Renee J Lukas comes from a screenwriting background. As a result her stories are snappy, well constructed and always interesting to read.
Her novels are never the same twice but always entertaining. But that is just what I have to say about them. This is what she has to say about her work:
A brief description of your writing:
I love throwing unsuspecting characters into a blender and watching what happens.
One word to describe your books:
Who/What inspired you to start writing?
My dad for sure. When I was little, I thought it was so cool how he had his name on all of these books, and I wanted to see my name on a cover. Of course, Dad’s specialty was World War II, so I decided at age five that I was going to write a book about Hitler. When you’re five years old, you don’t realize that that’s probably been done before. As I got older, I found that writing was the only outlet where I could express myself without anyone telling me what to do. Writing fiction is like my own personal playground where I can make anything happen that I want. Mwa ha ha!
Why lesbian fiction?
Because women get to fall in love, and if they’re lucky, they get to sleep together. What’s better than that?
That’s like asking which of your children you’d save first on the Titanic. But I’ll try to be objective. Seriously, it depends on what the reader likes. Most all of my stories have romance, along with a nice helping of dark comedy.
The Comfortable Shoe Diaries is written like a funny memoir that, as one reviewer said, reads like the waiting room in a psychiatrist’s office. Things you think about but may not say—The Comfortable Shoe Diaries goes there. If dark humor is your thing—the idea of happiness immediately being followed by someone getting hit by a bus (no one really gets hit by a bus)—then this is your book.
Hurricane Days is for romantics who want to find out if two really different people could—or should—get together. Or for those who like a good lesbian scandal with their politics.
Listen to a clip of Renee J Lukas doing a reading from Hurricane Days
Southern Girl is a sweet coming-of-age romance set in hell. (Not literally hell, but feels like it.)
Eye of the Storm, the sequel to Hurricane Days, gives readers a chance to do something they rarely get to do—go inside the mind of the character you never knew very well. It tells the other side—what was going on with HER? And what happened in the years between? Now you’ll know. It comes out next spring.
I think all my books feature characters you’ve met before, or want to know. Then a whole lot of conflict is thrown at them. If a story doesn’t make you ask, “What happens next?” then it’s not worth writing.
I really did lose my job, my relationship and my credit score all in one year. I was Sydney, except for all the things she does that I would never do. No spoilers here. I was mad at the world, and my cat kept staring at me as if to say, “What are you waiting for? Now is your chance to write that novel. You’ve got the time. It’s not like you have a job anymore.” Cats can be so cold. Years before, I’d sent a different manuscript to Bella, and I got that “wish you the best of luck in your career” letter. This time, they wanted to talk to me! It just proves that your personal misery CAN make a great comedy and give you that big break.
I had the seed of an idea about two girls sharing a dorm room. I wanted to explore the tension if they were attracted to each other and having to share a small space. At the same time, I’m a political junkie. I actually get excited when Steve Kornacki puts up the electoral map on MSNBC. So it all came together when I thought of this woman whose politics are so different from mine, and what if she had this whole other past that nobody knew?
Several years ago, I worked for a non-profit in Florida that was dedicated to providing a safe place for LGBT and questioning teens to talk about their feelings. The number one issue that came up was religion. Helping teens to embrace who they are is extra tough when they’re fighting with God—or what they think God wants for them. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee that was steeped in religion, and I wanted to do a story that depicts the kind of pressure that creates. There’s a part in the story that really happened to me where a boy in my class told me I was going to hell because I didn’t go to his church. He was only in second grade. That’s how early the indoctrination begins. I wanted to show that. I also wanted young adult readers to understand that questioning something like your religion doesn’t mean you have to throw it out completely. Also, both my parents are from New England, and adjusting to life in the South wasn’t easy for them.
What inspired you to write EYE OF THE STORM:
I got many personal notes from readers of Hurricane Days that told me how much they loved it, and they wanted to know more about what was going on with Adrienne. I thought about it, and I felt like I knew her character so well, I got all kinds of ideas, with some surprising twists and turns. There was enough there that I thought I could create an exciting, and revelatory, sequel.
Anything else you think readers may find interesting:
I’ve actually been writing novels and screenplays for many years, but it took a while to get published. My “debut” novel isn’t the first novel I ever wrote. Many years ago, I got an agent for one of my scripts, and I thought that was my big break. But when agents moved to other studios, which I learned happens a lot, my project was dropped. From that experience, I knew it takes not only a lot of hard work but also a bit of luck.
Other Works In The Lesbian Genre
Your favourite lesbian book (not written by you):
Curious Wine by Katherine V. Forrest – The first lesbian novel I ever read and still my favorite!
Your favourite lesbian movie:
Connect with Renee J Lukas online
Listen to my interview with Renee here