Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Book Tour and Giveaway: Chasing the Wild Sparks (Wild Sparks Series #1) by Ren Alexander

Chasing the Wild Sparks
Wild Sparks Series #1
Ren Alexander

Contemporary Romance

Throwing down the marriage gauntlet has never been so wild.

Thirty-something paralegal, Hadley Beckett and charismatic, local sportscaster/daredevil, Finn Wilder, disagree about how they should share their lives together. Having been together for three years, Finn increasingly pressures Hadley to move in with him, but being unusually traditional, she wants to be married first, adhering to her moral beliefs, just as he clings to his own religious upbringing when it comes to procreating with her. Each is unwilling to negotiate or concede marriage to the other. Complicating matters is Finn’s seemingly double life, keeping his private life hidden to the point of convincing his viewers—Finnatics—and even his coworkers, he’s single, amid Hadley’s objections. Yet despite their immense disparities, they are determined to make their relationship work, even if it means Hadley has to take their future into her own hands.
Then again, Finn Wilder has his own story to tell.

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Ren Alexander was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. She graduated from West Liberty University, where she received a B.S. in criminal justice. Although interested in that field, her true passion was reading and writing. She currently lives in Detroit, Michigan with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Chasing the Wild Sparks is Ren's first novel.

What is something unique/quirky about you?
Unique or quirky. Hmm. I’m right-handed but can only drive with my left. Weird, I know. I write my best/intense scenes in the dark. The smell of peaches or cucumbers makes me gag big time. The artificial scents are even worse than the smell of real peaches.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I grew up in several places in West Virginia’s northern panhandle, but I lived the longest in both Bethany and Wheeling and attended West Liberty State College (now University), graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I loved writing the most in middle school and my middle school language arts teacher, Mrs. Mains, told me I should be a writer. I loved hearing that, but I fell out of writing in high school some until college. My Freshman English professor encouraged me to write more since she enjoyed my daily journal entries we had to turn in to her. She either laughed or cried, which was a huge compliment. 

From there, I took a creative writing class, where I learned a thing or two. I was going to major in English, but I didn’t really know what I could do with an English degree, besides becoming a teacher, which I didn’t want to do. I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know how far I could get with that career since it seemed unobtainable. I didn’t even keep my stories or journal entries because I thought I’d never get anywhere and I was wasting my time.

I loved law enforcement, but I also didn’t want to be a police officer, instead working behind the scenes or along with the police. So, that’s what I ultimately decided to pursue in college, hoping to get a job, but it also was an uphill climb to get anywhere in the field.

After working for a medical insurance company and being assigned to write the remarks on EOBs, I became a certified medical transcriptionist, which oddly, has led me to transcribing police reports.  So, that’s where I am right now amidst my writing.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie? 
Ooh. I’ve thought about that. I think out of all my books, The Keys to Jericho or UNSCREWED would be good as movies, whereas my Wild Sparks books would be good as a series on HBO or Netflix. Just a thought for anyone out there with connections.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

On the way to one of my book signings, two of my friends and I visited Richmond, Virginia, the home of my Wild Sparks series, and then the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia, which is also featured in that series. It was surreal being in the places I wrote about. I felt like my books were coming to life in a way. I loved it.

Do you have a favorite movie?

One of my favorite movies of all time is Honeymoon in Vegas with Nicholas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker. Such a great and underrated movie. I also love Wedding Crashers and Girls’ Trip.

What inspired you to write this book?

My most current book, UNSCREWED, is so out of my comfort zone, but it’s also my favorite character’s story, Greg Rodwell. He’s a funny guy with a big heart, who has serious problems buried beneath the surface that nobody ever expected. Nothing really specific inspired me to write it, except that Greg needed to tell his story. It’s not pretty, perfect, or always funny. In all actuality, his story is probably the most tragic of all my characters.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

It took a while but one of the main characters, Finn Wilder, is a sportscaster/daredevil who has his own sports segment on Fridays called the Wild Side. As I was writing the second book, Daring the Wild Sparks, it became apparent that his name would dominate the series. I can’t give it all away, but by reading the series, you’d figure out why or how it got its name.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wanted UNSCREWED to be so much longer, but I tend to let my books run away from me like that. Beckoning the Wild Sparks is huge at around 700 pages I think. The Keys to Jericho is slightly shorter.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
A lot more real than fiction.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That I would dismantle my Wild Sparks series with one paragraph from UNSCREWED.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
Oh, hell yes. I always have an outline. But when I write, usually about halfway through, all that is blown apart, especially Greg Rodwell. He has such a mind of his own. It’s like he takes over my brain and I just type what he says. Seriously. Most of the time I have no idea what he will say or do. That’s the beauty/horror of writing him. UNSCREWED is a book I was terrified to write for four years now and it is the most challenging book I have written so far. It took me way out of my comfort zone, but his story needed to be told authentically and as raw as possible. His story will make you laugh, yell, cry, and question what the hell is happening. I questioned it at every turn. Underneath his silly exterior lies a deeply traumatized soul. Finding the balance of the light and the dark was a struggle, but I’m immensely proud of the book, no matter how difficult it was to write and it will be to read.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?
The end. It’s earth-shattering and mind-blowing. I did not expect any of it.

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Mostly beforehand in the outline, but some will pop up here and there as I go. The major ones, though, are well-thought out ahead of time.

Pen or typewriter or computer?
It used to be pencil when I was in grade school. By college, it was typewriter that soon transitioned to a computer. I don’t know how I did it before the computer came along!

What makes a good story?
A story that sucks you in and refused to let you go, even after you finished. It will stick to you for days, sometimes weeks, and often you want to go back and read parts of it or the whole thing again. Those are my favorites.

What is your writing Kryptonite?
It never used to be until recently but Facebook and my damn phone. I’m constantly checking FB because that’s how I communicate with my PA, who lives in Canada. I’m a slave to distraction. I would get so much more done if I didn’t stop to check FB, my messages, or just to procrastinate in general. I do that especially when hitting a difficult section of my book, which UNSCREWED had a ton. I need to be better about ignoring all the crap and just writing.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
When I started out, I wrote three books in about four months, and they’re LONG books, like 200,000 plus words. My latest UNSCREWED is one of my smaller ones and it took twice as long due to the story and the increased amount of distractions. Refer back to the previous question/answer.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
More than the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Abominable Snowman altogether. The struggle is friggin’ real.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” It’s my life’s motto. I do my own thing and ignore the trends or what people tell me I should be doing. I’m not them. I’m Ren Alexander, not Author A or Author B, and I’m truer to myself than anyone else could be in my place. I tell the stories that need to be told, whether they’re commercial or not. Don’t really care about that aspect, even if I should.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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  1. Thanks for the great giveaway!
    The book looks like an interesting read!

  2. love the cover reminds me of being a kid on the beach.