1. What inspired you to write this book? It was time to do what I have wanted to do for many years. For most of my adult life, I have been writing short stories and full-length novels; all of which have resided in my desk drawer. I decided it was time to bring some of my short stories together and put them in a book, publish the book and hope others will read and enjoy the work.
2. What exactly is it about and who is it written for? The Devouring Six Macabre Tales contains six short stories about ordinary people involved in everyday events where things do not end well for some of the characters in the story. My first thoughts for the title for this book was “Short Stories for the Airport and Other Waiting Places”. In other words, I have always believed that short stories should be just that, able to be read in a short period of time. It is written for people who enjoy weird, twisted tales while they are waiting to see their doctor.
3. What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book? Enjoyment. Just the fun of reading something a little different. But, I also hope the reader comes away with some thought provoking moments; especially after reading “Gypsy Rover” and how the modern world comes to an end. And some readers found “Time Passages” a little troubling. Is it right for a sheriff to mete out his own form of justice even though the perpetrator deserved what he got?
4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design? I chose a darker red for the cover because it is eye catching. As you look at the cover, an open gate draws the reader in, follow the railroad tracks to where they end at a dark block house hinting at something sinister. I thought long and hard about the title. There are so many books that begin with those two words, “the devouring”. But the title reflects the title of one of the stories contained within. Quite often, a book of short stories will use one of the titles as the title of the book. So, okay. The Devouring. Intriguing. Sinister. To go with the blood, red cover. Then I chose the subtitle of Six Macabre Tales as each individual story has to do with death.
5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers – other than run? First, if you are a writer, then write. Put your ideas down on paper, not in your iPhone. On paper where you can pick it up, look at it, add a note or two, and think about your idea. Make notes as you go along, for some an outline helps. Write (work) on your story or book until it is done, even if is only for fifteen or twenty minutes a day. Do not give up. You might set it aside for a little while, but do not give up. Second, it does not matter how old or young you are, your ideas are worthy of being put into print; and it is never too early or too late to start. Third, if you are going to self-publish, do your homework. Vette your publisher. Read reviews. Be prepared to spend more on a reputable publisher who will provide a quality, finished product; one you will want to hand out to friends or place on a display table. And most importantly, if your work is made into a book and your publisher places the copyright logo on your book, your book is not fully copyrighted until it is registered with the U.S Copyright Office and through them registered with the Library of Congress. Without the catalogue number registered with the Library of Congress, your hard work will never be placed on library shelves for people to borrow, read and pass on to others. The certificate of registration prevents others from stealing your work. Do not be fooled by sites that will claim to do the registration for you, at a significant cost to you. Go to Copyright Office. gov and scroll down to the official site. The cost is minimal, the protection great. And isn’t that the point?
6. What trends in the book world do you see – and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
First, the print book is never going away. There is something special about holding a book in your hands, turning pages, and when you put it down, and come back to it, your book is like an old friend ready to begin again; a friend you can rely on to be there no matter how old either of you become. That said, I am excited to see all the alternatives in the way stories are presented to the public; ebooks, audiobooks, pod casts, etcetera. There is truly something for everyone. I am amazed and extremely happy to see the growing diversity in the types of books being published, once forbidden subjects being brought to light, voices once silenced being heard, and no one, no one, is excluded from the conversation, no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, social or financial standing, books crossing every international boundary. But, I also see a disturbing trend in how a writer gets published. The older, more well-established publishing houses have a sign hung on their front door ie: website, “No unsolicited manuscripts will be accepted.” New authors are advised to seek publication from a lesser, smaller publishing source first. This leads to a myriad of websites offering to publish “your book” for a few hundred dollars, with the caveat “buyer beware”. They offer the moon and provide limited services and sometimes none at all. The new author is truly on their own, seeking the one publisher who will do the best work for the money spent. Inadvertently, or perhaps purposely, the publishing world has created a caste system that is not helpful or healthy for the publishing industry.
7. Were there experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book? I credit my mother for exposing me to books and a love of reading. She would read to our family at the dinner table and her choices varied from Zane Gray to Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe to Rudyard Kipling and beyond. So, books, classical theater, Shakespeare, Broadway plays, and poetry became an integral part of my life. All of that exposure convinced me to begin to write at an early age, beginning in Junior High. My love of writing was fueled by English teachers who insisted I learn grammar, syntax and punctuation. English classes included reading literature, and writing themes, essays, term papers and short stories where our imaginations were allowed free rein, as long as we did not use profanity. These efforts provided me with a platform where my ideas took shape on paper and provided something equally as important; someone else, besides myself, to read and critique my work. I have learned there is no substitute for education and knowledge of the world we live in. Both of which were essential in creating this book.
8. How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books is your writing similar to? When asked to describe The Devouring Six Macabre Tales, I say it is reminiscent of The Twilight Zone and Edgar Allen Poe. I feel the influence of Louie Lamour when I am writing; direct and unambiguous. No flowery phrases or inuendo. I write as if the reader is sitting right in front of me, listening. I want the reader to see the characters and their world as clearly as I can see it; the way Mr. Lamour wrote about the desert west and the rawhide tough men and women who inhabited that world.
9. What challenges did you overcome in the writing of this book? Time. Finding the time to sit down and write without interruption. For a number of years, this book was created fifteen minutes at a time. And having to give up my fifteen-year-old desk top computer for a new laptop and transferring files from my “trusty, (or is it rusty?) old HP to the new computer. That was a challenge, learning the vagaries of advancing technology.
10. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? The book is short, easy to read, easy to take with you and invites you into a different interpretation of the world around you. The endings are unexpected, and twisted, and macabre, for those who like the “dark” side.
About Ther Author: Renie lives with her husband of fifty plus years on a forty-acre ranch in Colorado. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from Colorado State University. She worked in the field of Social Work for over twenty years and retired in 2013. She is a student of history and enjoys keeping up with current events, in print and on television. She loves reading, all genres except romance novels, and has a personal library of 500 + books and 800 +DVDs. She is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and believes age is relative, old is a state of mind. She lives by two simple rules: Be kind to others. Be active and involved in the world around you.
I do not use twitter, Facebook, or linked in. Nor do I have a website or a social media page. Although I have email, my preferred form of communication is by phone or face to face.
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