Author Pen Name: D. Renee Bagby and Zenobia Renquist
CA: What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
DRB: As D. Renee Bagby, I write mostly fantasy interracial romance, at the moment. J As Zenobia Renquist, I’ve moved into the realm of contemporary and sci-fi romance as well. I don’t limit my sub-genres within the realm of romance because my imagination refuses to be limited. I’ve learned it’s better to give in than fight it.
No matter what sub-genre, my stories all have an interracial theme. When I was purely a reader, I always wanted to see a black heroine get into some of the same trouble (time-swept, highland lover, etc) as the other heroines, but it didn’t happen. Lacking options, I decided to write some of my own. My black heroines aren’t the typical “sistah” type most people are used to, but I’ve heard no complaints thus far.
CA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
DRB: Middle school. Well, actually high school. In middle school, I wrote as coping mechanism to my life not going the way I thought it should. In high school, I got together with my then best friend and we decided to do a comic. While that never took off, I realized I liked coming up with plots and making the characters dance to my tune. It was all downhill from there.
CA: Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
DRB: My original driving force was to have some sort of written record for the stories I concocted in my daydreams to entertain myself. My best friend in high school encouraged me a lot because she loved reading the comic scripts I wrote.
CA: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
DRB: Hectic. Actually, that’s my whole life. I never know what I’m going to be doing until I do it. Becoming a career writer means changing that about myself, to a certain extent. I have to learn to plan things out months (sometimes a year) in advance, like conventions and advertising and the like.
But, writing isn’t just a career for me, it’s my hobby. People ask me what I do in my free time, I tell them I write. The only time I have free time and I’m not writing is when I have writer’s block or I get sucked into a playing a few rounds Cake Mania 2 or Diner Dash. I do spare some time to promo and chat on the loops, but I’m usually at my computer writing, editing or reading over what I’ve written and tweaking it.
CA: Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
DRB: Anxious. I thought the feeling would go away after the first book, but no such luck. If anything, it’s a little worse with each new release. My constant worry is that this will be the book that disappoints my readers and leads them to drop me forever. I love my stories and I want others to love them as well. I know not every story I write will be beloved by those who like my work. Every author has that one book a fan read because it was by that author but they weren’t impressed. Heck, even I have those with my fav authors. It’s to be expected and I know that. I’m just hoping I don’t lose a reader because of it.
CA: What was your biggest challenge in writing your book(s)?
DRB: Finishing! Before Adrienne was submitted, I had never truly finished anything before. I had one story I wrote for a competition back in high school, but that didn’t (and still doesn’t) count, especially since I’d lapsed on the deadline.
When I finished the first draft of Adrienne, it gave me a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that I could actually finish a story if I worked at it. After being published, finishing is not so much a personal challenge as it is a time challenge. I have to juggle so much—promotion, chat loops, conventions, day job, random bouts of writer’s block due to stress from one of the before mentioned. All those things come with being a writer and I didn’t know that until my book went live on Samhain Publishing’s site.
I’ve learned to step back a little and only do what is absolutely necessary so I don’t detract from my writing time or cause myself unnecessary stress. It’s working so far.
CA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
DRB: I like to keep my hands busy. I’ll read something (hey, it counts. I’m flipping pages), knit some chainmaille, play a few rounds of Diner Dash or Cake Mania, or pretend to clean my study. I’m really good at the last one. I pretend to clean my study at least once a week. When I’m done, I can see the floor, but that only lasts for a day or two.
CA: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
DRB: Four. Two novel-length books (Adrienne and Serenity) as D. Renee Bagby and two novella-length books (Acknowledging Meirion and A Valentine’s Gift for Tori) as Zenobia Renquist. At this particular moment, Serenity is my favorite. It’ll be usurped once my current WIP is finished, contracted, and published. But then, the current WIP will only keep the title as long as it takes me to finish the one I have planned after it. Do you see a trend?
CA: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
DRB: My imagination. I use people and experiences around me for character interaction ideas, but none of my characters are based on real people.
CA: Do you have any advice for the aspiring writers out there?
DRB: Keep writing no matter what. Get to know your characters as much as possible and they’ll talk to you more. Ask “why” until you can’t answer the question anymore. Only then do you know that the story is complete.
CA: How can a reader contact you or purchase your books?
DRB: Sites – http://dreneebagby.com and http://zenobiarenquist.com
MySpaces - http://www.myspace.com/kuraimegami and http://www.myspace.com/zenobiarenquist
Yahoo Group - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dreneebagby_multiverse/
Blog - http://dreneebagby.blogspot.com/
My sites have excerpts and the complete first chapters of all my releases as well as buy links.
CA: Is there anything you would like to add?
DRB: My books are a crazy ride but I hope you love every minute. As two reviewers said I’m building new realms of passion as D. Renee Bagby and as Zenobia Renquist my readers will discover different and unique romances.