Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Author Interview - Courtney Rene

The other day, I read one of those kinds of books that I just couldn’t put down. It was a fantasy book for young adults titled Shadow Dancer. So I contacted the author, Courtney Rene, and asked her a few questions about the book and her writing process.  But the best part is, she has not only agreed to answer a few questions but she has also offered a free autographed copy of the book.

All you need to do is sign up as one of my followers and leave a comment about the interview and or the book. I’d love to know why you think you might enjoy her book. The deadline for commenting is Friday, January 21st.

The winner will be randomly selected by a numbering system and announced at the end of the contest date.

So without further ado, the following is the interview with Coutney Rene.

Courtney, can you tell me the name of your book, who published it and a brief synopsis of what it’s all about?

Sure! The name of the book is SHADOW DANCER, which just came out last September through Rogue Phoenix Press.

Sunny, the main character has a gift that she has no idea how to use, until she meets Leif, a boy from the kingdom of Acadia, on the other side of the shadows. 

Leif teaches Sunny about Shadow Walkers and how to use her new found gifts. As they grow closer and their gifts grow stronger, a threat arrives.  The Shadow Guard has been sent to bring Sunny back to Acadia, to determine if she is a threat to the king as the rightful ruler of Acadia.

As Leif and Sunny prepare to defend themselves, Sunny finds that Leif has also been sent to bring Sunny back to the kingdom but for very different reasons.  As a battle for possession of Sunny wages, she is struggling to come to turns with her feelings of inadequacy regarding controlling her gifts as well as the hurt regarding the lies and deceit of everyone around her.

How did you come up with the name ‘Sunny’ for your character in the book?

The name Sunny came to me because I wanted something that was different but not wild and weird or hard to pronounce.  I always call my daughter my sunshine, which got me to thinking about my book and there you have Sunny.  Leif was just a bi-product of that same thought.  I was on a nature kick apparently and Leif matched.

Why did you choose disappearing in the shadows for her special powers?

It’s actually a little on the hokey side.  I was watching a paranormal movie and got to thinking about what would be the best power to have.  That led me to thinking that being able to walk around invisible would be awesome.  The thought refused to leave me and the next day I had the beginnings of a story in my mind about a girl that could walk in the shadows and become invisible.  How great would that be to just disappear whenever you wanted to?  

Do you think Sunny has a little bit of you in her? If so, in what way did you try to bring yourself out in her character?

Oh yes.  On the outside I am a well-mannered, polite, easygoing person.  On the inside though is a different story.  I am snarky and sarcastic and not very nice all the time.  Sunny, she is my inner me.  She says and does all the things that I am always only thinking or wishing I could say and do.  She makes me laugh.  I am very happy to be writing another story with her as the main character. 

Why do you think the YA (young adult) group would be most interested in your book versus say, adults?

Oooh this is a hard question.  Although I think adults would also enjoy this book, I would say that the young adult group will enjoy it more just for the fantasy of it.  Their ability to want to believe will (hopefully) pull them in to the story and the emotions and the what-if of it. 

Do you remember the very first story you ever wrote? What was it about?

I do actually.  It was a story about a pig in the big city.  I was very small and it was maybe one hundred words (if that).  The pig ran away to the city, was sad and lonely, and went back home to where his family was and lived happily ever after.  The end.  It was my start though. 

What resource has been most influential in helping you become a published writer and why? How often do you refer back to it?

I know you are thinking it’s books or such, but in reality it was my friends and family.  Oh I visit the library all the time and I have plenty of marketing and research books, and web-sites that I visit and on and on, but in the end, it was the faith of my friends and the pushing and shoving they did to keep me submitting and trying.  They listened and were sad with me during my rejections and danced for joy with me during my acceptances.  Being a writer is hard.  Not the writing part actually, but the constant criticism and rejection is hard on the heart and soul.  My friends and family kept me going.  They gave me support every time I needed it.  Without that, I would have given up a long time ago.  So in case any of them are reading, thank you.  Truly from my heart, thank you. 

What is the thing you enjoy the most about writing for children?

I enjoy the fantasy of it.  The “what if” factor.  Adults, we are so concrete and beaten down by the realities of life.  Not children.  Kids still have a wonderful fun imagination where anything is possible. Even teens still want to believe. 

What’s on the horizon for you as far as writing a sequel to Shadow Dancer?

I am currently writing a sequel to Shadow Dancer.  In fact the first draft of it is complete.  Now all I have to do is edit and revise it to death.  The current working title is “Shadow Warrior”.  The main landscape of this book is Acadia, where both my main character and my readers have never been.  It was great fun creating the world on the other side of the shadows as well as the people to go with it.  It has been a joy to write so far, let’s hope my publisher thinks so as well once it’s done. 



Here’s a little (as we say in Louisiana) “Lagniappe” or extra information about the author, Courtney Rene.

Quite the fan of reading even as a small child, Courtney Rene one day decided that reading other peoples stories was not enough for her and decided to writer her own.  Courtney Rene lives in Ohio, with her husband and two children, two dogs, a cat, several hamsters and a plethora of fish.  Along with her novel, Shadow Dancer, just recently released (09/2010) through www.roguephoenixpress.com, her works can also be found in several magazines in the form of articles and stories, as well as several anthologies.  She loves hearing from her readers.  Please feel free to contact her at ctnyrene@aol.com or check out her website and blog www.courtneyrene.com  www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com 


Remember, you have a chance to win a free autographed copy of Courtney Rene’s book Shadow Dancer, by signing up as a follower and commenting on this interview. Deadline is Friday, January 21st. You can comment as many times as you wish. Each comment counts as one chance.

29 comments:

  1. Great interview! Courtney, you know how proud I am of you! And a weeeeee bit jealous. ;)

    Though you didn't bring it up, I like the connection of the name "Sunny" with the whole idea of disappearing into the shadows (sun/shadow). Quite creative!

    Of course, I can't leave you without saying it: GO BUCKS! :)

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  2. Wonderful job, both of you! Courtney, I can't wait to see your sequel come out. Thanks, ladies, for the opportunity to win Courtney's book.

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  3. It all began with a little pig. Gotta love that. Great interview, indeed. Looking forward to seeing what Acadia is all about!

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  4. Hey Courtney....Glad to see you are working on the sequel. Get it done girlie!

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  5. Great interview, Allyn. Yay, Courtney! I'm glad you are working on a sequel.

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  6. Thanks everyone for your comments so far, keep it up!! Ellen & CarrieBoo, if you want a chance at winning the book you need to sign up as a follower. I apologize if you already have under a different name. I probably forgot what your other name is, please remind me if thats the case.

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  7. Fantastic interview, Al! Courtney, your "first story" gave me a giggle. I can only imagine that poor pig, all alone in the world. :D

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  8. Wonderful inteview. The book sounds like it would be a fun read.

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  9. Al - great interview!

    Courtney, I love your comment about the difference between children and adults - so true! Congrats on the book. I can't wait to read it!

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  10. Courthey, I loved your book. I got it as a Christmas gift and read it in two days. IT was hard to put down. I enjoyed the story so much....Great interview, Allyn...Cant wait to read more by both of you :)

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  11. Awesome interview to the both of you!

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  12. Fantastic interview that gives insight both into the novel and writing. I think my students would greatly enjoy this book greatly.

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  13. This is great everyone, keep the comments coming! I know Courtney appreciates all your support on her book as well as I do. Is there one thing in particular that you think makes Courtneys book sound extra interesting for the YA group? I'm just curious.

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  14. This sounds like a great book! :)

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  15. I just remembered you said we can enter more than once! I want to win Court's book! Having interview her before I know she "tested" her book out on teens and it got a good response. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  16. Fun interview, Allyn!

    I love the name Leif, Court. Can I steal it? TOTALLY kidding!!

    Kudos to you for getting the draft done for the sequel.

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  17. Allyn,

    It has been a while since I was a YA, but I remember thinking (don't laugh) that I was invincible and the future seemed so full of possibilities. I haven't read this book yet, but I can see why it would appeal to YA- with fantasy, super powers (we'd all love to be invisible...the fly on the wall observing life) plus everyone has experienced various feelings of inadequacy....the book cover hints at romance....it is all very intriguing.

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  18. Yes, I'm back again. I really want to win this book! By the way, Courtney, I really like how you made Sunny to be kind of what you wish you were. In my YA fantasy, my main character is completely what I wish I were! I love her--even her flaws!

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  19. Great interview! Courtney, your book sounds really interesting. Hope I win!

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  20. This is me again, hoping for another chance to win your book Courtney!

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  21. Anyone that uses the word plethora has to be good! Great interview. Allyn - keep up the dedication!

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  22. Maybe 3 is a charm. Again great interview Allyn and here's to your next.

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  23. Hey Courtney, how long did it take you to draft your sequel? And did it come out faster than your first book did, or was it about the same amount of time?

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  24. Maryanne, *giggle*! That's how I feel!

    Well, here's my third time's a charm entry! However, I really am interested to know how long it took you to write that draft, Courtney. Sometimes I get SO bogged down in the idea of stories that all my energy gets lost in the thought of the story instead of in the writing. Does that happen to you? Isn't that a BUMMER?

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  25. Hi all. I wanted to thank Allyn for hosting this contest for me, as well as each and every one of you for coming over and participating in it. I can't wait to see who wins....

    Cat: My sequel, I actually wrote it for Nano this year so, one month. Okay one month and a week as I didn't quite get it finished in November. I would have, but I can't just write and not review and revise as I go like a lot of people can do. I have to have a chapter pretty good before I can move on. Not perfect but getting there.

    Shauna you can certainly steal the name Leif. Enjoy!

    ctny

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  26. That's wonderful. Congrats!

    NaNo is awesome! I have a hard time not revising as I write, too, but somehow NaNo let me NOT do that. I just wrote. It was a powerful feeling. I was IN CONTROL!.. for a change.

    Good luck on the sequel. Can't wait to see if the title is as intriguing as "Shadow Dancer." Mmmmmm. That title says it ALL!

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  27. Great interview! Looking forward to reading both books. You give hope to all ICL students (current and past). Great job! ~ Kim

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  28. Great interview guys. I know the contest is over, but I have the book. Its agreat book too, and well worth buying and reading.

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  29. Thanks Terrie.

    And a big thank you to everyone who participated, especially the author, Courtney! Everyone should rush right out and buy the book. You won't be disappointed.

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