Gothic Bite Magazine always feels grateful when an amazing author passes by and this week, we have Alice Renaud!
Who Is Alice Renaud
My name is Alice Renaud. I grew up in Brittany, on the west coast of France, my father was French and my mother British. My mother is from Wales, the country that forms the western part of the United Kingdom. Celtic legends and myths permeated my childhood.
I was always an avid reader, and I started writing down my own stories when I was 14. I always wanted to be an author, but real life intervened, and I had to earn a living, so after studying business in Paris. I took a job in an audit firm.
At the age of 26, my life changed when I moved to London, a city I love deeply. I’m now married (to a Londoner), we have a son, and I work full time as a compliance specialist for a pharmaceutical company. I never stopped writing – in 2008 I finally got my first short story published in a UK magazine.
Seeing my words in print for the first time was thrilling! After many unsuccessful attempts and many writing classes (I guess I’m a slow learner!) my first novel, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January this year by Black Velvet Seductions. I love reading, writing and sharing stories with others, and spend every bit of free time I have doing that.
Kendra Hale (KH): When did you find out you would want to write novels?
Alice Renaud: I read The Lord of the Rings when I was twelve and thought “I too want to write stories like that!” That was it. The desire to write never left me after that.
KH: You mentioned to me your work, all set in paranormal or Gothic settings, would you let our readers know why you are more attracted to that genre?
Alice Renaud: Maybe it’s because I am half-Breton and half-Welsh. I think legends are in our blood. You could say that JRR Tolkien invented modern fantasy, and we have lots of fantasy and paranormal authors in the UK.
We write and publish more ghost stories in the UK than anywhere else in the world. Maybe it’s the weather, all that mist, and gloom in winter! I’ve always loved the paranormal, fantasy and gothic, and I don’t want to write anything else.
KH: When writing about paranormal, do you do research and if so, how far do you go with your research?
Alice Renaud: I am so familiar with Celtic myths and legends and have read so many fantasies and paranormal stories, that I don’t usually do much research on paranormal settings or creatures – they’re already in my head. However I am now writing a story about witches, and I did much research on the witch trials of the 17th century. I read a lot about old spells, beliefs, charms, and magical plants. It was gratifying!
KH: What is most important to you when writing your novels?
Alice Renaud: I want to create characters and a world that are believable. You can have the best style ever – readers won’t care if they don’t empathize with the characters and their struggles. So whether I write about shape-shifting mermen, sea witches or time-traveling warlocks, I always strive to make them real flesh and blood characters, with ideas and feelings of their own.
KH: Which authors influenced your writing?
Alice Renaud: Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, MR James (master of the ghost story), but I also read a lot of history books and books about myths and legends. My favorite periods are the early Middle Ages, the 17th century, and the Victorian era.
KH: Which of your novels is your favorite and why is it your favorite?
Alice Renaud: I’ve only published one novel so far, A Merman’s Choice so it is my favorite, however my second book in the series, Music for a Merman, is with my editor and I enjoyed writing that very much.
I love the witch story I’m currently working on and have a feeling that my favorite book may end up being one in the new series I’m planning, about shape-shifting, time-traveling warlocks. I’m in love with them already.
(KH): Do you believe in the paranormal, by that I mean in hauntings, that there are creatures out in the wild we still don’t know the existence of?
Alice Renaud: I believe that ghosts exist – I’m not sure exactly what they are, I’m not sure they are actually the spirits of the dead, but there are so many unexplained phenomena, and so many credible reports, that there is no doubt in my mind there is much out there we have not been able to explain. As for creatures – even today scientists discover new species in remote areas that nobody had heard of before, so who knows?
KH: What was your reaction when you learned a publisher wanted you as part of their authors?
Alice Renaud: I was very excited, but also a bit doubtful – it seemed almost too good to be true. I’d had so many unsuccessful attempts at getting published, that I found it hard to believe someone would take a chance on me. Black Velvet Seductions are great to work with, and the other authors are so supportive, it feels like a family.
KH: What sets you apart from other paranormal and Gothic authors?
Alice Renaud: I’d like to think I come up with original twists on familiar themes and create a world, readers can believe in and enjoy. Here are some of the things readers have said in their reviews: “this is a beautiful forbidden love story and not lacking in some clan rivalry and danger. I can’t wait for the next book in this series,” A Merman’s Choice is an interesting take on the sea world, “this was so much fun and interesting, and the writing made me feel like I could see the colors and environment as if I was there in the story.”
KH: What can readers look forward to from you in 2019?
Alice Renaud: The second book in my mermen series, Music for a Merman is with my editor, so I hope it launches by the end of the year. It’s a sexy summer forbidden love story between a shape-shifting merman who works as a cop and a beautiful human eco-warrior, with some dark elements inspired by Welsh legends.
Monsters ahoy! I am currently writing a short story, about ten thousand words, about an apprentice witch and a time-traveling warlock, for a supernatural anthology to be released in time for Halloween by Black Velvet Seductions. Keep an eye out for those books and more to come!