Sunday September 29 | 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Renz draws on his years of experience as a firefighter to bring a hardscrabble authenticity to his novel. He packs the tale with plenty of action and a lot of heart. His firefighting sequences are detailed and thrilling, placing readers right in front of the flames. His prose is clean and, at times, poetic...—Kirkus Reviews.
Gregory Renz's new novel is a triumph of poignancy, compassion, and restraint. In it, a man's regret is transformed to triumph.—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the bestselling novel, The Deep End of the Ocean.
Beneath the Flames is an action-packed debut novel with something for every reader: suspense, romance, friendship,forgiveness, family, and more. A novel that like its protagonist,relentlessly presses on into fiery and controversial terrain where many other writers fear to tread.—Nickolas Butler, author of The Hearts of Men and Little Faith.
"Outstanding! Beneath The Flames is an intimate combination of love, race, life as a Milwaukee Firefighter from outside the city, and life as an African American family, all trying to coexist in crazy and chaotic urban and rural environments. This is a MUST READ for anyone in the fire service or anyone wanting to get into the fire service!"—Douglas A. Holton Sr., City of Milwaukee Fire Chief
Fire Captain Gregory Lee Renz was involved in a dramatic rescue of two little boys from their burning basement bedroom. He received a series of awards for this rescue including induction into the Wisconsin Fire and Police Hall of Fame in 2006. When he was asked to share the dramatic rescue at several awards banquets, he was moved by the emotional responses he received and was struck by the power of his storytelling. Gregory has always been an avid reader and thought maybe he could craft a compelling novel if he could learn how to get these stories on the page. How hard could that be? He would soon learn.
In 2008 Captain Renz retired, exchanging his turnout gear for a writing desk to pursue his passion, storytelling. After numerous creative writing courses through the University of Wisconsin and countless workshops, conferences, and revisions, he finally typed the end to Beneath the Flames which was inspired by two adorable little girls, around eight and five years of age, who lived across from an inner-city firehouse he was stationed at for three years. Those two girls stayed in his thoughts over the years, demanding he tell their story. They are two of the main characters in the novel. He hopes he did them justice.
After serving the citizens of Milwaukee for twenty-eight years as a firefighter, Gregory Lee Renz retired to Lake Mills, Wisconsin with his wife, Paula.