Wendy French, After the Rice
Years ago I read about a book called sMothering. It sounded like a novel I would enjoy so I bought it. sMothering is a must-read if you enjoy funny women's fiction which I do. It's hard to make me laugh by the way and this book had me guffawing out loud. Who doesn't like to guffaw?
Author Wendy French then came out with Going Coastal. In her second novel, Wendy mixes lots of quirky characters with humorous situations. Wendy's novels are so entertaining and well written that you can read them a day or two. Which is perfect for busy ladies like myself.
Now Wendy has produced another book, After the Rice. I adore Wendy, I love her writing and I liked the book a lot. However- I wasn't crazy about the way it ended. I'm trying not to spoil it for you here, but I had to ask her what was with that ending?
The ending was not what I expected. You know people aren't going to be thrilled with it. Why did you do it?
I knew some folks won't be thrilled with the ending, but many others have thanked me for it. From my limited experience, I've learned that any book can contain a scene, dialogue fragment or word choice that will annoy/irritate/upset a reader and I decided that I wanted to write the ending I envisioned, rather than worrying about reactions to it. I tried to do it in a tactful way, and that's really all I can do.
Do you ever create a main character who is similiar to yourself? And how much do you take from real life? I still love the boxing idea in Going Coastal. I wondered if that was based on your life?
My narrators tend to be about 60% me. This doesn't mean that I've been in every situation, but I let the character react the way I wish I would in a given situation, or the way I knew I shouldn't have in another to lend a bit of truth to the story. I take bits and pieces from real life and skew them to fit the book or the character. As for the boxing scene in Going Coastal, my uncle used to make my male cousins duke it out in the backyard.
How long does it take you to write the rough draft of a novel? Do you write an outline first or just sit down and write?
I don't outline, plot or plan, which is a terrible thing to say, but it's true. I usually have one image in mind and try to build the novel around it. I like to let the story kind of do it's own thing. I think that if I was a big plotter, I would have missed writing some of my favorite bits. A rough draft generally takes me 6 months or so, then I revise it twice before giving it to my editor. The total time invested for the three drafts is over a year, as I work a day job and can only write during evenings and weekends.
The best/worst things about going on a book tour?
The best thing about going on a book tour is being able to say you're going on a book tour. It sounds so darn tootin' fancypants. The worst part is a low turnout at a reading, as it's a tad awkward all-around.
People always want to know where authors get their ideas. So how do you come up with the premise of a novel?
As I mentioned earlier, my novel ideas usually come from one image that sticks in my mind. In sMothering, it was the mother singing the national anthem (the book was originally set in Canada, my home country - a nation of mumblers when it comes to the anthem and I thought it said a lot about the character belting it out regardless). Going Coastal started with the boxing and After the Rice began with the Pink Tyrant, Megan's niece.
Because Wendy is not only talented, but generous too, she sent along a spare copy for me to give away to one of my lovely readers. Post a comment with your email and I will pick a winner to be announced on Wednesday.