Authors Celebrating Authors: Renée Carlino

When my second book London, Can You Wait? was published in October 2017, I received an email from Taylor, my publicist, with the most amazing news…

Renée Carlino blurbed your book.

My book. Mine. Renée Carlino, an author I adore…who left me with three book hangovers in a row after reading Before We Were StrangersSwear on This Life, and Wish You Were Here, read MY book.

When an author you respect and admire, takes the time to read your book and then gives her thumbs up, it’s the most incredible feeling in the world.

So, when I was deciding who to feature next in Authors Celebrating Authors, I didn’t have to look too far. Renée’s novels are on my keeper shelf and with her latest release, Shopping for Love, out this month, the timing couldn’t have been better.

Please welcome Renée Carlino!

Renée is a USA Today bestselling author and has written nine must-read books. Her most recent book, Shopping for Love, is a swoony novella.

Here’s the synopsis:

I want to inspire you to live a new life…

Personal stylist Hayden Fox loves her job. She hopes to help her newest client, sweet, pretty Caroline, find confidence and a new perspective with a total lifestyle change. And Hayden is all about solving other people’s problems—until she’s confronted with one of her own: She’s falling in love with her client’s boyfriend.

Renée recently took time out of her busy schedule to speak with me…

JM: What inspired you to write Hayden’s story in Shopping for Love? It must have been so exciting to write for James Patterson’s BookShots Flames series of romances.

RC: It was actually James’ and his team’s idea.

JM: I loved Hayden’s profession as a personal stylist and how it plays into her goal of helping other women figure out who they want to be. I’m a sucker for stories about young, driven women breaking out on their own, and Hayden fits the bill perfectly as she starts her own business. What is it about characters trying to find their way that you find so interesting?

RC: I just think everyone, man and woman is trying to find their way, especially at Hayden’s age.

JM: You have a knack for creating hot book boyfriends (shout out to Matt in Before We Were Strangers who ranks in my top 5 of all-time!). Shopping for Love is no different with sexy Blake. He rides a motorcycle, has tattoos and his own personal style (unlike his girlfriend—sorry, Caroline!), and is a talented artist. He loves music and is loyal to a fault. I mean, what’s not to love about this guy? What is it about a romance and swoony book boyfriends that makes your heart soar?

RC: I guess it’s creating some escapism for my readers. And who doesn’t love putting their imagination toward happy, love struck characters?

JM: Shopping for Love was much lighter in subject matter than your previous books and I ate it up! But I must admit, I love angst and your backlist has that and more! Your books always give me a massive hangover and I find myself thinking about the characters and the stories long after I’ve closed the back cover. With your most recent paperback release from 2017, Wish You Were Here, the story of Charlotte and Adam was both heartbreaking and inspiring, and you made me fall for not just Adam, but Seth, too! Without giving away the twists in Wish You Were Here, what inspired you to write this beautiful story?

RC: I can’t remember the exact inspiration. For me a lot inspires a novel. I think the major theme is who knows how long you’ll have with someone. And for Charlotte to stop floundering around in her life and start giving it meaning.

JM: Wish You Were Here is at times raw, incredibly emotional, and conflicting. I cannot count the number of times my heart fell. My God, I went through every twist with Charlotte! Do you enjoy torturing your readers (in a good way—LOL!)?

RC: It’s my complete goal in life to fill the ocean with emotional tears from my readers.

JM: Was there a message you’d like readers to take away from Wish You Were Here?

RC: If your not living than you’re dying. Or find a way to help someone seek peace in the life they were given.

JM: Let’s touch upon writing and how you go about creating such wonderful novels. Your stories often include a pretty huge twist that unsettles the characters and surprises your readers. Do you plot out all the twists and turns early in the writing process, or do they just happen as you go along?

RC: I think it depends on the novel. Usually if that particular event is a major conflict in the story, then yes I already thought of it. In Sweet Thing there were a lot of little conflicts so most came to me while I was writing.

JM: When you’re creating your stories, do you start with a character first, a setting, or a situation?

RC: Most definitely a situation. Names and sometimes places are changed later in the process.

JM: I love how you adore music so much—it’s a trait we both share—and no doubt, music plays a huge role in your writing inspiration. What else revs up your creative spark?

RC: Mainly intimacy, even non-romantic intimacy, like that between friends or family members. I also like big cities and places people can imagine in their minds.

JM: Shopping for Love is a short story, but your signature storytelling and captivating characters are present just like they are in Lucian DivineSwear on This Life, and Wish You Were Here. Fans might be surprised to learn that you used to write short stories as a teen. Will you publish more short stories in the future?

RC: I’m not sure what the futures holds,  but I can tell you none of those teenage short stories will make it to print. 

JM: Shopping for Love left me wanting more, and Before We Were StrangersSwear on This Life, and Wish You Were Here rank among my all-time favourite romances. Do you have favourite romance novels or movies that have stayed with you?

RC: It’s hard for me to choose one, there are so many, but I was really obsessed with the Outlander Series for a long time.

JM: You’ve published nine must-read books. Renée, do you have advice for aspiring writers?

RC: Thank you. I think aspiring is always an interesting word to describe a writer. This might sound harsh, but I don’t really believe writers are made, I believe they’re born. I think they can get better with practice but they have to be able to tell a story intuitively first. When people ask me how they can become a writer, I usually say you just have to want to write without the assumption that someone will read it.

JM: Would you like to share what you’re working on next?

RC: My next novel BLIND KISS will be out in August!!!

Thanks so much, Renée!

Want to purchase Shopping for Love? The novella is available as an ebook from AmazonBarnes & Noble (Nook), and Kobo. You can follow Renée on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and Pinterest, and visit her website for all her latest news.


Renée has kindly offered an Kindle copy of Shopping for Love for a lucky reader! This giveaway is open to the US only and entrants must own a Kindle or have the Kindle app in order to claim their prize. To enter, please leave a comment below answering this question: Where would you like to make a love connection?

Please note: comments on this website must be approved manually, so if you don’t see your answer showing up in the comments right away, please don’t panic! It’s just awaiting moderation and once that’s done, it will appear.

For an extra giveaway entry, head over to my Instagram @JaxMiddleton_Author, and do the following:

Like the giveaway photo (the Shopping for Love shot you see above)

Follow me (@JaxMiddleton_Author), and Renée Carlino (@RenéeCarlino1),

Tag up to three friends who might be interested in this wonderful giveaway!

Entries will be accepted here in my blog’s comments until Monday, February 19/18 at 12 noon ET.  This giveaway is not associated or sponsored by Instagram. GOOD LUCK!