Interview: Meet Wendy Strain
Wendy Strain is the social media and marketing manager for Our Write Side. Today, we’d like you to get to know her better by sharing her interview.
Interview conducted by A.L. Mabry
I am always excited to get to know a fellow writer better. It’s nice to see their wit and quirkiness. You get that sudden realization that this amazing word wrangler is just another fantabulous person like you! I am just as excited to introduce you all to Wendy Strain today. She wears many hats as a writer, an editor, and a ghostwriter.
What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
The very first thing I ever wrote was a story about a strawberry that fought to save his friend from the evil asparagus. I was in the third grade and thought it was awesome when kids I didn’t know were coming up to tell me they hated asparagus, too, but it really wasn’t that great of a story. I’d written it on the way to gymnastics practice in a bargain to my mother that I would finish my homework before we arrived at the gym. Still, it was enough to get me hooked.
(So, you made produce cool before Veggie Tales ever did! ~A.L.)
Do you have any strange or interesting writing habits?
Don’t think so, but then they wouldn’t be strange to me, would they? For example, it’s perfectly normal to make sure the figurines representing the artist (a jester), the judge, and the many-eyed critic are in their proper places before I start working, right? Plus, the lizard from your writing professor always has to stand at the base of the computer monitor to make sure everything flows smoothly. And it’s completely appropriate to work out dialogue out loud with the various other characters you might have in your office.
(I feel reassured that my habits are indeed normal too… ~A.L.)
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
Does writing a book about a character who refuses to behave count? I’m dubiously famous for these actually. The most recent one as of this writing, we planned to be out of town for the Christmas holiday so I didn’t bother decorating, especially since I gave all my Christmas stuff away just before we moved (last August). Then we didn’t travel. So, no big deal, we just wouldn’t have any holiday decorations this year. But then my husband came home from work one night to tell me we were hosting a small holiday get-together the next evening with some friends from work and I didn’t have time to run to the store. What I had decorating-wise was too sparse to be considered festive – the family stockings, a candy dish or two, and a Santa statue. After placing those around the house, it still looked pretty grinchy. But I found some sparkly string in my craft room along with some Mod Podge and quickly glued up a few cone-shaped trees in different colors and sizes to dry overnight, hung the cards we’d received on the walls and filled a chip plate with some cookies I decorated with colored sugar. Add some silver stars from my Cowboy fan and nobody knew the difference. One wife even complimented me on the holiday touches.
(It’s amazing what a creative person can come up with when their ass is in the fire! ~A.L.)
Are you involved with any writing groups or websites?
Yes! First, there’s Tipsy Lit – an amazing group of talented writers dedicated to literary fiction and poetry. I’m also involved with South Texas Scribes, a supportive writing group in deep south Texas even though I don’t live there anymore. I’m still looking to get involved in the writing community here in my new home, but that has been a bit of a challenge for a number of reasons. The community over at This Dark Matter seems to appreciate my book reviews of dark fantasy. And I have my own writing posse over at Write on Wendy where we do a five day flash fiction contest every week plus book reviews and we give each other writing support.
(I can’t imagine being a writer before social media and the ability to connect with other questionably sane artist. ~A.L.)
Are you loyal to one genre or do you like to play the field?
Total writing slut. I love everything to do with writing and write whatever comes to mind or just needs to be written. My favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, and romance, not necessarily in that order, but I’m also a professional copywriter, so I’m used to playing the field a lot with grants, blog posts, articles, white papers, you name it. I also ghostwrite, so have been known to do academic works (have several books in universities already but I can’t tell you what they are) and memoirs. I love the challenge of conquering new writing formats and finding the most effective way to tell the story I need to tell.
(Ooh maybe we came from the same Sluts-R-Us! I’m just kidding, that was a Friend’s reference…~A.L.)
Do you spend a lot of time researching (plotter) or do you make things up as you go (pantster)?
Depends on what I’m writing. My romances and fantasy tends to be more spontaneous while my science fiction and other works tend to have more research involved. The non-fiction stuff generally has mega-research and the ghostwriting is always very carefully plotted to be sure it matches with the client’s expectations. Not surprisingly perhaps, the things I do research for actually tend to get done while the spontaneous ideas tend to languish a bit more.
(I find myself in the same predicament all the time. Alternatively, when I am researching something I get all kinds of additional ideas. ~A.L.)
Do you (or do you plan to) write stand-alone stories or series?
My ideas usually turn into series, just because there’s always more to the story than I originally intended. Generally, I start with an idea for a stand-alone story, which almost always turns into a trilogy as I work it out. So far I only have one of these that has turned into a more extensive series of seven books.
(Character’s can be so needy…”Tell my story, tell some more, wait I did something else that people MUST know about! ~A.L.)
What are you working on right now?
My latest working title is Out from the Delta Shadows. It’s a post-apocalyptic science fiction story set 200 years in the future about a girl from an isolated community that emerges to change her world. It has a strong environmental twist. There are excerpts of it available on my Write on Wendy blog and it is part of the reason I moved to my current location in the Mississippi Delta – so I could be sure my main character was an accurate representation of the people here.
(I have read some of these excerpts, you should too! WAIT, finish this first…~A.L.)
If you could ask your main character one question, what would it be?
Why on Earth did you decide you had to be from the Delta instead of someplace I already knew? (Actually asked her that several times before we moved and she has some pretty good answers).
What do you think the secret to being a good writer is?
Never quit. Never quit writing. Never quit learning. Never quit experiencing new things. Never quit loving people. Never quit expressing your ideas. It’s all important.
(It seems like simple advice, but I think we all need to hear it. So..never quit encouraging others.~A.L.)
Who would play you in the story of your life?
Reese Witherspoon (My husband says she kinda resembles me when I was younger and usually plays characters like me – frivolous seeming on the outside but with something much more substantial underneath – nice of him, right?)
(Your hubs sounds like a keeper to me. ~A.L.)
Want more Wendy?? You can
stalk follow her all across the interwebz by following any of these links:
Writing blog (with writing contest): http://www.writeonwendy.com/
There you have it folks! Another name for the bookshelf! Until next time, scribe happy!