Down Under Author
Meet Renae Kaye!
To get to know Australian author Renae Kaye a little better, she agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.
Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.
Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.
Contacts/Follow at :
All Published and available at Dreamspinner Press:
At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year.
One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he’s not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.
An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality… unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he knew in life had been a convenient excuse to stay hidden. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.
Contests and Giveaways:
1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Renae Kaye) is an eBook copy of The Blinding Light. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “Word” in bold green. Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.
Did you want me to be that specific? **wink** I’ve never written before because my entire life I’ve been told that I wouldn’t be able to, that I was no good at that sort of thing, that I would fail. It took me a long time (and a very persistent thought in my head) before I went, “You know, even if I fail, I can say I tried.”
That first book is still unpublished. Not because it’s crap, but because I haven’t found the correct niche for it yet. My second go at writing a book was published in April 2014 and is called “Loving Jay.”
Were you a reader as a child?
Hell yes! My mother tells me she would have a fight with me each time we were to go to the library (and this was before I was 5 and in school). I never wanted to return my library books.
Just four days ago I found my box of childhood books, lovingly kept for my children. One of the books is stamped “1957” – which I assume was my mother’s childhood book. I looked after my books.
What books as a child has the most impact on you?
As a child I read whatever I could find. I remember Cinderella being my favourite book. When I was eight, I discovered The Famous Five and devoured every one of their books I could find in the library. When I was ten, my cousin gave me a stack of Dolly Fiction books and I was hooked. Around this time I got my first job and was able to buy my own books from the local second-hand store. At 13, my sister gave me a Mills & Boon novel to keep me from bothering her. From then on, it was romance all the way.
So fairytales and romance have always been a huge theme in my reading.
Did that impression carry over into adulthood when you started writing?
I’ll let the readers decide. Do I write sappy love stories with happy endings?
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m not sure about other writers, but threads come from all different places. There are visual inspirations (my character of Jay was based on a friend of mine), life experiences (Hank’s farm was based on a place my father owned when I was a child), author statements (Safe In His Arms is a book where I wish to tell people don’t give up!) and social statements (The Blinding Light is my statement of hope for the future).
Sometimes, as an author, I want to bring the experience of Australia to others, so I deliberately write Australian life into the book. Sometimes I just write a scene because it’s goddamn funny.
I try to write multi-dimensional stories, so that you feel that the character is well-rounded and understandable. I like to bring in their families and friends for the reader to meet, and these secondary characters frequently influence the character’s reactions, so the reader needs to understand the relationships and experience the familial ties.
My hope for my stories is realism. I hope my guys feel real, as if this person could be your friend.
Favorite genres to write in and why?
Contemporary and humour are what I most like to write in. I love to meet people and want to know their story. This is my go-to with writing. Normal, everyday people getting their love story in the pages of a book. So most of my characters are everyday people.
The humour is just me. Sorry about that. It’s probably a coping mechanism, but I laugh a lot in life. I can’t write non-humour.
Title or characters or plot? Which comes first?
The Shearing Gun was born with its name already firmly in place. I chose the characters to fit the title, and the plot just grew from there.
Loving Jay was a working title, until I realised it fit the book so well. This book was character hatched – my exploration of the theme “What if a guy didn’t realise he was gay until he met this glittery peacock of a man?”
The Blinding Light was plot hatched. I had this scenario of a blind man being sent mad by the smell of his new housekeeper. The characters then deemed the ending of the book. I didn’t find the title of this book until the second last chapter.
Safe In His Arms was scenario / character hatched. I had this idea of a twink and a bear in a random hook up. I didn’t know how they were going to make their relationship work, but I just kept writing until they did.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written?
Jay, Jay, Jay – all the way. (Sorry guys – I love you all too, but Jay is special).
Do you have a certain regimen that you follow as a writer?
Quite the opposite, actually. Writing fits in around the rest of my life. There are weeks when it gets chucked out and I don’t have time for it, then there are days where I will spend ten hours on the computer, only getting up to prepare a meal for the family or work out why my 5yo is crying.
What inspired you to write your first book?
There were three main reasons, that all hit me in concert that spawned that first book.
I am a stay-at-home mother, and in January 2013 I was seriously contemplating my future. After being out of the workforce for five years, and being at least two more years away from re-entering, I was considering a career change. I didn’t know whether I should go back to university to retrain, try to find a job in the same industry as previous, or just find a job where no experience was necessary. The thought of writing came to me, and wouldn’t go away. I come from a science, maths and finance background – so a huge step away from arts.
At the same time, I was feeling a little claustrophobic at home. A little worthless, and bored, and “Is this all I’m good for? Changing nappies and washing dishes?”
Then the final push came when I couldn’t find that particular book I wanted to read. I wanted Australian. I wanted humour. I wanted a twink book. Nothing filled the gap. So I decided to do something about it. I would write my own!
Do you have a specific writing style?
LOL. Chuck the words on the page and hope for the best?
What’s the hardest part of writing your books?
Editing. I hate editing.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?
Mmm – maybe tighten up some of the editing, add a few sentences to parts of the story that I’ve found readers misinterpreted, but as a whole – NO. This is the book. This is the story.
What book are you reading now?
<cringing> I am a very bad friend. I’m still reading Nic Starr’s A Day at a Time. I haven’t had time to read for pleasure for so long, that I haven’t finished it.
How do you think books written from authors in Australia or New Zealand differ in style, language, and culture?
Of course they do. Although I know there are a lot of Australian authors who write stories based in other countries (and do such a great job of it I didn’t realise they were Australian myself!), I really enjoy the Aussie settings and the Aussie language.
Our language and culture is similar but different from other countries (such as US and UK). It’s hard to pin point exactly what, but when I read an Australian author, it feels like a comfortable old slipper – familiar and safe. There are things I don’t have to automatically adjust for – seasons, language (ie trash vs rubbish), foods mentioned. I can just read.
One of the lessons I’ve learned as an Australian is that my sense of humour is different from some others. I’m not generalising every single person, but as a whole, Australia doesn’t take itself all that seriously. I’ve had readers who don’t get that, and think I’m being offensive.
My first impression of AUS/NZ was from stories and novels like Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice as well as from movies like The Man from Snowy River, The Dish, Rabbit Proof Fence, Strictly Ballroom, and yes, Crocodile Dundee! There are so many out there. What is your favorite AUS/NZ stories and favorite Australian/New Zealand movies?
Oh, I adore The Dish! It encapsulates the way I see Australia. Brave when we need to be, yet we can still laugh at ourselves. Playing cricket on the most important satellite in the Southern Hemisphere? Yeah – that’s pretty ocker. The one-liners in that movie set me off laughing no matter how many times I’ve seen it.
Gasp! “You’ve got a gun! Does Mum know?” “No. And don’t tell her. Or else she’ll come down here and take it off me.”
“How was lunch?”
“Good. I think we ate an entire sheep.”
“In space, how do you think they go to the—?” (makes a whistling sound).
(Looks at the hors d’oeuvres in his hand). “They should just eat one of these. It will bung ‘em up for months.”
“How do they send messages from the space rocket?”
“Thanks for fixing my car.”
(Holds up sledge hammer). “Not a problem.”
If you were a tour guide, what would you like a visitor to see and what impression would you want them to take away with them when they leave?
If you were coming to spend a couple of days with me, I’d start by taking you to the beach in Perth. Top class!
Depending on your interests (and physical abilities!) I’d schedule some boating in there, a river cruise, a day trip maybe to somewhere like New Norcia to visit the monastery, a picnic at the local dam, a hike through the bush at Serpentine or Avon Valley, a night tour of Fremantle Historical prison, a day at Rottnest Island to ride around the island and maybe some horse riding.
The impression I would love a visitor to take away with them is just how laid back and friendly Australians can be.
What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?
Where I live in Perth, Western Australia, I’m pretty isolated. Visiting other parts of the country is expensive and requires a plane ride. But I love to head south during summer in the car for 2 hours to a little town called Busselton. We can swim at the beach, the kids play in the sand, and we even go fishing some.
During winter, my favourite getaway is to Broome in the north. My brother-in-law lives there, so as long as we can save money for the airfare, our accommodation is free. Broome beaches are world-class, but I love to get out on the boat and go fishing and crabbing. There’s a place called Gantheaume Point where you can see dinosaur footprints when the tide is out – but to me the great fun is scrambling over the rocks and checking out rock pools.
If you’re ever in Broome, ask a local about the plane crash site. You need to check the tides, but during a Japanese WWII air raid, two planes crashed offshore. The wrecks are located 1.5km off the beach and are uncovered for about an hour once a month. You can walk over the mudflats to see them. Great fun.
What are your current projects?
Spin offs. Loving Jay, The Blinding Light, Safe In His Arms. All of them have spin offs I need to finish.
What’s next up for you?
Shawn’s Law. Due out at the beginning of March I think. This is a huge comedy that will be bad for Australian tourism. I actually wondered how many Australian animals I could get to attack my guy before the end of the book. I didn’t manage a huge amount (just the important ones! **wink**) but maybe I should write a sequel and include the rest…
Thanks for having me on your blog and I hope you have fun hanging out with all these Aussie authors!