In the aftermath of investigating the D.C. sniper case, police detective Vance Graegan is burned out on life and love. Hoping to save his marriage, he quits the force and moves his wife and son to the other side of the country. But when the movers decide to hold his belongings for ransom, Vance is determined to ensure that his family’s new beginning is not ruined. Soon, though, losing his possessions becomes the least of his problems as everything they are fighting for begins to unravel in the hands of Vance’s past. In an unforgettable climax, a little boy’s innocent faith brings a group of desperate people to their knees. What is at stake counts for everything, but nothing can prepare Vance for who is behind it.
Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Rene! It's wonderful to have you here.
Thank you so much! I always enjoy the opportunity to talk about writing and books.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always enjoyed writing from a very young age. I was that kid that was always working on a book or short story or poem. But I didn’t really think about doing it for a living until college when a professor suggested that I should consider it.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was around fourteen when I attempted my first novel. I didn’t finish it. I actually started a ton of books in my teens that I never finished. It was college before I finished my first story, beginning to end. It was terrible, but at least it had a beginning, middle and end! I was around twenty at that time. The first time I was published was when I was twenty-six.
Approximately, how long does it usually take you to write a book?
Well, that’s a funny question because the secret is that writers live and die by the deadline. So however long we have is usually how long it takes us. I’ve written a book in ten weeks! I’ve also written one in two-and-a-half months, all because of deadlines. But in a perfect world, my sweet spot is about six to seven months. Any longer than that and I start editing things that don’t need to be edited!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Ha! Great question! Well, gosh, there are so many…let me think. I guess one is that I have to read the headlines of the day before I ever start writing. I also always have to have a beverage, usually coffee, while I’m writing. I’m also fond of eating pistachios out of the shell while I write, which is weird because it does mess with the flow of typing. But probably the weirdest is that I almost always find a theme song for the novel I’m working on. And weirdly, it always comes to me. I don’t seek it. But when I hear it, I know it’s for my book. And then I listen to it over and over and over (like fifty or sixty times, maybe more) until I can clearly hear it in my head without it being played. Then it runs in my head when I’m writing certain scenes. The song doesn’t always have to do with the circumstances either. One time it was a small piece, less than a minute, from the Iron Man Soundtrack. It’s hard to explain what qualifies for me, but I know it when I hear it.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
They really come from anywhere and everywhere…newspaper articles, stories I’ve heard from people, trips I take. I research by reading books, articles on the Internet and interviewing people. But basically a book comes about when an idea I have formulating meets up with characters who want to be birthed. When those two things match up, then I’ve got the beginning of a story.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
My research has always provided me with a lot of surprises, which is why I love research. I probably learned more surprising things when researching The Occupational Hazards series than any other series. I researched local news, undercover cops and commercial airline pilots and flight attendants. I don’t want to give away what I found out, but it’s all in those books to read! That’s always so much fun to me, to find out something really surprising.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I am about to finish my 19th book! So hard for me to imagine that! It seems like just yesterday I published my first novel, Ghost Writer! But they’re like children to me, so I can’t pick a favorite. Each one holds a special place in my heart. Each one had its own triumphs and valleys.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think a good story has several elements: characters you want to spend time with, a plot that keeps you turning the pages, and a theme that pierces your heart. When a story stays with me long after I’ve put the book down, I know it’s superb. When I regret having to say goodbye to the characters, it’s top shelf.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m pretty easy to please. I love going to the movies. I like shopping when I have the money to do so. I am a magazine addict. Love going to lunch with friends or a date night with my husband. And I’m also an avid TV watcher. I don’t have cable, but I love this time of year when all the new network Fall TV shows come out and I get to sample them, see which ones I want to watch again. I also love reading cookbooks. I read them way more than I cook from them, but the pretty pictures make me happy (Pioneer Woman!!)
What are three things you wouldn't want to do without?
Besides the obvious, like family, Bible, etc., the more shallow things include coffee, TV, hair styling products.
Are you currently working on any new novels?
Yes! I’ve finished a novelization I wrote with writer/director John Ward (I AM) that will be released by Tyndale next year called HEART OF THE COUNTRY. And I’m just finishing up a suspense novel for Tyndale called MISERY LOVES COMPANY, also due to be released next year.
Where can we find you on the web?
www.renegutteridge.com and come find me on Facebook!
I'm so excited to be able to host this giveaway! I loved 'Possession' and definitely recommend it to anyone who loves suspense! Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter below (it might take a moment to load). Many thanks to Rene Gutteridge for this giveaway! U.S. Residents only.