America’s Favorite Couple: Interview with the Author
Bright Little Light Press: America’s Favorite Couple has just launched, and we’ve sat down with Renee Darcy to discuss her first romance novel.
BLLP: Inquiring minds want to know, Renee: what was your inspiration for this story?
Renee: *Laughs* Well, my husband makes fun of me for it, but I may watch a little reality TV now and again. Perhaps even the shows where a bunch of people get together in a mansion – or an exotic beach destination – on a journey to find love. In fact, I might even be guilty of reading some popular reality TV websites about what’s going to happen on the show.
Renee: And I thought: what must it really be like to be on that kind of show? Who goes on one of those things actually looking to find love? And the more I read about it, the more I thought about what kind of behind-the-scenes manipulation must happen to ensure ratings. So America’s Favorite Couple was really me playing around with that concept. I started out with almost a satirical mindset about how I was approaching the story – but then Casey had to go and actually fall in love, and turn it into an actual love story. (Oops, spoilers!)
BLLP: So you weren’t intending to write a romance when you started out?
Renee: No, believe it or not, I was going to make America’s Favorite Couple more of a satirical humor book. You can kind of still see that in the early chapters – the opening, in particular, really hams up the manipulation, and the sort of crazy stock-imagery feel of a reality TV show. But over time, the story sort of took on a life of its own, and became a real love story about Casey and her quest to find love. I definitely still thought a lot about how unbelievable it was, though – and in my mind, the backstory of how Casey and her blast from her past really lost touch is entirely different.
BLLP: *laughs* So you mean the book might not be telling the whole story, either?
Renee: It’s hard to talk about this without spoilers. Let’s just say that the story her blast from the past tells about what happened when he last saw her ten years ago… may be the ‘edited for TV version.’ The show would really want to ham it up and provide this amazing hook – these two poor lovers separated all those years ago, pining for each other ever since. It sounds too good to be true – and it is, in some ways.
Renee: In fact, if I could take a step back, the book itself follows very closely to the format of the reality TV show that is its main premise. It was really a conscious effort for me to not delve into the thoughts and feelings of my main characters, but instead try to only show what they say and do – as you’d really see if you were watching the TV show.
BLLP: So the format and style of this novel isn’t typical for you?
Renee: No, usually my novels are much more about the inner workings of the characters. That’s what I find most compelling about storytelling – what’s going on emotionally, what’s driving these people. It was actually quite hard for me to try to keep the perspective of an outsider looking in at these people, basically only showing what the camera would show. I think the format for the upcoming books in the Realty TV Romance series is going to be closer to my normal writing style.
BLLP: Great segue – this is the perfect chance to talk a little more about what comes next for the series. How does the concept of America’s Favorite Couple fit into your idea of this Reality TV Romance series?
Renee: America’s Favorite Couple really introduces the premise of the show, and gives you a hint of what goes on behind the scenes to produce it. But it’s so focused on Casey’s story that you don’t really get to see what happens to many of the other characters. I got kind of attached to those characters, so I wanted to explore what their love stories might look like – both on the show, and off of it.
BLLP: Sounds interesting – tell us more, if you can!
Renee: Sure. As readers will know from the sneak peek at the end of the book, the next novel in the Reality TV Romance series focuses on Violet and her journey. We really only get to see her a little bit in this first book, but she was an intriguing character for me – I wanted to explore more of how her journey went, and maybe even some of what happens when she goes home from the show. In her story, I’m also going into more detail about the production side of things – starting from her very first arrival in the mansion – so it’s more like “what Violet is experiencing as she goes onto this show” versus “Casey’s story told through the context of the show and the show’s editing and manipulation.”
BLLP: Do you have plans for the series beyond Violet’s story? Will we see another season of the show with all new characters, or do we get to know more of the existing characters from this season?
Renee: Well, assuming Bright Little Light Press wants to continue publishing these things… *laughs* I’ve still got some untold stories from this season. Olivia is someone whose story wants to be told – and Anastasia, too, surprisingly. I’m also pondering a story about Connor – we’ll see how things go with him and Violet. *wink*
BLLP: Oh, teasers! You’re evil. Well, we’re definitely looking forward to reading the next one. And in the meantime, I think we’ll be talking with you again soon about your other reality TV novel that’s coming out in March – Della’s Diary.
Renee: I can’t wait! Della’s story is very different, but I think she’s a really interesting and empowering character, and I’m looking forward to seeing it go out into the world.
BLLP: Ta-ta for now, and thanks, readers, for joining us as we talk with Renee about her new novel!