ReNita A. Burgess is a #1 national best-selling author who refers to herself as a southern belle, but she becomes just about anyone she wants whenever she writes. Writing has always been a passion of hers for as long she can remember; it’s her escape place. Many find it hard to believe that she has published over 30 books of different genres; horror, romance, inspiration, children’s, and suspense. ReNita has been on both television and radio interviews regarding her collection of books.
ReNita discovered her passion for writing at the age of 8 years old. She was always inspired by authors such as Ann M. Martin, The Babysitters Club and R.L Stine, Goosebumps. While sitting at the back of class, her teacher noticed she wasn’t paying attention to the chalkboard because she was too busy writing stories and staring out the window. Just as the teacher was going to argue with ReNita for ignoring the lesson, she suddenly became impressed as she read ReNita’s stories and poems to the class and made her promise that she would become an author someday. That encouragement would prompt her to stay true to her dream.
When ReNita isn’t busy pounding the keyboard, she’s either working out, watching sitcoms or online shopping. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ashley University; in which she graduated cum laude. She currently resides in South Carolina with her spoiled dog and large family.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
Hi Jimmetta, thanks for having me! I believe it was around the 3 rd grade when I discovered my love for writing because I was so obsessed with reading books. Every time the teacher would take the class to the library once a week I would get so excited. I started to write my own books out of cardboard paper and pasted writing paper inside with photos, creating my own book. (laughs) The teacher was so amazed that she read it
to the whole class and shared it with the other teachers down the hall. She told me “ReNita, when you grow up you had better be a writer. Do you hear me?” and of course I heard her because here I am today being interviewed by you. (laughs) The thing I love about being a writer is creating people in this little world called my mind and bringing them to life. As a writer I’m able to escape any place which is almost like a super power.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My most recent book is a #1 best seller called Crazy Love: The Doc Singletary Story. It’s inspired by a true story of a man who murdered his wife and a few other people in the 1980s. What’s crazy is that the killer in the book is based on my uncle who is incarcerated. READERS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THE SUSPENSE! I have written over thirty books and I have so many different genres: romance, suspense, horror, children’s, motivational, multicultural and interracial. You can find more information on http://www.renitaslibrary.com
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
What’s interesting is that I take out bits and pieces of my stories from my own life and I just get creative. Sometimes I can be watching a crazy movie on Lifetime and I get inspired with my own twist.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
Let’s see, I don’t really have a schedule when I write but I love to write early in the mornings when the writing juices are ripe (laughs) I outline my novels if I am having writer’s block, yes, because I feel it helps the story to flow better and doesn’t take too much time. I’ll set up a goal to complete a chapter a day if I am working on a book with fifteen to twenty chapters (which means I would be completed within fifteen to twenty days.) I am letting my next project be a surprise so stay tuned!!!! Ssssshh! (laughs)
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
Girl, when I was in the 11 th grade we had to read a book called Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, I believe. My favorite author to read (rubs chin and laughs) I have so many. Do I have to pick one? I’m a big fan of Eric Jerome Dickey and Zora Neal Hurston. A book I’m currently reading is One Night by Eric Jerome Dickey.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
My most significant achievement as a writer is that I’m able to step out of my comfort zone and write different genres with over 30 titles at my age. I like the fact that I have been interviewed on television twice in 2012, that was pretty awesome… but I don’t count that as a big achievement. Hmmm in the next five years, I believe that my books will possibly be turned into a short film or that I’ll write my first play. That is something that is totally out of my comfort zone. I’ve always acted in plays, not written them.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional and self-publishing?
Yes, I was rejected once by a publishing company which later went out of business so that was a funny story. (laughs.) I feel like being rejected in anything teaches you to be better and stronger with your work and with yourself. The key is to keep going and to not give up so you won’t reject yourself. I believe that the publishing industry is changing in order to keep up with what’s in the ‘now’ and the new generation. I’m very old school and we’re pretty simple, ya know.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself?
When I first started out as a writer of course I hated reading my work because it was tiring. As I matured as a writer, I had to put myself in the reader’s shoes as I read back over my work and that is what i feel makes your book a success. You have to be able to enjoy reading your own stuff if you want others to as well.
9) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
No, that is not true at all. I believe that dreams and goals can be accomplished at any age. The good thing about writing is that it never gets out of style and it doesn’t expire. The famous author Toni Morrison was 39 when she published her first book.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Writing helps me to release so much inside of me and it also allows me to inspire others. The unique quality about me is that I’m able to become different characters in different settings with just words on paper. I pour my heart, soul and mind into my work with every effort of sweat from my expressions. I feel that without that much quality from myself then my work would be meaningless to me.