I am *very* excited to be hosting my first author interview on booksandwinegums and I was delighted when Wendy Clarke agreed to be my first guest. Wendy’s new collection of short stories is a festive offering – now that the nights are drawing in, it’s an excellent opportunity to start looking forward to Christmas. So, without further ado, crack open the chocolate orange, put on your best festive jumper, and enjoy!
Wendy, tell us a little about your new book.
Silent Night is a collection of thirteen short stories with a Christmas theme. All of the stories have previously been published in national women’s magazines such as The People’s Friend and Take a Break Fiction Feast. The stories in the collection are a window into the lives of ordinary people at this special time of year. They offer hope, comfort and the knowledge that the spirit of Christmas is often found within ourselves.
Where did your inspiration for this collection come from?
I’ve already published two collections of my magazine short stories, Room in Your Heart (a collection of romances) and The Last Rose (stories of family and friendship). Recently, I had an email from a reader saying she’d really enjoyed my previous collections and asking whether I’d be bringing out any more. With Christmas on the horizon, a festive collection seemed just the thing. I’ve always loved writing festive stories and it’s nice to have them in one place and to know that people who are not magazine readers can now enjoy them too.
Where do you write?
I write anywhere. Although I have a lovely writing room, I mainly use it as a place to keep my books and printer. It’s upstairs and as my dog, Bonnie, isn’t allowed upstairs, I feel guilty leaving her behind. Consequently, I write wherever the mood takes me – in the garden or conservatory in the summer and in the living room, in front of the fire, in the winter.
Pen or keyboard?
Absolutely the keyboard. If you saw my handwriting you’d know why! The only thing I write in pen is a shopping list.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing but it wasn’t until I enrolled in my first writing course in 2012 (after I was made redundant) that I realised writing was a path I’d like to follow.
What is the best part of being an author?
As a magazine writer, the best thing has got to be seeing my stories in print. I’ve had over 200 published now but it still gives me a thrill to open the page and see what illustration has been chosen to go with my story. The other good thing about being an author has been making new friends online and in real life. I belong to the Romantic Novelists’ Association and have been to many of their parties and conferences. It’s helped make me more confident and sociable.
And the worst?
The waiting! You can send a story to a magazine and hear nothing for several months. The trick is to send the story then forget about it and write another. Also, of course, the inevitable rejections can hurt – which is why it’s important as a writer to grow a thick skin.
Who are your writing heroes?
Rosie Thomas – I just love her novels and of course Stephen King… what a legend!
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with three fictional characters, who would you choose, and why?
Could I say Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe? He certainly made a go of it on his island and would have learnt from the experience. I could just sit back and watch him build a camp. Next, I would choose Hermione Granger with her wand, just in case we needed a bit of extra help. Finally, there has to be a bit of love interest doesn’t there? It would be a bit cliched to say Poldark but… oh, who cares, Poldark!
Good call! What’s next?
Two years ago, having spent three years writing only short stories and serials, I decided it was time to try something longer. Writing a novel has been very different but I’ve loved the challenge. Recently, I completed my second novel (a suspense) and am at present seeking agent representation for it. It would be wonderful to eventually see the novels in print too.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, Wendy!
Thank you very much for inviting me onto your blog and for allowing me to be your first guest!
Wendy Clarke is a writer of women’s fiction. Her work regularly appears in national women’s magazines such as The People’s Friend, Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly. She has also written serials and a number of non-fiction magazine articles.
Wendy has published two collections of short stories, Room in Your Heart and The Last Rose, and has just finished writing her second novel.
Wendy lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!
Silent Night can be found on Amazon: