Interview: Sharon Buchbinder’s Blog

I’m visiting Sharon Buchbinder’s blog, talking about life as a writer and PET’S PLEASURE. Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a PDF copy of PET’S PLEASURE.

[NOTE: The post no longer exists on the above blog and has been featured below instead.]

I am delighted to have my chapter mate from the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America, D. RENEE BAGBY, who also writes as ZENOBIA RENQUIST, with me today to talk about her PET’S PLEASURE.

Renee is a self-described military brat turned military wife who is currently stationed in Hawaii with her husband and two cats. Whether writing as D. Renee Bagby or Zenobia Renquist, she is a world-builder. She loves inventing new cultures and shaping their histories and laws because it beats researching the existing ones.

Her stories span the fantasy gamut but she dabbles in sci-fi and contemporary from time to time. While her main characters tend to be of different races, she doesn’t let skin color rule or limit her stories. For her, it’s all about how much she can torture her characters so they earn their happily-ever-after ending.

The rules are all new and pre-conceived notions will only slow you down, so when reading Renee’s stories, she asks only one thing — Leave Your Reality Behind.

Renee has generously agreed to provide a free PDF copy of ___Pet’s Pleasure__ for one commenter. All you have to do is comment or ask a question at the end of the interview to be entered to win.

First of all, Renee, I want to thank you and your husband for serving our country. I very much appreciate the sacrifices you’ve both made to ensure our security and safety.

:: Thank you for the thanks.

Renee, what made you want to be an author? At what age did you start telling stories and then writing them down?

:: I started inventing stories to entertain myself as a way to cope with boredom and the general stress of being a teenager. At first, it was all in my head. I would cook up fabulous tales for my “viewing” pleasure alone. Later, I started writing them down in my notebooks, which I still have, to fool my teachers into thinking I was taking notes and paying attention.

A writing contest that I failed to enter due to not having my story finished in time and the teacher who helped me prepare for that contest motivated me to think seriously about becoming an author. I wanted a heroine I could identify with. I wanted to see said heroine get kidnapped by aliens or swept across time or meet up with the hunky shifter. Since I couldn’t find those stories (at the time), I decided I might as well write some.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?

:: The best thing about being a writer is seeing my worlds come to life and hearing from people who enjoyed the worlds I created. I love crafting not only characters but whole civilizations with their own religions and systems of belief and then tossing people (usually heroines) from our society into them and making them cope and adapt.

The thing I like least about this profession is the waiting. We authors have to have an abundance of patience because everything is a waiting game. Waiting to hear from an agent/editor about a query. Waiting to hear from an agent/editor about a submission. Waiting to hear from an editor about edits. Waiting to hear from a cover artist. Waiting for the final release copy. Waiting for the release date. Waiting for reader reactions. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Very little happens quickly in this profession.

How do you think your experience as a military brat prepared you for writing paranormal romance?

:: I was the perpetual new kid growing up. My family traveled. I had to make new friends, get used to new towns and schools, and learn to fit in with the people around me. As a result, I’m a world builder. As I said above, I craft these worlds just so I can shove my characters into them and make them cope. It’s funny to note that many of the authors who tend towards fish-out-of-water stories come from a military (served or dependent) background.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?

:: Yes, totally yes and all of them. I may have crafted the world and created the people to populate it, but my characters know they are in charge. I’ve had stories run in the exact opposite direction of where I wanted them to go. ERIS (Siren Publishing) was like that. A story that started out as a simple mainstream time travel graduated into an mfm ménage time travel because a secondary character wanted time in the lime light too.

You’ve written _4_novels (3 published) and 16 novellas (12 published), and you are also wife with two cats. What’s your favorite time management tip?

:: My favorite time management skill is giving in to the knowledge that something isn’t going to be done. I’m not superwoman. I can’t do everything. Even if I could, it wouldn’t be done right and I strive to do things right so I don’t have to do them again. The kitchen is clean, but the carpets are covered in cat fur. My book is finished, but I still need to do my taxes. The grocery shopping is done, but my car needs to be cleaned.

Being an author is a very time intensive career. There is no multi-tasking when I sit down to write. It’s the one time when I cannot and will not multi-task. If I tried, my story would suffer. As a result of having to be so focused on one thing for long stretches of time, several other things just won’t be done.

But, I’m not writing all of the time. Ever so often, the muse takes a hiatus or my fingers refuse to type another word or I simply don’t feel like it. It happens. Those are the times when I can focus on everything I’ve neglected.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?

:: I’m a pantser. I have a general idea of where I’m going, but I don’t know which route the characters will take until we start the journey together. Sometimes the destination I had in mind isn’t even where we go. That was the case for my CAVEAT EMPTOR Series. That was supposed to be a one-off story — a simple vampire romance where the vampire isn’t in charge for once. With a single question mark at the end of the story that my muse wouldn’t let me edit out or answer, it evolved into a seven book series. The seventh book should be out around June.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?

:: Your story needs to be able to stand on its own. The author who continually has to explain aspects of their story so readers understand it didn’t write a very good story. All explanation needs to be in the book or not at all.

Tell me more about PET’S PLEASURE.

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave, Blush
Genre: Mainstream SciFi/Fantasy Romance
Length: Plus Novel
Price: $5.20
Release: 05 April

The love of a good owner is hard to find.

Starling envied the easy life of pets…until she became one. Kidnapped from Earth and sold to the highest bidder, she now belongs to an alien king. But she doesn’t want to be his pampered possession. She wants Bekion to see her as an independent woman with needs and desires of her own.

Only deviants break the laws barring sexual relations between owners and their pets, and King Bekion has no intention of succumbing to simple lust. But the long nights with Starling’s lush body pressed tight against his take a toll. Her strength and intelligence make it difficult for Bekion to remember Starling is human—and forbidden. He knows it isn’t right but he can’t stop thinking of his pet and all the pleasure he could give her, even if it costs him his crown.

How about an excerpt from PET’S PLEASURE?

Starling met his gaze. “She gave birth to a smart son. One who knows this thing between us cannot happen. Ever.”

Bekion folded her hands in his and brought her close. “It would be easier for me to accomplish such a feat if you found my attentions unappealing. I do not force myself on the unwilling.” He kissed her hands one at a time. “Tell me you don’t want me. That will end it.”

She tried but her lips refused to speak that lie, not even to save them both. Her body craved Bekion’s touch. This longing went far beyond loneliness or sexual frustration.

“I can’t.” She dropped her gaze and freed her hands. Separating from his warmth and denying the promise of more passion took more willpower than she had ever used before.

She shook her head at him as she turned, presenting him her side. “But that doesn’t mean anything, Bekion. I know you pretty well after watching you these past two months. Even if everyone on Panagiota vowed never to tell, you won’t do it. The guilt of breaking the law would eat you alive.”

He laughed but there was no humor in it. “My mother always accused me of being too honest. It is interesting to hear the same insult from you.”

“It’s not an insult.”

He stood and walked toward the bathroom. “Enough of this.”

“You know I’m right.”

He stopped in the doorway with his hand clenching the doorjamb.

She said, “No more sleeping together. No more sitting on your lap. It all needs to end. I’m novel to you. Don’t make a mistake that will ruin your entire life because of curiosity and a whim.”

As much as those words hurt, as much as she had hated hearing them before, she still said them. Bekion was a good man and a fair ruler. The history she learned showed Panagiota needed a king like Bekion, who was leading them into a golden age.

She refused to be the reason he fell.

Renee, thanks you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

:: Thanks so much for having me!

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