Renee and I met through a blog tour for Tess Woods‘ book, Love at First Flight, and with our very similar love for books, we became fast friends. I couldn’t be more grateful for Renee as she has been a huge support to everything I’ve wanted to do over the past year and a half, and I only hope she feels the same. (That sounds way cheesy.) Renee is amazing and it’s been an absolute honor to work with her in all aspects of the book world. I am completely blessed that she trusted me to publish her first book baby through my publishing company (Kindred Ink Press) and can’t wait to see what the future brings! Cheese aside, get to know my good friend below, and be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom! It’s a good one!!

About Renee Conoulty

Renee Conoulty is an Australian Air Force wife and mother of two. Her debut chick lit novel, Don’t Mean a Thing, is now available through Kindred Ink Press.

When she’s not devouring books, reviewing and blogging on HeySaidRenee, or writing her own stories, Renee can be found swing dancing. Or possibly napping. She tweets about reading and reviewing @HeySaidRenee and about writing, military life and dancing @ReneeConoulty, but hasn’t created a handle for nap talk yet.

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About Renee as an Author

What inspired you to write your first book?

I decided to write the book I wanted to read. I’d been on the lookout for years for books involving swing dancing but I’d struggled to find them. When my hubby joined the military and we moved to Darwin, I looked for contemporary fiction set in Darwin or about the Australian military – I couldn’t find much of that either. So for my first book, I combined all three.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

I call Don’t Mean a Thing chick lit, but others have called it women’s fiction or light contemporary romance.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always loved writing corny rhyming poetry but I didn’t take writing seriously until after I started blogging. Writing reviews for all the fantastic books I was reading actually gave me less confidence to write my own fiction. It was reading a blog post from another author that gave me the confidence to start. Natasha Lester told me (I’m sure she wrote that post directly to me) that I didn’t need to know everything before I started. I didn’t need to have the whole story plotted out. All I needed was some time and one idea. I could just write one scene and see where it led. So I did.

What is your favorite scene that you’ve written?

I love the Tim Tam scene. If you don’t know what Tim Tams are, you will after reading that bit. And if you do know what Tim Tams are – all I have to say is Tim Tam Slam.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t scare yourself with big writing goals. If I set my goals too high I give up before I even start because it seems too hard. I set myself 100 words a day. That’s really easy to achieve so I’m never put off writing for the day and I usually find that by the time I sit down and write my 100 words, I get into a rhythm and keep writing. If I’m having a bad day, then I can still push out 100 words so I don’t feel like I failed.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks for reading my book 😉 Now go try a swing dance class. It’s so much fun.

How do you beat writer’s block?

I skip to another scene or have a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine – it’s usually the walk to the kitchen that unblocks me more than the chocolate or wine, but don’t tell my hubby or he’ll stop buying me “muses”.

Are any of your characters are based on you?

Macie has a lot of me in her, including her name. Macie is my middle name, and the story about how she got her name is actually the story of how I got my middle name. There is quite a bit of me in Sarah too. I own a pair of Nadiene’s red frilly knickers and might flash them occasionally when I dance, but that’s where the resemblance ends with her.

About Renee’s Debut Novel, Don’t Mean a Thing

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted to use a vintage swing song title for my book title and write the song into the story. Don’t Mean a Thing comes from It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it Ain’t Got That Swing), which plays during the final scene.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I wanted to share my love of swing dancing and to show that there’s more to the military than alpha males and PTSD as that’s predominantly what I see reflected in fiction. Not to dismiss PTSD though, there is definitely a tougher side to military life, but that’s not the only side.

How much of the book is realistic?

The characters are all fictitious but all the settings are real places. The storyline is made up but is completely feasible.

About Renee as a Reader

What books have influenced your life most?

Enid Blyton books encouraged my love of reading as a child.

What book are you reading now?

I’m listening to the audiobook of Wonder by R. J. Palacio. This would have changed several times between when I answered and when this is posted, so check out my Currently Reading shelf on Goodreads.

Because Karan is Random

Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

I’m not sick of any of the questions. Well, not yet anyhow.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thanks for stopping by Karan’s blog and visiting with me today and good luck with the giveaway.

Enter the Giveaway!!

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