Find a Christian store

Interview with Renee Blare

A southern woman turned mountain gal, Renee Blare writes from the Black Hills of Wyoming. Her debut book, Beast of Stratton, was a semi-finalist in the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest. Her latest book, To Soar on Eagle's Wings, released on July 10th.

In your novel, To Soar on Eagle's Wings, you've created a very interesting main character. Steve "talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future." How much of yourself did you write into Steve Mitchell?
I sprinkle a bit of myself into every character I write, even the “bad” ones. It makes them real to me.

Steve’s love for wildlife and respect for God’s creatures is a characteristic we share as well as his anger at violations against them. I may not be a conservationist in the radical sense of the word, but I live in Wyoming. In this state, we’ve learned to strike a balance with the precious environment around us, or we’ll destroy it.

His spiritual battle I gleaned from watching someone close to me struggle each day to let go of the past. It was a one step forward, two steps backwards kind of thing until he let God cut the control it had on his life. I took a little of what I saw in that battle and put it into Steve's struggle with his father’s job and death.

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
Mmmm…that’s a tough one. I like all of my characters in this particular book, but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d choose Melissa Hampton. She’s the best friend who’s always poking and prodding, keeping Rachel on her toes. We all need a friend like that, don’t we? Someone to keep us accountable but loves us no matter what. That’s the type of relationship Melissa and Rachel have. But she isn’t a one-dimensional character…she has secrets of her own. Her story makes you wonder what’s in store in the future. At least she made me start thinking about it while I was writing!

Which was the hardest character to write? Why?
Now that is a good question. I would have to say Michael, Rachel’s twin. Their mother’s death impacts him in such a way that he experiences a drastic emotional, and mental shift. This switch impacts many others characters in the book, especially Rachel. The challenge was showing this transformation in the few lines that Michael has in the book. He doesn’t make much of an appearance in To Soar so the time that he’s there had to count.

What helps you the most when you're developing your characters?
I use the character sketch component of the first writing program I ever bought, New Novelist. I don’t use the program to write with anymore. I reverted back to Word a long time ago. It’s easier to let the words flow out my brain onto the page than try to line them up into a specific order. Besides, I like the features of Word. I’ve tried Scrivener, and all kinds of other things…nope…not for me. I don’t have time to learn a new program. Not with my schedule!

Anyway, during my research phase, I think about my characters. What do they look like? Do they like to eat anything special, weird? Are they allergic to anything? How do they move when they walk? How do they talk? Do they have a special style of clothes they like to wear? Scars? Are they strong or weak (not just physically, but emotionally too)? Stocky, lanky? Do they have a habit or unique joke they like? Music?

Does this sound a little excessive? Not to me. I call it fleshing them out. After all, I’m going to spending a lot of time with these people for the next 6 months, maybe even a year. And since it’s a series, a lot longer than that!

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
The genre chose me.

I love to read anything and everything. I’ll read a historical romance, suspense, thriller, mystery, a fantasy novel…except horror. Yuck, I’m not too fond of those.

When I began my writing journey, I had no clue what to write. I prayed about it, asked God to direct my pen, and started writing. The Snowy Range Chronicles was born.

The next thing I knew, I had a romantic suspense with a blend of mystery.

Beast of Stratton, my first publication, was a standalone novella and had more mystery in it than To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. But don’t worry, the mystery builds throughout the series, and you can find it in To Soar. I promise. It’s in there!

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Time. I work as a pharmacist, manage my own website and blog along with the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction, critique for the Rough Diamond Writers (or try…sorry, ladies!), market and promote locally and online, and spread the joy of the Lord to my local community and church. In addition, I’m a wife, mother, and daughter…roles I never want to neglect in the hustle and bustle of this crazy life!

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My faith and walk with Christ is central to my writing. I’m not a preacher so you won’t see that in my books. What will you see? Real life battles of Christians as they struggle in a rugged world. In addition to the suspense, mystery and romance, you’ll find a strong message of faith and hope woven into all of my stories.

Who/What spurs you to write?
The Lord provides me my plots and story lines. It sounds strange, but I dream them like a movie except I’m actually in the scene. I experience the whole thing…sounds, scents, even the bitter wind against my face. I’ve woken up with my heart pounding after an action sequence! It’s quite amazing.

The adrenaline racing through my veins after one of those dreams…let’s say that sleep’s a fleeting thing. I can’t wait to get it on the page!

My husband rekindled the fire on my dream to write five years ago, and the Lord won’t let me go. 

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
As I said before, I write a blend of three genres, but I don’t overwhelm the reader with any particular one.
The romance found in my stories is for the reader who likes a happy ending. After all, who doesn’t like a happy ending? I know I do. The mystery offers a puzzle to solve. Everybody needs a little intrigue to keep things interesting, and because we all know life isn’t that easy. As for the suspense? Now that’s the fun part…I love suspense. It keeps the story moving at a fast clip, and you on the edge of your seat.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?
Funniest thing? Well…I’ve made so many typos and crazy mistakes, I can’t remember them all. I actually had my hero’s beard drag the floor! Thank the Lord for smart crit partners…what would I do without them?

What books are on your nightstand right now?
I have three Kindles (my Kindle Fire, White, and my tablet!), and their TBR lists grow more and more every day. I guess I don’t think I’m challenged already with my time. LOL

They’re stacking up with books from Carlene Havel, Brooke Williams, Sharon Lavy, Peggy Trotter, and Julie Cosgrove. I also have several from Lena Nelson Dooley, Ronie Kendig, and Nancy Bolton. All waiting for me to read for reviews or just for fun. I can’t wait to dig in!

Any parting words?
ACFW’s been and continues to be one of the most important parts of my writing journey. I treasure every person who’s helped me in this organization. While I appreciate “keep up the good work” and the fact I semi-finaled in the 2014 Genesis contest, I’m really talking about the critical evaluations (slash this, fix that), and even that “go back to school” comment I received when I joined Scribes. For without those, I wouldn’t have developed my writing skills…a process in progress.

Thanks for sharing with us, Renee!

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.