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 it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today, I’m welcoming Wendy to the tearoom for a chat about her new book. Welcome. Lets order our drinks first.
Thank you for inviting me for a chat, Paula. I’d love a latte please.
Now our drinks have arrived, let’s start by asking you when you first began your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
Although I am known for my psychological thrillers, my writing journey actually began with a different genre: Women’s Fiction. This was because for the first seven years of my career, I wrote short stories for women’s magazines (three hundred plus in all) and was a regular writer for The People’s Friend. My first novel, a romantic mystery, nabbed me an agent. It was she who suggested I write a psychological thriller and so I wrote What She Saw. Sadly, this agent dropped me before submitting my work, but this novel went on to win the Flash500 Novel Competition, was picked up by Bookouture and became an Amazon bestseller so I have a lot to thank her for!
What writing elements do you think are your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
If reviews are anything to go by, I think I’m best known for my atmospheric settings, emotional themes and twists you (hopefully) don’t see coming.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
When you are contracted to a publisher, and are hoping to have your contract renewed, you don’t have a huge amount of time to mull over ideas as you need to have something ready to show (usually a synopsis) if you’re asked. Knowing this, any seeds of ideas I get while writing the current novel are jotted down and fleshed out once that novel has been submitted. The idea for my next novel, His Hidden Wife, which will be published on February 4th, came to me on a weekend break in Dorset. It was while walking the cliff top path and watching the crashing waves below me that I knew the area would play a significant role in my next project. Settings nearly always come first for me… plots later.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter?
If I had my way, I’d write the first chapter first but as I’m under contract, I can’t. My fabulous publisher, Bookouture, require their authors to write a synopsis to discuss with their editor before any writing begins. I used to hate it, but I’m used to it now. That synopsis is the only planning I do and although I often go off-piste, a quick glance at it will help me keep track of the end point.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
I was going to say no but that wouldn’t be strictly true. There will be elements of people I know in all of my characters: a hairstyle, a beard, the way someone walks or talks or how they’ve made me feel. Having said that, no one would ever recognise themselves in my novels.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
Several. My readers probably don’t know that I suffer from claustrophobia, that I became a grandmother at 43, that I have rubbish facial memory, that I’m addicted to Australian MasterChef or that I can do over twenty styles of dance.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m lucky in that writing novels is my only job which means I don’t have to stick to a strict schedule. My novel writing fits it around whatever else I’m doing so you might find me writing at any time of the day or early evening. I try not to write at weekends though… that’s family time.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
I actually set myself a weekly word count: a minimum of five thousand words a week. This can be done on any day and my daily word count could vary from 500 to 3,000. This way I know I can comfortably finish my novel by my contracted date.
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
Character names… don’t get me started on that! I am the world’s worst name giver. In fact, when I start a novel, you’d think there were only six male or female names on the planet. When I was writing short stories, so many of my characters were called Beth and it was also the name of one of my female leads in What She Saw. In the novel I’m editing now, the copy editor pointed out that I had two people called Pete… good job she noticed!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?It takes a year from starting a manuscript to publication. Seven months for writing and five months for editing.
Here’s my bio and links… hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything.
No, you haven’t Wendy. I shall post this all up on the tearoom noticeboard. Thank you for joining me today.
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. Her fourth, His Hidden Wife with be published next year. 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!
To find out more about Wendy check out: Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendyclarke99 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WendyClarkeAuthor/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendyclarke99/ and her website: http://www.wendyclarke.uk You can buy Wendy’s novels here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Clarke/e/B00OW7Z7UU
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops.