Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit the clubhouse is via membership or an invite to the clubhouse tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation I’ve had with a guest over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today I chatting with Wendy about her book and writing. Hello, Wendy welcome to the clubhouse tearoom.
So happy to be invited to tea in your lovely clubhouse. Thank you so much for asking me.
You’re welcome. Let’s order our drinks. What would you like?
I admit that tea is my favourite beverage and my preference is for builder strength Yorkshire out of huge china mug.
My first question, Wendy is when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I’ve been intrigued by murder mystery since I first read Agatha Christie in my teens. I think I might have been a criminal in a previous life! I love a bit of supernatural action too, starting with Dicken’s Christmas Carol. It felt natural that when I developed my private investigator series, my protagonist, Penny Wiseman, is ‘hired’ by ghosts as well as living clients.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
I’m working on the second Penny Wiseman mystery – the first is being published in January by Hobeck Books and editing that has been the priority until recently. The idea for the second one has been with me since the beginning of the year, and I’m now putting my nose to the grindstone to get the rough draft done. It’s lovely letting my characters have free reign to ‘speak’ to me again and tell me their stories.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
A lot! I’m terrible at finishing things, and unless I have a deadline I can procrastinate indefinitely – if faffing about with new ideas were ever an Olympic sport I’d go for gold, but I have to be more professional now – or my publisher will be chasing me.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter or let the characters lead you?
I’d love to plan a novel – but it’s impossible so I take an idea and a potential ending, then plunge in with the writing. Once I’ve worked through a dreadful rough draft – which doesn’t get shown to anyone ever – I look at what I’ve got and start thinking about what works and what doesn’t. Then I write it all over again. Completely mad and inefficient – but the only way for me.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
It seems almost to work the other way round for me. When I’m writing the lighter amusing sections I find myself cheering up if I’m feeling a bit low. Working on the deeper scenes can be tough. Writing is a bit like acting I think, where you’re drawing on your own emotional experience and it can bring difficult feelings to the surface.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
I plead the 5th!
What did you learn when writing your book? In writing it, how much research did you do?
Sleeping Dogs is the result of a Masters Degree with UEA (Crime Fiction Writing) , so research was an integral part of the development process. For example we had a visit to a morgue and the pathologist told us how to ccommit a ‘perfect murder ‘ He also said he’d be on the look out for any deaths associated with us and would come after us if we tried it! I didn’t use that one, but I did ask a lot of people a lot of questions to make sure the technical aspects worked.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
My aim is about 1000 words each writing day as a minimum – but sometimes they all get deleted, and sometimes I manage twice that so my output is as variable as the weather. I have to be stern with myself as I can waste hours watching the birds or doing ‘research’ on Google, especially if the words aren’t flowing but I try to stay focused, That can be hard when my cat demands attention by sitting on the keyboard.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I did consider it, but one of my childhood dreams was to see my name on a book cover – it wouldn’t feel quite the same if it wasn’t my real one.
How long on average does it take you to write a book ?
I started writing Sleeping Dogs in January 2018 for the MA. I didn’t finish it until September 2019, then I put it away for a while before submitting in Feb 2020. Thanks to lockdown I had time to rewrite it after a fair collection of rejections, as I’d had enough interest to keep me motivated but realised it wasn’t quite ready yet. I submitted the revised m/s to Hobeck Books in the summer, and was delighted they liked it. So, overall it’s been a lengthy process. Now I have my characters and my ‘world’, and without the requirements of an MA to consider, I hope to do the next one a lot faster.
Thank you so much, Wendy for chatting to us about your books and writing.
It’s been lovely, Paula. Thank you.
You can read more about Wendy via her website or she can be contacted via her publisher and on Twitter: wendy@wendyatthesea
Sleeping Dogs by Wendy Turbin will be published on 12th January 2021 and is available to pre-order now.
A jigsaw puzzle of a crime novel with a paranormal twist – the brilliant feel-good debut from Wendy Turbin
Meet Penny Wiseman, a private investigator by circumstance, stumbling through adulthood and desperately trying to keep her late father’s business afloat.
She’s on the trail of her client’s husband. He’s guilty of hiding something, but is he having an affair? The case leads her to an intriguing series of mysteries and encounters, and not all are quite of this world.
Because, for Penny, seeing the dead is a fact of life, and when a teenage ghost wants justice, who else can the girl turn to for help?
There’s one big problem – the dead don’t talk.
Penny’s first job is to work out exactly why she’s being haunted.
Her second is to solve the case that should pay her bills, but will she find answers to either question?
Sleeping Dogs is full of brilliantly drawn characters, quirky humour and gripping plot twists.
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.