At Edward Allen, we want you to get to know our authors. Each week we’ll profile one of our authors and try to dig into the story behind the story, a bit.
Please meet Renci Denham, author of “The Timeshare Trip” from our upcoming Halloween anthology, “Mysteries of the Macabre.”
Q: On the surface, “The Timeshare Trip” is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek examination of really bad/crude behavior. We meet Crystal and Roy, thirty-something newlyweds from somewhere in the Southwest, who have won a timeshare cruise to Costa Rica. Quickly we discover that Crystal and Roy aren’t exactly graduates of any school of social graces. Where did these characters come from? Are they based on anyone in your acquaintance? (Don’t worry, it’ll be our secret. <grin>)
A: Well, to be truthful, my family tree does not branch off in all places. I mean, we do have a couple of branches but it is limited. On the other hand, EVERYONE knows someone like these people. It does not matter what demographics or “clique” an individual is associated with. The guy who believes he is the alpha male and is really just a complete idiot and uncouth is known to almost all. He may be the guy in the cubical next to you or your brother’s third cousin…or even your college professor. But the guy who thinks he is “all that” and is really just an uncouth idiot exists every where.
Q: Looking below that surface, through your characterizations, you tackle bigotry and ignorance. Was that deliberate, or did that theme develop as the characters developed in your head and as you wrote? If deliberate, why?
A: VERY Deliberate. Why? (Because) someone has to.
Q: On their cruise, Crystal and Roy attend a special Halloween feast. She dresses up as a sexy maid (which prompts Roy to ask why anyone would think being a maid could be sexy), and Roy dresses as a ninja (which prompts Roy to act out his character). What is your all-time favorite Halloween costume (that you’ve worn) – whether as a child or adult? Would Roy approve?
A: As an adult, a Gothic vampire costume: a purple taffeta gown and Victorian boots, and the costume was completed with real fangs. Roy would approve of the cleavage and the fact that I got it on super-extra double clearance. However, he would complain it was too much crinkly fabric. He would probably say, “Good God, woman, I have less fabric on my tent, and that thing makes so much noise every boy mosquito with in a twenty mile radius thinks you want to make the beast with two backs.”
Q: Speaking of costumes, we know you have a strong affection for sexy high heels. Tell us about how that came to be, and about your collection. Do you have an “Imelda” shoe closet?
A: Well, I grew up in Appalachia. We used to wear bread bags over our one pair of shoes for boots in the winter. My first semester of college, a friend I had met showed me my first Harpers Bazaar and Vogue…it was the ’80s. Anyway, the pages were so thick and glossy and they smelled so good and there were these WONDERFUL pictures of fashion, and all of my new friends I met at college had REALLY nice shoes. So I fell MADLY in love with shoes.
Over the years I managed to amass an indulgent collection of shoes, but when I was in a wheelchair, I threw away all of my nice shoes because I never thought I would be able to wear them again. Once I got out of the wheelchair and learned to walk again, one of the first things I did was go shoe shopping. I still enjoy shoe shopping. (Editor’s note: Renci underwent more than 20 medical procedures to beat a long battle with a rare arterial vascular tumor in her cranial bones.)
As to the Imelda closet, I do not have one closet specific for shoes. I do, however, have several closets with shoe racks where I have made several small shrines that allow me to pay homage to my foot wear.
Q: When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?
A: I’m a graduate student and a recluse who makes J.D. Salinger look like a social butterfly. I don’t really have fun. However, I do enjoy being with my friends and family. I like to entertain in small or large groups and I enjoy going to my friends’ houses for social gatherings. I LOVE spending time with my grandchildren. We paint and bake and decorate cakes, read and of course my grand daughter and I LOVE to shop. She JUST got her first pair of high-heel shoes…for when we play dress up of course.