My name is Rene D. Schultz and I live in a small community just north of Los Angeles, where I raised my two sons. I love to garden, try new recipes, take lots of pictures, and occasionally I enjoy a glass of wine with dear friends. I’ve never jumped out of a plane, climbed Mt. Everest, or seen the Northern Lights of Alaska. But, I have danced in the rain, sent a message in a bottle, and I’ve riden my motorcycle down Pacific Coast Highway on sunny California days! My passion of writing has lead me on the most amazing journey. Now, my focus is on fiction. I thrive on developing strong story lines that showcase today’s contemporary lifestyles. Rags to riches, Robinhood, and surviving the odds, seems to be my one common denominator that showcases my fascinating and diverse characters.
Julie: Hi, Rene! How are you today?
Rene: Great, thank you.
Julie: Rene,I know that you have two books and Done Deal is your latest release. How many books do you have published and do you have any in the works?
Rene: Six years ago I released my first book with a traditional publishing house ... Searching4MrRight.com and it was a success. But unfortunately the publisher went bankrupt and all I could get was my book rights back. It was such a fiasco that I just walked away from the publishing world. I continued to write novels and screenplays but just held on to them.
My son convinced me to self-publish and I did. Bishop Street was released in Sept 2013 and then came Done Deal in December. My new book, I don’t have a title for yet but it’s almost done and a very interesting storyline. It’s about a 29 year old young woman who learns the biggest lesson in her life--'beauty is only skin deep.'
Julie: That must've been really frustrating, to finally publish with a house and have them go under... especially when the book was a success! It seems self-publishing is certainly working for you, and now you’re working on your third self-published! How does it feel to have so much publishing freedom and control over your books?
Rene: It was awful with the publishing house I was with. They picked your cover, they had their own editors, I didn't have a say in anything. They made a lot of money from my book and I didn't get a thing. Publishing house are popping up all over sucking in these naive authors. It’s really a shame. I love being in control. I had my own covers made for Bishop Street and Done Deal... I found my own editing staff and it’s much different than my first experience.
Julie: Bishop Street and Done Deal have great covers, so well done! How did you go about finding your editing staff?
Rene: It was really hard. Everyone online thinks they can edit. But there are so many different styles that you have to commit yourself to what makes you happy. By that I mean there is always controversy about commas, ellipses, and quotation marks. Rules differ. I looked around. I had someone edit Bishop Street who did a very poor job and I learn that very quickly with the first reader who reviewed it. I have someone now I'm happy with.
Julie: So sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right one and congratulations on that. What advice would you give to other indie authors searching to publish traditionally? Is there something certain they should look for or do to out think they are better off staying independent?
Rene: Only the BIG publishing houses. There are lots of smaller ones and they are only out to make or take your royalties. YOU can do exactly what they do with your own books. There are plenty of tools online that will assist you in preparing for publishing. I personally thing traditional publishing will soon disappear along with the remaining book stores. Most are gone now. So what good is a publisher? They are supposed to publicize your books for you, but the smaller ones leave that entirely up to you. I thinks authors have an advantage nowadays. Although, it is hard to get your books out there to the readers and public...
Julie:Yes I find that task quite daunting myself! I see that you have mentioned that you are also a screenwriter, how is that working out for you? Do you gave any plays that we might recognize or have you taken it that far yet?
Rene: I don't write plays... I write for television/movies. I love to write screenplays because it is all dialogue and I love to give my characters a voice. In fact, my books have great reviews and reviewers think there is great depth in my characters. That's because I use a lot of dialogue... I am not a narrator. I let my characters tell the story! As far as screenplays, I have not sent any out as of yet. But they are very interesting stories with great characters.
Julie: Oh, well hell! I may have already seen some of your work then and did not know. Congratulations! That's big news Rene! I'd like to ask, out of the three novels that you have mentioned, which was the most fun for you to write, and which one most touched your heart to write?
Rene: All three have touched my heart. I like to write what I call 'reality fiction.' Stories about people who have gone through real life's experiences. Bishop Street is about four orphans who find each other after leaving the orphanage twenty years earlier. They all touched my heart. I bring them from birth, through the orphanage, and twenty years after living on their own. Where they've been and how they survived.
Done Deal is about a woman who finds out she has cancer and she's angry at the Insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and takes them down as her final act on earth. It's an amazing story about life, and living it to the fullest. Cissy is my hero.
My new one is about a young woman who is brilliant but not beautiful on the outside, but a sweet soul on the inside. Unfortunately, she lives in Beverly Hills and you are judged by your looks. That book has a twist no one will see coming... It's always hard for me to leave my characters when I’m done with the books. They each become a part of me. It’s different than writing fantasy, sci-fi, and thrillers. I write about everyday people... and their struggles.
Julie: I can understand that because I used myself, husband and others I know as models for my characters... though I write a different genre of fiction, I understand completely. I hurt myself plenty with the events that befell my characters...What first inspired you to write?
Rene: I used to be an avid reader when I was raising my two sons. At night I would slip away and go to places in books only my mind could see. When my sons were gone, my marriage fell apart, I felt at loose ends. My son works for David Kelley, 'The Practice' and I told him I had a great story line. My son handed me a legal notepad and a pen and said, 'write a novel.' That was Done Deal. Eight years ago I wrote what is happening right now in our society... A broken healthcare system and a lady who takes it down!
Julie: Seems you had a sense of the future!
Rene: I did... I was in healthcare for 26 years.
Julie: Wow twenty six years. My mother in law is a Director of Nursing and I am going to tell her about your book she'll love it.
Rene: She will love it... and know what I am talking about... orphan drugs that can save lives but the pharms won’t produce them because the Ins. companies won’t pay for them.
Julie: I want to touch base on finding an editor. What should an indie author look for when searching for the right editor for their book?
Rene: I personally want to find my team that I put together that does editing, book covers, and formatting. I look for someone I feel comfortable with. Someone who I can talk to and question without them becoming defensive. but sometimes I think the best ones are the ones who are self-taught. I'm self-taught. The young man who did my book covers is a University student in Art/Design. I love to give people a chance.
Julie: Do you have any advice or something special to say to those reading this interview?
Rene: I think there is great opportunity out there for the new generation of Indie authors. We can finally publish our books online and not sit and wait to see if a publishing house will pick us up. There are a lot of great authors out there and then there are some who take advantage of the arena. Write a good book, find your team of editors, cover makers, and formatters and produce it yourself. Be kind to others, and kindness comes back. Be helpful to other because you never know when you may need the help yourself... and finally, don't let an ego get in your way, it suits no purpose. I write a quote of the day on my Facebook page and it’s a special quote and I give my own spin on it... check it out.
Julie: Rene, it is always a pleasure to speak with you! Thank you so much for your time!
This interview was conducted through Facebook Chat! Thank you, Rene!
Find Rene's books here!