Author – Renee’ La VinessI would like you to meet the wonderful Author Renee’ La Viness…Please tell us something about yourself Renee’…
I love working with and writing for children. I’m always glad to teach someone something I know. In years past, I’ve coached flag football (boys and men) and kids’ baseball. I survived heart attacks in 2005 and stage II colon cancer in 2007. I’ve lived through multiple tornadoes and been struck by lightning. And, in case you’re wondering, my last name means, “Of the VINE,” and it’s pronounced Luh VINE-us.What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’m a floor-sitter. I always have been. However, I don’t like sitting on most “big people” furniture because it causes pain. So, if you go to a conference or a work shop and see someone sitting on the floor, it’s probably me, and I’ve reached a point of pain that finally removed me from my chair. I also love to travel, and I love maps. I won’t use a GPS or stop for directions unless I have exhausted every other option. I enjoy finding a place without help.What are some of your pet peeves?
In writing, I don’t like info dumps. BORING!What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
A few favorite books… Nancy Drew (series) by multiple ghost writers under the name of Caroline Keene, Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, Mr. Putter and Tabby Catch the Cold by Cynthia Rylant, Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney. And a few favorite authors… Beverly Stowe McClure, Nancy Kelly Allen, D. B. Sweet, A.A. BreitlingWhat inspired you to write this book? (If you have more than one book, please choose one.)
Haha… I’m going to do two, because both are short answers. Absent Reality (short story ebook) – I wanted to share the fears of many parents whose children move far away. Blood Pressure Diary: Keeping it Simple(journal) – I use this format to keep track of my blood pressure. I wanted to share my recording process to help others do a better job of keeping track of theirs and possibly prevent a heart attack or stroke.What can we expect from you in the future?
I have at least two more diary/journal projects in the works. I’ve also signed a publishing contract with Oghma Creative Media for a children’s picture book, using the pen name of JesPiddlin. I’ll be submitting more, soon. I also plan to publish more short story ebooks in the future.Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Missouri, and I take the SHOW ME attitude very seriously. I have a mix of hillbilly and southern roots, and you will often see them in my stories. I’ve lived in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and spent most of my life in Oklahoma.Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I love Granny Bob from my first NaNoWriMo novel. I hope to publish that story, one day. She was modeled after a combination of my grandmother who lived to be almost 98 and still full of spunk, my dance instructor who taught tap and ballet until she was 99 years old, and myself, because I’m stubborn, quirky,and a bit eccentric.Describe your writing style.
I like to rewrite the obvious with what-ifs. For instance, what if the guy running from the cops wasn’t a criminal? What if maybe he lost his ID and doesn’t know who he is?What makes a good story?
REALITY: struggles, road blocks, idiots, emotions, tapping into fears and other strong emotions a lot of folks are afraid to admit to.What are you passionate about these days?
Bullies. I’ve lived through some abusive relationships in my years. I will not tolerate someone walking on my friends and family.What do you do to unwind and relax?
Watch a movie, go for a walk, go bicycling or swimming, play pool, play Yahtzee, go for a drive, or SLEEP.How do you find time to write as a GRAND parent?
I’ve taught the grand children that when they come over, there are so many hours in a day that I need quiet time. I’ve posted a list of quiet time activities on the wall, so they know things they can do on their own while I’m working. It’s not fool proof, but it helps. It also teaches them how to occupy themselves WITHOUT the video games or cell phones we don’t allow at our house.Describe a day in your life as an author?
Easier to share a week: Night shift –3-5 days, Day shift – 2-4 days, 2 days of lunch with grand kids and picking them up after school, 1-2 days of book reading at schools, 1-2 writing-related meetings, 1-4 webinars/seminars/workshops. I try to keep my computer organized because I like my life to be rather spontaneous when all these other specifics are not in play. Having the computer organized makes my sit-down time more efficient.Advice you would give new authors?
BE PATIENT. Patience is probably the most important quality for an author, yet it’s often one of the hardest to achieve. Learn everything you can about this business. And keep on learning, because it changes rapidly. Even if you plan to be self-published, try to get at least one book published by a traditional publisher. The experience will be good to add to your background experience, and since it’s free to be published by a traditional publisher, it’s worth aiming for. Don’t give up. Also, plan to save your files and back them up regularly. I save mine by a different name every time, so I can go back to a previous version if I need to. I always include today’s date in the titles of whatever I edited or wrote today. Find a style that fits your writing and stick to it.What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading King of the Wild Frontier: An Autobiography by Davy Crockett. An interesting read. I forgot how gruesome some of the wilder parts of our country used to be.How long have you been writing?
At age thirteen, I started performing as a ventriloquist. I booked all my own engagements, ordered my own business cards, and wrote all my own skits. So, other than stories written for school assignments, I started out writing humor at age thirteen.What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I write by the seat of my pants. When a story hits, I follow the scenes in my head. If an emotion is a big part of a scene, I try to make some notes about what I’m feeling, so I can come back and be more specific later. I very seldom plot/outline a story, unless I’m writing a novel. Even then, my plots are very loose, so the characters have room to move around and show me the story they are living. I hate to restrict their movement.Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
As a “pantser” who writes mostly short stories, most of my plots and characters write themselves. Oddly, many of the key elements required to make the stories stronger usually happen in my head as the story writes itself. I just type the things I see, hear, and feel.What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
That depends on the book. For most books, I research when I don’t know something I need to write about. In a different situation, there is an early twentieth century Louisiana murder I hope to write about, but it will require a good deal of research. Thankfully, I have a friend down there who is helping. The results of our research will determine whether that book remains a nonfiction story or becomes a fiction piece.A little more…
I’m very outgoing, but I can also be very timid when least expected. When I was young, my dad worked hard to get me to speak up, especially if I had questions. He helped me realize my curiosity was a good thing because it helps me be more efficient in whatever tasks I take on. As a writer, that curiosity has paid off in many ways.
LINKS As a middle grade and up author: My Blog/Website - www.reneelaviness.com On Facebook - www.facebook.com/Author.ReneeLaViness As a picture book author: My Website - www.jespiddlin.com On Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/JesPiddlin Just me: On LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/in/reneelaviness On Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/author/reneelaviness On Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ReneeLaViness Direct links to my current books -
Blood Pressure Diary: Keeping it Simple
(8.5” x 11” Paperback)
Absent Reality: A Short Story