From the Stories of Old...An Interview with Renée Harvey

on Monday, November 21, 2016
    Hello everyone! Remember how I announced that my writing group was putting together an anthology of fairy tale retellings for publication? Well, it's almost available! And because I'm so excited about it, I invited a special guest, one of my close friends, to share a bit about her piece that is going to be included in the anthology. So without further ado, please welcome Renée Harvey!!!


Renée Harvey is a wife and mother, historian, and writer in Idaho, USA. She graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor’s degree in history in 2013, filled with a love of genealogy and pre 1400 a.d. history. Combining those passions, she now primarily tells the stories of little-known people who lived long before. It is her hope that readers will see beyond the cultural differences to the messages conveyed: that individuals matter, and that every person has the ability to choose for themselves the good they will contribute to their world.

A- Welcome Renée!

R- Hi, Allie! Thanks for inviting me.

A- Alright, let's get right to it. What inspired your retelling of The Little Mermaid for the anthology?

R- Daughter of the Air was actually inspired by the main characters Fira and Rurick. I had them set aside waiting for a full-length novel to take shape around them (Fira lives on the sea and can use lightning as a source of power, and Rurick is a blind landlubber), but this short story opportunity came along. I'm one of those readers who likes to think about what happened to the characters after the story ends, and when I read HCA's The Little Mermaid, I realized that his little mermaid still had a whole life to live at the end of the tale. With minor tweaks, Fira fit the bill for the continuation of this story.


A- Intriguing! I had a similar situation with my retelling. It was supposed to be a novel, but in the end it decided to become a short story. 

R- You were telling me about that. It can be sad to have to abandon a good idea for the time being, but maybe we'll fill in the gaps for the novels later. In the mean time, our characters have homes, and readers get to enjoy them.

A- It was hard to condense all my ideas into a limited word count, but I'm glad that it's finally ready to be shared with readers! What was the hardest part for you when writing it?

R- Oo, good question. As I mentioned, I already had the characters and the setting and the plot. The hardest part was probably getting over my own pride to accept critiques and guidance for making the story even better once I had the first draft done.

A- But we authors always know best, right? Right? No? Okay then. Critiquers probably see what we can't about our stories. 

R- Right! Eventually all good writers realize their critiquers know a thing or two about what's going on.

A- *sighs* Yeah, that's true. Now let's talk about you. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

R- I guess, though I wouldn't have said it that way. My first story was about a family of unicorns when I was seven. About midway through college, I set goals to write the histories of various ancestors so my kids could learn about their heritage, and I took up fiction writing seriously (primarily historical fiction) about two years ago as a way to continue developing my research and storytelling skills. It helped that I had a cast of characters that needed a home.

A- Ooh, a family of unicorns? I'd love to read that! Although, I know my first story will never see the light of day...That's way too embarrassing. 


R- Really? I think it's a fun way to see how the stories and my storytelling abilities have developed.

A- Well of course, but that doesn't mean my story made any logical sense! Tt's really interesting how your love of history evolved to include your love of writing. How unique. And speaking of unique, do you have any unique writing quirks?

R- I do my best brainstorming in the shower? No, everyone does.
   My writing spot is either on the couch or at the kitchen table? Whose isn't? 

   Oh! My writing music is the sound of typing. It gives me a sense of focus and competition.

A- Really? That is unique! I think that would drive me crazy. Except, I'm already long past that point of no return. I hope you stay sane for as long as possible. 

R- Hey!


A- True! Outside of the anthology, what projects are you working on?

R- I'm working on two series. The first is set in medieval Burgundy. I'm still working on a series title, but book 1 is called Divided Asunder. The other series will be a collection of stand-alone novellas set in Woodland America; the working title for the first one I'm writing there is 333 Moons.
A- Ooh, more historical fiction! I can't wait to read it! Now tell me, what's your non-writer alter-ego?

R- I provide pro-bono work for a young, eclectic organization.

A- What kind of organization?

R-

A- Ahh. That kind. So, it's not the sound of typing that will drive you insane, then. ;)

R- Nope!

*ding ding ding ding*

A- You hear that? That means it's time for the RAPID FIRE ROUND!!! *evil cackle*

R- Eeps!

A- Favorite genre to write?

R- Historical fiction!

A- To read?

R- um, uh, du-- Non--

*buzzer*

A- Oh, too slow. Favorite writing snack?

R- Ice cream!

A- Favorite reading snack?

R- Ice cream!

A- Favorite writing spot?

R- The couch!

A- Favorite reading spot?

R- Bed!

A- Writing or Editing?

R- Editing!

A- Sweet or Salty?

R- Both!

A- Making up your own rules, I like it. Nuts or no nuts?

R- Nuts!

A- And finally....The Oxford comma?

R- YES!

A- Good answer! Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for our special guest, Renée. Make sure to check her out on Facebook and Twitter, and if you want to read more about her love of history, take a look at her blog! And last but not least, don't forget to read From the Stories of Old, A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings when it comes out December 7th!


In this international collection, new life is given to fairy tales, both classic and obscure.

Mythical creatures put the fairy in Fairy Tale. Mermaids, selkies, and ocean guardians experience the best and worst of humanity; sisters encounter an unusually friendly bear; a brave bride meets a silly goose; and a spinner of gold sets the record straight.

Urban fantasies modernize classics: a Frenchman learns the truth about magic, his past, and his girlfriend; a girl sets out to find love but receives a curse; and today’s naughty list makes Old Saint Nick not-so-jolly.

New worlds bring a fresh sense of wonder! In the future, a young woman fights for her people and herself; a bastard son finds acceptance in a world ruled by women; and a farmer’s wits win the heart of a frosty king.

Discover unexpected twists on old favorites, and fall in love with new tales and worlds to explore!


    Check out all the fairy tales on December 7th!
    ~Allie

3 comments:

Melion Traverse said...

Fun interview! Also, I'm now putting in a formal request for Renee to re-write the story about the unicorn family--the world needs more unicorn stories. :)

Heather Hayden said...

Seconding Melion!

This was a great interview. :)

Kristen Kooistra said...

I think that picture needed more food on the floor to be completely accurate. :D

Great interview! And don't worry, we all know your favorite genre to read is fantasy. :P

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