RANDALL RENEAU worked as a professional geologist in the U.S., Mexico, and West Africa until his retirement in 2010. His first novel, Deadly Lode, won the Richard Boes Award for best debut novel. Diamond Fields is his second “Trace Brandon” novel. Mr. Reneau served with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and Cambodia. He lives with his wife, Lynne, in Austin, Texas.
What inspires you to write?
Basically, I write what I lived. I spent years working in the ‘backwaters’ of the world, exploring for diamonds and gold. And I also served as CEO of several small cap ‘penny stock’ mining companies. These experiences gave me a wealth of ‘characters’ and events to draw on when writing my Trace Brandon novels.
Tell us about your writing process.
I get an idea for a book, then do a rough outline of the plot. I don’t like to get too ‘structured.’ I like the story to develop somewhat on it’s own. I find the characters will lead you, if you give them a chance. As I usually have several subplots, I do have to ‘storyboard’ some of that info to keep me straight. I keep a ‘characters list’ open as I write (computer) and list and describe each character as they appear in the book. I also keep Google and Dictionary.com open at all times. I do a lot of research, even though I am writing about situations I am pretty familiar with.
I am a morning writer and usually write 3-4 hours each morning, and then work on marketing the rest of the day. However, if I get an idea, even in the middle of the night, I get up and write it down. I write in my home office, with my black lab at my feet and the radio on 40s music.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters. Sometimes I’ll find myself laughing at something a character comes up with. And catch myself asking, “where the heck did that come from?” When the characters get on a roll, it’s amazing where they will take you.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write what you know. If you’re young and inexperienced, do a lot of research, talk to people, get a real handle on your subject matter. Hemingway said “writing was easy, all you had to do was sit at the typewriter and bleed.” Well…it’s not quite that bad, but you do have to be disciplined and put in the hours at the keyboard. And lastly, read everything you can in your genre by other authors. You can learn a lot from the writers that have gone before you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Because I’d already had a career as a geologist, and was 62 when I started writing Deadly Lode, I chose to self-publish via CreateSpace. I just felt like I didn’t have the time to go through years of submissions, hoping to get published. But self-pub is not for everyone. You have to be prepared to do all your own marketing, and have the financial wherewithall to see it through.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think self-publishing and e-books are going to continue to grow in the future. And I think it’s a positive thing. I know there are a lot of good writers out there, who might otherwise never get their works in front of the public. And that would be our loss…
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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