This week I’d like to turn the ‘Author Spotlight’ onto – Wendy Steele!
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always loved writing and telling stories but my first novel, ‘Destiny of Angels – First Book in the Lilith Trilogy’ was inspired by my curiosity as to where people start their lives and then where they end up. Some people carry their past as a burden while others break free of the past and start their lives anew.
The knowledge that Angel acquires during her childhood and young adulthood, gives her an unusual perspective on life and with these powers at her disposal, she takes control of her own destiny by deciding to close the chapter in her life that caused her so much trauma.
So Wendy, do you have a specific writing style?
I write descriptively, which is my preference as a reader as I love to ‘see’ the book I’m reading. The magical rituals and celebrations in ‘Destiny of Angels’ are especially rich, evoking a feeling of ‘being there’, drawing the reader into the magic.
Describe a typical writing session or your typical writing area
Writing propped up in bed is my favourite way to write and with my trusty fountain pen and A4 lined pads, I can lose myself for hours in my stories. I can type up this way too with my trusty old laptop on my knees.
What are your current projects?
‘Wrath of Angels – Second book in the Lilith Trilogy’ is my main focus for this year’s writing and I’m researching three non-fiction books. Research can be done in smaller chunks of time and as my year has been focussed on family thus far, it’s been very useful to have work I can pick up and do if I have a spare hour.
What books have most influenced your life most, Wendy?
As a child I read everything I could lay my hands on and, having a brother six years older, I was reading books beyond my years from an early age. ‘Animal Farm’, ‘1984’ and ‘Brave New World’ opened my eyes to a much more negative world than the one I hoped I lived in, as did ‘L’Etranger’, which I read for A level French. ‘The Hobbit’ is an all time favourite story of mine, closely followed by ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ and ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’. My love of descriptive writing and being able to ‘see’ a story unfold was heavily influenced by these writers and I’m sure these influences are evident in my own writing.
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favourite author is Terry Pratchett, closely followed by Neil Gaiman. I adore their storytelling and when inspiration fails me, I indulge in a spot of Rincewind or Granny Weatherwax, letting the words flow over me, wallowing in their perfection until I’m ready to write again.
What book are you reading now?
My children bought me a kindle for my birthday so I’ve started to read authors not available in paperback. I’ve recently finished ‘The Chandelier Ballroom’, a cracking story by Elizabeth Lord and ‘The Pet Washer’ by Jennifer Alvarez, a beautifully worked tale, both of which I would recommend.
Wendy, are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I read Mark Barry’s ‘The Ritual’ over Christmas and look forward to reading more from this Indie Author. I’m currently reading ‘Concordia’ by Mary Ann Bernal, a historical novel set in the time of King Alfred and I’m loving it!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Six months on, would I change anything in ‘Destiny of Angels’? Yes, probably because I do believe one learns and grows as a writer all the time. Though ‘Destiny of Angels’ is my debut novel, it isn’t the first novel I’ve written and I felt at the time, with two novels behind me that weren’t great, that ‘Destiny of Angels’ was as good as it could be and I wanted to share my story with readers.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
‘Wrath of Angels’ follows on from ‘Destiny of Angels’, though it is a complete novel in its own right. It focuses on Angel’s determination to acquire knowledge and understanding, sometimes to the detriment of others and how, through her personal obsession, she comes close to losing those she loves. It’s another story about how good and evil can’t be clearly defined and how as human beings we are faced with choices.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing, Wendy?
The most challenging part of my writing at the moment is finding time to do it! Though I’ve written two thirds of the book, it’s a very basic first draft and there are as many piles of notes for editing as there are pages of writing.
Do you have any general advice for other writers?
Having been part of the Indie writing scene for almost a year now, my advice for writers would be write because you love it and, if you want to publish your stories for others, edit…and edit….and edit! So many times I’m put off buying a book because the first page is smattered with errors. Well-written, good stories will rise to the top in the literary market, in my opinion. Publishing a book because it’s finished doesn’t mean it’s ready. A book I read recently started really well with a good idea and likeable characters but, less than a third in, I felt like I was reading a first draft. This isn’t a criticism of other writers because, from the feedback I’ve received, I have point of view and fluency issues to address myself. Use readers you trust to help you and don’t be afraid of criticism.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Some writer’s plan in great depth before they begin to write. I start with an idea, a ‘what if?’ and allow my characters to write the story for me. The more I write the better I can see where my cast of characters are heading and early into the book, I know how it will end but not until the first draft is completed will I sit down and review the structure.
Wendy, do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I published ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you’ at the end of last year to allow my readers an insight into ‘me’. It’s a personal book of ideas, reflections, meditations, recipes and tips that I wanted to share as much as my stories. I hope my readers will enjoy all my work and I love to hear their feedback. With social media to the fore in self promoting, it’s also a great way to get to know your author and I hope to interact with my readers even more in 2013.
Wendy and Her Latest Novel:
If you’d like to find out further information on Wendy Steele, you can check out her website at:
My thanks to Wendy Steele for agreeing to be interviewed. You can read more about her latest novel ‘Destiny of Angels‘ by checking out my latest blog post, by clicking here. If you’d like to purchase a copy of ‘Destiny of Angels’, or any of Wendy’s other books, you can use the following links: