I’m joined by Wendy Clarke, author of The Bride, to tell us about the day that changed her life. Over to Wendy…
The Day that Changed My Life
I’d love to say I’m one of those writers who was born with a pen in their hand, but it wouldn’t be true. In fact, I took up writing quite late in life. Despite loving creative writing at school, it had never occurred to me that I might one day make it my career.
It was eight years ago, just after the February half term holidays, when my life changed. I remember it as though it was yesterday. I had just been told that the small primary school, where I taught English, was closing and all the staff were to be made redundant. I felt numb but it didn’t really sink in until the following Monday when, instead of going into class to teach, I remained at home contemplating an uncertain future.
As luck would have it, my brother had just completed an online creative writing course which he thought I might enjoy. With nothing better to do, I took his advice and enrolled. I hadn’t expected to enjoy it so much, and when it ended, I felt bereft. That was when I knew I’d caught the writing bug.
It was my course tutor who suggested I try writing stories for one of the women’s magazines. Missing the challenge of writing, I decided to give it a go. At first, I had the expected rejections, but I didn’t let it put me off. I carried on writing and submitting and my patience paid off when, three months later, I had a letter from the People’s Friend saying they liked one of my stories. Hurray! This was quickly followed by sales to Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly. It was becoming clear that what had started as a hobby was turning into a new career.
That was seven years ago. Since then, I’ve become a regular writer for The People’s Friend and have had around three hundred stories published in magazines along with two serials. I also write articles for Writing Magazine and have been a judge for several short story competitions. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it!
A few years ago, my writing changed direction again. With the magazine market for short stories shrinking, I turned my thoughts to writing a novel. My first attempt was a romantic mystery which bagged me an agent, but what they really wanted me to write was a suspense. Did I think I could do it? My degree was in psychology and I’d always had an interest in how the human mind can affect behaviour, so I decided it might be interesting to explore a darker side to my writing. A year later, I’d written What She Saw, a psychological thriller set in the Lake District.
It didn’t work out with the agent, but my novel went on to win first prize in a competition and was picked up by digital publisher Bookouture in a two-book deal. What She Saw was published the following year along with my second, We Were Sisters, and just two weeks ago, I celebrated the launch of my third psychological thriller The Bride.
Eight years ago, through adversity, my life took a new direction. I didn’t find it, it found me, and I’m proof that it’s never too late to follow a different path.
I would agree with you, Wendy. I’ve changed direction several times in my own life and truly believe that it’s never too late. Mx
About Wendy Clarke
Wendy Clarke started her career writing short fiction and serials for national women’s magazines. With over three hundred stories published, she’s often asked to judge short story competitions. Wendy has had three psychological thrillers published by Bookouture – What She Saw, which won the Flash500 Novel Competition, We Were Sisters and The Bride which was published on May 20th. Wendy lives with her husband and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!
Wendy can be found on:
Her website is http://www.wendyclarke.uk
You can buy Wendy’s novels here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Clarke/e/B00OW7Z7UU
About The Bride
When Alice receives an invitation from her best friend, Joanna, to meet her fiancé, she has the terrible feeling something’s wrong. Despite telling her everything, Alice has never even heard of Mark. After only a month together, can Joanna really be sure he’s the man with whom she wants to spend the rest of her life? Alice travels to Joanna’s London apartment with the intention of telling her to slow down but when she arrives, only Mark is there to greet her. He tells her Joanna is missing and Alice’s world comes crashing down. She thought she’d found her happy ending. She was wrong.
To buy the novel follow the link here
Thank you for joining me this week, Wendy. I think this post gives a wonderful message that it is never too late to change your life. x