Friday, May 28, 2010
Welcome Giselle Renarde
1: Thank you so much for being here, Giselle. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?
Giselle Renarde: I have to be predictable here and admit I’ve been writing since I was a child. I used to make picture book after picture book, and I was fortunate enough to have a mother who worked in an office with a bookbinder and lamination machine. She’d take my storybooks into work, laminate the covers, and bind them for me. I’m sure they’re still in her basement somewhere. She never throws anything away.
2: What inspired you to write?
Giselle Renarde: My writing took a long pause between childhood and adulthood. As an adult, I began writing simply because I had stories to tell. There were narratives inside me and voices in my head begging to sizzle on paper. I know that sounds a little crazy. Oh well.
3: What do you like the most and least about writing?
Giselle Renarde: The least? Writing doesn’t pay the bills. Even with 15 e-books on the market and works in something like 25 or 30 anthologies, it doesn’t come close. Much of the year, I write full-time, but it’s when I take on contract work to pay the rent that I realize writing is a need. I can’t even say precisely what I love about writing. I think it has to do with letting characters take on a life of their own, and relinquishing control of the narrative to them.
4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
Giselle Renarde: Well, I write erotica, so…let’s say, “related activities.” I also do a lot of volunteer work and cater to the everyday demands of my feline friends.
5: Which authors do you like to read?
Giselle Renarde: I’m big on the classics as well as Canadian authors. “The Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall is one of my favourites—commonly called the first lesbian novel. As for my fellow Canadian authors, I enjoy the work of Ann-Marie MacDonald and Robertson Davies. Their portrayals of Canadian culture are at times dizzyingly sophisticated.
6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
Giselle Renarde: Often when I read gay and lesbian fiction, I wonder if the author is gay or lesbian. As a writer of primarily queer, bisexual, transgender, and lesbian fiction, I celebrate the fact that I am queer and I’m in a relationship with a wonderful transsexual woman. I like for readers to know that about me, particularly in relation to my transgender stories. It’s important to me because I want readers to be assured I’m not making leaping assumptions about trans men and women, or fetishizing the community. My work often deals with “issues” that come up in queer relationships, and I invite people who have never experienced that life to peek inside the world my girlfriend and I share.
7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.
Giselle Renarde: Because I’ve latched so uncompromisingly to short story writing, my latest release is a collection thereof. “Audrey & Lawrence” is a sensual anthology containing every one of my “Audrey & Lawrence” stories.
These tales follow the relationship between a married librarian and the younger woman who is his mistress. Some stories are harrowing, some vastly amusing, and some just make you say, “What is wrong with you people? Stop tormenting each other!”
Anyone who has ever been involved in an extramarital relationship will find familiar emotions throughout the stories of Audrey and Lawrence’s long-term love affair.
I have new releases all the time, so keep an eye on my website, http://www.gisellerenarde.webs.com/ and my Donuts & Desires blog, http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Giselle Renarde: T.S. Eliot said, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” The hardest part of giving realistic advice is getting people to listen.
Anyone who can read can write, but even with innate talent there is so much to learn. I think very few writers can start out producing wonderful work right away. I realize this sounds like a bit of a downer, but that's not how I intend it. For new writers, my advice is simple: keep at it! Revise, revise, revise. Have other people read what you write.
If you get a rejection letter from an editor and it includes advice, take it! Writing is damn hard work, but you’ll make it harder on yourself if you opt not to take advice.
And just because you get a rejection letters, that doesn't mean you’re awful. That's a very common misconception. At the moment, I have an audiobook on iTunes, two books in print, over a dozen e-books on the market, and stories in more than twenty-five anthologies, but I still get rejections all the time. It comes with the territory. Don’t take it to heart—I know, easier said than done.
9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
Giselle Renarde: My girlfriend would tell you all my characters are either she or me. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, but I think my strongest and most realistic characters are those ones based on people. Often, a story gets built on a snippet of a conversation I hear on the subway. It comes from real people, but I’m extrapolating a great deal about them and mainly using their words as a jumping-off point.
10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?
Giselle Renarde: My longer works get revised and changed so much that the initial idea might be totally invisible in the end product. My novella “Ondine” started out as two pages of dialogue I wrote after talking to a man whose wife had stopped having sex with him a few years prior. I re-imagined this woman, this wife. I imagined she’d realized later in life that her primary romantic attraction was to women. I imagined she was a patron of the arts who was having an affair with a young ballerina.
“Ondine” was built around this snippet of a conversation between characters who grew into the arts patron Imelda and the ballerina Ondine. From there, this story grew into a bisexual novella about an open marriage between free-loving hippies, forbidden love between ballerinas, a wedding to dispel desires, and a klutzy Chinese-Canadian painter who just wants a boy to love her.
By the way, “Ondine” is my one work that is available as an e-book, in print, and as an audiobook—read by the author, no less!
11: What are you currently working on?
Giselle Renarde: Today, I’m editing “Secrets of the Solstice Sacrifice,” coming soon to lyd Alterotica, aka loveyoudivine. It’s a fantasy about a fairy born the wrong gender. She’s afraid to tell her beloved the full story of her troubles, but he accompanies her nonetheless to visit a surly fae magician who should be able to help her. Even I didn’t anticipate that my trans fairy would fall for the brusque Welsh magical—or that he would become entranced by her, much to his dismay.
12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Giselle Renarde: I was a social networking resistor until I discovered Twitter…now I am a full-blown addict! I would like to extend an invitation to all Twitter lovers to follow me at http://twitter.com/gisellerenarde
Novice painter, Evelyn Fon gets more than she bargained for after receiving her first big commission for the brand new Drinkwater Hotel. Who would have guessed Gavin Drinkwater, heir to the family fortune, would take such a keen personal interest in her? But when Evelyn arrives at the hotel's elegant Gala Celebration, she soon discovers she's there as a date for Gavin Drinkwater Senior, her crush's elitist--albeit incredibly handsome--father!
In attempting to escape the party--not to mention her embarrassment--Evelyn stumbles upon Gavin's mother Imelda, who reveals the 20-year-old tale of her torrid affair with a young ballerina named Ondine. But, as Evelyn soon finds out from the Drinkwater patriarch, there's more deception to her love story than even Imelda is aware. Can Evelyn uncover the truths buried in the past and reunites Gavin's estranged free-loving parents? Perhaps her role in the family drama will even earn her a place in the bashful heir's heart...
An erotic journey through the worlds of ballet, art, and passionate liaisons, Ondine is a sensual exploration of pansexual free love wrapped in a boy-meets-girl tale of mix-ups and misunderstandings.
Excerpt from “Ondine” by Giselle Renarde
I didn’t realize I’d fallen asleep until a knock at the door woke me up. For a split-
second, I felt a panicked sense of having no idea where I was, but with the lights still on
and the porter’s cart near the door, the night before came flooding back. Or was it still night time? Judging by the blackness dotted with city lights outside my window, it was
very early morning at the latest.
When I managed to pry myself out of sleep and then out of my chair, I opened the door to find myself face to face with the very man who’d made such an impression on me earlier. Even in the wee hours of the morning, his
skin looked taut and youthful and his eyes shone with affection. When he reached his hand up to my cheek, I leaned in, dazzled by his shining smile. Drinkwater was going to kiss me!
The scent of oranges and bergamot overtook my senses, and I felt like I was
spinning in circles on the Rideau Canal. My heart pounded in my chest and my breath
drew from deep within as the steamy anticipation excited my senses.
Unfortunately, a kiss was not what Drinkwater had in mind. Scraping a clump of
mousse from my cheek, he held the chocolate glob in front of my face before licking it
from his finger. I’d fallen asleep on my slice of cake. He wasn’t trying to kiss me, only
remove my dessert from my face. What was wrong with me? The clumsiness had to be
“I’m sorry to wake you,” Drinkwater called to me as I ran to the luxury bathroom
to dig chocolate shavings out of my ear. “I could come back in the morning if that suits
“No, no, no! Please stay,” I encouraged after spitting complimentary mouthwash
into the sink. I put on my sexy face—that’s the one where I pucker my lips and waggle
my eyebrows—to join him in the living area of the suite. “This room is gorgeous.”
“My clients insist on superior aesthetics,” he replied, settling into the chair I’d just
woken out of. “As do yours, I’m sure.”
“Actually, before this project, my only clients were the tourists who bought paintings from my booth on Sparks Street,” I admitted.
“Well, I think you can do better than that and I think I can help,” he said with a
broad smile. “That’s why I wanted to talk with you this evening.”
As Drinkwater shuffled through the papers set neatly in a binder he’d brought
along, I sauntered over to him with drowsy boldness. Gazing intently at his white hair
and flawless skin, I sat on the chair’s arm, hoping to God it wouldn’t break. My ample
skirts cascaded over his legs like a silk waterfall. I ran my hands through his soft hair,
drinking in the aroma I already considered characteristic of him. He looked up at me
with sharp questions in his eyes, but his scent had me so wonderfully light-headed,
nothing could do me harm.
“So you think we would make a good team, do you?” I asked as I slid from the
chair’s arm into Drinkwater’s lap. I couldn’t stop thinking about our close proximity
during that whispered dinner conversation. Though he leaned away from me, setting his
binder on the side table, I watched his eyes settle on my impressive cleavage. He was
quiet, so I ran an admiring hand across his noble jaw. “I would have to agree,” I said in
answer to my own question.
Wrapping my arms around his shoulders, I leaned in to kiss the magnificent man.
His lips were the softest knolls of flesh I’d ever had the pleasure to caress. As I
savored their satin smoothness, Drinkwater’s beautiful head in my hands, my heart
seemed to expand until it was too big to beat in my chest. I couldn’t hold back any
longer. I sunk my worshipping tongue into his warm mouth, grasping his hair in my
hands as I drank in the essence of him.
But I guess Drinkwater and I weren’t riding the same wavelength because,
breaking away from our embrace, he rose from the chair and let me spill out onto the floor. I tumbled down in a heap. When my face landed flat against the carpet, he helped
me to my knees, saying, “I’m terribly sorry. I shouldn’t have tossed you like that. I’m
really very sorry.”
Too stunned to feel anything more than carpet burn, I looked up at him in a daze.
What was happening, here? Did he want me or not?