|Author Wendy Beck|
Today it’s my pleasure to introduce Author Wendy Beck author of 9th Life (a fascinating story!). She is a fun, fabulous, and gracious. So please join me in welcoming her and see what she likes to write.... lets jump right in!
What genre do you write? Do you write more than one?
WMB: Paranormal new adult. I can't say I wouldn't branch out later, but that age of discovery is pure magic. And then I add my own brand of magic. Well… magic and mayhem.
MVF: Excellent, I really like how you phrased this.
WMB: Thanks! I should write… oh, wait…
Tell us about your book:
Zookeeper Skyler Ashcraft prefers scorpions to skirts, but flirting with the feral gains new meaning when she unwittingly drugs a feline shapeshifter. The same rules should have applied: Approach with caution and the near-impossible keep your hands to yourself.
Bastian is uniquely dangerous among the Ailuro, a people capable of much more than shapeshifting. The way his anger psychically endangers others earned him exile, as self-imposed as mandated. It’s the reason he should leave Sky alone. If only it was that simple.
When the predator becomes prey, the hunt is on. If it’s truly survival of the fittest, they can’t hope to win.
The zoo’s primary rule of expect the unexpected hardly prepared Sky for this, and in the end, they find there are worse things to lose than your life, and nothing they won’t risk for love.
What was the hardest thing to write? Easiest?
WMB: The hardest was the third book in the trilogy (yes, I wrote all 3 before releasing any). The first two poured out, dragging me breathless in their wake. The last book, Skybound, had to pull everything together. It was hard to get out of my own way in how much to plot and how much to just trust and let happen. More specifically for the hardest for me to write--scenery. I'm the kind of reader who tends to skim that stuff. I have a vivid imagination and don't generally need it all painted out for me.
MVF: Interesting—and I envy how the two books “poured” out of you. This is very much a gift. But I agree, bringing it all together is very, very difficult indeed.
WMB: The easiest... dialogue. It's a movie, or more like a lucid dream, running through my head. I just hear them speaking and rarely have to find words for the characters. They take over. Also easy was Skyler's career as a zookeeper. My own degree/training is as a zookeeper. I'm still not sure how I went from being one to writing about one. Write what you know, yes?
MVF: ah, another envious moment—the flow of dialogue!
What are the hero/heroine's biggest struggles? What would they die for?
WMB: Skyler's perfectly good life, before Bastian shows up to blow all her preconceptions to hell, keeps her from thinking too much about her struggles. She struggles to feel like she belongs. She carries an ingrained sense of being on the outside always.
MVF: And this, I know I can relate to. I love those type of stories.
WMB: Very much one of those write-what-you-know-things. Perhaps an inevitable side effect of being introverted. *ponder ponder*
MVF: I think a good story-teller has the deep well of introversion. This is good!
WMB: Bastian's demons come in packs, condemning him to exile not just from his own people, but everyone. He struggles with a psychic gift he never wanted and lives with sins that he committed out of necessity.
MVF: I like struggles like this in characters, and how they overcome.
How do you write? Do you plot? Panster? Do a mix of both?
WMB: Just call me Sir Pants-a-Lot. I try to plot. I do. But these characters... I swear they glance over my outlines, muttering, "That's adorable." I've even frozen wide-eyed in my seat from Bastian's voice at my ear, saying, "You know that's not what happened." Yeah... authors. We're all certifiable, I suspect.
MVF: *grins* I understand. I have a rough outline, I need to head in a direction and suddenly I am wondering somewhere else. Being a Pantser has its pros and cons for sure!
WMB: It’s like they say… you do everything you can to raise your characters right and then you put them on the page and they do any damn thing they please. J
MVF: They do! Which makes them at once fabulous and scary.
Do you write late at night or early in the morning? In the afternoon?
WMB: I write whenever. No preferences other than silence and time.
MVF: I’m with you time, and silence; very hard to deal with lots of things around. Could you write in a coffee shop? (I always find that fascinating.)
WMB: I haven’t tried it yet actually. I’m so much more comfortable at home, and I… wait for it… I *drops voice hoping no one hears* don’t drink coffee.
MVF: You are not the only one I know. One of the authors I brainstorm with only drinks tea. You could fill up on chai? J
Do you have a day job or get to write full time?
WMB: I write nearly full time, working only a handful of hours a week out of the house. I know. I know. My luck is ridiculous. You have no idea.
MVF: I think that is fantastic. You realize I am slowly becoming envious of your life… *laughing*
WMB: A woman who happily handles snakes and rescues spiders isn’t used to being envied, I can assure you.
MVF: The fact YOU can handle those items show you *should* be envied! Awesome! My youngest would think you are so cool. (So do I)
What do you love about writing? Dislike about it?
WMB: Being the first 'reader'!! Honestly, writing is like that for me. It's more intense than reading a book already written. No one knows this story, and it's unfolding as I sit there striking keys. I laugh, cry, shake, feel sick... It's being caught off guard and shouting NO! at my screen, only just having realized what happens next. It's a high like no other.
MVF: I like how you get immersed in the story—this is important I believe for a writer.
WMB: I think it’s what paints passion on the page.
MVF: Agreed, because if we react emotionally as we write to what is happening then we know the reader will.
WMB: Dislike about writing in the narrow sense or broader sense? LOL. I love the first drafts, the revisions both third and thirtieth, the working with feedback. If I don't love reliving these stories every single time I pass through, I rewrite the scene until I do. It's the marketing and endless learning curves for software and formatting etc that wears me down. All of it is fascinating in smaller doses, but there are no small doses in indie publishing; it's go big or go home. Every step needs to be carried out as professionally as possible, and that means an incredible amount of work.
MVF: I’m with you—the business side is what will destroy a writer if it’s not managed well. It is truly the hardest part of it all.
WMB: So true.
What are two songs (if you listen to music) did you listen to while writing this book?
WMB: Only 2? The first book, 9th Life, was mostly Hurricane by 30 Seconds to Mars and What I've Done by Linkin Park. Music plays such a big role for me that I gave the soundtrack its own webpage. http://www.wendymbeck.com/soundtrack.html
MVF: OOOH, I love Linkin Park! ;) And thank you for the link—this is very cool.
What is the next project you are working on?
WMB: Once the trilogy is out, I have a novella that overlaps that story. It's about two characters you hardly realize that you met. It's all their story, but it gives you insight into The Naming of Legends trilogy that you couldn't have known any other way. As for the next novel, I think it's going to have to be a story for a beloved side character. It's that or face the dirty looks of too many until he gets his own story.
MVF: I like that you have a plan already for what you are doing and where you are going with the next step.
WMB: Pantser in storytelling, plotter in career-building. J
MVF: You are someone I would like to talk more in depth about career plotting indeed.
What is your favorite drink?
WMB: chai tea from Dunkin Donuts
MVF: Have you ever tried a Dirty Chai? I ask because my oldest daughter has found them absolutely delicious.
WMB: No, but I’m abandoning this interview now to go find it. LOL
MVF: Now that I know you don’t drink coffee—you might not like it. It is Chai tea with a shot of espresso.
Name five books you've read recently you loved.
WMB: Syphon's Song by Anise Rae
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Cream & Honey by Maggie Montgomery
Angelfall by Susan Ee
MVF: Excellent, more for my TBR shelf!
WMB: Don’t you mean TBR bookcase? Ha! You and I both know that a shelf is pitifully underqualified.
MVF: Oh, you are right. *stares at the shelves*
What's your favorite work out/ Exercise?
WMB: Deadline. Oh wait, that said exercise. I thought it said work out excuse. If you've ever worked as an animal caretaker, you know it's all exercise. I haven't found anything else I like nearly as much now that I write.
MVF: *laughing* no, I can’t say I’ve worked as an animal caretaker, only human and it can be strenuous. How long were you an animal caretaker? J
WMB: I was the caretaker for Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail for 4 years. I’ve worked off and on with Noah’s Ark in Locust Grove, GA, Honey Creek Nature Center in the GA islands, and Wildlife Wonders and such. Wildlife work has been in my life for many years. (and, yes, my son is the most challenging, but he does bite less.)
MVF: Another thing I need to ask you questions in-depth, you have had a fascinating work life. (It’s true our children are some wild critters!)
Thank you for visiting Wendy, I truly hope you stop by again. It has been a pleasure to chat with you.
As a bonus--Here is Wendy's second book (to the left). Looks absolutely fascinating.
Now, here are some links as to where you can find more about Wendy and where to get her books (right now the first on is on Amazon.
Wendy's Pinterest (I'm totally addicted to this one!)