Please join me in welcoming author Renée Lichtenhan to the blog today to chat about her recent release, Violet!
Renée Lichtenhan’s “I Am Girl” novels grew out of years of working with children. Renée loves their open minds, hearts, and souls. She writes engaging books to encourage faith and virtue to take shape within that openness. She lives with her husband in Mississippi, where they raised their three grown children.
SERIES: I Am Girl #2
GENRE: Inspirational Middle Grade Fiction
PUBLISHER: Anaiah Press
RELEASE DATE: April 21, 2020
Thirteen-year-old Violet Windsor is obsessed with the rush and thrill of skateboarding through a dangerous, gang-ridden part of New York City. Certain that her high-society parents wouldn’t approve of the rough-and-tumble sport or the sketchy neighborhood, she and her best friend, Sloane, hide her secret adventures in a thick veil of lies.
When Violet’s neurodiverse brother, Oliver, begins drawing pictures that reveal a mysterious knowledge of her secrets, Violet is rattled to the core. Intrigued by clues in Oliver’s drawings, she follows them down a reckless path toward redemption and truth.
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Hi Renée! Welcome to the blog!
Renée: Winter. I live in Mississippi, so our winters are mild. Even the threat of a trace of snow closes schools. Mississippi summers are brutally hot and humid. I wouldn’t last a day without A/C and a swimming pool.
Carrie: I’m with you – Kentucky summers are pretty miserable too.
Renée: Netflix! Oh my gosh, how do people binge watch those sappy Hallmark Channel shows? (Sorry, Mom.)
Carrie: haha! I prefer the Hallmark Mysteries channel – it’s a little less sappy 🙂
Renée: After living in on the west coast, I love both. But the pull of the ocean is stronger for me. While the mountains offer the rigorous challenge of hiking, the ocean gives permission to sit down and chill out. Sleep if you want to. Every anxiety in me falls away with the lapping of the water and the calling of seagulls.
Carrie: You had me until ‘seagulls’ – #birdphobia lol
Renée: Easy, since I’m gluten sensitive, I never eat sandwiches. I’m also a big fan of soup. I think it’s because soup is simple. One pot, one bowl, lots of good stuff to dig into with one spoonful.
Carrie: Soup is yummy!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Renée: I’d want to intuitively know what to say to a person in order to influence them to pursue their greatest good, effectively. This is a superpower I’d want as a parent, because while raising my kids, I’ve second guessed myself often. I still do.
Carrie: I think every parent does, from what i hear. At least the good ones do.
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Renée: Laura Ingalls. As a child I read all of the “Little House” books. I found pioneer life charming and loved to lose myself in the Ingalls’ world. I liked to imagine living in a rustic little cabin, eating bear stew, dancing to fiddle music, climbing a loft to snuggle into bed beside my sisters, wearing those funny little sleeping caps. It was a warm and fuzzy world and I adored it.
Carrie: me too! I still have my original yellow box set 🙂
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Renée: This is a fun question! I imagine my characters would be impatient with me. I don’t write every single day, so I think they’d hate being stuck inside of my computer, undeveloped for days at a time. They’d have one hand smooshing a cheek as it held up a bored, heavy head, the other drumming fingers against the computer screen. While waiting for my return, they’d scheme shenanigans to hijack my planned storyline. They do that a lot.
Carrie: haha! i love this answer! i can totally picture that.
Q: What surprised you about Violet or your characters as you wrote their story?
Renée: There were a few surprises when developing the character of Violet’s brother, Oliver. I made him autistic and non-verbal because I liked to imagine how busy, ambitious, socially visible parents like Violet’s might respond to the challenge of being special needs parents. Not being a special need parent myself, I watched a lot of YouTube videos posted by parents of non-verbal autistic children to learn about their behaviors and challenges. In doing so, I was surprised by the multitude of extraordinary talents many autistic people have. I based Oliver’s character on the story of a non-verbal, autistic young man who is a talented artistic savant.
Carrie: That’s so great that you researched Oliver that much – and developed him accordingly!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Violet?
Renée: I want my readers to be inspired to hold God’s hand through life. I want them to tap into that divine power so they might be bold, brave, and dare to love big. I want to inspire them to emulate the virtues they find in the pages of these novels.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Renée: I’m currently working on the third “I Am Girl” book entitled Layla. She is really busy with some big adventures in the Pacific Northwest!
Renée Lichtenhan is offering two fizzy, all-natural bath bombs (one lavender and one anti-viral wellness) to one of my readers! (Different than pictured in giveaway graphic. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about Violet and/or my Q&A with Renée Lichtenhan? Do you have a special middle-grade girl in your life who would love Violet?