Thursday, January 16, 2014

Featured Author Interview: Rene Gutteridge

Rene Gutteridge is the author of more than a dozen novels, including suspense fiction and comedic fiction, and one novelization. Her comedy novel, Skid, has been adapted into a movie.

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Rene's latest releases are Misery Loves Company, Heart of the Country, EscapementPossession and Listen, from Tyndale House Publishers. Her other suspense titles include the Storm Series, plus her very first novel, Ghost Writer (Bethany House Publishers).

She is also known as a comedy writer. Her latest comedic novels are Never the Bride (winner of the 2010 Carol Award for best women's fiction), and Greetings from the Flipside, both co-written with screenwriter Cheryl McKay (of The Ultimate Gift). Her other comedy titles from WaterBrook/Multnomah Publishers include the Boo Series and the Occupational Hazards series.

The following is a January 2014 interview with Rene.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of
Misery Loves Company
by Rene Gutteridge


One print copy to be won
Contest open to entrants with USA addresses only.

Contest runs from 10 - 24 January NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself.

I am married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and we have two children, 14 and 11.  We live in Oklahoma City.


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I always loved to write but I don’t think I really dreamed of being a novelist only because it never occurred to me that I should.  It was mostly a hobby when I was young, and also a place for me to disappear when things got tough.  It wasn’t until college that professors helped me recognize that I had a real gift and I began considering pursuing it.  And I didn’t study fiction writing in college. I studied screenwriting.  But that taught me about story, and thankfully I was an avid reader so had a good feel for fiction already.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

That is a broad question.  I guess the easy answer is that it serves the Christian community, offering entertainment that is in line with our values and beliefs.  We write from a certain worldview that offers hope and peace and forgiveness and love.  But I think most Christian writers see themselves immersed in their stories simply as writers, meaning that the work is less about platform and more about the craft, which happens to include theme and belief systems, among other things.  Everybody, Christian or otherwise, writes from their own worldview.  So we are not unique in that sense.  But I think in general our desire is to bring hope in the form of story, which has had power and influence since the beginning of time.

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

I have to be honest—I am excited about every reaction.  Big or small.  I even love hearing simply, “I read your book.”  Writing is a bit lonely so when I hear from a reader it’s very special.  And I learned long ago that each reader will have their own, unique journey with my book.  I can’t force this or that.  They will see what they need to see and I love that about storytelling—how alive it is.


What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

It’s always really touching to get a letter where my book has changed somebody’s life or they have a new perspective.  I get letters from readers where they’ve been going through a difficult time and someone brought them my book and it helped them through it.  Those stay with you. And those keep me writing during my own difficult times.


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

Writing impacts my life as a Christian and my relationship with Christ by having to trust Him in all circumstances, from page 1 all the way to the bookstore and beyond.  When I get negative reviews or see hateful blogs or whatever, I cling to Him and go to His Word and remind myself who I am in Christ and what my purpose is—that He will be with me through everything and I am to glorify His name.

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Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 
I love being a mom.  That ranks above writing novels.  I want to be the best mom I can be.  I’m lucky to have a husband who has that same goal as a dad.  And I also have goals in filmmaking, which is what I set out to do many years ago before I got published.  This year I made my first indie film based on one of my books.  It was an amazing experience.  Surreal, really.  The actors would be in costume and we’d be walking to the set and chatting and I couldn’t get over the fact that my characters were alive, breathing, talking to me! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.


What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I go to a lot of movies.  I play Scrabble. I watch TV and read magazines and books.  I try to keep my life simple and not chaotic.  I don’t always achieve that though.


What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

I had three novels release this fall, so that’s been fun!  Heart of the Country is a novelization written with filmmaker John Ward.  It’s a dramatic, modern day retelling of the prodigal son.  The movie is also now available at Walmart and other retailers, starring Gerald McRaney (he will break your heart in this!) and Jana Kramer (who is a great actress).  My newest suspense is called Misery Loves Company, and I’ve been getting great feedback on that one.  It’s about a novelist who kidnaps his number one fan. Very fun but very heart pounding!  And then Greetings from the Flipside is another novelization with screenwriter Cheryl McKay.  It’s our new romantic comedy following Never the Bride.  It’s very funny and I think readers will really enjoy it.

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 

We’re hoping to get my movie SKID out next year.  And then I also wrote another novelization, Old Fashioned, with screenwriter Rik Swartzwelder, which is a very heart-warming tale of a guy trying to get a girl the old fashioned way. It’s dramatic. It’s funny.  It’s heartbreaking.  It’ll stay with readers a long time.

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

I’d like to say THANK YOU!!!  Thanks for reading my books and always being excited for my new releases. I always get a kick out of hearing from my NZ readers on Facebook.  


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Misery Loves Company

Don’t tell me it’s terrifying. Terrify me.

Filled with grief, Jules Belleno rarely leaves the house since her husband’s death while on duty as a police officer. Other than the reviews Jules writes on her blog, she has little contact with the outside world. But one day when she ventures out to the local grocery store, Jules bumps into a fellow customer . . . and recognizes him as her favorite author, Patrick Reagan. Jules gushes and thoroughly embarrasses herself before Regan graciously talks with her.

And that’s the last thing she remembers—until she wakes up in a strange room with a splitting headache. She’s been kidnapped. And what she discovers will change everything she believed about her husband’s death . . . her career . . . and her faith.


Purchase Misery Loves Company
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


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Heart of the Country

Faith and Luke Carraday have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming businessman. After taking his inheritance from his father’s stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, he’s on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife. 

When rumors of the Michovs’ involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can’t understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. 

 Meanwhile, Luke is forced to turn to his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned, and will those families find the grace to forgive and forget? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere to run but home?

Purchase Heart of the Country
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


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Just 18 Summers

After the tragic death of Butch Browning’s wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious—and fleeting—their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch is facing single parenthood. The O’Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty nest, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they’ve forgotten what they truly need. 

With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way? As summer flies by, each of these parents must learn about guilt and grace . . . and when to hold on to their kids and when to let go.

Pre-Order Just 18 Summers
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]



Purchase Rene's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

DOUBLE BILLING

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Read an Interview with Cheryl McKay 
and enter the draw for a copy of Greetings from the Flipside

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of
Misery Loves Company
by Rene Gutteridge


One print copy to be wonContest open to entrants with USA addresses only.
Contest runs from 10 - 24 January NZDT


Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for Rene when making a blog post comment. Simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 

All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing. Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn. 


Previous Featured Author Interviews


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