Meet Rena J Traxel. She writes children’s books and teen fiction with a dream of adding hundreds of books to her name. So cool! Her and I met at Grant MacEwan University where we both took the Professional Writing Degree. Read more and find out what keeps Rena focused to put pen to paper.
1. Tell me a bit about yourself.
I write silly stories for kids and murderous novels for teens. My biggest dream is to be an author with hundreds of books to my name and hopefully a handful of awards to go with them. I’m currently working on several picture book stories and young adult mystery with a fantastical twist.
2. What drew you in to writing? How did you get started?
I’ve been telling stories since I can remember. I was an odd kid. I would tell myself my own bedtime stories. But I didn’t get serious about writing until university. I was in my third year of the Bachelor of Arts program with plans of getting a sociology degree with specialization in criminology then it was off to law school. I took a children’s writing class on a whim and just fell in love. I left the BA program and transferred into the writing program at Grant MacEwan University and the rest has been history.
3. What motivates your writing?
Most of my picture book stories have animal characters. I love animals. Animals surround me. It’s not surprising that they find themselves in my stories. My novel on the other hand is definitely inspired by my time spent volunteering at the courthouse and studying crime and people. I find the law fascinating.
4. What is your daily routine? Do you have any rituals that get you in the mood to write?
I don’t really have a set schedule. I guess most of the time I work on my picture book stories during the day and my novel during the night. I like to read before I go bed. And take a few minutes each night to think about my story. I let my brain work out any problems in my sleep. I generally wake up ready to write often in the middle of the night.
5. How do you stay so focused?
My husband works hard so that I can stay home and write. I try not to take that for granted. I also follow my favorite authors online and seeing their success makes me want it. Seeing my nephew and nieces light up when a story is read to them makes me want to write. I do have my days where I can’t even look at my writing. Thankfully, those days are few and far between.
6. What advice can you give aspiring writers?
To go from an aspiring writer to an actual write requires just doing it. Quit dreaming and get your butt in the chair and write. Along the way you are going to meet dream thieves a.k.a jerks who have nothing better to do than to tear you down. Ignore them and keep writing. And find other writers you can confide in. They make the “down” times much easier to handle.
7. What book do you recommend everyone to read? How come?
There are so many great books out there. Oliver Jeffers “The Heart and the Bottle.” Picture books aren’t just for kids. They’re for adults too. This book speaks directly to my statement about dream thieves. Never let go of your dreams even when life hurts.
8. What’s in the works for you in the near future?
My biggest goal is to land the perfect agent. I don’t have complete control over this but I’ve spent a considerable amount of time developing my craft. I’m confident that I’ll reach this goal within the next six months. I recently joined the Writers’ Guild of Alberta as a board member. I’m pretty excited to spend the next few years helping build a better guild and inspiring others to follow their writer dream.
9. How do you keep your life playful & brilliant?
I think this goes hand and hand with being a writer for children. I spend half my day thinking like a child. I’m also married to a wonderfully funny guy who isn’t afraid to be silly with me.
10. Anything else you want to add?
Whatever you do in life never give up on your dreams.
I love that you used to tell yourself your own bedtime stories. That’s so cute! Thanks for telling me about Oliver Jeffers too. His stories look super fun.