Welcome to a new series on Another Hartman Author! I decided it was time to pay it forward but didn’t know how. I don’t have any free books to give away. Nor do I have editing skills someone would covet. So The Five Question Interview was born! Its mission: to give back to the writing community one interview at a time. Without further adieu, let’s learn a little bit about Renee Hurteau!
Describe your typical writing day.
How do you choose which manuscript to tackle first?
I write every weekday from 8-2. It’s not perfectly uninterrupted time…my husband handles most of the homeschooling but with five kids, someone is always peeking into my office with questions or help on projects.
But, from 8-2 I’m at my computer and making a decent attempt to put words on the page. As far as what to tackle, I have a one-track mind. I am writing a series and I don’t want to work on anything else until it’s finished. So I am either writing the next rough draft or editing/revising an earlier one. I choose depending on what I’m feeling most motivated to do.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
Do you use the outlining method or something else?
I’m a pantser by nature. I like to just run and see where I end up. My husband, who is also my first reader and editor, is a meticulous plotter. Because he is deeply invested in my writing, we tend to settle on the best middle ground we could find; Sticky note outlines on the wall of my office.
Outlining is an intense activity for us, and can get pretty loud as we each debate the merits of various plot ideas and threads. But we get there. He’s happy because I outlined, I’m happy because it’s vague enough to allow for plenty of “side quests.”
Do you have any authors you look up to?
Did one of them inspire you to start writing?
There are many writers that have taught me beautiful lessons about so many things, but I most certainly have a favorite. Michael J. Sullivan inspires me. His writing speaks to me on a level that is hard to explain. It’s like he wrote his books with me in mind. I love his characters, his dialogue, his world building. I find myself drawn back to his books time and again.
What does your writing playlist look like?
Is it an eclectic mix or do you stick with one genre?
I live in a very loud house full of many very loud people and animals. As such, when I write, I do so as often as possible in silence. I don’t want to speak, I don’t want to listen, I just want to write. Now, when I edit, I’ll put on music befitting the scene. I enjoy soundtracks without lyrics. Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones have all been recent choices for editing. I also enjoy the sci-fi music of BrunuhVille.
Tell us a bit about your current project.
Is it part of a series? Genre? Etc.
Antiquity’s Gate is a light sci-fi series. I wanted to write a series that anyone could enjoy regardless of genre preference, because in my family there aren’t a lot of people who love sci-fi, and I’ve always hoped that maybe I could have a part in changing that. 😉 So the thing I’m most passionate about is writing stories that are character-driven. The other thing that’s really important to me is intricacy without being overwhelming. I love having a many-layered plot that can be enjoyed one book at a time but goes so much deeper over the course of the series. It will be eight books in total. Five are written and the last three are outlined. Like so many of us writers, I’m lousy at condensing my work into a few lines, but here is my attempt at doing so for book one of the series: Three Days Till Dawn.
Sanctuary’s people have never seen a sunrise. The dome forces survivors from two parallel worlds to coexist under a fragile peace a century after a devastating plague decimated mankind. When a half-breed outcast learns that mankind’s savior is also its greatest threat, what price is he willing to pay to save a city that will not remember his sacrifice?
Any final thoughts?
Writing can be a lonely business. Find yourself a support system and plug into it. Maybe you have a supportive family, which is great! But you know who’s going to understand a writer’s struggle really, really well? Other writers. Join a writing group, online or in person. You’ll be glad you did!
I probably can’t say anything about my writing journey that hasn’t been said a million times before. I’ve always loved telling stories, the way that imaginary people and places and events can invoke such strong emotions. My passion is to write things that can do that for others.Renee Hurteau