Rene Gutteridge is the author of several novels, including Scoop (Waterbrook Press) which released last October. She also adapted the screenplay from The Ultimate Gift into a novel, a recent release by Westbow Press. Rene lives with her husband, Sean, a musician, and their children in Oklahoma City. Find Rene on-line at www.renegutteridge.com.

1) Rene, what were the circumstances that gave you first real break in writing?

I was attending a writers conference that was held on a cruise. An editor named Steve Laube was there with the conference. We had several days at sea and so there was a lot of time to talk and pitch my stuff. I went through a ton of pitches with him, but nothing grabbed him. He did like my writing style, though. Finally I said, “Well, I’ve got this idea about an editor who begins receiving an anonymous manuscript in the mail about the secrets of his life.” Bingo. That was it. He said he wanted to see that one. So I went home and prepared a full proposal for it. That became Ghost Writer, my first published novel.

2) How do you keep your writing fresh and original?

For me, it’s a mixture of studying the current trends then applying it to my writing style and what makes me the kind of writer I am. When I mix that all together, I can never know what might come out! I try my best to stay true to my writing style. I study other writers to improve, but I don’t imitate them. I always go back to who I am as a writer.

3) What’s the best time of day for you to write? How many hours a day? A week?

My best time is definitely morning, but not early morning. A good start is about 8 a.m. Because I have young children, I have to write while they’re at school, so I don’t really get to pick and choose my schedule. I usually write about 4 hours a day and then sometimes on weekends if we have a light activity schedule. The older I get, the less I can write in those really long stretches like I used to. In my twenties, I could write for seven hours with no problem. My brain just doesn’t function like that anymore.

4) What has been your most effective promotion tool or marketing strategy?

For me, it has always been word-of-mouth. My objective is to get people talking about why they loved one of my books. My hope is that they will tell family and friends. I spend a lot of time with readers groups and corresponding with readers. It means so much when a reader writes to me, so I always respond.

Thanks, Rene, for taking time to answer my questions today.

Thank you, Suzanne, for the opportunity!

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