Talk Writing with Wendy Jones
Wendy Jones. Author on a metaphorical ladder.
In the first of an occasional series, we talk to pulished author Wendy Jones.
Who are you and what have you published?
Wendy Jones – Doctor, wife, mother and now novellist. Two books so far – The Songbird and the Soldier and By My Side, both romances, both published by Harper Impulse.
Concise. Let’s get deep and meaningful. I’m going to lob this question then retire over here to do my Sigmund Freud impression. Why do you write?
Oooh, errrr… I’m not your usual writer. I sort of fell across it by chance. I became completely caught up in a dream one morning. I had woken early and so I lay there thinking, ‘What would have happened if I hadn’t woken up right then?’ and ‘What must have happened to get to that point?’ I kept thinking and thinking about it and eventually started writing it down. I wrote every night for 6 months. Then I thought, ‘Well I might as well try and make something of it; I’ve come this far.’ My dad encouraged me to give it a go, saying I had nothing to lose, and so I did. By then, I guess I had the bug.
Ah, the bug. All hail the bug. We love the bug here at Fylerwrites. Speaking to writers, there are those who must have a particular environment and a particular time to write, and those who write anywhere. What about you? Do you have a routine?
Simple answer: No. None at all. I write when I can, if I can. I may write all day, or not for weeks.
And how do you write? What’s your process?
How do I write? Slowly (mostly). My ideas come over time. I wrote the story that is in with the editor at the moment in only 3 months, which was incredible for me, but usually it’s more like 9. I have no set pattern of inspiration. I generally have the idea of what I want to happen to the main characters, but then I have to work on how that happens. They just evolve, like an onion, one layer at a time, going over and over the story to see what’s missing with each read through.
Both your published works so far are romances. What drew you to that genre?
The Songbird and The Soldier.
I love the ‘falling in love’ part of any story. I love the drama, the excitement. I may sometime dabble in other genres or most likely, subgenres, but it will always be a love story at heart.
How long were you a starving artist? How long were you submitting before you were published?
I think it was 4 or 5 years before I got published. I wrote one story a year and tried maybe a dozen agents with each manuscript and never got much more than, ‘No thanks, not for us’ back from them. I had no idea if my writing was nearly brilliant, or dross.
So is writing your main job now you’re published by a traditional publisher – and a leading one at that?
Well yes, it’s my main job, but if I didn’t have a husband to support me, I’d starve. I read somewhere that you generally have to get to your 14th book before you see any kind of supportable income. Only another 12 to go then!
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
For me, the hardest part is starting a new novel. It’s a confidence thing. The ‘will I be able to write another one?’ stuff sneaks around in my head. I procrastinate and avoid it for ages until I finally bite the bullet and just start. Once I’m a couple of chapters in, it gets easier, but the first few are like pulling teeth.
You initially self-published The Songbird and the Soldier. What’s the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing for you?
Traditional publishing is SLOW!! Self-pubbing, you’re (mostly) in control. Traditional, it’s out of your hands. This can be frustrating. The up side (personally) is the validation of your work. It makes me less guilty about ignoring the family to get some more writing done.
So do you feel like an author now? Are you going to be putting ‘Author’ on your passport soon?
Absolutely not! Well… I did when I went for a meeting at HarperCollins in London and I have started admitting to it when asked what I do, but… Maybe it’s like a ladder: people like JK are on the top rung. I’m still languishing somewhere near the bottom.
Any advice for those of us who still can’t even see the ladder?
By My Side
Get to grips with some grammar, analyse stories as you watch and read them for why you liked/didn’t like them and how the writer achieved this and when you’re done, get an outsider’s opinion. Get an impartial editor to read your work *coughs JF into her hand*. The rest is finding a publisher/agent who likes the same thing as you. It’s just luck.
Read more from Wendy Jones at Amazon today. You won’t regret it.
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