Interview with Wendy Saunders
1) How did you find yourself writing a book? What’s the story behind your career? I’ve always loved writing; one of my earliest memories of writing is winning the storytelling competition in my first year of secondary school when I was just 11 years old. I’ve written on and off for years, knowing one day I’d actually get around to writing a book of my own.
2) Do you describe yourself as an author? I do now, the first few times it felt really strange when people ask what you do and you say I’m an author. I guess it got easier when family and friends started referring to me as an author, it felt real and I started thinking of myself as a serious writer.
3) What do you think of the writing world? Are you happy being part of it? I love the writing world, I’ve never felt so content, now I’ve got my foot in the door I’m never leaving.
4) What sells books? That’s a tough one, lots of different things but I guess for me personally I want escapism when I pick up a book. I want to be taken to a completely different world where anything is possible.
5) What makes your subject interesting? Hmm another tough one, I think what makes my subject interesting is that there don’t seem to be many stories involving the supernatural or magic without it being too in your face. I’ve tried to be quite subtle about it, there’s magic woven through the story but in a way that makes it easy to accept. I don’t like supernatural themed stories that are too heavy handed, they just end up being cheesy.
6) What makes you an interesting author? Because I like complicated long term story arc’s with subtle clues and hints, I like to let the reader make up their own minds and figure stuff out for themselves rather than being too blatant about it. I don’t like obvious plots, I love big plot twists and OMG! moments.
7) How many times have you wished you’d started writing earlier? I don’t wish I’d started writing earlier, I’ve always written but equally I knew I wasn’t ready to pursue a full time writing career before now. I needed the life experience necessary to create believable three dimensional characters and intricate story arcs.
8) Who are your favourite authors? As a teenager my favorite author was always David Eddings, I loved his two series The Belgariad and The Mallorean. I think that’s where my love affair with long running series began; even to this day I’ll happily read those books over and over again. I never get bored with them. More recently though, I have enjoyed Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris and Deborah Harkness.
9) How much time do you spend writing? Every spare minute I have, if I’m not actually sitting down writing, I’m thinking about writing or running through plots and character arcs. That’s probably why I have insomnia my brain never seems to switch off.
10) What are you reading right now? I’m not actually reading any fiction at the moment; I’m ploughing my way through history books on Salem and the witch trials. But the last thing I did read was the divergent books by Veronica Roth.
11) Do you have a set writing schedule? Not really, I try to write during the day but my brain prefers it when I write in the evenings so I just end up writing at varying times.
12) What’s the biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how do you overcome it? There really is nothing worse than sitting there in front of a blank piece of paper. Even when you have the whole story stored in your brain and you know what you want to write it’s still really hard work sitting down and writing the first draft. I tend to just make myself write the first few sentences, it usually flows from there.
13) What has been the biggest thrill of your writing career so far? Holding my first paperback novel in my hands, there is nothing like it.
14) How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? Don’t get me wrong, I have whole bookshelves full of paperbacks and hardbacks and quite often the same book just with different cover designs. I love books; I love the feel of them and the smell of the pages. But I have to say I love my kindle, it’s so handy when you’re away from home not having to cart loads of paperbacks around with you and I love the built in dictionary function. Plus the fact you can have them downloaded immediately to your device. But I’ve reached a happy medium, I tend to buy fiction/novels in ebook format and then if I love it I buy the physical copy. So I think ebooks and paperbacks can quite happily co-exist.
When it comes to publishing I always thought I’d go the conventional route of getting an agent and publisher but I always found the thought quite daunting, feeling like you were being judged as to whether or not you’re good enough and quite often it’s not even a question if you’re a good enough writer but whether or not they think you’re going to make them money. I think that was part of the reason I put it off for so long. But then along came Createspace and KDP, can I get a halleluiah! It seemed to be the answer to every writers prayer. It made publishing so much more accessible to the humble writer but even that comes with its own problems. It can be a bit of a headache for the uninitiated if you don’t have someone you can go to for advice and equally the whole job of marketing your masterpiece falls to you as well. So when all you want to be doing is writing your next project you’re spending half your time trying to sell the first.
I think in the argument of alternative vs. conventional publishing there are pros and cons to both, it’s a matter of personal preference.
15) If you could work with any author who would it be? It would have been David Eddings without a doubt, I would have loved to do a crossover of his fantasy world and the present day but sadly he passed away a couple of years ago. I think now I’d enjoy working with Deborah Harkness but then again I’m quite stubborn I don’t know how well I’d play with others, one of the things I’ve always loved about writing was the solitariness of it. But you know what, never say never.
16) What projects are you working on at present? I’m working on my first series, which begins with my debut novel Mercy. It’s a bit of a long term, labour of love kind of project as this series will be made up of five books but I’m intending there to be five series in total each series made up of five books so ultimately the story will span twenty five books. It is set in present day but full of magic, murder, romance, mystery, suspense and the supernatural.
I also have a little book which I scribble every random thought that pops into my head, so there are plenty of ideas for other stories which should keep me going for years.
In addition the Mercy series, I’m working on another smaller trilogy called The Tangled Web, which I shall release at some point and I’ve always loved the idea of the Three Fates from Greek mythology so I’d quite like to write a story with them set in the present day.