Good Gladys & Socialite 1 by Martin Renaud – Interview, This or That & Giveaway

Welcome to Author Martin Renaud

I am a single father (widower) of two teenagers living in Maple Ridge British Columbia (near Vancouver). I have degrees in Biology and Psychology (Masters) and abandoned a PhD that was going nowhere to start a couple software companies. I stopped working for a couple years to care for my wife until she passed from cancer. Since then I have stayed home to raise my children and spend most of my time shuttling them to various activities and writing. My hobbies include writing songs and playing tennis.

Links

Interview

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Future – I am hopeful that famine, most diseases, and social issues are things that we will overcome. I would really like to visit that world!

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The ability to heal others with a simple touch. I gave one of my favourite characters in my YA series “Socialite1” a subtle form of that ability. I imagine my email inbox would get full rather quickly though.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Vanilla – it is the base for an infinite set of possibilities depending on my mood – add chocolate sauce, cook up some fruit as a topping or add it to cake, pie, cookies. I think it is the ice cream flavour that stimulates the imagination.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I am currently writing a YA scifi novel. I have also mapped out the next set of Socialite books, the Socialite 2 series and have mapped out another Good Gladys book, which I may begin writing early next year.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
In elementary school I really enjoyed Farley Mowat’s “Never Cry Wolf” and especially “The Curse of the Viking Grave.”

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Socialite came to me with its own soundtrack. The main characters each have a song at some point of the story. In Book 1 for example there is fifteen year old Jacob Liebes’ song, Wander Free. At the end of book 2 his life has totally changed so his song needed to change too; Book 3 begins with his transformation song, Traces of Places. My favourite is Jacob’s mom’s song in Book 4, My Little Jewel, a song about conscience. The whole four book Socialite project, including the many songs and poems featured in the story came about very quickly over a three month period,

If you could only watch one TV show over an over, what would it be?
Fawlty Towers, definitely. Reruns are usually a waste of time, but not with this classic. Everything about it, the acting, writing, direction, etc are done to perfection. Years ago I bought the complete set of scripts for the show, written by Connie Booth and John Cleese. Reading them is just as fun as watching the show. I can’t think of too many series on television that could compare (Dick Van Dyke might come close.)

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
Something frivolous at first, like Blizzards at Dairy Queen for my kids.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is.…
Phantom of the Opera. I love the pacing, the tension and the descriptions of the characters

Favorite places to travel?
For hot spots, the Caribbean, especially St. Martin. San Francisco is my favorite city, I would love to go there again, and again ….

Favorite smell?
Freshly baked banana chocolate chip muffins

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Currently, Yan Martel author of Life of Pi. I love his writing in general but especially his description of a pear in Beatrice and Virgil.

Who or what inspired your last book?
I was in the process of writing a scene in Socialite about believability – the alien family was trying to gently tell their neighbours who they were and where they came from without scaring them too much. My mind started to wander about things people might find hard to believe. I started thinking about psychics and their wild stories that get believed all the time. The basic storyline of Good Gladys then just happened – I wrote it down immediately (didn’t get much sleep that night.) I told my teenaged son about it on the way to school that morning and he loved it – almost 2 years later it is finally finished!

If you were on Death Row what would your last meal be?
Tortiere, a family recipe that we make once a year, always on Remembrance Day, beginning right after the minute of silence for veterans. My kids, my mom and I spend the day making these meat pies, which are served at our family’s Boxing Day dinner and gift exchange.

Happiest moment in your life so far?
First kiss with my wife – I still remember the exact moment, as clear as if it happened yesterday: November 17th 1985, about 6:30 am in the little town of Hope, British Columbia on our way home after a ski trip with friends.

What words or expression do you overuse?
“That” is a recent one. My editor Sylvia surprised me during the first round of editing of Good Gladys when she pointed out I had recently become enamored with the word. I hadn’t noticed. She suggested dozens of places in the text where “that” was redundant.

How do you come up with the characters names?
Some names just come spontaneously, others only after a methodical search of name meanings in various languages. Good Gladys was one that just popped into my head, probably due to the partial alliteration. The investigator in that book, Byrne Aase, came about in pieces. I first thought of his character: a guy who is continuously burned by happenstance. While searching for a  surname I came across the name Aase and his nickname, Sauce, immediately seemed so right for this alcoholic in denial.

Favorite restaurant?
Anton’s on Hastings in Vancouver BC – consistently good and reasonably priced Italian food. I’ve been going there for decades, starting when I was an undergrad at Simon Fraser University: one order could feed three university students for under $10.

Do your friends or enemies ever find themselves in your books?
Most of my characters share some similarities with people I have met. The only really overt instance of this is in the tailor in Good Gladys. He is very similar in manner and appearance to a dear tailor from my past, who was also a dance instructor – my wife and I took ballroom dance lessons from him just after we were married. One of the nicest guys I have ever met. I still buy my suits from him.

Do your characters really talk to you?
They each have a distinct voice. I don’t know how this happens. In Good Gladys the secret service agent Beto Torres and the Governor of California were both Latino and I heard them that way right from their conception. The craziest instance of this was when wrote the dialogue for the London banker’s wife. Each line came to me as if delivered by a deep and husky voice. It was hilarious, especially in the context of her one and only scene in which this petite lady with a huge bosom demands to see her son, held captive by a state senator. The character just began sounding like a baritone, so I wrote her lines the way I heard her say them in my head.

This or That

TV or Movies?
Movies

Hot or Cold?
Hot

Night owl, or early bird?
Night owl

Regular or Diet?
Regular

Coke or Pepsi?
Coke

Horror or Romance?
Horror

Action or Drama?
Action

Pizza or Pasta?
Pizza

Skittles or M&Ms?
M&Ms

Sweet or Salty?
Sweet

Harry Potter or Twilight?
Potter

Gum or Breath Mints?
Mints

PC or Mac?
Mac

Beach or Pool?
Beach

Shoes or Sandals?
Sandals

Cats or Dog?
Cats

Apples or Oranges?
Apples

Text or Talk?
Talk

Good Gladys: Embrace the Dead by Martin Renaud

News reports that the famous psychic Good Gladys is missing coincide with the brutal stabbing of her business manager. Gladys’s daughter Dara asks an old friend, private investigator Byrne Aase (aka Sauce), to help find the murderer. She claims that the man the police have in custody is innocent. In fact, she believes that the accused is her mother, having been transformed into a man during a seance gone awry.

Socialite 1 Series
UNKNOWN TO A SMALL community in Mission British Columbia, an alien family from the planet Zozia has been living in their midst for many years. They came to Earth to marry their beautiful daughter Elle Amis to a human and send them to Zozia to save the planet from extinction. The alien family, the Amis, are unaware that a well known public figure is also from the planet Zozia and is creating havoc with the world’s communication systems.

Book 1:
IN THE QUIET TOWN of Mission, the self-assured, intelligent and talented fifteen-year-old Jacob Liebe has finally met young, demure Elle Amis, his mesmerizing and gorgeous neighbour who has never left her home in the fourteen years she has resided across the street from him. Elle’s parents, Ray and Grace, selected Jacob for Elle when both kids were babies, then waited in silence and seclusion until the time was right for them to meet.  When Jacob spontaneously invites her to his home for a night of games and music with friends and family he is blissfully unaware that resplendent Elle has been covertly preparing to use her beauty, intelligence and other-worldly seductive charms on Jacob.

Book 2:
THE CRITICAL FIRST STAGE of the Amis’ mission was a resounding success. Fantastically cunning and manipulative fourteen-year-old Elle Amis has creatively inserted herself into the lives of her neighbours, the Liebes, simultaneously shattering the emotional barrier between Jacob and his chosen protector and guardian Ryan Poole, Jacob’s former enemy, and, establishing an initial bond of affection between herself and Jacob. As the Christmas season approaches, and their relationship strengthens, Jacob remains unaware of Elle’s ultimate plans for his life. Her parents, Ray and Grace, however, are distracted by the destruction of Socialite servers around the world, and the associated catastrophes that are killing hundreds of people. Ray’s investigations lead him to suspect that Benny, a persuasive and wealthy evangelist, is the cyberterrorist. Ray uncovers a link between the Socialite attacks, Benny’s organization and the events of Jacob’s previous novelty night, that threatens the safety of Elle, Jacob and all of their friends. Ray realizes that their mission may be lost unless he cautiously reveals some of his secrets to the Liebes so they can help stop Benny before it’s too late.

Book 3:
“BENNY IS ONLY PARTIALLY human, I mean genetically. Morally, he appears to be one hundred percent human.” The Amis share this knowledge with the Liebes as they attempt to reveal the truth about themselves, their mission and their nemesis. Elle and Jacob’s impetuousness has forced the Amis into revealing themselves to their neighbours. In addition, Benny has threatened them all, so Elle must leave, with or without Jacob as soon as possible. His terrorism is creating havoc around the world, killing thousands and costing billions of dollars. The Amis have no doubt that Benny will eventually find a way to penetrate their defenses, and carry out his threat. Jacob must decide, with the help of his family and friends, if he will accompany Elle.

Book 4:
SITTING ACROSS THE TABLE from Ray in the DarkRoast coffee shop, Benny tells him: “You owe me!” What could Benny want? Ray accepted Benny’s terms before, leaving Socialite alone, eventhough it meant that Benny could continue to destroy data servers, resulting in thousands of deaths around the world. So far Benny has kept his word by not interfering with Ray’s plans to get Elle and Jacob safely on their mission. Or has he? Benny has always been a step ahead of the Amis. Ray and his family do not even know why Benny is causing so much destruction. Soon they will find out … but can they stop him?

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Good Gladys
1 set of all 4 books in the Socialite Series
Paperback open to US & Canada only
Ebooks available Internationally
Ends 12/7/12

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