Renee Kenny is an American novelist and assistant librarian whose first youth historical fantasy, The Tales of Northborough, has just been released in paperback and ebook editions. Here is her author interview:
1. How did you become a novelist?
I don’t think of myself as a novelist. It is surprising for me to see that word. For now perhaps I am just someone who has written a book.
I didn’t tell anyone that I was writing. Sometimes I’d just scribble something on a scrap of paper and the idea was born. Then it would take on its own life. Driving my children around, I might experience plot revelations. Or the next event would be revealed in dreams, and I’d hurry to scratch them out. Luckily, I met Marcelle and the rest is history.
2. What was your first experience of writing?
My parents say that I sent them long poems at Christmas and birthdays. My first published work was a poem in Seventeen Magazine while I was in secondary school. As a child, I was entranced by nature. My mom tended a beautiful garden, and my brother and I spent all our time after school outdoors. It was quiet and peaceful, and brought forth my imagination. My dad made sure we traveled to experience different places and cultures. I am very grateful to them. After receiving my education, I worked in finance. Then, as a stay-at-home mom, I wrote The Tales of Northborough trilogy and more.
3. What do you find exciting about it?
I would be happy writing all day and night. I can only do my best to write out ideas, but matching the words to the vision can be difficult. There is a tension there; there is so much revision to do. Then there is the necessary editing. But completing the project is fulfilling! I also get excited when reading and want others to feel the joy and happiness that comes from reading a good book.
4. Why did you choose fiction as a genre?
Fiction seems more free to me as I can imagine a character, setting or scene one way, and a reader may have a completely different experience. The Tales of Northborough not only reflects my images of life long ago, but includes magic, which completely opens up the possibilites as literally anything can happen. I really like to explain the emotions and thoughts of my characters. It is only here, I think, that there is humor in The Tales. Sometimes a dichotomy exists between how a person acts around others and the things being processed within their minds. Through fiction, we can bring that out and understand motivation. I guess it’s that freedom I enjoy.
5. What made you write The Tales of Northborough?
I’ve always been a religious person. The unseen world, the spiritual world, the dimension where souls and angels live, that fascinated me, so the time in the Middle Ages, when people seemed to have such a deep faith, held a special place for me. Having read The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, The Lives of the Saints, Arthurian legends, and of course, The Bible, somehow, little pieces started coming together. This, along with inspiration from fairy tales and Shakespeare, combined to form my stories.
6. What are your hopes for the future?
I am a person who believes in non-violence. I hope the world will become a peaceful place where war, famine and disease no longer exist. I also hope that we can preserve the natural beauty of our planet. By bringing a few hours of happiness to readers, I would feel very honored if my words perhaps made a difference and brought us closer together as humans; closer to peace on earth, goodwill toward men and women (Lk 2:14).