1. How long have you been writing? In 2003, I attended a series of WEA workshops on “How to Write a Novel.” After the first 20 minutes I was hooked – I’d rediscovered my passion.
2. How many books have you authored? Seven (soon to be nine). Three of the titles are: Hieroglyph, Fairy Dust, and Lodestone.
3. Do you have a writing schedule? When working full-time I write at night. When not working full-time, I structure my writing time, during school hours, and also write at night.
4. You’re a member of RWISA. Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group? I requested a review for Hieroglyph by the President of RRBC who has a reputation for being an honest, and “tough” reviewer, who does not lightly award her seal of approval. Receiving Nonnie’s 5 star review is one of my career highlights.
5. Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world? Professionalism. I invest time and money into delivering quality stories.
6. If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why? C.S. Lewis, author of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. As a child his stories fired up my imagination. I read them over and over.
7. Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line? I do like control, but I would evaluate any opportunities offered.
8. As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years? My expectation is that I will have completed at least another 7 books. I have dozens of story outlines waiting their turn.
9. What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books? Winning book awards has given my writing independent credibility. Adding award medals to the book covers and promotional material lets prospective readers know this is book worth reading.
10. Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members? Why? Fantasy Author, Belinda Mellor. Literary fantasy at its finest – her stories and prose linger in your thoughts long after you’ve closed the last page.
11. What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers? Writers write. Stop talking about writing, and actually write. Stop making excuses, and write. Find the time. Find the energy. Make whatever sacrifices required, and write.
12. Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work? Several books from scratch within a year wouldn’t be feasible from my writing style of research, multiple drafts, edits, and proof reads. I suspect in some instances ghost writers are used, which also happens within traditional publishing. Ultimately, their readers will decide on the quality of their stories.
13. If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why? I don’t release any of my stories until they have been through my entire process. I now try to avoid mentioning any firm due dates.
14. In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?” A story which readers struggle to put down, pulls at the heart strings, and there’s closure with the ending.
15. If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? And the second? I would review the stated issues, and if I agreed with them I would get the errors fixed as soon as possible. I use several proofreaders before publishing to avoid this type of incident, as fresh sets of eyes will pick up issues an author will miss as we are too close to our work. English spelling is different between countries (US.UK, NZ), and readers may not be familiar with these differences.
Wendy's advice about why a clear Point of View (POV) is important:
Point of view is the filter mechanism for each scene. Many new writers make the mistake of not structuring POV into their stories, and they "head-hop" between characters within sentences and paragraphs. This is considered by many literary establishments as "lazy writing". I'm a prolific reader and I've only found a few authors who are skillful enough to succeed with this technique. These experienced writers have consciously chosen this style, and have structured their words to avoid POV confusion.
In particular genres, readers may expect POV in first or third person. Research the current trends for your area, especially the best sellers. Certain romance categories switch POV between the two romantic leads with alternating scenes or chapters.
First person POV is more intimate; the reader experiences the story through the thoughts and actions of the character. All the senses are evoked: taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing, and intuition. The reader is only aware of what your character knows. Beware of starting every sentence with I ...
Third person POV is less direct than first, using variations of he/she. There can be single or multiple viewpoints. Make it easier for your readers by inserting a scene break or new chapter between character POV switches.
Refrain from the overuse of he/she or the character's name at the beginning of sentences.
Contrasting POV types can be combined effectively (thrillers and mysteries).
For clarity the author should make a conscious POV choice before scribing any scene. Decide who is going to tell this part of the story, and how this POV is going to be achieved. Evaluate other factors like tense, tone, accents, and character speech styles. Ask who has the most invested in this section, and query if they are the optimum conveyor of this information.
Select the POV which expresses your story best.