Name Wendy Howard
Fiona: Tell us a little about yourself.
Wendy: I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois and have lived the last 23 years in Colorado, currently in Highlands Ranch. My hubby and I have a total of 4 kids, 3 beagles and 3 cats. My first grandchild, a baby girl, is due next month. I’m overly excited to hold the first of the next generation of my family in my arms.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Wendy: During my much younger years, I started out as an artist. Something inside me desired to write a story about the people I drew. I was also a bit of a loner during my teen years, preferring to create my own worlds. Writing was the perfect escape.
I’ve been a professional writer for over 25 years and have written training guides, technical documents, marketing articles and countless newsletters. Becoming a published fiction writer has been a dream of mine for many years, and I consider myself lucky to be living that dream thanks to changes in the publishing industry.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Wendy: The first book I ever wrote sits on my computer and I doubt I’ll ever publish it. It started as an idea in a notebook, and after 10 years of writing in that notebook, copying it onto my computer and going through a rewrite, I finally completed the story. All I really wanted was to say I’d finally finished my first novel. What I didn’t expect is that it felt like graduating from college.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Writing guides and other writers always talk about having a writing style, but I don’t have a clue what mine might be. I try to change things up because I write for all ages. I do tend to mix dark humor into a lot of what I write though. I can’t help myself.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Wendy: Some titles come to me easily and others I spend hours developing. The titles in The Courier series were painful to create because I wanted each to have unique similarities. I still have a list of all the potential titles, but am pretty happy with the 5 titles I settled on for the complete series. Call for Obstruction is the title for the first in the series and Warrant for Damnation comes next. You’ll have to wait for the other titles.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Wendy: Not much. I’ve let my creativity run wild, especially trying to break some of the stereotypes about heaven and hell.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Wendy: I don’t base stories on my life because it’s too boring. I play on society in general and current events.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Wendy: My mentors are not published authors. My mentors are the many struggling writers I’ve met along the way. I’ve learned the most from critique group members and hostile writers. Yeah, that’s right, hostile writers. They’ll teach you how not to behave and how to stay centered.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Wendy: I’m reading children’s Halloween books and reviewing one a day for the sitNread blog. The stories are wonderful and the illustrations amazing. My favorite book so far is Boo! by Robert Munsch. If you’d like to read the review, here it is: http://sitnread.ws/2013/10/03/book-review-boo-by-robert-munsch. We’re accepting reviews from parents and kids if anyone is interested in joining us.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My main focus has republishing Call for Obstruction. Here’s a little blurb about the book:
Barry has just lost his fourth jobs to corporate downsizing. Desperate for employment, he jumps at the first position he’s offered over the phone, driver for OTG Courier Services. Shortly after meeting his new boss, a tiny yet fiery old lady named Margery, she coerces him into signing a questionable employment contract, which he soon regrets. Barry finds himself in the middle of a war between good and evil, and choosing sides is not as obvious as he might think.
It’s been a long road for this book since it won the 2009 Textnovel Writing Contest. I sometimes wonder what the next obstacle will be and if I’ll ever be able to start editing the next book in the series. The answer to the next question will explain…
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Wendy: I love this question because I had to do it all over again. Call for Obstruction was published by a small press, then unpublished when the company went out of business. I republished it through Visionary Press Co-op but unpublished it because I didn’t like the changes made by the first publisher. I’m still rewriting the ending, but it’s soon to be republished again. I changed A LOT! One hundred pages have been removed and many scenes were rewritten completely. I like it so much better now. The whole experience proves that patience in writing and publishing is a necessity.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Wendy: I don’t have a favorite author. Never have. There are so many out there with so many amazing stories to offer. I do have a few favorite books including, Of Human Bondage by Summerset Maugham and Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I love the characters the author’s created. They have stayed with me for year.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Wendy: Rebecca Treadway designed the cover and did a fine job capturing the appearance and personalities of the characters.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Wendy: Keep writing and revising until your novel is clean. A novel is not finished after a few drafts. Find a good editor and revise some more. You owe it to readers.
Also read voraciously, especially in the genre you write. Read books on writing as much as you can. Even if you feel you’re reading the same advice over and over again. Some things take awhile to sink in. Refresher courses only improve your skills.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Wendy: With all the unpublishing and republishing, I’m hoping they’ll come back, especially since I don’t have many of them. Considering all the potholes I’ve fallen into over the past few years, I guess I’d like to say I’m grateful for anyone willing to take the time to read.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Wendy: I’ve had another career that I’ve absolutely loved and still can’t leave behind. While I was writing all those technical documents, I also designed software and developed websites. I still enjoy creating and maintaining websites and am the Website Liaison for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (http://rmfw.org). The geek in me also loves to get deep into the code to create clean eBooks, and I’m always willing to help other writers with technical issues. Email me!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
Wendy: Here’s a list of websites where you’ll find me on the Internet:
· At each of the websites you’ll find links to the associated social media sites I run.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Wendy: I can share the first 10 chapters. There is a free download of an EPUB and PDF versions on the Visionary Press Cooperative’s website here: http://visionarypresscoop.ws/dd-product/call-for-obstruction-the-courier-1. Or you can read the sample in your web browser. It also contains the first 10 chapters. If you’d like a Kindle format, email a request to email@example.com. Also email me if you like what you read and want to read more. I’d be happy to send you the complete story in eBook or paperback when it comes out, and I’ll also sign the book.
Thanks for this opportunity, Fiona. This was FUN!