As you may or may not know, I recently had the opportunity to meet author Wendy Wax . I can honestly say that I’ve found another favorite author! Not only does Wendy writes wonderfully honest books, but she’s also an incredibly kind person who has been more than helpful with my many questions.
I eagerly picked up her newest release, The Accidental Bestseller, not sure what to expect. Four women, all authors, struggling through publication and more importantly, life. When I started page one, I couldn’t put it down. The Accidental Bestseller should be prerequisite reading for anyone even thinking about becoming an author.
I know a lot of you are going to the RWA conference soon. If you pick up one book to read on the plane, it must be this book! And if you’re not a writer, you’ll not only enjoy a look into the world of publishing, but you’ll also instantly bond with the four characters and their tumultuous lives.
Welcome Wendy Wax to the blog!
Tell us how you got started as a writer. Did you always want to be an author?
No, I just wanted to read all the time! I did major in journalism in college. Afterward I worked in broadcasting and film for many years both behind and in front of the camera, and I wrote corporate and commercial projects as well as features, news stories and documentaries for public television.
It wasn’t until I found myself at home with a two-year-old and a newborn that I became determined to write a book and get it published. I attribute this to post pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep!
How long did it take for you to get published once you had the first book done?
Well, it took a long time to write that first book, a short contemporary romance, which I mistakenly thought would be ‘easier’ to write because it was shorter—only 50,000 words compared to the 100,000 of a single title. And then it took me about a year to find an agent to represent me and then, I think, another year after that for her to sell it. (Apparently the manuscript was lost at the publisher for a long time because about a week after we resubmitted it they bought it.)
Can you tell us about “the call,” when you found out you’d sold your first book?
What’s great about your books is that they can be enjoyed by readers of romance, general fiction and chick lit. But how do you categorize your books, if you do?
I’d call what I’m writing women’s fiction because I’m drawn to writing women’s journeys. I like to put my female characters in really difficult situations personally and emotionally and then see how they handle it and who they become. I write women discovering ‘what they’re made of.’
What’s your writing schedule like?
You’ve worked in television and radio, how has that influenced your writing, if it has?
In The Accidental Bestseller you write about the ups and downs of the publishing world. In what ways do the pros of writing outweigh the cons?
The problem is once you’ve been in the business for a while you know what the pitfalls are and how very many things there are that will affect your career that you have no control over. That’s a difficult thing to deal with. As John Steinbeck said, “The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.” John was right.
For me, there’s a huge amount of satisfaction in creating a story inhabited by people that readers care about out of absolutely nothing but my imagination and determination. It’s immensely satisfying to see your book on the shelves and hear from readers who loved it. Despite the difficulties, I still feel fortunate to get to write for a living. It beats most ‘real’ jobs hands down.
What advice can you give aspiring writers?
Do the work, learn your craft, understand that getting and staying published is not a sprint but a marathon.
There’s a quote by James Baldwin that says it really well: “Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck—but most of all, endurance.”
Is the Evil Editor from The Accidental Bestseller based on someone? How about other characters in your books? Are they based on people you’ve met or known?
I think it’s safest to say that all of the characters are composites and possess bits and pieces of myself and others. At the same time, I’ll also say that The Accidental Bestseller is as close to the truth of what it is to be a writer in today’s publishing environment as it was possible for me to write without having to label it nonfiction.
What are you working on now? Can you give us a favorite line or blurb from your current work in progress?
I recently completed revisions on Magnolia Wednesdays, which comes out next March. I have to confess I simply don’t have a ‘blurb’ ready to share.
Out of all of your books, do you have a favorite or a favorite character?
Not really. It’s such a cliché, but they really are like children, parts of myself. I hate to show favoritism!
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any Hobbies?
If left alone I would spend all my free time reading! This doesn’t happen too often because I have two teenaged sons who play competitive baseball, which means when I’m not working I’m typically driving to a baseball field somewhere or sitting on a bleacher watching one or both of them play.