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Rene GutteridgeRene Gutteridge is the author of seventeen novels, including Listen, the Storm series and Never the Bride, the Boo series and the Occupational Hazards series . She also released My Life as a Doormat and The Ultimate Gift. Rene 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


How did you get started as a CBA writer?

I’d been studying screenwriting in college and really felt that was the direction I was supposed to go, but after I graduated, I felt led to full-time ministry, where I was the director of drama at a church for five years.  I was still trying to figure out what to do with my writing life when I happened upon a novel by Randy Alcorn called Deadline.  I had no idea there was such a thing as Christian fiction.  I knew immediately this was the path I was supposed to take.  (Of course, it took awhile to get published!)

How did you come up with the concept for Possession?

It came from two places.  I’d been watching all the media coverage of people losing their homes due to the recession and all the natural disasters we’d been experiencing.  I’d also read about these moving scams where fraudulent companies hold people’s possessions for ransom.  I took both those ideas and merged them into one storyline.  I think the recession has helped a lot of us focus on what is really meaningful in life.  It saddens me so much when I read news articles about a father who kills himself and his family because he lost his job or his house.  I always thought to myself that these people had missed the true treasures right in front of them.

Do you have a favorite character in Possession? Why?

I really enjoyed all the characters.  Each one was fascinating to write.  But I have to say that any time I wrote about Conner, I had a smile on my face.  He challenged me in my own faith for sure.

How much research did Possession take?

Quite a bit.  I researched various kinds of moving scams.  I also extensively researched the D.C. sniper case, which had always fascinated me.  And of course I researched Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I have some commentary about it in the back of the book.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Possession?

Probably number one is ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT!  I also learned quite a bit about the D.C. sniper case that I hadn’t known before.  A few of those things made it into the book.  I wasn’t at all aware of the tarot card, so when I came across that in the research, I knew I wanted to put it in.  I was glad to see how easily accessible PTSD information is.  I think the country has done a great job of talking about this and getting the information out there for people to find.  It has become a less shameful subject, and I think more people are willing to get help because of that.

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

Every book presents its own challenges, of course.  Practically, I have to work very hard to keep steady office hours.  It’s so easy to get side-tracked or let life’s hardships get in the way.  The writing life is so much about self-discipline and these days distractions are on the rise.  I can easily get on Facebook or go to one of my many Scrabble games.  On good writing days, these aren’t as tempting.  But when I’m struggling, my mind starts telling me to go do something else.  I have to make myself wade through the hard days.  And rejection will always be a part of the writing life, no matter how many books one has published.  Someone asked me recently if I remembered what it was like to get a rejection letter and I said, “I just got one last week!”  They were surprised to learn that rejection is still around for the multi-published author. 

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
Coming up with one tiny idea and then expanding that into plot, characters and setting is SO fun!  I still get a kick out of writing it all out and finishing a book.  When I begin a book, I stare at the blank page and the blinking curser for a long time.  Stare it down hard.  It always tries to intimidate me, telling me it’s too big of a task, too hard for me.  But as soon as I type the words “Chapter One” I know I’ve got it beat.  The challenge of starting a book, wading through the sagging middle and finding that ending in all of it is so gratifying.  It never, ever gets old to complete a book.  And the eighteenth one is harder than the first one.  I know more now, so I expect myself to write better.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
I have a group of seven other writers that I brainstorm and retreat with.  They’re gifted, way more talented than I am, and those are the kinds of people I like to hang around…people who will always challenge me, people I aspire to be like.  I also really like writer’s conferences.  When I go to a conference, I feel like I’m among my people. We all understand each other.  We speak the same language.  It feeds my soul.  ACFW is one of my favorites.  I also have an online group of novelists I correspond with everyday.


What do you do to keep your writing fresh and improve on it each time you write a book?

There’s really nothing like reading.   I study everything I read, whether it be a magazine, a pamphlet, a novel, a screenplay.  I love good writing.   And if it’s bad writing, then I dissect it and figure out why it’s not appealing to me.   I love reading TIME magazine.  Their writers are so talented, and I love watching how cleverly they weave words and sentences.
Are there any other new projects on the horizon?

There are several!  I’m really excited about a new suspense I’m writing for Tyndale House called Misery Loves Company.  I just finished a novelization with director John Ward.   And I’m teaming up with Cheryl McKay (Never the Bride) again for more romantic comedy, and I’ll be posting news about that soon on my Facebook page and in my website newsletter, so stay tuned! 

What message would you like your readers to take from reading Possession?

I hope it makes us all think about what is truly meaningful in life.  It’s not wrong to have possessions, but I love what the Bible says about it:  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  I so easily get tangled up in all my “things”.  Possession was a good reminder to myself about what truly matters.

What is your greatest achievement?

Gosh, hard question.   Just recently God reminded me that I do not have to be a superstar, just a servant.  That takes so much pressure off.  I honestly think that just getting through every single day is an achievement.  Some days are great, no problems.  But then you get slammed with problems you never saw coming and you have to deal with them.   You have to keep living, keep working, keep your family intact.  I think it’s quite an achievement to get through this life day by day, clinging to the Lord.  He was not joking when He said, “In this life, you will have trouble.”  But what a joy to be able to wake up in the morning and experience His love and His light.  Maybe my greatest achievement is rolling out of bed every morning with a smile on my face.  But then again, I think I’m going to have to give God the credit for that one.

What do you do to get away from it all?
Well, honestly, I don’t get away very much.  I am one of those people who likes to work hard.  I get anxious if I’m not doing something productive.  My biggest treat to myself is going to the movies.  Before kids, Sean and I would sometimes see three movies in one day!  I very much enjoy a nice hot drink, a magazine and a good TV show too.  Oh, and a game of Scrabble never hurts either!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you so much for the interview!  Great questions.  Feel free to send follow-ups if you need to!