When Wendy Young, today’s featured debut author, mentioned that she writes in a “very old-fashioned way,” I immediately envisioned the tap-tap-tapping of my college days onto my electric typewriter. But, nope, that’s not what Wendy meant at all…
Name: Wendy L. Young
Name of book: Come the Shadows
Book genre: Mystery
Date Published: July 27, 2011
Publisher: Self-published via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and CreateSpace
What is your day job? I am a contract employee, full time for a confidential company. I stay home with my two-year-old son and fit the work in wherever I can, be it 5 a.m. or 10 p.m.
What is your book about? It revolves around a small town in North Carolina that has lived in anonymity and peace for the better part of a century. Everything is thrown into chaos when bones are discovered in a derelict factory. The fact that it’s the first murder in 17 years is big enough, but there’s a lot more going on than just one simple murder.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? Editing. Editing. Editing. That’s the hardest part for me, anyway. I haven’t yet developed the hard edge needed to cut all that should be cut. I want to continue to nurture my favorite scenes, and my favorite people, even when I shouldn’t. Some were cut anyway in this book, but I’m sure I could have cut more.
What motivates you to write? I just love telling stories through the written word, and I have an intense desire to create things. I’ve dabbled in just about every craft you can think of before finally admitting that nothing in this world does it for me like writing.
Did you experience writer’s block? On the small scale, yes, I sometimes experience writer’s block. But I think it helps that I don’t start until I know where I want to go. Writer’s block is just another way to say you lost your train of thought. If that happens to me along the way (I write start to finish) then I just make a few notes about the scene or chapter and move on. I can finish it later in the editing stage.
If lack of planning is the problem, which happened to me in a novel I started last year, then it’s another animal altogether. I plan to pick that book up again, but before I do I have to figure out some important aspects of the climactic scenes and “big reveal.” If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re in trouble. Outlining isn’t for everyone but a certain amount of planning is necessary.
How long did it take you to write this book? It took me about ten weeks of writing, fitting it in around my stay-at-home-mom and works-full-time titles. Then it took another two months to edit because I drug my feet so horribly. All in all: four months and change.
Why did you decide to self-publish? I self-published for a lot of reasons, and I wonder every day if I made the right decision. Both traditional and indie publishing routes have their lures and their pitfalls. I think every person has to decide for themselves the right path. Just be sure you don’t self-publish with the idea you’ll be the next John Locke or Amanda Hocking – it takes work and a good stock of written material to make it happen!
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? The biggest misconception about writing a book, to me, is that people will automatically want to read it. There’s a “selling” aspect to writing that most writers don’t consider. When you start, your footprint in this world is tiny. It takes a lot to be heard in this big, wide world.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? The writing, period. I loved my daily write time. I write in a very old-fashioned way – with a pen and a spiral note book – and simply the action of writing, as your hand moves across paper, is fantastic.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? I have promoted my book in a variety of ways – Twitter, Facebook, my blog and word of mouth. I also have several book bloggers lined up who are excited to read it, and one who already has posted her review. Getting my short story, “One Final Night,” free on Amazon also helped tremendously as it brought my name, and a small piece of my work, in front of thousands of readers within just a couple of days.
My biggest advice would be to start promoting before you publish. I was incredibly naive about this aspect and will definitely remedy that when I publish the sequel later this year.
How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? As of yet, not a lot. I’ve only seen a couple of reviews of the work, and I’m still at the very beginning of promoting it. I revel in every review and every word of praise, however. For a long time, writing was a very private thing. I was incredibly nervous to let my husband be the first one to read this. Now that part of me is thrown open to the world, it can make you feel vulnerable and alive at the same time.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? That’s hard to answer at this point – ask me in a year!
But right now I would have to say that I agree with her. I think everyone who wants to transition from writer to book author needs to be well prepared for the work involved and ready to seize those moments – be it a chance conversation on Twitter discussing what has worked for someone else or being fortunate enough to catch a good book blogger on a light stress day where he or she says, “Yes!” Be poised to jump and prepared enough to know how to use the opportunity to your advantage.