Pretty and prolific in a tiara...
I can't remember when I started following and chatting with Cameo on Facebook...it's been a while. She has always been a positive voice in the writing world. She's approachable, funny, and #damndaniel is she a prolific writer! She recently went to PennedCon and won YA Author of the Year 2016! A huge congrats to you Cameo. So without further delay, here is Cameo:
1. You moved from Maui, Hawaii to Alaska. That is quite a move. What is it like in Alaska? Is it really like the movies...wildlife running around? How do you sleep when it's light? Or wake up when it's dark?
I did, and a lot of people ask me...WHY? I actually LOVE Alaska. The scenery is gorgeous and I feel like I can breathe here. Don't get me wrong, Maui is gorgeous as well, but I was getting rock fever. I mean, you can only travel around the island so much before it gets boring, and I spent most of my life there. Plus, it was hot all the time and there are no seasonal changes. That's one thing I love about Alaska. I love watching landscapes change with the seasons. We do get to see moose, squirrels, and the occasional porcupine squished on the road, but I still haven't seen a bear. That's a good thing, but one of these days I'd like to see one from a safe distance, and get a photo for proof! haha!! As far as sleeping, I have no problem. We have black-out curtains for the summer, and during the winter...well it's really hard to wake up.
2. I see you like the 1980s. What's the draw? What's your favorite movie and song from the 80s?
I was in middle and high school in the 80's. I did the whole break-dancing thing...or at least tried. I had the crazy hair and crazy clothes with accessories. I really don't like to look back at those pictures because I know I look completely ridiculous. As far as songs...gosh, there were so many good ones. I listened to a lot of Def Leppard. Guns N' Roses, Bon Jovi...etc.
3. You've got 2 really cool series: The Hidden Wings and After Light Saga. What inspired your vision of each world you created?
Well, thanks! I love both of those worlds. The Hidden Wings world was inspired after I wrote In My Dreams. I loved the idea of having guardian angels, and knew there were some that had a story to tell. I was surprised at how easy the world building was, and how loud the characters were. It seemed to flow for me. I really miss the characters now that the series is over, but I might go back and revisit them with a few spin-offs in the future.
As for the After Light Saga...my husband and I love to watch those survival and prepping shows, so I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could create a post-apocalyptic world with survivors. I wasn't expecting it to really go anywhere, but it's turned into something larger than I expected. It's been a lot of fun to write Abi's story, but the world building is a lot harder! Because there are scenarios, which could actually happen, I had to do a lot more research. I wanted suspense, but didn't want zombies, so I created the Arvy's - genetically mutated humans that survived the radiation, but are still smart. They also have a burning hatred for the survivors, who left them on the topside to suffer all those years. So now, those returning to the topside not only have to survive the planet, they have to survive the mutants who are dead set on killing them. [...like smart zombies!!! Holy crap!]
4. What are your writing rituals? You're a mom, too. How do you write and balance your family life?
Balancing writing and family is hard, but I always make sure that my family comes first...unless I'm on a deadline. Then everyone has to fend for themselves. haha!! I usually write at night, when everyone is quiet and asleep. I NEED my headphones on with music, and coffee and peppermints are a must! I don't know what it is, but they help. [She's a woman after my own heart! The coffee...]
5. OOH!!! You have a short film coming out based on ARV-3. I'm excited about this!! Tell us all about this project?
YES! Well, I was lucky to have a cousin who is married to an independent film-maker. (Timid Monster) After she read ARV-3 she told her husband that he should do something with it. It started with talks of creating a book trailer, but as it started progressing, it turned into something bigger. I was lucky to have been able to be a part of it. They're still working on perfecting the short-film, but I'm so excited to share it once it's finished!!! It's AWESOME!!!
6. What is it you like about the dystopian genre? Is there a message about humanity in there you'd like to share?
The dystopian genre is pretty oppressive, but also exciting. Because of the world we live in, survival shows have become a "thing". It's exciting to watch someone being thrown into a situation, with no food or water (and sometimes naked), and watch them survive. I try to instill hope and love into all of my stories. If we all stick together, helping each other, working through the differences while surviving, there is hope for a better future.
7. So, you've just begun writing your first contemporary romance. How's that going? How is writing this different from your usual genre work? Tell us all about it. Who are you collaborating with for the anthology?
Oh boy. I was scared at first because there is really nothing to hold up the story besides the romance and whatever revolves around that romance. Writing paranormal or sci-fi, you can do whatever you want with the world and it's okay. Like throwing in mutants, or angels, or demons, or scary made-up creatures. But as I started writing this contemporary romance, I began falling in love with the two main characters and their story. It's going to be part of the Love in the 80's Anthology.
Here is the info:
Love in the 80s: A New Adult Mix is a collection of ten contemporary romance, new adult, stand-alone novellas set in the 1980s. Written by award-winning and bestselling authors, one digital novella will be released on the last Friday of each month January - October in 2016.
The title of each love story will be a hit song from the year that the novella represents. The totally awesome authors include: Casey L. Bond, Lindy Zart, Cambria Hebert, Amber Lynn Natusch, Misty Provencher, Rebecca Yarros, Rachel Higginson, RK Ryals, Cameo Renae and Chelsea Fine.
Love in the 80s: A New Adult Mix was created by UTOPiAcon founder, Janet Wallace, and is co-produced with award-winning book cover designer, Regina Wamba (together they are WaWa Productions).
8. Who has influenced you as a writer? And if you could only have one book on a deserted island for a year, which book would it be?
I would have to say C.S. Lewis was my first huge influence. The Chronicles of Narnia swept me away into an imaginary world that I was lost in. I was with the children on all their adventures and never wanted it to end.
And...yikes! If I could have one book on a deserted island for a year, it would have to be something long that I haven't read yet. I have Stephen King's Under the Dome sitting on my shelf. It's huge, so I would probably take that.
9. Recently, you celebrated your 25 wedding anniversary. CONGRATS!! Can you tell us your "how we met" story? And what's the secret to love?
THANK YOU! Yeah, 25 years is a long time!!! We actually grew up in the same church together, but he was 11 years older than me. It's actually funny, because while I was in children's choir, he was the president of the sanctuary choir. It wasn't until I was a senior in high school that we connected. His sister took a few of us over to his house, and I remember thinking...HOLY CRAP, he's so handsome! Months later, he and another guy started a youth ministry at my Grandma's house. It was fate. It was pretty obvious I had a crush on him, and was later shocked that the feeling was mutual.Whenever I saw him, those crazy butterflies would go wild in my stomach, We would talk on the phone (a real phone) for hours. I remember falling asleep and waking up with him still on the other line. He'd say "good morning" before he left for work, and I couldn't wait until the end of each day to talk to him again.
We ended up eloping, which didn't go well with my family, but we made it work and now they LOVE him. I think the secret to staying love is making sure it's unconditional. Never take the other person for granted and never take things too seriously, because that's when things start to fall apart. Be silly. Laugh a lot. Make time for each other. Remind each other how much you love them, even if it's in the littlest ways. When I'm in the writing cave, on a deadline and tired, he'll sometimes bring me coffee or my favorite snack. My husband is my best friend and my biggest fan. We stay up late and watch movies together, talk about our future, and try and get through this crazy adventure called life. But through the trials and fires, and ups and downs, we both know that when all else fails...we still have each other.
10. At the end of all things, when light fades to darkness, what's the only thing that's real?
Love. It transforms and transcends. And knowing that you loved deeply, and were loved as deeply...makes it all worth it.
Find Cameo Renae at all these media spots :)