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All reviews and opinions shared on The Faerie Review are mine alone. I review books of my own accord. All books reviewed on this blog are e...

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Shout Out Saturday: Author Renee Antonia

You can check out my review of I'm Not Okay here

Lily: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Renee! I’m Not OK is the book I wish I’d had when I was a young adult and struggling to find my place in this world while dealing with anxiety. I really related to Alejandra, and I’m dying to know more about the book and your writing process. What made you decide to write this book?

Renee: I decided to write this book when I was going through a rough time with my anxiety. I had hit this point of barely being able to keep up with my day to day life, and I needed a way to explain what I was going through. Writing I’m Not Okay helped me figure out what I was feeling and helped me deal with my anxiety.

Lily: I think it's a great way to deal with anxiety. Tell me, was Alejandra based on anyone?

Renee: Alejandra wasn’t necessarily based on anyone, however, I did pull a lot of inspiration for her from the people in my life. So, I guess you can say that she was based on me and family members going through some mental health issues.

Lily: I think that's why she's so relatable and seems so real. Having those real experiences weaved in sometimes makes all the difference. Were you hoping people would take anything away after reading I’m Not OK?

Renee: I was just hoping that people who read this book would see that they aren’t alone. Anxiety and Mental Illness, in general, can make you feel so isolated and lonely, so I wanted people to know that they really aren’t alone. That there are hundreds of thousands of people going through the same thing, and that there is nothing to be ashamed of about having it.

Lily: This definitely helped me feel less alone and it's something I could see helping people, especially teens, feel less alone. Without giving any spoilers, is your favorite part of the book in the beginning, middle or end?

Renee: My favorite part was definitely the end. I don’t want to give away too much, but the end made me cry while I was writing for very good reasons.

Lily: I totally understand, and I think it's definitely something that my readers should pick up the book to find out why. Did I’m Not OK end up the way you thought it would when you first sat down to write it?

Renee: Actually, no. I had I’m Not Okay pretty much planned in my head when I first decided to write it, but after the first few chapters, I realized that it wasn't going to end up that way. I feel like the characters really drove the plot and story in a completely different direction.

Lily: I love hearing how characters sometimes take control of the story and decide to take it a way the author wasn't planning. It just amplifies the idea that in their own way the characters are alive. Now I have to admit I’m curious about your writing habits. Do you have a ritual you perform before or after you write?

Renee: If by ritual you mean devouring a cup of coffee and some cookies, then yes. When I write, I have to feel cozy and safe, and for some reason coffee (or more recently, tea) makes me feel that way, no matter where I am writing.

Lily: That definitely counts as a ritual. Sounds like a yummy one too! Do you prefer to plot things out or fly by the seat of your pants as you go?

Renee: I’ve tried to be the writer that can plan things out, but I am not. I love to see the plot and characters develop by themselves. I feel like it makes the story flow a lot better.

Lily: I was never very good at planning out any of my writing either, even when it was just essays for school. Glad to know I'm not the only one! Do you prefer a computer, a typewriter, or pen and paper for writing the first draft?

Renee: Definitely computer. I’m not sure I can withstand the endless amount of hand cramps from writing by hand.

Lily: I like the idea of writing by hand, but I agree the hand cramps are big deterrent. I can't imagine writing a novel pre-typewriter/computer. Do you ever have inspiration hit at a bad time like when you’re driving or in the bathroom? If so, how do you make sure you don’t forget the ideas?

Renee: The worst time for me is when I am at work and don’t have access to a computer. I usually keep a notepad in my purse and write down the idea before it disappears.

Lily: That's a great plan, I know the best ideas sometimes come at the worst times. Ok, now let's learn a little more about the voice behind the story. What’s your favorite food?

Renee: My favorite food has to be pasta! I just can’t get enough of it.

Lily: Mmmm pasta. I could go for a big bowl of it right now. Right now, if you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Renee: Probably London. I just returned from a trip to London and am already dying to go back! 

Lily: London is on my bucket list. A couple of my friends have gone and I've heard great things. Do you have a favorite author?

Renee: Definitely Mary Higgins Clark. I can get lost in her books for hours.

Lily: I've read a few of her books and I love her style. She's definitely on my favorite author list. Have you ever accidentally locked yourself out of something (car, work, house, etc). I know I’ve locked myself out of my car and apartment more times than I’ll ever admit to!

Renee: I actually just locked myself out of my car a few weeks ago. Luckily I had a spare key at my house and my roommate was able to bring me it.

Lily: You're lucky. The first time I locked my keys in my car the extra keys were in the trunk because of a mix up with bags. My extra keys were supposed to go in my mom's car (we had met up while i was spending a few weeks with my cousins during a college break for me). The main keys were sitting in my cup holder and it took 3 cops to get into my car. So what’s your guilty pleasure? Mine is binge-watching reality shows when no one is home and I have some free time.

Renee: I am a huge makeup love, so I will put as much stuff in my online shopping cart and see how much it all costs. I like to see how expensive I can get it to be.

Lily: Oh my gosh yes. I have one of those monthly makeup subscriptions and I need to learn to do my makeup better so I can use it. Ok spill. Who’s your celebrity crush?

Renee: Has to be between Brendon Urie and Ashley Graham.

Lily: I think it just got hotter in here! How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Renee: At my website, my blog, and on Facebook. You can also find me on Goodreads, Pinterestand Instagram. You can buy I'm Not Okay on Amazon, Book Baby, Google, Kobo, and my website