My guest today is joining us from Canada with a riveting tale to share with you all. Please help me welcome Renny deGroot to the interview hot seat! Here’s a glance at her bio and then we’ll find out more about her story.
Renny deGroot is a first generation Canadian of Dutch parents. She was born in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Her debut novel, Family Business, was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Her second novel, After Paris, has been well received by fans of Historical Fiction and her latest novel Torn Asunder has garnered several readers’ awards including an IndieB.R.A.G Medallion, a Five Star Award from the Coffee Pot Book Club (U.K.), A Book of the Month Premier Award and joint runner up for Book of the Year 2020 from Chill With A Book (U.K.), a Readers Favorite Honorable Mention (Hist Fic) in the 2020 International Book Contest and a Readers’ Pick badge from the Miramichi Reader (Canada).
In 2019 Renny was commissioned to produce a coffee-table non-fiction book about the military history of her former regiment, called 32 Signal Regiment, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals: A History.
Renny spent ten years in the Canadian Forces, retiring as a Warrant Officer.
Renny has a BA in English Literature from Trent University. She lives in rural Ontario with her Great Pyrenees and Golden Retriever, and vacations at her cottage in Nova Scotia.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Renny: I was fortunate enough to get the ‘golden handshake’ from my full-time job in 2010 which gave me the freedom to dedicate myself to my writing. Prior to that I dabbled, but I really view my birth as an author from the moment I began full time.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Renny: I am a real fan of the classics and continue to go back to them when I am in need of a ‘comfort read’. I am especially inspired by Charles Dickens with his ability to tell important stories and do it in such a way that engages and entertains. Who doesn’t cry at the end of A Tale of Two Cities? He takes the notion of societal transformation and applies it at a personal level with the idea that people can change, and all people have good in them at some level. I work to apply the same method to my writing. I had a manuscript review done of Torn Asunder by the amazing Barbara Kyle during which she told me I had ‘window pane writing’. This comment delighted me because for me, telling a good story is always the first priority. It’s only by truly engaging the reader, that one can have any success in getting one’s message across.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Renny: I started with angst-filled poetry as a teenager (I had a few poems published in school year books that I now flip past quite quickly when looking at the old photos!). I went on to short stories when I took some creative writing classes at Ryerson, and I still occasionally will work on that format (I came in 1st in my group in round one of the NYC Short Story Contest 2 years ago), but my real love is now the novel. I love the scope and leeway I have in evolving the characters and story.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Renny: I lived in Ireland for a while and fell in love with the history and drama with which the country is steeped. I thought it was a perfect setting to look at the idea of how we influence others.
Thank you so much for having me here today Betty! I’ve enjoyed thinking about these questions and the journey I’ve taken to get where I am today. The support of bloggers is so vital to indie authors, and I appreciate this opportunity.
Opening in Ireland 1916, Emmet Ryan becomes an inspiring journalist during one of the country’s most turbulent times, but he has no idea that his words have the power to destroy those he loves the most. An Irish multi-generational family drama of divided loyalties.
Emmet joined his father and two brothers cycling home. They burst in on their mother with a clatter of noise.
She wiped her hands on her apron and smiled at Emmet. “You found them all, then?”
Emmet’s father put a hand on her shoulder. “Kathleen, make up some packages of sandwiches for each of us. We’ll be leaving again in a few minutes and I don’t know when we’ll be back.”
She put her hand to her mouth. “It’s not true. You’re not really going to fight?”
“We are. Is there any food ready right now that we could have a quick hot meal?”
She stood with her hand still pressed to her mouth and then glanced over to her youngest son. “Not Emmet as well?”
Emmet felt his chest swell when he heard his father. “Emmet’s old enough to make his own decision.”
She came near him and reached out her hand as though to hold him fast, but Emmet nodded. “Me too, Mam.”
She wiped her eyes with a corner of her apron and then went to the cooker. Her voice was thick with tears and defeat. “The spuds aren’t ready, but you’ll each have a cut of ham on bread with onions and gravy before you go anywhere.”
For a mixed media reading by one of Canada’s leading Irish tenors, click here: https://youtu.be/QHiA7Jtc-GA
Purchase link: http://mybook.to/TornAsunder
My all-time favorite Dickens novel is Our Mutual Friend, which was his last completed novel. It’s dark and ironic and clever all wrapped into a fascinating tale. I just received a new copy of A Tale of Two Cities to read for Christmas. It’s been a long time since I read it and I want to see if I like it and understand it better as an adult. Thanks for stopping in, Remmy!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And as always, thanks for reading!
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Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.