Thursday, May 26, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Getting to Know Rena Koontz

The Write Way Café welcomes Rena Koontz. Delightfully entertaining in life and in her stories, Koontz discusses her writing life and her newest upcoming release, Broken Justice, Blind Love.

Can I first say: Thank you HiDee and Lynn for hosting me today. This is the first time I’m talking about my new release, Broken Justice, Blind Love. I’m excited and nervous to share some details. Soul Mate Publishing releases the book on October 5th. I hope you like it.

Tell us a little about Broken Justice, Blind Love.
     For those who read my books, they know I always write about cops. Cops are the good guys and the good guys always win. Broken Justice, Blind Love is my first book where the cop is a woman. She’s a play-by-the-rules cop. Right and wrong for her is as clear as the black-and-white markings on her police cruiser.
     But when she meets and falls in love with a man who might be connected to a string of serial killings, her moral lines blur. All the evidence points to him as the killer and her police brain tells her to arrest him and stop the murders. Her heart tells her otherwise. In her heart she knows he is incapable of killing.
     My tagline sums up her dilemma:  Believe him and risk her career or arrest him and lose the man she loves?

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?  
     I was a career journalist and through the years I’ve had several good editors. One in particular taught me to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it and then write it. Sometimes I close my eyes in the middle of writing a scene and make sure my characters are doing all that.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
     I’m not one for giving advice because – what do I know? If I were to offer someone guidance, I’d say know your story and write the book. Sit down and finish it. Write the beginning, the middle and the end. Then read it out loud. You’ll know whether or not it’s good.

What “keepers” are in your home library?

     My dog-eared copy of The Flame and the Flower has been a mainstay on my bookshelf since I read it in college. I’ve read it at least 50 times since. I can quote passages from the pages. I write romantic suspense but that’s the love story that caught my attention and made me want to be an author.
     Beside Kathleen Woodiwiss sit Brenda Novak, Patricia Cornwell and a host of other romantic suspense authors. Plus the books from my author friends.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
     Hmmm – there is a little bit of me in each of my books. Bits and pieces of me usually comprise the main character. For example, in Love’s Secret Fire I’m the reporter covering the arson cases and riding along on a late night scary patrol in search of the firebug.
     In Thief Of The Heart I’m the burglary victim who is blown away by the police officer who responds to the call. And yes, together with my friend, I truly did scope out the pawn shops and find some of my missing jewelry.
     All of my heroines are stubborn, strong and passionate. Anyone who reads my books and knows me will recognize me.

What book do you wish you could have written?    
     Any book on the best seller list making tons of money.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

     Mind you, I made my living as a newspaper reporter and garnered several (two full boxes) writing awards, including recognition by the Associated Press. When I received a critique back from a contest judge who suggested I take writing classes before attempting to write another word, it cut me to the quick.  It was a lesson about how subjective this business truly is and, perhaps, how cruel other writers can be when they feel threatened by someone more talented.
     The best compliments are the readers who tell me they couldn’t put my book down and the ones who complain I’m not writing fast enough.

We’re adding books to our Café menu.  Would your book be a drink, an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert?  What would you call it? 

     I’d like to be a drink, please. Like a fine wine. Full-bodied, deliciously flavorful and completely satisfying.  So good on your tastes buds, you’ll want more.  I’ll call it Rena’s Rich Romances.

What is your favorite social media?  Why?   
     I’m not a fan of social media at all. I like to stay private, which is difficult when I’m putting myself out there as an author. I’m working on my mindset.

Tell us about the book in your closet.

     I think it’s another contemporary romance. Crystal Clear Love is a contemporary romance while my other books, including my new release, Broken Justice, Blind Love, are romantic suspense novels.
     But I have a shoebox full of old love letters and cards from a former boyfriend. I know there’s a story in there.

And now for the fun stuff!  

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?
     I’d say an exclamation mark. Think about it. I can be surprised, stupid, angry or emphatic. I can snap or even shout. And I can be happy!

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality? 
     I’m a glass is half-full person, which works well with my husband who won’t even say the glass is half empty. He simply says the glass is bone dry. So I’m a good counter-balance, sometimes to the point of being naïve. But that’s okay.

What is something you do that people would be surprised at?
     I read the credits on TV shows and movies. Read them to the very end.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
     Definitely a dog person although if you have a cat I’ll give it some lovin’. But for me it’s dogs all the way, which is ironic because as a child I was afraid of dogs. In fact, my friend had to lock her St. Bernard in the basement whenever I visited. Now, I can’t imagine my home without one. (Used to be two).

What is your favorite season and why?
     Easier to answer the season I like least – winter. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, lived for 13 years in Cleveland, OH, and then moved to Decatur, IL. All of those locations see snow and lots of it. When it came time for us to relocate again we tossed the snow shovels. I’m happy as can be in sunny Florida (on the Gulf side). For me the hotter the better.

Coming October 5, 2016
Broken Justice, Blind Love
     He is a suspect. An accused killer. And Trish Kleerey is the law. Patrolman Kleerey stands tall, speaks with an assertive tone, and sees right and wrong as clearly as her black and white cruiser. Commit a wrong and face the consequences. But her strict moral code is challenged when her investigation into a series of murders incriminates the man she loves. Her training tells her to arrest him. Her heart screams otherwise.
     Bryan DeJewel feels the line between love and the law blur when Trish starts asking him questions about the serial killings. The Trish Kleerey he knows is soft, warm, and capable of bringing him to his knees with desire, but that passion isn’t enough to build a lasting relationship. It’s as plain as her black and white cruiser: If she loves him, she must trust him.
     But the choice is not so simple for Trish. Believing Bryan means turning her back on the evidence, breaking the rules and risking her career to prove his innocence.
     Meanwhile, the real killer watches and waits, hoping she’ll fall into his deadly trap. Will Trish listen to her heart and choose love, or strap on her gun and enforce the law?

About Rena:   "Rena Koontz broke into the publishing world in 2012 with her debut novel, “Love’s Secret Fire.” It was quickly followed by “The Devil She Knew” and “Thief Of The Heart,” – all three romantic suspense novels that critics praised for keeping readers on the edge of their seats.
     But Rena had a love story in mind, just begging to be told – the book of her heart. “Crystal Clear Love” is Rena’s first contemporary romance, inspired by childhood friends and memories, and fictionalized from stories gleaned from her career as a journalist. Working as a news reporter at two of the country’s top 20 newspapers provided a writing journey that took Rena into the sports arena, politics, feature writing, editorial writing, and, her favorite, cops and courts. Along the way she met killers and kids who left an impression, victims and victors who beat the odds, and reported stories on life, loss and love.
     While another contemporary percolates in her head, she releases her third romantic suspense on October 5, titled Broken Justice, Blind Love.
     Her novels are the realization of a lifelong dream to write stories that combine romance, suspense and strong female characters designed to mirror today’s women.
     A Pittsburgh native, Rena lives in Central Florida.
     Visit Rena at


HiDee said...

Your new book sounds like it will be full of conflicts and challenges. Look forward to reading it! Thanks for being with us today!

Becky Lower said...

Love your comment about wanting to write any of the books on the bestseller list! This book sounds delicious, and you may fill one of those bestseller slots yourself.

Angela Adams said...

Great interview and intriguing blurb!

Rena Koontz said...

Thanks for having me Hidee.

And Becky -- let's hope!

Rena Koontz said...

Thank you, Angela