Monday, January 26, 2015

The Devil to Pay by Renee Bernard - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $50 B&N or Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for stopping by It's Raining Books to chat with us. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

I began in historical romances and will probably never abandon it completely. Historicals were my first love as a reader and you know what they say about your first. There is something essentially magical about pulling a reader away from their modern life and into the fantasy of Victorian England. I love the constraints of the period and I believe it adds more power to every rule-breaking romance when the simplest misstep meant social exile and scandal.

But I never wanted to be boxed into being only known for one genre and as publishing doors began to shift and open, I made the decision to take on more and challenge myself in new genres where traditional publishers would never let me go. With The Eternity Gambit series, I am making my debut with romantic comedy and light paranormal romances. Of course, it’s still me so rule-breaking is to be expected.

The authors at the PNR tables always looked like they were having so much fun at conferences and I was envious of those inside jokes about shape shifters. But when I heard anyone talking about werewolves, my quirky brain would start thinking about what kind of shedding issues would crop up the first time a girl tried to vacuum the apartment she shared with Mr. Midnight Howler? Vampires inspired similar lines of campy jokes and I had to face the truth. It was clear I was never going to write paranormal with a straight face.

What world-building is required?

Turning Heaven and Hell into an office comedy meant an oddly authentic reliance on what is already out there. It may have helped that my father was a minister and Navy Chaplain so I had a strong understanding of the construct I was going to drastically alter. Beyond the Bible, I pulled up multiple doctrines, dogmatic writings and books on mythical references for the creatures on both sides of the divide.

Most fictional books with angels and demons play on a grand Good vs. Evil scheme and it would have been the obvious choice to pick that up and just give characters new fancy weapons and armor to make it fun.

Yuck! I hate obvious choices.

I think when you’re world building, the braver you are when you cross those lines, the better it is. I spent a lot of time ensuring that the details were consistent, that if someone threw a temper tantrum about all the Archangels playing poker on Thursday nights to socialize, I was prepared. I try to never make random choices and I encourage other writers to look at the little details as big opportunities. From the beverage your hero picks up to the cut of his coat…every image adds to a reader’s experience and can bring depth to the story.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

From my hero, Lucifer, I learned that even if you are in a job or position in life that is miserable, there is honor and solace in doing your best. It may not be pretty but you take what you can, give what you have and love whenever the chance comes.

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Let’s see. I’m all about building a playlist for each book so that as I work I have my own soundtracks for inspiration or to prod me into the right mindset on those mornings when I’m not feeling it. If I’m writing a love scene, I light scented candles or incense to try to relax and turn off my internal censors. I talk to myself and read scenes out loud to make sure the timing and flow is working which may explain why my cats like to sit on top of the printer and stare at me. (I provide dinner and a show.) I have a cup of tea going all the time and am notorious for reheating it twelve times as I forget to actually drink the stuff—or for losing my cup as I wander around the house talking to myself.

I won’t read fiction while I’m writing to protect my headspace. I avoid news programs (except for Jon Stewart) and as much gritty reality television as I can. My husband has likened me to the world’s weirdest hermit because my office looks like a book troll’s sanctuary but I am happiest in my writing cave.

My only superstition is that I don’t ever type the words “the end”. When a book or project is done, it is “finis”.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’m essentially a plotter once I have the seeds of character/story. I outline the book in very basic terms to give myself a framework to build on. The plan is loose enough for inspiration to strike but tight enough to keep a wandering brain like mine on track to meet her goals.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

It looks pretty standard over there. There is a statue of a Celtic warrior queen, my printer, a file box, a twelve inch diameter green quartz globe in a metal stand, my pen holder jammed with way too many pens, a hatbox of craft supplies, pillar candles, a glass mosaic box hiding my stash of writing chocolate and a generously, messy spread of paper. (I think I need to clean up my desk a bit.) The paper tends to be writing notes, research bits and pieces, bills and correspondence and my children’s art work which they love to drop off and tape to my work area.

As I survey it, it occurs to me that I have an office supply fetish that I may need to address at some point. I mean, how many pens does one woman really require?

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m working on the follow up novels for DEVIL TO PAY, so readers can look forward to more with DEVIL MAY CARE, DEVIL OF A JOB and DEVIL IN THE DETAILS. Apparently, I just haven’t gotten it out of my system yet and the employees of Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc) are too fun to leave hanging.

But I also have a new historical romance series coming out, “The Duchess Club”, which will include THE WICKED DUCHESS, THE WILLFUL DUCHESS, THE WANTON DUCHESS and THE WILD DUCHESS. For fans of the Victorian set romances, it should be a very satisfying ride. I’m aiming for sizzling summer reads.

And then because I have a problem setting limits, I am also planning on a dystopian romance in a world I’ve created called THE IMBALANCE. It’s one of the riskiest projects I have but I’ve been working on it and holding it close for a long time. It will either shake things up and redefine where I can go as a writer, or just be that book of the heart that gets discovered after I’m gone. We’ll see.

How’s that for an action-packed 2015?

Do you have a question for our readers?

When you find a new author you like or love, do you like to reach out to them via email, FB, or a good review? Or are you afraid you’ll get signed up for a newsletter you didn’t want?

Workplace comedy is always fun but when the company in question in H.E.LLc (Hades Enterprises LLc) and your job is being Lucifer, let's just say, there are some unique challenges beyond Casual Fridays and who keeps taking your lunch out of the break room. Even if Hell really is just a place where evil is tracked and analyzed in endless cubicles-no brimstone and not a human soul in sight-there's no room for error. This Lucifer (who is the seventh unlucky archangel to get the position behind the black onyx desk) is about to have his entire world rattled when a very sweet and likable mortal woman crosses his path.

After all, angels can't lie. And when Jayne Hamilton wants to know what he does for a living, all bets are off. Because "dating" isn't exactly in the cosmic scheme of the Eternity Gambit, but Love... Well, Love is never really off the table.

Now, if Lucifer can just figure out how to win the girl and get himself fired, he'll be one very very happy angel.

"Filled with sparkling wit and devilish charm, DEVIL TO PAY is a delightful visit to the Shangri-La of Hell!" -- Erin Quinn, The Three Fates of Ryan Love, NYT Bestselling Author

"Only Renee Bernard could make dating Satan sexy as sin! Funny, fresh, irreverent and utterly adorable!" - Dakota Cassidy, National Bestselling Author

First book in the new Eternity Gambit series from USA Today bestselling author Renee Bernard. This is a romantic comedy series with an original paranormal twist that defies categorization and turns every notion of Heaven and Hell on its ear.

Enjoy an excerpt:
“Smitten without a prayer,” Lucifer regained his focus on the present moment. “There’s no Sanction for me.”

“Wrong,” Uriel said softly. “How many people have walked into your building’s lobby in the last seventy-five years?”

Lucifer calculated his answer trying to remember. “Two. Besides her, I think it’s two.”

“Invited?” Uriel asked.

“Of course! Mortals can’t even see the structure unless—“ Lucifer stopped himself. “Oh, my God!”

Uriel smiled in triumph. “See? Sanctioned.”

“What did I just miss?” Raphael put the cards in the box.

“She found him without an invitation. She walked in of her own free will and unless it was Sanctioned, Management would have never allowed it.” Uriel smugly folded his hands like a magician revealing his best trick. “I’d say Michael’s going to eat his own hat when he finds out.”

Lucifer was speechless as he absorbed the implications.

Sanctioned. Was it really true that she’d been allowed to come to me? That there’s a chance? It’s all still human free will and the long shot of the millennia, but oh, God…thank you. I’ll have to get Malcolm to send you a gift in the morning for this one!

Luke shoved the chips at Azrael and excused himself with a bow. “I hate to win and run, but I have to see a Demon about a fruit basket.”

He instantly vanished and Raphael’s laughter filled the room. “You gotta love his exit lines!”

About the Author:

What in the world is a retired Navy chaplain’s daughter doing writing scorching hot historical romances and paranormal romantic comedies and even comic books? Renee Bernard is applying a great education from traveling all over the world to story telling and doing her best to keep her father proud. Truthfully, her father is her number one fan, even though he has sworn never to read a single word of her books (a vow he has kept to this day!) Nothing stops him from telling everyone he knows that his daughter is now a USA Today Bestselling author or from handing out bookmarks on the golf course. Love can make even a minister do strange things!

Renee Bernard is a freelance writer and host of “The Romance Bookmark” on Readers Entertainment, as well as a contributor to Romantic Times BookReviews magazine. Renee currently lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. (Note an interesting proximity to great wineries!)

DEVIL TO PAY is available now online wherever books are sold and is coming soon to Audio! The Eternity Gambit series is a fun departure from her well-known Victorian set historical romances and creates a new world for readers unlike any other. DEVIL TO PAY is the first book in this new series and is gathering up 5-Star reviews and momentum as more readers discover that office politics can hit a whole new level of crazy when you work at Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc).

For more information, please visit her website at or

You can also find her at:

Facebook at Renee Bernard Fan Page -
Twitter: @ReneeBernard

Buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords, or Barnes and Noble.

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  1. Renee,

    Looking forward to book 2 in your paranormal series. Talk about some A+ world building.

  2. I love the interview!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  3. Great interview and excerpt; thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Just posting to say hello and to thank everyone for stopping by! Not sure why but my previous posts disappeared! This is the first stop on my blog tour and I feel honored to be here.

  5. You really did a lot of research for this story. It really sounds so fascinating. I can hardly wait to read it.

  6. This books looks like a lot of fun to read. From the author's question, occasionally I will email the author with questions or how much that I enjoyed their book.

  7. sounds like a REALLY good book! Going to check it out of amazon now.

  8. Enjoyed reading the interview, thank you!

  9. Enjoyed reading your interview today

  10. i liked the interview

  11. I liked the excerpt!



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