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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Interview with an Evie Winner - Renee Yates

Welcome to the first interview with one of our 2011 Evie Winners - Renee Yates who won in the Fiction Category.  Renee pitched at the Evanston Writer's Workshop Conference and received a contract.  Please join me in welcoming Renee Yates!

Renee, I want to first congratulate you on your contract with Whispers Publishing!
Can you tell us a little bit about the book contracted ?
The title of the book is The White Nightgown.  It is a story about a thirty-six-year-old African-American woman, Michelle, who marries a Jewish man, David, and their difficult relationships with his mother.  I'm told that it is scheduled to be released early next year (2012), perhaps February.  But that's tentative right now.
Did your publisher say what they liked about your piece?
Yes, Jessica Damien, my editor at Whispers Publishing put it this way:
"The White Nightgown grips the heart in a tear-jerking squeeze as the reader delves into the pathos, depression, and the despairing emotions of the characters.  The gritty, down-to-earth reality of the story begs the hope of a happy ending, and one can't put down the book until the end.
This is the sort of story a lot of publishers seem afraid to publish, but it fits in well with Whispers' new search for a broader range of plot devices.  We are looking forward to extending our readership with stories like this, which bravely go beyond the typical."
You won the Evanston Writers Contest with a different story.  What was your inspiration for the Evie winning short story, “The Easter Outfit.”
"The Easter Outfit" was inspired by memories of how exciting it was for me to get a new outfit every year for Easter when I was a child; and a disturbing experience I had with a neighbor around age eight or nine.  Even though the story was inspired by personal, unconnected events, it is pure fiction.
Do you have any writing rituals that you follow on a regular basis?
Not really.  Even though I actually began writing in the late 1980s, I still think of myself as a new writer.  I’m still trying to figure out what type of rituals or schedule will work for me.  Right now, I just write when characters speak to me or when ideas occur to me.  That can happen at any moment because the people and events that occur throughout my daily activities often inspire ideas and character thoughts. However, lately, I found that regular meditation and Yoga helps to keep my mind open to ideas.
My Macbook and a smart phone with a Notes application and a voice recorder.
If you could only answer one question, what would it be, and how would you answer?
The question:  What is the key to true happiness?
The answer:  Mindfulness
Dark or milk chocolate?
Coffee or tea?
Thanks Renee for taking the time to interview with ShopNotes.  Keep us posted on your career as we'd love to hear how things are going for one of our first Evie winners.  

If you would like to interview for ShopNotes please contact me at

Editor in Chief 
What are your must-have writing tools?


M.E. said...

Congratulations, Renee. It was great meeting you at the June EWW Conference. I'm looking forward to seeing your work published. :)

Debbie Cairo said...

Yay Renee! We are so proud of our EVIE winners. I can't wait to run out and get your book (maybe run to my computer :) )
I wish you much more success for the future.

Darla M Sands said...

The book sounds great! I really enjoyed the interview.