Thank you for coming back to visit us again, Renae. And a BIG congratulations on another release.
Shawn is single, twenty-nine, the full-time carer of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, and a frequent victim of Murphy’s Law—although his family calls it Shawn’s Law. Other than caring for mum, his day consists of painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?
Harley doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law—but he soon changes his mind.
The two men make it through a memorable first date and Shawn’s sexual insecurities to begin a relationship stumbling toward love. But when Shawn’s Law causes Harley to be injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the books.
Firstly the cover. Paul Richmond has designed a fabulous cover which seems to capture the spirit of the book (I say ‘seems’ because I haven’t read it yet so I’m just going off the blurb 🙂 ). Can you share with us a little about the cover design process?
Renae: **laughs at this** For me, the cover design process involves me talking to the cover artists and saying, “I don’t know.”
I’m a firm believer in letting the experts do their job. My husband stands over the shoulder of the electrician we’ve hired and tells him how to do his job. Me? Nah. I wrote the story. I let the editors tell me if my grammar is incorrect, and let the cover artists do their job. My input was “I want the cover to reflect that the story is zany,” and that’s what Paul gave me. [Great job, Paul!]
I had to provide Paul pictures of what an Australian lake looks like, and a description of the scene, but he is wonderful in giving a great cover.
The story itself sounds intriguing—and dare I say, a little crazy. Where did the inspiration come from?
Renae: “How many Australian animals can I get to attack my MC before the end of the story?”
I’m not joking. LOL. My inspiration for this story was to scare the pants off anyone who thinks that Australia is a dangerous place to live.
But sometimes my own life feels like Murphy’s Law is out to get me. When everything is going wrong, then that’s the day the car breaks down, the kids come home from school with gastro AND head lice, and my husband tells me he’s invited friends for a bbq. In creating Shawn and his topsy-turvy, crazy life, I made myself feel better. Because at least I’m not as bad as poor Shawn.
You are known for the Aussie flavour in your stories. Can you share any secrets about the Australian animals that make an appearance in this one?
Renae: There are a lot of venomous animals that appear in this book. Rest assured that no one dies from a bite/sting/attack.
Did you know, that out of the top 25 venomous snakes of the world, 20 of them come from Australia? Rest assured that no one dies from a snake bite in this story.
Did you know that the most venomous spiders of the world are also Australian? Rest assured that no one dies from a spider bite in this story.
Did you know that blue ringed octopus is so deadly it will kill you in ten minutes? Rest assured that no one dies from an octopus in this story.
Have I scared you yet? LOL.
Truthfully, this book will not panic you. All animal attacks – such as the one of the cover – are treated in a humourous manner that will make you laugh, rather than cancelling your flight to Perth. We also have a lot of cute cuddly animals in this book – like this fellow:
She’s a quokka – see the baby in her pouch? They are about the size of a large pussycat and soooo goddamn sweet. Quokkas don’t attack.
Some other great animals you can fall in love with in this book are Carnaby’s Cockatoos. And dogs. (Two of them named Bennie.)
The blurb talks about Shawn but not so much about Harley. Can you give us some insight into what makes Harley tick?
Renae: Shawn’s nickname for Harley, before they met, was Hippy-Hotpants. That describes Harley all over – he’s a modern day hippy, out to save the world one peace protest at a time. He is environmentally aware – everything from organic food, to endangered animals, to not purchasing clothing that was sewn in a sweat-shop.
In Harley’s own words, “The reason I go out there and fight for what’s right, is because I feel extremely privileged in this life, and therefore I put my support behind those who can’t fight for themselves. I try to make this world a better place. I try to save the planet and the people who live here because of the ones I love. If I had no family, I think I would curl up and die of sorrow. I fight harder because I know there are people in this world I am fighting for. I want to make this earth a better world for those I love.”
The problem in this book is not whether Shawn and Harley like each other, but whether they can live with each other. Trust and faith in the one you love is vital. And treating them like an adult.
Was it difficult to write a humourous story that includes someone suffering from Alzheimer’s and their family?
Renae: Yes. And no. (How astute of you, Renae).
I guess the answer to this question comes from my own experience. My father fought bowel cancer for over eight years. He fought it. We fought it. We all lived it. One of the most important things I learned from the experience was attitude. There was no use in visiting my father and spending the whole time crying and morose about the fact he was dying. We both knew it. Instead, I would ignore it and speak with Dad about other matters. My dad could smile and laugh and be happy, and that helped him a lot.
I don’t mean to make fun of people with Alzheimer’s, and the disease is no joking matter. But how you deal with it can make a huge difference. A sense of humour when your mother asks you your name for the 60th time will hold you in good stead with Alzheimer’s.
I’m sure I’m going to have people who tell me that their experience with Alzheimer’s is different, and I will nod and completely agree with them. This story was written to entertain, not to be an essay on reality. Yes, Shawn’s mother does a lot of crazy things within this story, but it’s a comedy. It’s fictional. It’s supposed to be funny.
What book is on your bedside table?
Renae: The only paperbacks I read these days are either from the library, or older ones from my bookcase. At the moment I am reading and enjoying two BRILLIANT books from my library:
For Colored Boys is a collection of true short stories from gay men over a range of topics such as their first sexual experience, bullying, religion, abuse and coming out. It is emotional. I feel privileged to read their stories.
This Book Is Gay is a riot! I’m not sure who the target audience for this book is, but I feel like it’s teenage boys who are gay (or bi or trans) and don’t know what to do about it. It’s funny and hilarious and covers a lot of topics like how it is okay to be gay and that you’re not the first person in the world to feel that way. It gives people rebuttal information to argue with religious fanatics, information about how to have anal sex for the first time, and continual affirmation that being “not straight” is fine. 5 stars all the way.
Renae: Thanks for having me again Nic. I’ve had fun as usual. If your readers are wanting more information, they can contact me on:.
And of course, the most important bit, is where will they be able to purchase the best book in town? **cough cough** Sorry, it was a long interview and I’m high on chocolate now.
About the author
Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.
Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.