Get yourself a cold glass of sweet tea, sit outside in the shade, and enjoy this interview with Wendy.
Dani: If you didn't become a writer, what would you be?
Wendy: I would be a tour guide in some place awesome like Hawaii. Or I would be a singer on a cruise ship...but not a singing tour guide! Haha (Dani: I personally think a singing tour guide would be awesome.)
Dani: Name one opportunity you wish you had as a child?
Wendy: I wish I had the opportunity to have a loving father. My father left my family when I was five, and I have always wondered what life would have been like if he were a good guy, and he stayed.
Dani: “The Bedazzling Bowl” came out a few years ago, what's this book about?
Wendy: The Bedazzling Bowl is a middle grade novella that is based on a bible verse and a little girl who's name is Aly M. Bellisher. It's a funny, sweet and enlightening book for that age group (7-11) which tells a story of how sometimes you don't learn lessons the conventional way, you need to experience them through life's journey.
Dani: What's one thing people should know about “Sweet Tea” before reading?
Wendy: Sweet Tea is a story about relationships between friends, family members as well as strangers whom all have a purpose to one another. Also, it's not an all out depressing story. I love the trailer, but I think the background sounds might give that impression. The story does have a serious theme and gripping moments, but I weave a lot of dark humor throughout. (Sorry, that is more than one thing.) :-)
Dani: Tell us about the trailer for “Sweet Tea”. Did you make it yourself or did you have help?
Wendy: I hired Tim Eddy, (Nifty Production) from Austrailia to do the book trailer. I had seen other trailers he had done for authors, and I thought he was really talented at his craft. I sent him a synopsis of my story and he sent me a first draft. After a few tweaks back and forth through email, he understood the feel I wanted for the story, and I allowed him to have fun with his own creative input. My favorite part is the bird landing on the book. I told him I wanted that; but in my mind I pictured a real bird landing on the book! When I saw the way he created the cardinal and how he had it not only land on the book, but the cardinal became a part of the book cover as it was designed, I was blown away!
Dani: As I am writing this you are in the middle of your book tour. What things have you learned while on tour?
Wendy: I have learned many things on my book tour. First, I have learned to read slower. :-) I also learned that many people are glad to know that my book is clean in the sense there is no foul language or graphic sex scenes (though the story touches on these topics). People I have met have told me they want to read more positive stories. My book has a theme of mental illness and some tough situations are dealt with, but it also has a theme of hope running throughout.
Also, since I am a panster and not a plotter, I had to learn to prepare a basic format to guide myself while doing an author visit. I've also learned to always be prepared to adapt to changes. Recently, I went to a beautiful facility. They had everything set up for me (I usually bring my own microphone and small PA). This time, everything, including a PA, table and mic was set up. The room looked lovely. Then suddenly, the electricity went out after only about six people had shown up. I still went on, but the situation was more intimate, and I enjoyed it very much. I also got asked back for another visit, which actually works out to my benefit now that some of the residents bought the book and can tell the others!
Dani: You write a YA Novel and it's beloved by senior citizens – how did you manage that?
Wendy: I am a singer. I sing for many different venues, but primarily, I travel around the state entertaining at senior facilities. I often go to the same places every other month or so, and the residents have gotten to know me. When I told them I was a writer, and I had just come out with a new book they asked what it was about. Of course, I proceeded to give them a synopsis. They were all ears! They really liked the book's premise and asked if I would do a reading at the facility. I figured why not? They already like what I told them about the story, and I even told them it was geared to the YA audience.
Well, after I did the first author visit, my singing manager began booking me author visits in addition to my singing shows. Word spread and other Activity Directors began calling us and asking me to come to their facilities. During my visits, I also do a bit of NJ author trivia, and I talk about writing and I share some personal information with the audience as well as do a Q&A, and then I do a reading. Like I mentioned, the story is about a family, not just a teen girl, and I think the seniors enjoy all the elements of the story and it may touch upon issues they have faced in their own lives as well.