Today we sit down for a chat with cozy, mystery, and paranormal author Renee George. Renee writes the Nora Black Midlife Psychic Mysteries. Learn more about Renee and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I think I always knew that I wanted to write books, especially books that provide an escape from everyday life and leave people with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end. I was in my thirties, working as a nurse, before I published my first book (2005) and realized it was possible to write professionally. Now I'm fifty-one and living my best life as a full-time author.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Hah! I answered this in the last question. However, it was only after I went indie in 2014 that I started publishing the books I really wanted to write.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I am hybrid, though I've been predominantly Indie since 2014.
Where do you write?
I am not someone who needs to be in a certain space to write. Actually, I'm the complete opposite. I will move from my office, to the dining room, to the deck, to the living room, and my bedroom (at home) when I'm on deadline because the space I'm in at any given time will start feeling like it is closing in on me. I can also write in the car, when I go on vacation (some of my most productive writing!), and really just anywhere.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I listen to classical music, white noise, or I need the space completely quiet when I'm writing. Anything with audible words will distract me (songs, tv, or people). My husband bought me noise cancelling headphones for Mother's Day last year, and now any space can be a writing space.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
My latest character, Nora Black, is a lot of me, in that she is fifty-one (and has all the aches and nearsightedness that come with aging along with the feeling that she still feels vital and has a lot of life to live), recently had a hysterectomy, and has a couple of best friends she considers her tribe, but her life and the plots of the mysteries are all fiction.
Describe your process for naming your character?
Sometimes I just look at baby name websites and scour the names until one of them pops out and says, hey! choose me. My side and sub-characters tend to get names from my family and friends and acquaintances (though the characters themselves have nothing in common with anyone I know).
Real settings or fictional towns?
Fictional towns, for sure. Even if the name comes from an actual town, it's usually set somewhere else and the real town has no connection.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
My heroine Nora Black has developed a psychic gift after dying on the operating table (less than 30 seconds). Now she can see memories that are related to scents. Only, it's other people's memories she's seeing, not her own.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I actually say stuff in real life like criminently, criminy, jiminy crickets, fudgy knuckles, cripes, jeez louise, crap on toast, along with more choice words that are less than cozy.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark. It was the first paranormal mystery book that I'd ever read, and I thought the story was brilliant, and Charlaine Harris is a genius writer. After that I read all her books and series. Fun fact: I got to take Charlaine Harris to dinner before a book signing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I fangirled so hard. After I dropped her off at the Barnes & Noble, I parked my vehicle and cried for a moment before I went inside the bookstore.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I don't have any do-overs, but there are a few books that I wish I would have taken a little more time with the ending. I won't be naming titles, though, since the readers haven't seemed to mind.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Chain letters (email, Messenger, or Facebook). I find "forwards" incredibly annoying.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A book, a piece of flint, and a machete.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Laundry and housekeeping in a nursing home (1987). I lasted one full week.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
I'm not sure I've ever read a "best" book. I've had best books of the moment.
Ocean or mountains?
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Country. When I was younger, I would have said city, but the older I get, the quieter I like my life.
What’s on the horizon for you?
In August, I will be releasing War of the Noses (A Nora Black Midlife Psychic Mystery Book 3).
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Reading has always been an escape for me, and I love books that have engaging characters I can identify with and satisfying endings that make me feel good when I've finished. That's what I try to accomplish with every book I write. I want readers to see the best of themselves in the characters, and to just feel really good when they get to the end.
Sense and Scent Ability
Nora Black Midlife Psychic Mystery, Book 1
My name is Nora Black, and I'm fifty-one-years young. At least that's what I tell myself, when I'm not having hot flashes, my knees don't hurt, and I can find my reading glasses.
I’m also the proud owner of a salon called Scents & Scentsability in the small resort town of Garden Cove, where I make a cozy living selling handmade bath and beauty products. All in all, my life's is pretty good.
Except for one little glitch...
Since my recent hysterectomy, where I died on the operating table, I’ve been experiencing what some might call paranormal activity. No, I don’t see dead people, but quite suddenly I’m triggered by scents that, in their wake, leave behind these vividly intense memories. Sometimes they’re unfocused and hazy, but there’s no doubt, they are very, very real.
Know what else? They’re not my memories. It seems I've lost a uterus and gained a psychic gift.
When my best friend Gilly’s abusive boyfriend ends up dead after a fire, and she becomes the prime suspect, I end up a babysitter to her two teenagers while she's locked up in the clink. Add to that my super sniffer’s newly acquired abilities and a rash of memories connected to the real criminal, and I find myself in a race to catch a killer before my best friend is tried for murder.