Interview with D. Renee Bagby

19 Aug

I would like thank D. Renee Bagby for giving me the opportunity to interview her. After reading Eris, I was like a kid eager with questions, and it was so exciting to pick Renee’s brain for answers. Enjoy the interview and Comment by answering one or all of my FUN questions below!

Book Questions:

    1) What inspired you to write Eris?

My inspiration for Eris goes back to why I originally started writing. I wanted to read interracial fantasy romance with a black heroine. At the time, I couldn’t find any. I had already started dabbling in writing and figured I might as well try my hand at actually finishing something and getting it published to see if anyone liked my stories. Lucky for me, they do.

I have always loved time swept romance. So, of course, I wanted to see a black heroine in that sort of situation. Given the history of the world, it is safe to say a black heroine wouldn’t luck out the same way a white heroine would. Eris allowed me to explore a romance sub-genre I enjoy. I had fun with it. Whether I try another time swept is still up in the air. I’ll have to wait and see what my muse says.

2) What is your favorite scene in the book?

One of my favorite scenes is the phone call to Lucien and Ranulf after Eris’s disastrous LARP [Live Action Role Playing] session. Actually, I should include the LARP session through the phone and into the rescue. I had so much fun writing that scene and ran it past some of my gaming friends just to make sure I had done it correctly. I’m not a gamer, though I have seen some sessions, so I wanted to include that in the book for my gaming-geek readers.

Another scene I really like and again had friend help with (I thanked her in the dedication), is the introduction of Mason. His characterization was so much fun for me to write. He is very dynamic given his small role. I would have liked to have done more with him, but I’m sure the readers were happy to see him leave.

I have a few other scenes that I love to re-read, but they are so deep into the book that there’s no way to allude to them without giving something away. It’s pretty much safe to say that I like the more emotional scenes.

3) Why did you choose to travel back into the 13th century in this novel?

Truthfully… the clothes. I know that sounds weird and you were probably expecting a different answer, but that is mine. 13th century dress was simplistic yet elegant. True, I don’t go into too much detail about the clothing, but that was the reason I chose that time period.

Also, I wanted to pick a time period where Eris wouldn’t get into too much trouble—thus making more work for me—for sounding as intelligent as she does and speaking her mind from time to time. It helps that Ranulf is such a forgiving person, but even he would have had issues with her if they had been in a later time period.

4) Without giving too much away, what motivated you to come up with that surprise ending?

I love twists. If someone reads my book and then says, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming,” then my task is accomplished. While I do try to drop hints so the twist isn’t a complete left-field surprise, I make sure it is something worth waiting for. Given the length of Eris, there is a lot of waiting involved.

As a sidenote, that twist wasn’t in the original draft of the book. I wrote a large chunk of the original draft during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) one year with a different ending. I didn’t like the direction the book had taken and ended up scrapping that draft for its current incarnation.

5) How do you choose the title of your novels? I noticed that Eris, like Serenity and Adrienne, have a one word title. Is this an intentional theme?

That is an intentional theme. I’ve sometimes heard of people not liking a book as much as they would have wanted because they couldn’t stand the heroine’s name. Weird, I know, but it happens. By naming the books after the heroine, the readers know before even touching the book if they will have issues or not. I’d like to think someone wouldn’t totally blow off my book because they didn’t like the way I named my heroine, but I’ll allow that it does happen.

I also do it because it’s easier for me. First, because I don’t have to think up elaborate titles that might already be taken or confused with someone else’s work (kind of backfired with Serenity but we won’t go there). Coming up with titles that are catchy, memorable, and encompass the theme of the book is a headache and a half and sometimes more difficult than writing the book itself. Naming the book after the heroine bypasses that.

Second, it’s easier for me to recall my stories. Before I was published, I would always refer to the book by the heroine’s name since none of the books had a title yet. The proverbial light bulb blinked on and I decided that was the way to go.

6) What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing Eris?

I learned that I’m more long-winded than I thought. I had planned for Eris to be ninety thousand words, one hundred thousand at the most. When I finished and the word count hit one hundred and fifty, I couldn’t believe it. The extra ten thousand words were added during edits, believe it or not. I tried to find something to cut from the story and couldn’t. I’m lucky Siren Publishing releases such long books.

The length of Eris reaffirmed something I already knew but had hoped wasn’t true. I tend to make things more convoluted than they need to be. It’s a fault I’ve always had. I can’t seem to shake it. The only thing I can do is realize when it is happening and try to stop. I think I might be failing already because my dragon novel (current work-in-progress) is getting up there in length and it’s only half finished.

7) I have to ask… If you were Eris and had to choose, would you pick Lucien or Ranulf?

Ack! I love them both. You have the brooding, serious type and the fun-loving, mellow type. I gave her both so she wouldn’t have to choose, thus I wouldn’t have to choose. Oh all right, that’s a lie. I would probably choose Ranulf. It’s for a really shallow reason, so don’t get all excited. I just like guys with long hair. Most of my heroes will have long hair. I actually gave Lucien short hair to emphasize the differences between him and Ranulf in a physical way and to give my heroes a little variety.

Personal Questions:

1) Eris is the first book in the Eternal Truths Series. Can you share with us a little about Book Two in the series?

Book two is about another “eternal truth”—Death. I’ve always liked personifying Death as a guy who needs a love life. He is so misunderstood, after all. I made up I don’t know how many stories over the years. Obviously, I can’t write all of the stories I plotted. I risk repetition and I think some people might get sick of seeing him. I chose one story and decided that would be my Death story.

The reader will be introduced to Thanus and his quest to have a normal love life despite being the grim reaper.

2) Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

I get into the role of my characters in order to write them with better, more life-like emotion. It’s not uncommon to see me at my computer close to tears or mad as hell while writing certain scenes. There’s nothing wrong. I induced the emotion by listening to appropriate music, watching certain movies, or just thinking of past events so the feelings would come across in my writing.

I am actually planning to give myself a mini-psychotic break in the near future to write a horror romance. It’ll probably be more psychological horror than actual monster/killer horror, but I’ll give it my best shot. I’m a poor judge of scary since I spend my time laughing at horror movies (I can’t help it. They are hilarious.).  So I’m going to watch a few movies, get myself into the mindset, and then see what appears on my computer. Hopefully, it will be scary but no so much that I scare people away.

3) What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Watch movies, watch anime, read manga/comics, come up with plots for new stories or hash out scenes for current stories. I dabble in knitting chain mail and inkle loom weaving. Both of which I haven’t touched in months. I want to take up macramé. I also need to resume studying Japanese since I want to be able to hold a conversation one of these years. Generally, I keep busy. People in my family don’t do bored. Listless maybe but never bored.

4) Do you have any hidden talents you would like to share with us?

Umm… I think I just did. I can knit chain mail. My material of choice is galvy (galvanized steel). I like the European weaves, but that’s probably because they are so easy. The weave I have the most issue with is half-Persian. That’s only a matter of doing it more so I get the hang of it. Chain mail is very versatile and beautiful. I’ve only scrapped the surface of what can be done. Once I’ve gotten pretty good with it, I might move on to silver and gold. Then I can make jewelry.

Fun Questions:

1) What is your favorite dessert?

Something with apples. Traditionally apple pie. So long as it has apples, I’m good. Apple streusel, apple tart, apple fritter, apple turnover, etc. Sadly, though, I’m not a fan of the apple all by itself. I’ll eat them but I don’t think of that as dessert.

2) If you could live anywhere in the world, you’d choose…?

Japan. More than likely Osaka, Japan. I studied abroad there for a year and had a blast. I really want to go back. I love the culture and the language and the food. I’m hoping a manga artist over there will read one of my books and want to adapt it to manga format. Then it can become an anime series. That would be beyond amazing to me.

3) If you could travel back to any time period, you’d go to…?

Ancient Egypt, pre-Cleopatra. I want to see it in its prime.

4) If you could be any Greek Goddess, you’d be…?

Eris – goddess of chaos. I know, I know. It’s sad but true. That’s partially why I chose that name.

5) If you could possess any special power, it would be…?

The power of imagination realized. That means I could have anything my sick imagination could conceive. At this point, people would start running in terror because that would amount to absolute power. You better believe I would be corrupted absolutely and love every minute of it.

It would probably be a pain in the butt to control at first, though. I’d chance it just to be able to do half the stuff I imagine. First things first, we need dragons and shapeshifters and vampires. I might even throw in some merfolk and centaurs just to keep things interesting.

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| D. Renee Bagby | Eris Chapter One |

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39 Responses to “Interview with D. Renee Bagby”

  1. Krystal/Village August 19, 2010 at 6:11 AM #

    this was such an amazing interview, def made me want to read the book!

    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 6:49 AM #

      Thanks. I hope you enjoy it.

      ~ Renee

    • firepages August 19, 2010 at 12:10 PM #

      Thanks Krystal! This book should go to the top of your TBR list!!! It’s that good!

  2. Anaiz August 19, 2010 at 10:23 AM #

    Ha! Best interview ever, makes me want to go out right now and buy it! Nice work Zee 🙂

    • firepages August 19, 2010 at 12:09 PM #

      Thanks babe! I’m so glad you liked it. This book is really awesome. Totally worth the spontaneous purchase!

    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM #

      Please do. I totally recommend this book. No bias at all. 😛

      ~ Renee

  3. Louise August 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM #

    “Given the history of the world, it is safe to say a black heroine wouldn’t luck out the same way a white heroine would.”
    I have to totally agree with this statement. I can even say Italian female heroines would get the short end of the stick!
    Been there, know it first hand. Sorry if this is a bit too much information but had to take the opportunity to say ” u r right!!!

    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 12:33 PM #

      Thanks for that. It’s one of those things I know people don’t like to think about but is true. Earth’s history isn’t kind to certain races. Toss one of them back in time and fun will not be had by all.

      My friend has a time swept that plops her black heroine from a futuristic time right back into slavery days USA. The publishers don’t want to touch it. It’s not militant or anything, just truthful.

      Thanks for the comment.

      ~ Renee

  4. Kristin August 19, 2010 at 12:30 PM #

    A girl after my own heart…inspired by fashion. Fabulous interview!

    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 12:33 PM #

      I can’t help it. I love those flowing sleeve dresses. 😛

      ~ Renee

  5. Jen D. August 19, 2010 at 12:30 PM #

    Great interview questions Zee! Keep up the great work!

    D. Renee …. you had me at gaming-geek readers. You are officially going into the TBR pile. Thanks for an engaging and interesting interview.

    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM #

      You are totally welcome and I hope you enjoy the read.

      I was one of three girls who played Magic the Gathering when it first came out. I love video games (though I don’t play them as often anymore) and comics. The only reason I never got into table top is because I have no one to play with. Well that and now that I’m writing, I don’t really have time to play. I love watching a session or two though.

      with this book, I definitely let out my inner geek to play. 😀

      ~ Renee

      • Jen D. August 20, 2010 at 9:54 AM #

        I’m all about letting your geek banner fly. I’ll help hoist it up. =)

      • firepages August 20, 2010 at 12:34 PM #

        Lol. That’s hilarious Jen!

  6. Erotic Horizon August 19, 2010 at 12:47 PM #

    Wonderful interview Zee,


    I like your reasoning for writing the story – I read a lot of interraccial books and they have definately slumped into a stereotypical mode… really liking the black fantasy heroine thing… Hope thisis s start of something different.

    Isn’t it wonderful to find out little quirks about yourself with just writing a book – I would love for you to review this same question after a few books under your belt to see if you still think the same…

    As for your reason for writing the book in that era that you wrote it in – it is not weird to me, I have stopped reading a whole genre of books because authors got the clothing or the language or some other little detail wrong… (I stopped reading historicals a few years ago)

    Question for Renee..

    1.How much input did you have with the cover, was it a winner for you?

    2.Have you ever thought about writing a NON- HEA books – at least no HEA in the first say three set of books.

    3. With plans to write Horror is there any genre that you would not write at – not even to dabble in…

    Fun Questions

    What is your favorite dessert?


    If you could live anywhere in the world, you’d choose…?

    I live there now – London. With my two libraries within walking distance and my castle just over the road, what more could a girl ask for..

    If you could travel back to any time period, you’d go to…?

    12th Century Scotland… (scientist I am still waiting)

    If you could possess any special power, it would be…?

    I am a holy terror on terra firma as it is already, I fear what superpower would do to me… no super power for me, good as I am..


    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 12:59 PM #

      Hi Hi Erotic Horizon,

      Let’s answer your questions:

      #1 – Quite a bit actually. The heroine is the exact picture I used as reference while writing the book itself. The layout with the title in the middle was my suggestion as well. I like the cover. It’s brighter than my past covers and very eye catching. I’ve gotten many compliments.

      #2 – I don’t know if this answer will change in the future but for now, I will always write HEA. It’s the reason I love romance so much. I need those happy endings to off-set the real world.

      #3 – I will never write Inspirational. And I’ll leave that answer at that.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      ~ Renee

  7. mikan August 19, 2010 at 1:19 PM #

    Great interview, Zee! I love the variety of questions, knowing more about the author make me want to read the book.

    Renee – you had me when you mentioned that you like manga and anime. I’m definitely going to find time to read Eris.

    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 1:32 PM #

      I’m a HUGE anime fan. I actually watch fansubs as the series is released in Japan. Makes it easier to which DVDs to purchase once the higher ups get off their butt and bring them over.

      My style of storytelling is anime-style. I drop tidbits throughout and then explain everything at the end. 🙂 It’s a form of storytelling that keeps the reader turning pages so they can find out what all I’m hinting at. Seems to work.

      I do manga reviews (as well as anime and movie reviews) on my blog:

      I have six bookshelves (6 rows tall) devoted to my manga collection, both mass market size and trade paper back size and I collect more almost every month. It’s going to be a nightmare when I have to move again, but I’m not giving them up.

      ~ Renee

      • mikan August 19, 2010 at 5:55 PM #

        I’ll be sure to check out your blog. I’m watching anime as they’re released in Japan too, as well as manga. Sometimes, I prefer the fansubbed version over the legit one, just because the fansubbed one has special effects on the text and beginning and ending songs. I love their karaoke style.

        What kind of anime do you like?

      • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 8:07 PM #

        I’ll watch just about anything so long as the art is pretty and the plot is good. I’m currently watching
        – Katanagatari
        – High School of the Dead
        – Uraboku (shortened name)
        – Shiki
        – Kuroshitsuji season 2
        – Seikirei Pure Engagement
        – Amagami SS
        – Occult Academy

        I think that’s it. I’m also a fan of BL/yaoi. I just recently picked up the DVD collection for season one of Junjou Romantica. Love that series. I hope they do a season 3. I’m waiting with baited breath for the second ep in the Sex Pistals OVA.

        And yeah, I tend to like the fansubs better too. You would think the big corporations would just hire those guys. 😛 Or at least try to emulate them.

      • D. Renee Bagby August 20, 2010 at 8:03 AM #

        I forgot “Nurarihyon no Mago” on my current anime watching list. 😀

        ~ Renee

      • mikan August 20, 2010 at 10:46 AM #

        I’m only watching two from your list and a few others that I’ve been following for years, like One Piece and Bleach.

        I’m so glad you like Junjou Romantica. I watch that by accident and fall in love with Usagi-san…lol. But I love the egoist couple too.

        p.s. I think this post will be out of order since it didn’t let me reply to the latest post.

      • D. Renee Bagby August 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM #

        Usagi is hilarious. I love him. BUT, Hiroki is the best. He’s such a spaz. I love him. Nowaki fits him perfectly. They are soooo cute together. Makes me want to watch it again.

        I was in Japan when One Piece (anime) started. Inu Yasha started at the same time. Inu Yasha finally ended. Though rumor has it they are going to do it over again and follow the manga more closely. My hubby likes Bleach but I couldn’t get into it. I’ve been dodging Naruto as well. I think DBZ killed me on long anime series.

        ~ Renee

      • mikan August 20, 2010 at 6:29 PM #

        Oh wow, you’re so lucky to be in Japan. How long were you there? Do you speak? I hope to visit the country in the future. I can’t wait to get my hands on the animes’ merchandise, especially One Piece. The art might not be that pretty at first, but once you get past that, the story is awesome.

        I stop watching Naruto after the Chunnin event and Bleach…well, I just like Orihime. I totally skip over the filler though. I like Inu Yasha too, but the story got redundant after awhile. I got tire of them collecting shards for more than 30 episodes straight. I’ll definitely give the remake a chance, to see Lord Sesshomaru aka Lord Fluffy again.

      • D. Renee Bagby August 21, 2010 at 11:31 AM #

        I lived in Japan as a kid because my dad was military. I went back during college as a study abroad for one year. I study Japanese off and on and can understand a few words and phrases. I like watching anime with subtitles just so I can have listening practice.

        I got Rosetta Stone but it’s not doing me any good since I never turn it on. 😛 I gotta start studying again. Then I wouldn’t have to wait for the fansubbers.

        ~ Renee

  8. Armenia August 19, 2010 at 3:56 PM #

    Nice interview, ladies, and I learned a lot behind writing Eris. I did chuckle about the fashion statement.

    I love that Eris doesn’t have to choose, and both heroes have character traits that compliment the relationship.

    Regarding the questions:
    1. Favorite dessert: mud pie
    2. I would also love to time travel to 18th century Scotland, when men wore kilts and wielded their swords. I think I’d survive quite nicely.

    • D. Renee Bagby August 19, 2010 at 8:09 PM #

      Thanks for stopping by. Not having to choose is the reason why I love menages. 🙂

      ~ Renee

  9. Maddy August 19, 2010 at 8:33 PM #

    What a wonderful interview!!! I love hearing the inspiration behind the story! Great job, Zee!! I’m looking forward to reading this already and the fact that there’s a woman of color as the heroine…well, that’s just the icing on the cake!!

    • D. Renee Bagby August 20, 2010 at 7:56 AM #

      I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for stopping by.

      ~ Renee

    • firepages August 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM #

      I absolutely agree Maddy. I can’t remember when I read a book that completely drew in like this!

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    • firepages October 17, 2010 at 10:44 PM #

      Thanks so much for dropping by Oliver. Feel free to click on the author’s website and blog links on their respective review posts. Also, you can click on the name of any of the commenters to see their blogs as well. Have a great day and let me know if there is anything else you need!

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