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Learn more about my first book, Six Pack: Emergence.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Twenty Questions With Wendy May Andrews

This week's Twenty Questions session is with fellow Clean Reads author Wendy May Andrews, whose newest release, Sweet Surrender, came out March 7. Andrews has written five books with Clean Reads

You can visit Andrews' website to learn more about Sweet Surrender and her other works. For any authors who want to know more about Twenty Questions, here are the details.

Now let's hear from Wendy May Andrews about her new release.

1. How did you get interested in writing?

While I had loved writing in school, it wasn’t something I pursued after I graduated. I was too busy reading whatever I could get my hands on. Writing actually evolved for me after my husband dared me to try it. I didn’t think I could do it but, lo and behold, I’m hooked now.

2. What inspired you to come up with this story?

While most of my stories are about fresh relationships, I am also fascinated by the challenges love faces. What would happen if a new relationship was torn apart and they come face to face years later?

3. Tell me about the main character, Lady Julianna, and what inspired you to create her.

Julianna is great. She is all about her family. That is what motivates her. She rarely thinks about herself. But she is forced by circumstances to reevaluate her future as well as her past. It’s a challenge she tries to run from but manages to sort it out in the end.

4. What characters, other than Lady Julianna, did you find enjoyable to write as you progressed with the book?

Sweet Surrender was a fun story to write. I love all the characters, even the very minor characters like a cute, elderly couple who are fellow guests with Julianna and her niece at a house party. The supporting cast is often the most fun to write.

5. What are some of the themes you explored in writing the novel?

Forgiveness is a major part of this story. In our lives we all face pains and challenges from others as well as ourselves. If we cannot forgive, we cannot move forward.

6. What were some of the things you learned along the way as you wrote and edited the book?

I have a serious comma weakness :-D Since I write mostly in the Regency era, there are many things that need to be researched to ensure period accuracy. Thankfully, there are reams of references to choose from.

7. Tell me about that first book you wrote, Tempting the Earl… it says on your website you wrote it on a dare from your husband.

Yes. I am an avid reader, like most writers. If my nose is stuck in a good book, the house could implode and I might not notice. Since my husband is NOT an avid reader, this isn’t so fun for him. In frustration, he challenged me to write a book before I could read another one. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I fell in love with writing. It exercises a completely different aspect of the mind than reading, but they are definitely interrelated. Tempting the Earl took me a couple of years to write and was a learning experience. I didn’t even know how to divide for chapters when I wrote that story! I’ve come a long way since then as a writer, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Emily and Phillip J

8. What more can you tell me about the Sweet Regency Romances you have written?

They are all stand-alone stories which means you don’t have to read one to understand the other. The Duke Conspiracy and The Countess Intrigue are related to each other but still stand alone. None are truly a series. This is a challenge I am just starting. I have just started two separate series. I’ve written the first of one, my first book NOT set in Regency England. And I’m right now working on the first of a new Regency series. I love Regency era England and can’t seem to stay away from it.

9. What do you find is the right environment for you to write?

I need it to be pretty quiet. I am not one of those authors that have a playlist of what they listened to while writing each book. I have a desk and desktop computer, but I also have a laptop and can comfortably work anywhere, the only thing is I need it to be fairly quiet. Although, that being said, I HAVE written on a plane when I just HAD to get the idea written down…

10. Are there specific programs or tools you find useful to help you with the writing process?

Not really. I’m not too technologically advanced, unfortunately. And I write linearly – from beginning to end – rather than jumping around from scene to scene. So I sit down, open Word, and I’m good to go. But I’m VERY goal oriented so I LOVE National Novel Writing Month in November and the lovely charts and graphs they have to track your progress. I really need to find myself one of those for the rest of the year…

11. What have you found to be useful methods for promoting your writing?

The next book. Whenever I have a new book out I notice a bump with my other ones. I haven’t yet hit on anything else that I was really satisfied with in connection with promotion. It’s the age old question for writers, unfortunately. We would all rather stay in our writing caves and write instead of doing promo. Which is why email lists like BookBub are so popular. But I think anything you can do that cross-promotes you with other similar authors is a good idea. I’ve done some InstaFreebie group promos and found that to be a good way to find new readers. Hopefully that will subsequently transfer to more sales in the future.

12. What are some of the famous books or authors you have enjoyed or inspired you?

I fell in love with the written word at a young age. The first full length books I read were by Lucy Maud Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott. Even though it is MANY years later, I still think of those books and how those writers created another world for me to enjoy.

13. Any aspiring or independent authors whose books you’ve read that you liked and want to mention to others to check out?

One of my very favorite indy writers is Liwen Ho. She writes sweet, contemporary romance and really knows how to draw her readers in.

14. What advice would you give to those who want to write a novel before they actually get started?

Be prepared to learn a LOT! Read as much as you can in the genre you think you want to write in, but also be inspired by others as well. And read craft articles avidly. I can guarantee you do not know all there is to know no matter where you are in your writing career, but especially if you haven’t yet started. But enjoy it! If you don’t enjoy writing you better find something else to do because it is a challenge.

15. Tell me about this place in Toronto where you love to curl up with a good book. I imagine other readers might be interested in checking it out!

Ummm…usually my bedroom, or living room, or backyard, or basement, or the subway…I love to read and can happily do it pretty much anywhere.

16. The next few questions will be about some of the places you’ve traveled… let’s start with Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim Palace was spectacular! It was built for the first Duke of Marlborough as a thank you for his war accomplishments. It is massive. While most of my characters are usually a little lower on the social scale than the Duke of Marlborough, they might visit for a special occasion, so I was really excited to see it with my own eyes. Also, the d├ęcor at Blenheim, at least some parts of the Palace, are in keeping with my time period so it gave me some great ideas for descriptions in my own writing.

17. What about Rome… what places that you visited there did you find fascinating?

Every single place we saw in Rome was fascinating!! It’s one huge museum! Rome was our first time to try the hop on, hop off bus. I thought that was a wonderful way to get an overview of the town. But then I love to explore so it was fun to walk down tiny little side streets that might be slightly less travelled than the main thoroughfares and get a taste of real life, rather than just the tourist hotspots.

18. And what was it like visiting Paris?

I am in love with Paris. I studied Parisian French for three years as a young teenager so it made a real impression on my heart and mind. But I’m always surprised by how dirty it is. The architecture blows my mind. And the food. Ach! This question makes me want to start looking for a flight deal…

19. What can you tell me about the conferences in Chicago and the chance to meet other writers?

Going to a writers’ conference is amazing! It feels like finding your tribe. There is so much to learn! The workshops are inspiring. Writing is so often a solitary activity. It’s wonderful to spend a few days with other people that truly get it.

20. Who would win a battle of superhero skills: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman?

Wonder Woman, of course ;-)

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