veer off the path that is generally acceptable, I have to figure a way to explain it.
Okay, let’s talk No More Hiding. What’s it about?
My main character Phillip tried to play the straight life by getting married. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. His ex-wife eventually learns why their marriage didn’t work out, and takes their two kids, despite Phillip actually winning custody. Phillip has spent the last six years looking for his children, with no luck.
For those 6 years he hasn’t really lived his life and his brother Robert has decided enough is enough. They will never stop looking for the kids, but Phillip needs to start living again. Robert tells him about a new gym that has opened up and Phillip ends up meeting Vance.
Phillip and Vance face many obstacles in starting a relationship, the biggest one being Phillip needing to tell him about his kids. The question remains on whether or not Vance will be able to accept it and whether they will be able to work through the different obstacles they face.
Who are the main characters?
The main characters would most likely be considered Vance and Phillip. Vance is an attorney and Phillip is an accountant. Both of them are very down to earth and both have suffered from emotional upheavals in their lives.
I also consider Robert to be a main character. He’s Phillip’s twin brother and has a major role throughout the book. He works in construction. I think I can honestly say that Robert is my favorite character in this book for the simple fact that he supports Phillip no matter what. Throughout the story, he’s there; no matter what is going on, Phillip can count on Robert.
What part of the book was the most fun to write and why?
There were a few parts that were fun, but for the most part I’d say the interactions between Phillip and his brother Robert. There are a few humorous parts throughout the book where you can watch Phillip and Robert banter back and forth or try to get one over on each other.
What part made you struggle them most?
Any part having to deal with Phillip’s kids. It was hard to get the emotions right and there were so many times that I had a hard time writing it because I couldn’t hardly see through the tears.
Tell us something interesting that is not in the blurb?
Herm, something interesting not in the blurb, preferably without giving away any plot surprises. Trevor, who Phillip meets at the gym, is a bit of a character. He constantly colors his hair different colors and isn’t afraid to say what he’s thinking. He also seems to have some sort of connection to Vance that Phillip just can’t seem to figure out, but it does cause him a few moments of worry.
Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on revising my vampire novel, Joined by Blood. I’m hoping to submit it within the next couple of months. Other than that, I’m working on a military story called Thwarted as well as a collection of flash fiction stories.
What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?
There’s not really a specific story that I’ve been reading. For the last few days I’ve been reading all the of “Don’t Read In The Closet” stories that are put out by the Goodreads group M/M Romance. Most of them are short stories and there are definitely a few gems amongst all the stories. I think just about everyone could find something they enjoy within all the currently posted stories.
If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Tough question. I’m assuming it doesn’t have to be someone famous. I’ve already met my fellow author Alicia Nordwell, and it was great. I think the next fellow author I’d like to meet is Mann Ramblings, author of The Luxorian Fugitive. Not only do I enjoy his work, but we’ve also become great friends who talk on a near daily basis. Unfortunately, we live far away from each other, so it’s doubtful we’d ever actually get to meet in person.
What’s a fun – non-writing – day for you?
It depends on the day, and the season. If it’s winter, and cold outside, then I like to spend my time sewing quilts. If it’s summer, my favorite thing to do is go camping, fishing, and four-wheeling. My husband and I take the dogs and just go have fun and relax in the great outdoors.
Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.
There are two questions I get asked all the time. One is about how I got into writing M/M romance. That one is an easy question because it all started when I read a book by Sara Bell called “The Magic In Your Touch”. I really enjoyed the story and thought at the time that maybe I should give it a try. My first story, Eternity, is a bit rough and in the future I may revise it, but after writing that, I just kept going.
The other question I get asked all the time is about women writing M/M romance and what my stance on it is. Considering I’m a woman myself, obviously I don’t have issues with it. But lately I’ve been thinking about this a lot. As far as I’m concerned, why shouldn’t women write M/M romance? People write about stuff all the time that they couldn’t have possibly experienced. Paranormal stories, sci-fi stories, fantasy, and M/M romance have one thing in common. Research, research, research. Whether it’s from doing a lot of reading, talking to people, or searching on the internet for answers. As long as an author is willing to put the time in to research something and the story is good, it shouldn’t matter who writes it.
No More Hiding:
Phillip Jorgensen tried to live the straight life and ended up divorced. But he wouldn’t trade his two kids, Jacob and Samantha, for the world. His ex-wife has kidnapped them and he’s been searching for them for six long years. But he’s not giving up—never, not for anything. His twin brother has encouraged him to start living again, but how is he going to find romance with all his baggage?
When he meets Vance Pierce at the new gym, Phillip sees a chance to find some happiness.
Phillip has to explain the whole sordid mess to Vance and pray that he understands that he’ll never stop looking for his children. That’s easier said than done. Telling Vance might be risky. Is their connection strong enough to convince Vance to stay? Or will he think that Phillip is too damaged to love? This is Phillip’s chance at the life he never thought he could have. But is it possible?
Release Date: June 12, 2015
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
“I’m sorry, I have to go. I forgot… I just… I have some stuff I have to do.”
“Want me to go with you?”
Phillip glanced up and grimaced at the frown on Vance’s lips. He tried to force a smile but probably failed completely. “Thanks, but no. This is something I have to do by myself.”
“Listen, if it’s about what I said….”
“It’s not.” Phillip shook his head. He’d been trying to tell himself that they were only friends—workout buddies—but Vance’s earlier words about dating came back to him. He’d been right. Phillip sighed. He needed time to think without the distraction of Vance. He’d only known him a month, and he’d already forgotten his kids. That wasn’t acceptable. Jacob and Samantha had to be his first priority.
The sound of his name jerked him from his thoughts, and Vance stepped toward him. He stepped back, keeping distance between them.
“Enjoy your swim.” He turned and fled into the locker room. Hopefully Vance wouldn’t follow until he could get changed and leave.
He ignored the showers and hurried to his locker. He stripped out of his suit and slithered into his clothes, not caring about the water that still clung to his skin. He heard the door to the pool open and started shoving his things into his bag.
“You could have kept swimming.” He didn’t look at Vance as he stepped into the row of lockers. Guilt ate at him for not only having forgotten Sam’s birthday, but for ruining Vance’s day as well.
“Could have. Didn’t want to.”
Phillip straightened, unable to keep from looking at Vance as he leaned against his locker scrutinizing him, his brow furrowed. Phillip searched for words to explain his behavior but came up empty.
You could try the truth.
About the Author:
Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.
Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.
When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.
Where to find her: