Scoop, Occupational Hazard Series #1Scoop, Occupational Hazard Series #1
Rene Gutteridge
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TV news producer Hugo Talley is desperate to boost ratings and attract a younger demographic. But an aging anchorwoman, a know-it-all weatherman, a reporter who shuns sensationalism, and young Hayden Hazard---an assistant who can't leave her faith outside the newsroom---are jeopardizing Hugo's dreams. Will Hayden's personal convictions destroy Channel 7's shot at success? 352 pages, softcover from Waterbrook.
     

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Rene GutteridgeAcclaimed author, Rene Gutteridge is also known for her Christian comedy sketches.  She enjoys instructing at writers conferences and in college classrooms. She lives with her husband and their children in Oklahoma.

Favorite Verse: Psalm 91 (NLT) - "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord: he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting Him...."

Visit Rene Gutteridge at the Writer's Corner


 

 Our Interview with Rene Gutteridge


 
Where did the inspiration for Scoop come from?

I’ve always been interested in news. I was a broadcast major for awhile. Then I saw the movie Broadcast News and knew this was definitely not what I wanted to do for a living.

I think that I also see how much comedy can come from the news business. Anchor blunders are some of the funniest bloopers you’ll ever see. It’s really amazing more doesn’t go wrong in a newscast.

But beyond the comedy, I also wanted to explore our perception of the world through the eyes of our local news.

Is Scoop the beginning of a series?

Yes, it’s the first book, but the series can be read in any order. Each book in the Occupational Hazards Series can stand alone.

Is any part of Scoop factual?

Not really, except what I researched about the industry. I made most of the story up, and the parts that are true I’ve cleverly disguised.

Do you prefer to write contemporary fiction?

Yeah. I think that’s my sweet spot.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

I think that the perception of an author’s life is sitting near a large bay window overlooking an ocean/mountain/river, sipping some warm drink in a black turtleneck with a pencil stuck behind the ear. Some people think of it as serene. It’s truly not. But most of the battle is internal, in the mind. Or it is encompassed within time…working against a deadline when the story is not flowing smoothly. There are so many things to keep track of when you’re creating the novel…the characters, the plot, the setting, the pace…it all has to wrap up neatly in the end, which is why there’s such a thing as first draft, second draft, forty-eighth draft. And, like everything else, life can get complicated, and sometimes it’s hard to be creative when chaos is erupting.

How long did Scoop take you to complete?

About six months to write the first draft.

How much research did Scoop take?

Quite a bit. I talked to several people in the industry, and drew upon my own college experience. I really wanted to capture the “culture” of the industry, to find out what kinds of people work there and why. It was fun research. People like talking about their jobs, and I love listening.

Do you have a favorite character? Why?

In Scoop, I think my favorite is Ray. He’s a complicated person. To him, his faith is simple yet complex, and he’s trying to balance that within the boundaries of love and work and personal conviction. But Gilda is an awful lot of fun, too.

Are there any other new projects on the horizon?

I’m currently working on another Occupational Hazards book called Snitch¸ about undercover police officers. This Fall I will be going to Atlanta to research another novel in the series, called Skid, about transatlantic pilots. I will also be writing Boo Hum Bug, a Christmas novella to be released next year.

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

That’s so hard to answer. There isn’t one person. There are many people, and many experiences, good and bad, that made me the writer I am today. But I am particularly thankful for the teachers and professors along the way that took extra time cultivating me.

What advice would you give to a person trying to become a fiction writer?

Write! Conferences and how-to books are great, but at the end of the day you have to sit in front of your computer and write. Don’t stop until you have finished your book, no matter how bad you think it is. A lot of people can start their novels, but few can finish them. That’s what makes a fiction writer…the person who can finish the book.

What were your favorite books as a child?

Where The Red Fern Grows, I loved a lot of Judy Blume’s earlier books, and The Chronicles of Narnia.

What message would you like your readers to take away from this book?

I always say, “I’ve got one half of the coin, you’ve got the other.” Each person will take away something different from the book because each person is at a different place in his or her life. I love that. I hope each reader will take away a lot of laughs and that they will be encouraged in their faith.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To write the stories that God would want me to write. And I love to entertain people and make them laugh. There’s a lot of heartache in this world. I hope that I can take people away from their troubles for a little while and make them smile.

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