Wendy Laing [ghostryter]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I first read 'The Famous Five' & 'The secret Seven (Enid Blyton) series, Biggles (my big brothers books) & any kids books on the library shelf that took me into its imaginary world.
I started to write little stories from the moment I could physically write. I also liked to tell imaginary tales involving my Humpty Dumpty - my childhood confidante.
My mother was the first to read my stories, then teachers at school, University lecturers & finally internet surfers visiting my website. The latter was how I found my first publisher.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
Samples of my work are also available through my other webpage at the authorsden site:
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I get good ideas for a plot from the news. As I now write mainly mystery/paranormal books, I spend a few months doing research work to make sure of police procedures, pathology etc. and time frame for the plot. Eventually, these ideas transfer onto paper via my PC into a plot outline.
Poetry ideas have to 'come to me' it can't be forced - grin.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Other mystery writers such as P D James, Elizabeth George, Lynda La Plante, all of whom write wonderful plots. I also love to read newspapers regarding murders etc. I prefer books that propel me forward - the best way to keep a reader interested in a mystery plot.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Believable characters, a setting that give the reader a real sense of 'Place' a good plot with a sprinkling of cliff hangers and unanswered questions at chapters end, and a protagonist with whom the reader can identify and want to follow the puzzle along with such a character.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I prefer the third person, however I'm constantly aware that my readers need to have clear guidelines as to whose point of view the particular section is taken. I utilise chapter breaks or paragraph breaks or change of scene to emphasise any chances in the point of view.
What well known writers do you admire most?
P D James, Elizabeth George, Lynda La Plante and any writer that can hold my undivided attention.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I like to create characters based on people I've seen, met etc. then mix them into a pot to create a person that readers can instantly relate to. For example, my chief character in the Jane doe mystery/paranormal series has bits of myself, plus other people infused. She has her failings - a short fuse when working, impatience, she doesn't like getting up early, etc.etc. and I've added physical problems (asthmatic), and the fact that she can communicate with the dead victims of crime!
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Not really, these days. It's like trying to retell a good joke that you've heard, and when you get to the punch line, you've forgotten it! LOL!
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I basically like to write what what I like to read & what readers would enjoy. I use the popular fiction style of the mystery genre which is universally popular world wide & add a touch of the paranormal for a little twist.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
My poetry is certainly therapeutic. I guess the main internal conflicts of growing older, human frailty play some part in certain characters.
Does reader feed-back help you?
I always welcome constructive feedback. It's nice to know that readers like your book. It gives me added incentive to continue a series.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I've recently started to enter some short stories competitions - when I find time.
Last November, 2007, I won the Pulp Fiction comic Crime Prize for 'Risque Retirement' with the Australian Sisters in Crime, in the annual Scarlet Stiletto awards. As a member of Sisters in Crime, I was thrilled.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
My patient husband usually gets the first 'rough' draft to read. Dave is a good editor. I find it hard to edit my own work, as I get too close to the work itself.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I like to think that I've finally found my voice with my Jane Doe series - however as Jill of all trades, I also like to experiment with short stories, to try different writing genres, so i guess i will always keep searching.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I'd like to say that I write something every day - but sometime the 'writing' is purely answering emails LOL! Living in a retirement estate has thrown lots of interesting activities in our path - which takes me away from finding quality time to write each day.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
I like to play some quiet Vivaldi in the background, whilst writing. I also have plot guidelines that I've previously created, to keep me on track with the plot, as well as cue cards of my characters. These cards have height, weight, hair colour, eye colour, background information of each character, so continuing characters don't vary between books - grin. Readers are very quick to pick up discrepancies in characters, and plot time frames.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I write on my laptop. I print out each chapter, once written and roughly edited, so I can then pick up any mistakes on the printed page, as i find it's a break from the PC screen.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
http://authorsden.com is a great site to share information with fellow writers and readers.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I had a good experience with my first publishers in the USA. Unfortunately she had to retire, and passed on her stable of writers to another publisher, who basically 'left us all in the lurch' so to speak. We found another publisher, but eventually I was approached by an Australian publisher, Sandy Cummins, of Writers Exchange E-Publishing, who has now published all my books to date. My books are currently available in E-books, audio & paperback.
Please check out my publisher's bookshop - there are some excellent bargains to be had
What are you working on now?
'Haunted Heart' the third book in my Jane Doe series. Watch this space!
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Get them out, read them, throw away the rubbish, and edit/rewrite the one you like, then show them to some friends that you trust, for some constructive feedback. If any are really good, enter a local competition.