My guest this week, 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.
She 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!
I asked Wendy some questions:-
I’m impressed by anyone who can get even one story published in a national women’s magazine, let alone how many you have had published. What do you think is the secret of your success?
The secret? That’s a difficult one to answer. At a push, I’d say perseverance has been the key element. When I first started writing, I decided that I wouldn’t give up until I’d had at least one story published… and I didn’t. When a story came back with a rejection slip, out it went again to another magazine. Then I’d forget about it and write another. I was lucky to have my first acceptance after three months of trying. I’m unusual in that, rather than targeting a particular magazine and writing in their style, I started out just writing stories I loved. It’s not necessarily the best way, but it worked for me. After I’d had stories accepted by three different mags, it gave me a clue as to what they were looking for.
How do you make sure that your characters are all different in your various stories?
It’s not so much the characters that I have trouble with making unique – it’s their names! When I start to write a story, it’s as though only three male and female names have ever been invented. Keith, Adam and Ben for a guy. Beth, Megan and Emma for a girl. I’m forced to get out the baby name book! I also have a nasty little habit of name changing halfway through a story to the exasperation of my editor. I don’t think too much about what my characters will be like before I start writing – their personalities just emerge as the story unfolds and sometimes they surprise me. Surprisingly, for women’s magazines, I write a lot of stories from the male point of view. I actually find them easier and they seem to sell well.
What aspects of Christmas do you enjoy?
Oh, just about everything! In no particular order: decorating the Christmas tree, singing carols with my choir in the church, eating mince pies, drinking port, Christmas balls (dances not decorations – I’m a keen ballroom and Latin dancer), finding that perfect Christmas present.
Can you give us your three favourite stories from this collection and tell us why they rank in the top three?
Another difficult question but I think my first favourite is the first story in the collection, Project Christmas. It’s written from the point of view of a young dad who’s recently lost his wife. He wants to make Christmas Day the best he can for his children but is finding it hard. Although the theme is loss, it’s a story of love and hope too.
My next favourite is also written from the male point of view and is called A Christmas Present called Abbie. Estranged from his wife, John has reverted to bachelorhood and his Christmases usually involve a pint or two with his mates. Not this year. This year, he’s going to have to look after his young daughter, Abbie, while her mother is in hospital. Poor hapless, John and his struggle to get to know his daughter – what’s not to love about him.
Finally, I’m choosing the title story, Silent Night. It sums up everything we should strive for at Christmas: acceptance, understanding and the knowledge that family love can cross any divide.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
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, Wendy. I admire your short story success and hope that you get those novels published. Can’t wait to read the short stories mentioned above.
To contact Wendy you can use the following links:-
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/WendyClarkeAuthor/
About Silent Night
Silent Night is a collection of short stories with a Christmas theme. All thirteen stories have previously been published in national women’s magazines. If you like moving tales with a satisfying ending, then this collection is for you.
Andrew and his children are grieving. Can he make this a Christmas his late wife would have been proud of?
Bella needs to get away from it all but her Christmas cottage by the sea holds more than a few surprises.
It’s Christmas Eve, the night is starry and two young men realise they have more in common than they realise.
The stories in this 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.
Lovely to have you over on my blog Wendy. I hope that you and your readers have a very happy Christmas.
Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. My novel The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available from all ebook platforms – Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play. The Girl on the Beach will be available as a paperback from 10 April 2018 – pre-order now at Amazon.