Today we’d like to welcome Giselle Renarde. She’s written quite a few books and we’re thrilled for her to be here, but let’s get down to the interview. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I really started to consider myself a writer, both internally and externally, when I quit my day job to write full-time. At that point, there was no escape. When people asked me, “What do you do for a living?” I couldn’t fall back on my day job for a response. I had to fess up to being an author. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who ask, “Why the hell would you want to do that?” or “What kind of money do you make?” It’s a little baffling, actually.
Aren’t people nosy? Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Other authors, absolutely. I came to writing from the business world, with about 60 knives sticking out of my back, so I fully expected authors to be cut-throat. I was blown away when I discovered how much authors will do to help a newbie, and to help promote the work of other authors, established or not. Now I try to give back by hosting interviews and free publicity events on my blog. I want to make sure other authors enjoy the same positive experience I did coming into the industry.
We’re glad you’re here. Love your work and glad you could stop by. How long does it take you to write a book?
“Longer than it should,” I always chastise myself. I write a lot of short stories, primarily because I really love them, but in doing so I end up interrupting the flow of whatever book I’ve been working away at. When I wrote my novel ANONYMOUS, I think I started in November 2010 and submitted it in February 2011. I often scold myself for being a slow writer, but that’s actually not too bad, and when I hear from other authors I realize more and more that a lot of us tend to work at the same rate.
Well, some of us are slower than others. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Writing is my day job, so, like most people who run their own businesses, I work at it pretty much constantly. The first thing I do in the morning is check my email, indulge in a few guilty pleasures like Twitter and Amazon’s Author Central, and then I write, edit, submit manuscripts, source calls for submission, work on marketing and publicity, etc. Most days, I hardly stop to eat, which is terrible, I know.
Sadly, we stop to eat. Chocolate. But wow, you are a busy person. We can’t keep up. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Oh gosh…I have dozens of e-books on the market and stories in over 50 erotic anthologies, but I think my favourite would have to be My Mistress’ Thighs. First of all, it’s a gorgeous book. That has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Dawné Dominique, who created the cover, and with the people who did all the print formatting. But aside from the way it looks, I love My Mistress’ Thighs so much because it’s full of stories I’ve written over the years about transgender characters. There isn’t much erotic fiction on the market that depicts trans and genderqueer people as much more than sissies and sex toys. With a transsexual partner and many trans friends, it was important to me to portray trans characters as real people, who might fall in love, might have sex, but might also have concerns about their physical forms. A lot of my characters have complicated or negative relationships with their bodies, or with receiving pleasure or being seen naked. There’s a built-in depth, for those reasons.
I love how you’ve made them real. That’s big, you’re right. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I actually hear from trans and genderqueer readers quite often, letting me know they really related to this or that character I wrote. There’s nothing else in the world that makes me feel so awesome, or that spurs me to write more, even though it’s such a niche market and my trans work doesn’t tend to attract a “general audience.” (Though, I wish it would! If you’re a “general audience” type reader, give my trans work a try! I think you’ll be very surprised and it won’t be at all what you were expecting. Especially stories like ‘The Public Life of Private Paulsen’ and ‘Red Satin’ and ‘Spring Fever’ and ‘Expanded Definitions,’ which all have such lovely romance components.)
What do you think makes a good story?
Sparks of recognition. I think a good story is made up of relatable details. When I’m reading a book and I find myself giggling and thinking, “Yup, I’ve had a rude waiter like that,” or “I can see myself dropping my phone in the toilet,” or gasping and thinking, “I know what it’s like to be touched that way and feel my body respond like that,” then it almost doesn’t matter if that book is urban fantasy or contemporary erotica. There’s love in recognition, even if it is a mirror love, perhaps a form of narcissism, but that blissful collaboration between author and reader drives a story forward.
I know a little about ruining a phone...in the washing machine. What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?
Cats! They are at best cuddly and at worst snobbish, they’ll let you know when they want attention and when they don’t, and it’s lovely to wake up wearing one for a hat.
Hee hee. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
“Why is there a cat on my head?”
I’ve never had a cat on my head, but I’ve had one attached to my leg, insisting he needed fed. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sitting in front of the TV with my hand in a bowl of cool water after slipping in my kitchen and somehow managing to plunge it into a boiling pot of pasta. Don’t worry, I’m fine now or I wouldn’t be typing.
Probably a good thing. What’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from?
“Damn it, Janet.” ~Rocky Horror Picture Show
That’s a great movie. Our line is “Damn,” by Jeff Dunham. Seems to explain a lot for us. Have you ever eaten a crayon?
No, but now I kind of want to. What colours do you recommend?
Chartreuse. What is your favorite animal?
I actually ask myself that question a lot, because, to me, it relates to spirit quest guides and that sort of thing. The answer I tend to come up with is “fox” (because of my name) but I feel most in awe around deer. I relate to their skittishness and fear and mistrust. There’s something so special about walking along and finding yourself face to face with a deer. I love my cats too, of course.
What do you want to know about the future?
Nothing. I’d rather be surprised.
What stereotype would you label yourself as?
Oooh…dangerous question. There are two that fit me well: “feminist lesbian,” and all the pro-equality, anti-oppression ranting and raving that entails (it really is exhausting, I tells ‘ya!) and at home “sitcom husband” because I very often end up in the doghouse and I can never quite figure out why. I’ve learned to swallow my pride and say, “I’m sorry” quite a lot, which generally works as long as my Sweet doesn’t realize I don’t know what I’m sorry for.
Do you like thunderstorms?
I love thunderstorms! They scare the bleep out of my cats, but that just means I end up with cuddly kitties in my lap, and who wouldn’t love that? (Well, people with allergies, I guess…or people who don’t like cats.)
If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?
I’ve actually promised my girlfriend that if I ever get any opportunity to make a wish that was guaranteed to come true, I would wish for her to inhabit a fully female body. As I mentioned earlier, my Sweet is transsexual, which means she was born in a male body and raised as a boy, but internally she’s a woman. There’s a mismatch in what’s between the ears and what’s between the legs, as she likes to say. So I’ve promised to use my wish on her, and wish for her to wake up with a girl body. Though, it wouldn’t be an entirely selfless wish, because she’d probably wake up with my face between her thighs, too! LOL (Naughty Giselle!)
Thanks so much!
Want to know more about Giselle Renard? Here you go:
Eroticist Giselle Renarde (http://www.wix.com/gisellerenarde/erotica) is a queer Canadian, avid volunteer, contributor to more than 50 short story anthologies, and author of dozens of electronic and print books, including Anonymous, Ondine, and My Mistress' Thighs. Ms Renarde lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head.