Author Yolanda Renee, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I was in elementary school when I discovered my love of reading and writing, but I was in my thirties when I met my first author and became hooked on the possibility.
What makes you passionate about writing?
When a story idea hits, it unfolds like a movie in my mind. The ending is always a surprise, and the accomplishment immensely gratifying, made more so via the feedback of readers.
What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
After receiving hundreds of rejections, I chose self-publishing because I finally wanted to share my story with family. I only planned to print a few books, but the response from non-family was so positive I decided to try traditional publishing again. I worked hard to go the conventional route, and I achieved that goal via a small publisher. But after a dispute over royalties and the realization that self-publishing was no longer a stigma, I decided to publish my books via Y R Publishing. I enjoy being in charge of my own destiny.
Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Yes, there’s were several moments when I wondered if I could write a trilogy, but I soon found that reading brought back the inspiration and drive. Quitting is never an option, but detours are part of the journey.
What books have most influenced your life?
I was in the fourth grade when I first got a library card, I read Nancy Drew, then Judy Bolton, and from there every book I could get my hands on. Gone with the Wind is one of my all-time favorites. I have to say that romance novels, westerns, science fiction, even autobiographies have all influenced my love of reading and writing. My greatest desire is to own a bookstore or at least a massive library filled with first editions.
Please tell us about your book, Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime & my story is Cypress, Like the Tree.
Cypress, Like the Tree, is a story about the murder of a young airman. His wife is the first suspect, but Detective Cypress soon learns multiple suspects wanted the man dead.
What genre is it?
Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
An idea or story usually comes to me so fast that I must write it down immediately. It’s like listening to a Dictaphone or watching a movie. The first draft is usually written in a notebook, using my own style of shorthand. Then comes the computer version. Outlines are done for my novels but only after the first draft is completed. I use one sentence descriptions of the chapters. This helps me coordinate the timelines, red-herrings, and characters.
I will admit that when I’m looking for a subject, I do steal from my life. I use the what if scenario. Cypress, Like the Tree, is one of those instances.
Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
All the authors I’ve had the pleasure reading have been an influence, but primarily Margaret Mitchell. Her determination and talent for sure, but it was also the obstacles she overcame to succeed.
But more recently, Denise Covey a writing friend from Australia, she and I host a writing challenge every other month called WEP: Write…Edit…Publish, but before I joined her, her challenges via RFW, where she and Donna Hole took the time to teach via their critiques.
I was amazed and honored when she asked me to join the team as a co-host. Denise has been an enormous influence, and now I learn from all the writers who participate.
What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
I rely on the people I know or have met to create my characters. Their traits, looks, and idiosyncrasies all come into play, but I mix it up, so no one recognizes themselves.
Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
I’m a very organized individual, a place for everything and everything in its place. It must be so, or my muse doesn’t come out to play. I’ve also always enjoyed working with numbers (I’m a former accountant) I even enjoy doing taxes. I enjoy photography, even though my pictures are less than amateur, I keep trying. And hiking has always been my go-to for relaxation and rejuvenation.
How do you come up with your character’s names?
I’ve used family names, and I’ve taken the names from the obituaries in the newspaper, mixing them up for something new or unusual. But I’ll steal from whatever is handy, even inanimate objects in a pinch.
What is the best compliment you could receive from a reader?
When they write, “I can’t wait for the next book!”
Where can readers go to find your books?
My Blog: Defending the Pen