As a writer it took me a long time to learn when the editor in me showed up, my creativity shut down. The editor voice, strong and stern would say to me that doesn’t sound right, take out that word and rework that scene. Instead of the fun part of creating that feels like skipping or eating chocolate, the editor feels more like trudging through knee-deep snow.


Eventually, the editor always has to show up, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to finish a book and get it out the door. The visit from the editor isn’t always bad; it’s necessary to put the finishing touches on a manuscript. The editor is akin to a great designer who can put a style on paper, but it takes a seamstress to put it on a model.


I’ve heard that children can learn a new language easier than adults remember because they don’t worry about sounding strange or different as they work out the foreign words and the accents. That’s because their editor hasn’t become fully developed, so children can tune out that voice that stifles the creative muscles. Imagine how carefree would be if we never censored ourselves.


We all have an inner voice that can stall our inspiration, our drive or our determination. The trick it to know when to listen and when to quiet that voice and run free with you inner child, the one that will allow you to do amazing what you love in wood type


What has your editor kept you from accomplishing? Where could you be if you shut down that little voice in your head and followed your heart?


The idea in my head of the writer’s life is quite different to my current reality. I envisioned sitting at or near a nice window overlooking a lovely view with a thick yellow legal pad in front of me. Animated characters would tell me their stories while I scribbled them down in bold black ink.

Only part of that vision has come true. Most of the time my back is to the window, that way I don’t get distracted by outside activity. I’m hunched over a computer keyboard instead of a legal pad and seldom is it as leisurely as I had dreamed.  But the characters that come to me are pretty vivid and I love every minute of it.


This final stretch to publication has been hectic. Within the week I received the proofing edits and just last night I got the Galley proofs. It’s awesome to see what the final product will look like, with the title page and the dedication included. Instead of spending time luxuriating over the finished product I’ve got to go through the Galley’s and get them done in three days.  I never read quite that fast before,  but I will tonight.


Renee Wynn published her first novel in 2011, The Heart Knows. Her latest book, Seasoned Just Right was released in July 2012.   Her heroes are the quintessential alpha male.   I sat down to talk with Renee recently because as a newbie in the publishing field I wanted some sage advice from someone that’s on this path.


1.  Why do you write?

This question has so many depths I don’t know where to begin.  Writing for me is therapeutic.  It allows my daydreaming and dreams to come to life. Just for a little while I can pretend the characters on paper are what I want them to be.  The thrill of creating, then sitting back and watching it unfold is exciting and fulfilling. It amazes me what I can do and I never get tired of it. 


2.  What is your favorite genre to read and why?

I love writing and reading romance but I love to read murder mysteries with or without  romantic elements. I love the excitement of trying to decipher who the killer is and what makes him or her tick.  I love action-packed and spy movies, so these types of books are right up my alley.


3.  Can you describe your creative writing process for us?

I’m a dreamer so I’m always creating.  I mostly plot and create my characters in my head. After that I immediately give my characters their names. The names of the characters help me to create the look and build their personalities. I love strong and brooding heroes.  For instance my hero in my latest release, Seasoned Just Right, which came out July, 2012, is Mason Spaulding. His name alone shouts alpha male who’s extremely rich, arrogant and used to getting what he wants.  Sometimes I’ll dream a scene and when I awake, I feverishly write it down on paper so I won’t lose it.


4.  What is your number one recommendation for aspiring writers?

In this business, you’ll receive rejections. It’s just part of the process. Dream big and don’t let anyone take away your stories.


5.  Who is your favorite author?

Wow.  That’s a hard question.  I love to read so choosing one is difficult.  I  have a favorite in every genre that I read.  But my all-time favorites are John Grisham, Robin Cook and Tom Clancy.  These guys are masters at holding a reader riveted and spellbound.  In romance, it’s hands down, Judith McNaught and the late Kathleen Woodiwiss.   Whitney, My Love and The Flame and the Flower will be classics until the end of time.  


It just dawned on me the other day that receiving a publishing contract was only the beginning for me. Now the hard work begins.


Added to my daily creative schedule, I have to make time to investigate promotional opportunities as well as pick up my writing pace.  I need to develop stories and write them at a faster pace than the one I enjoyed as an unpublished writer.


Writers share a common characteristic with other creative individuals. In order to stay relevant you’ve got to continue to produce. Now I know why singers like Beyoncé and Adele often have two or three songs playing on the radio at once or why film stars do two movies a year.  The public can be demanding. Take a nap and they move on to the next best thing waiting to step into your place.

So while I’m excited about my first offer, I can’t sit back and claim victory. I need to work even harder to build my brand, produce a backlist and understand the industry

I used to think that getting the call from a publisher was akin to crossing the finish line. A place where I would jump around, be happy and marvel in my accomplishment.  Of course I did all those things.  But I also realize it was more like the beginning of the race-the sounding shot.  There is no finish line, that place where I slap myself on the back for a job well done and then take a seat..


If I’m lucky and blessed, this is a continuum.  I get do this for as long as I want.  What could be better?


This weekend I went to a family gathering; a birthday party for one of my sisters. In the tastefully decorated dining hall, we gathered to tell my sister how special she was and to wish her well.  As the guest moved around and caught up with each other on all the activities we’ve missed since we last got together, I found out that several of us were on the writing path.

I’ve heard it said that everyone has at least one magnificent novel in them.  It was surprising to hear how many of us were on the hot pursuit of a story, from memories, autobiographies, fiction and poetry. It didn’t take long before we start sharing our journey.  For sure, we all struggle with finding the time to sit our butts in the chair and get the ideas out of our head and on to paper. Our reasons for dragging out the process were all varied and all the same. Talking about the things that motivate us and the things that keep us mired in place was enlightening.  For reasons that are beyond me, it always helps to know that others struggle with the same challenges that I do.

To hear us talk about our craft made me realize we are no different from golfers bragging about their putts and drives, or accountants discussing their debits and credits or doctors talking about the newest discovery in medicine.

I came away from the evening with a bounce in my step.  Being in the company of other writers is always fun for me. This journey towards publishing is tough and exhilarating all at the same time.  However, one thing’s for sure, I’m always thrilled to help others on this journey and I’m amazed at how many people are willing to help me.  Tell me who do you like to keep company with?



Did you compromise in your career?  Your chosen field of study? Where you live? Or your mate?  Maybe you compromised on what you ate for dinner last night. We all do it, sometimes knowingly, other times subconsciously. I imagine no one moves forward without making some compromises or concessions; that is of course unless you have a bulldozer personality.


When I was graduating from high school my mother sat me down, looked into my wild, excited eyes and said, “You better study something in college so that you can get a job when you graduate.”  I was disappointed.  I wanted to be a writer.  But she gave me excellent advice.  My mother is a fiercely independent woman who knows how hard the world can be. Her reality said black women can’t make a living writing.  So like a good daughter, I followed her sage advice and my life has turned out quite well.  (Thanks Mom!)  But of course I can’t help wondering ‘what if’.

If I had studied journalism in college instead of business administration would I now be a published author or would I be a starving writer, waiting tables while penning my big New York Times bestseller?  I’m getting a late start on the whole novel-writing thing, but I’d like to think my experiences add depth to my writing.

I wanted to know if I’m the only one scratching my head and pondering my choices, so I asked several people this question:


“If you could talk to your 18 year-old self, what would you say?”


To my amazement many of the responses   A few of them are below:


LW:        Follow your heart.  Don’t do what you think you should, do what you want

PC:         Keep writing.  Write your heart out

KM:        You’re not a bad person. Don’t go through life depressed

KRH:     Stop, relax, have some fun. Enjoy life

GH:        Enjoy yourself.  Live life to its fullest

RW:        Don’t be afraid. Follow your dreams

EB:         Learn as much as you can and you can do anything

PB:         In one lifetime you can have several careers, don’t fuss over one too much

Now it’s your turn.  “If you could talk to your 18 year-old self, what would you say?”