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Aretha Renia is a Mississippi native that holds close to her belief that God, family, love, and literature are the four most important things in this world. Born, in a small town in the northern part of the Hospitality State,her love for literature began at the tender age of four. Already able to read, she nurtured that gift and let it guide her into writing. During her younger years, she enjoyed writing short stories for the entertainment of her friends. As she grew older those stories began to entertain both the students and the faculty of her local high school.
After high school, Aretha Renia placed her aspirations to become a great American romance novelist on hold to go off to college, seeking a degree in English literature. Unhappy with college life, she soon took another path. She became a wife and a mother. It was not until the failure of her second marriage did she return to her writing. Her dream had been halted but not forgotten.
Now the mother of four and grandmother has three published BBW romances and one religious fiction already published and ready for purchase and two more BBW romances waiting in the wings to be released.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Mississippi? Growing up, most of the people that I met not from Mississippi had this backwards idea that the state was filled with prejudice illiterates that could not pronounce basic words because we possessed the worst southern drawl ever imaginable. I used to think it was funny how people reacted when I told them where I was from. The truth is that this is a state full of beauty and talent like you could not believe. I am so proud to be able to write stories that I can incorporate descriptive screens from my beloved stated into.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I've wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember. I am a great fan of William Shakespeare and Nora Roberts. I remember someone, a could I think, used to have all these purple wine glasses coming to her in the mail when I was in my early teens. I wanted those glasses. That was when I was first introduced to Harlequin romances. I remember wanting to be a writer just so my name could be on the front of one of those books. This is when I decided I wanted to be a romance writer. It took a long for me to refine that broad genre into BBW romance.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I was always what my family liked to simply refer to as "different". I am bookworm who was born into a family of athletes. While everyone else was out trying to win trophies and awards for being the fastest or strongest, I just wanted to be the literate. So, I would have to say that my upbringing tried to deter me from seeking a career as a writer but only ended up making the desire stronger in me.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? At age 17, a published children's author took me under her wing to help me seek publication. Unfortunately, I let naysayers get to me. I did not start back trying to become a published author until I was 33. My first book was published at age 34. I've had poetry published in anthologies here and there throughout the years.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Just after the publication of my first book, a young lady from the UK sent me an email. In it she stated how she struggled with self-esteem and how she never thought she was beautiful or worthy to be loved. Then she told me that my book changed her life. She said that the way I incorporated true feelings and experiences into my story made her realize that she was not alone, and that she only needed to lover herself to be worthy of love. This was the single most beautiful moment of my writing career. I've had other moments like this since then, but with this being the first, it made me feel really good about what I was writing.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? When I published my third book, it was the first book that I self-published. Holding that book in my hand was the best moment in my publishing experience. I did that!! From start to finish, it was me.
How many published books do you have? Right now I have three published BBW romances, one religious fiction, and two more BBW romances awaiting final approval.
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? The titles come to me after I begin writing. Sometimes I'll have completed the manuscript, but it usually happens about halfway through.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write BBW romance. For those who don't know what this is, it is big beautiful, women romances. I chose this genre because it was something I could relate to. I am a BBW. I also write religious fiction, but BBW is my passion.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? I would like Love for Kenya feature. It was my first book, and I am getting ready to leave my original publishing house and self-publish this book.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? This book is my theme song, of sorts. It is my coming into my own book. I learned to appreciate and love myself while writing this book.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Don't give up on your passion. If you love writing, write!
Who is your favorite author and why? Nora Roberts is my favorite author. She introduced me to imagery in romance. Her descriptiveness and attention to detail inspired me.
Kenya Marcus owns the best retailer of plus-size clothing in Hilltop, Mississippi, and its surrounding counties. She has a wonderful staff and a great apartment. The one thing that she does not have is love.
She has spent her entire life believing that she was not worthy to be loved until her grandmother’s dying gift gave her the chance for a new start.
Daniel Robinson left Hilltop right after high school. He has been gone for twenty years, but now he’s back. He has returned to be closer to his mother, but when he gets there he finds more than he bargained for. He and Kenya form a friendship that turns out to be something wonderful and special. His heart opens to her sweet nature, and he find himself wanting more.
Will Daniel be able to put her insecurities to rest and face a few fears of his own to express His Love for Kenya?
Raiyne Brown never thought she’d end up as a single mother on the run from the father of her unborn child, but fear of losing her baby to the rich and powerful Michael Harris has her afraid and confused.
Micheal Harris did not realize until it was too late that Raiyne had no idea that he was married, but now with Raiyne on the run with his only hope of ever being a father, he needs help. That is why he’s called in his estranged brother to find her, but will Drew help him once he meets Raiyne?
Ever notice how church folks are always talking about good the Lord is? While it is true, the Lord is good, take a ride down to Mississippi where the Real church story is being told. Find out what church folks don't want you to know about church.
Coming Soon: Sweet Gum by Aretha Renia
Angel Morgan had always loved to read and write romance, but had never experienced any real romance of her own. As she prepares to help her sister celebrate her anniversary, could this event bring her the love she thought she would never find?
Jordan Dawson had read and loved the romantic tale, "Sweet Gum". Right from the start of the book, he loved the heroic leading lady of the story. When he met the writer of the tale in person at his cousin's wedding anniversary party, he wanted to know if the author was just as intriguing as her character