Renee Collins’s debut novel, RELIC, just came out from Entangled Teen, and Renee was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book, and more!
Please welcome Renee to the blog!
Congrats on the new release! The old west, magical creatures…I’m there! Will you tell us a little about RELIC and what inspired you to write it?
Thank you so much! RELIC is a story that blends the Old West setting with magic. It’s part historical, part adventure, and part fantasy. I’ve always loved the idea of blending fantasy and history. Probably because I was a History major in college and a lifelong fan of magic and fantasy worlds. I finally got my idea to blend the two after reading the incredible novel These is My Words. I thought to myself, “Wow, the Old West is a cool setting. You know what would make it even cooler? MAGIC.” And thus, the idea for RELIC started to take shape.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background?
I’ve always been a writer. I read like crazy, and my first dabbling in fiction started in 4th grade when I created my own American Girl, and wrote the first book in her series. I started a lot of stories that I never finished, and wrote A LOT of poetry in high school, but I didn’t sit down and seriously decide to write a novel, with the intent of publication, until the summer my daughter was born.
I have to ask…how did you celebrate when you found out Relic would be published?
I was visiting my family at the time for my little sister’s bridal shower. So, that was pretty fun. When I got back home, my husband ran up to me and hugged me for a very long time. It totally made me cry. (Happy tears, of course!) Then, I’m sure we went out to dinner, because I love going out to dinner.
What did you love most about writing your heroine, Maggie Davis, and why should we root for her?
I love that Maggie is strong, but not necessarily the “kick butt” type. I think it’s important to see that variety. Not every girl needs to know how to shoot a bow and arrow or deliver a roundhouse kick to a bad guy’s face. Strength can manifest in courage, determination and loyalty. And Maggie has all of those qualities. She’s not perfect, but she’s not going to let her mistakes define her.
Did you do any special research for Relic, since it doesn’t take place in present day?
Definitely. I had to research a ton. Everything from Apache culture, to appropriate Old West terminology, to the parts of a stagecoach. Lots of work, but also pretty fun!
Are there any books or authors that have influenced your writing more than others?
It’s hard to say. I definitely have favorite authors, but I don’t know that I dare say my work is influenced by them, because that just sounds like wishful thinking. I love Fitzgerald and Steinbeck, but is my writing anything close to as good as theirs? Nope.
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
It might be cliche, but I’m going to say the Harry Potter books.
When you’re not working on your next project, how do you like to spend your free time?
I love hanging out with my family and my friends. Play board games is always fun. (Settlers of Catan, anyone?) I also love to swim and mountain bike.
What’s next for you?
Writing and more writing. I’m working on the sequel to RELIC and editing another project that is very special to me. And of course, a small army of shiny new ideas beckon to me from distant shores. Soon, little SNIs. Soon.
After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive the best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.
Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.
Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.
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