Monday, October 02, 2006

Rene Gutteridge's new novel, Scoop

My review:

I give grande kudos to the author for fabricating another realistic and winning tale. Her laid-back style and easy wit draw me into all of her stories.

Hayden Hazard’s parents, owners of the Hazard Clowns, are found dead while on vacation, leaving a huge hole in the family. Soon afterwards, the seven Hazard children meet together to discuss the family business’ fate. Hayden’s oldest brother has sold the company. As a result, sheltered Hayden must look for a new job and find her purpose in life. She receives this sage advice from her sister Mack: “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” Easy for her to say.

Fast-forward five years. Hayden is interim assistant for Channel 7 News’ Executive Producer, Hugo Talley. He struggles with anxiety and it’s no wonder—he has an aged anchor who doesn’t realize how old she looks on TV, a womanizing dolt for a weatherman, a too-nice God-spouting assistant (Hayden), and reporter Ray Duffey, who keeps to himself, but doesn’t ever get the good stories. To describe the news team as wild and crazy is an understatement. With each approaching dilemma, Hugo feels as if he may go over the edge. Will Hayden’s presence help or hinder the unstable atmosphere in the newsroom?

This wacky ensemble and a wonderful story line made for many out-loud chuckles throughout the book. I love the author’s ability to explore serious spiritual issues and couch it with humor.

Many of us who work outside the home must deal with people of varied personalities and faiths. This novel explores what real Christianity might look like in the workplace, and how different people respond to it.

I highly recommend this extremely well written and engaging book.

1. Tell us about how your love for books and writing got started.

It really began with a love for reading. I loved to read as a child and read as much and as often as I could. Then one day I decided to try to write. My parents had bought me an Apple computer and I just couldn't stop
myself from writing story after story!

2. What is your favorite genre to read/write?

I don't have a favorite genre to read. I really like to mix it up. And as for writing, I like suspense and comedy equally. It balances everything out for me. (I know, sounds very politically correct!)

3. What are the similarities and differences in writing screenplays and writing novels?

The similarities are that both need to have great characters, great plot, great pacing, great dialogue...essentially a great story. The bigdifference is that screenplays are heavily based on dialogue whereas novels can elaborate with description and get inside the characters' heads. To read a screenplay, you've really got to fill in the blanks and let your mind imagine where and what and who, and novels give you all that.

4. When did you start to dream about being a "full-time novelist" (or did you)?

It never occured to me that I could make a living at writing until I was nearly finished with college. For me, it was a hobby, but one that I was really immersed in. I think had I had a vision to do it as a living, I wouldn't have learned as much because I would've been worried about publishing or selling a script. But once I thought I could do it, then I learned the business side of things.

5. How do you get your creative juices flowing onto the page?

It doesn't take much when I've got a good story to work with. When things aren't flowing, I have to examine the story and see what's going wrong. And occasionally, it's simply that I'm tired and overworked or stressed about other things in my life.

6. What is your favorite and least favorite part of writing?

My favorite part of writing is nailing it, whether it's a character, a passage, a string of dialogue, a metaphor...I love when I slap my hands together and know I popped something good out. The bad part of writing is when I never get to slap my hands together for days on end...

7. What kind of responses do you want to see from people as a result of reading your work?

Spiritually, I would love for people to reconnect with God, to search for Him, to find Him, to get to know Him again. I also like to entertain people. I love that my books can do that without exposing people to things that they may not want to be exposed to. Creating entertainment that is clean yet riveting is a big challenge.

8. Why do you think fiction is such an effective way to reach our hearts?

It helps us understand ourselves and others. When we can get into another person's story and see that they're very much like us, it connects us.

9. Name a few important milestones along the way to publication that you will never forget (good or bad).

The first, of course, was getting that phone call that a publisher wanted my first book. I don't think anything has quite topped that feeling. I'll never forget it. Along the way, the milestones have been personal. And surprising. Sometimes I achieve things I didn't ever dream were possible. I suppose some bad milestones are that sometimes I feel a little too overworked to enjoy this wonderful adventure. I am trying really hard to balance everything, but sometimes there are projects that I love so much I'm willing to put in the extra work. There really are very few bad milestones. They are mostly positive.

10. I can't wait for the next book in the series. Tell us a bit about it.

My new series, "The Occupational Hazards", starts with a book called Scoop. This is a comedy series about a clan of homeschoolers who must shed their sheltered life in pursuit of jobs. Scoop starts with Hayden Hazard, who lands a job at a local news station. The next book, Snitch, is about undercover police officers. I think this series is going to be a lot of fun for readers. Those who liked the "Boo" series will really enjoy it, but I think my suspense readers will like this series, too.

Thanks so much for your time, Rene. I'm sure there will be plenty of fans of this series. It started off with a hit--I'm definitely a fan.

Please visit Rene's website for more information on her books: Rene Gutteridge
Also, find other great fiction here: WaterBrook Press

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:48 AM

    Rene, I loved your "Boo" books. It'll be fun to see what you've got going on with this new one.

    See you soon. I guess you, Cindy Woodsmall, and I will be signing books together in Atlanta next week. I'm bringing my wife along. She's a blast to have around.