One thing I love about being a book reviewer is that I am introduced to new authors, but sometimes I have the chance to review a book by an author I have admired for a long time. Renee Gutteridge is one of those authors, she captured my heart at Boo (published September 2003). Both my Mom and I would read her books and call each other to laugh and talk about different scenes in the book we just read.
There is only a small handful of authors that I would feel like a giddy school girl if I ever met them in person, but Renee would be one of them. I would ask her about the cat in the Boo series, or the pig in her book Skid (which I reviewed here), or tell her how much I loved the twits and turns in Ghost Writer, but none of them convicted my heart as much as her newly published book Listen. Rene Gutteridge always has great themes throughout her books but this one will make you aware of every word that comes out of your mouth. When the last page is turned you will be thinking about it for a long time. I told Rene I could not possibly pick a favorite of her books, but this sure would be in the running. I think everyone should read this book, because it will make you aware of everything you say, even in private.
(be sure to read a hint at the end of this post)
Someone is listening…
The quaint, close-knit community of Marlo was the ideal place to live…until someone started posting private conversations online for everyone to read, word-for-word. Now it’s neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, as careless comments and hurtful accusations turn the town upside down. Violence and paranoia escalate, and the police scramble to find the person responsible before more people get hurt, or even killed.
But what responsibility do the residents of Marlo have for the words they say when they think no one is listening?
When I read that statement I am reminded God does not call us to watch our tongue only in public, but in all times. I am honored Rene Gutteridge dropped by to visit with us and answer a few questions.
1. Thank you so much for joining us here, I am very excited because you had me captured me as a fan since Boo. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
- Sure! I grew up and live in Oklahoma. I have always written, even as a child, but didn’t really consider making a living at it until I was in college. Even then I had dreams of becoming a screenwriter, not a novelist. But God had other plans! I am married to Sean, a musician, who is a worship leader at a church, and I have to kids, John and Cate.
For fun, I love watching TV. My current favorite shows are Chuck, 24, Lost, The Middle, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy and American Idol. I have been a Christian since I was a kid, but the journey is never ending, and God continues to help me strive to be used the best way possible for His glory.
Lori: Ok I just have to add I LOVE LOVE Chuck!
2. In your newly released book Listen you discuss the power of words. Can you tell us a bit about the research you had to do for this story and your personal opinion on the power of words?
- Most of my research for the book was articles I read in the newspaper or elsewhere about how words had affected someone. I also did a lot of technical research for the book, for the law enforcement angle. Mostly I just listened to stories people told me, things I’ve observed over the years, and my own personal experience. I believe words have immense power, and that we use them so carelessly this days, thanks in part to technology.
3. What message would you like your readers to come away with in Listen?
- I think each reader will come away with something different, depending on their own life story, but I think every reader will think about the words they speak, whether in private or public. I know for me, the message has stuck with me for a long time, and even now I am still careful with how I speak.
4. Is there anything in the works that you can share with the readers?
- Sure! I am working on another suspense novel, called Possession, which will probably come out next year.
5. Ok one last question, what is your favorite guilty dessert?
- OK, that’s hard, because I have so many. At home, it’s ice cream, but it can’t be something plain. I like the kinds that have about five ingredients, which is why I try to keep the plain ice creams around, so I won’t be tempted! If I’m out at a restaurant, I’d say crème brulee. And for a quick sugar fix, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Yumm Peanut Butter Cups. Thank you Rene, this has been a great honor to have you visit with us today!
Cough, cough there may be a giveaway for my Facebook Fans or newsletter subscribers….I’m just saying.
Listen by Rene Gutteridge can be purchased here.
Her other suspense titles include, THE SPLITTING STORM, STORM GATHERING and STORM SURGE, plus her very first novel, GHOST WRITER (Bethany House Publishers). She is also known as a comedy writer. Her latest comedic novel is NEVER THE BRIDE, co-written with screenwriter Cheryl McKay (of The Ultimate Gift). Her other comedy titles from WaterBrook/Multnomah Publishers include The BOO SERIES: Boo, Boo Who, Boo Hiss, Boo Humbug and THE OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS SERIES; (Scoop, Snitch, Skid). Another very popular comedy title is MY LIFE AS A DOORMAT, a Women of Faith selection for 2006, from Thomas Nelson. She has written one novelization, THE ULTIMATE GIFT, for Thomas Nelson. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a downtown church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.
She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.
FTC Disclosure: Special thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy of Listen by Rene Gutteridge.