I do love it when an opportunity comes up and you can
grill ask questions to one of your favourite authors! I sat back and thought well what do I want to know about Wendy and this is what I came up with!
Okay, let us kick off with your writing processes!
Do you listen to music when writing? If so what is your preferred genre/band/artist?
No music! I need peace and quiet when I write. Music and TV just distracts me.
What’s your schedule like a writer?
I write at my desk in my office at home and most days I’m at my desk for 8am. I write all morning, surrounded by my three cats, then break for lunch where I’ll go for a walk. The afternoon involves more writing and usually research that’s needed before I can progress the story. I finish writing around 3pm and then reward myself with either mindless TV or something from Netflix that I can call ‘research’ if my husband asks why I’m on the sofa not doing anything! I don’t write in the evenings or at weekends but I’ll always be responding to work emails and social media messages. I’m a Twitter fan and I love the interaction as that can break up an otherwise lonely day.
Where is your favourite place to write?
In bed but it’s terrible for my back! During the winter months when it’s dark in the house because of all the rain, I’ll sometimes get in bed to write in the afternoon. Mainly to keep warm but the cats love it as they all snuggle up around me. When I have a deadline though, I need to write at my desk. It makes me take work more seriously!
Lets talk about research and characters!
How did the idea for Dean and Rocky come about?
I actually came up with Beth Smith before any other character. It was only when I started writing the first scene of the first book – when a woman’s body is found hanging in the woods – that Dean stepped out of the shadows and introduced himself to me. I immediately realised he was going to be the main character as he had so many problems back then! He was definitely his own worst enemy and therefore the most interesting character!
As for Rocky, the gentle rottweiler, well I had no idea I would be writing a canine character. He wasn’t planned at all. But once Dean found him at the home of the dead drug addict, I knew they would pair up as Dean has a big heart and Rocky needed a home. I just didn’t realise how much readers would love Rocky! He’s certainly helped Dean through some of his worst times and has taken on a life of his own.
How do you do your research for Maple Valley and Dean’s town?
I grew up reading a lot of Stephen King books which are mostly set in small-town Maine. Maple Valley is a lot like those towns I read about as a teenager. Small town America fascinates me and I definitely read more books set in America than the UK. I also do a lot of research online and via all the many movies and documentaries I watch!
What was the hardest chapter to finish and why?
There’s a scene near the end of book 2 – Where the Snow Bleeds – that involves Rocky, Dean and Jones. I can’t say much without spoiling it but that scene makes me cry every single time I read it! Who knew that fictional characters can have such an effect on our lives?! I knew it was coming and I was dreading writing it, but it makes sense for Dean’s journey and it’s actually a good outcome for Rocky. He’s still around in the next book.
Ah I know exactly the bit you mean!! It made me choke up too!
Also, Where the Snow Bleeds and Won’t You Save Me both include some heartbreaking insights into the lives of the teenage girls featured and writing some of those passages made me choke up because I was writing from personal experience and it made me realise how much I’ve overcome in my life.
Who is your favourite character in the series and why?
It’s got to be Dean! Or maybe Eva. Although Frankie’s hilarious. And Jones is so cool. Then again, Rocky is loveable… It’s too hard to choose! I guess I’ll say Dean as he’s the reason everyone else exists and they all revolve around him. Although Dean is flawed and not the best cop to start with, he’s got a good heart, a great sense of humour and he’s learning from his mistakes. I’ve really enjoyed his journey so far and I can see myself continuing it for at least a fourth book (which I’ve already started!).
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I’d spend the day with Rocky! We’d start the day at the dog park, throwing sticks and playing with the other dogs. (Although I have 3 cats I’m a massive dog lover too.) Then I’d take him to Frankie’s Diner for breakfast. He loves sausages and pancakes but they don’t love him, if you know what I mean… It would be great to meet Frankie and Rachel. Then Rocky and I would go and visit Dean at home and spend the day curled up on his couch watching movies together and maybe drinking a few tequilas. Then I’d take Rocky home where he could sleep on the bed next to me, my husband and the cats. I’ve learnt from the latest book in the series – Won’t You Save Me – that Rocky loves cats, so I know they’d all get on. My husband loves rottweilers so he’d have no problem being squashed by Rocky all night!
Okay, lets have some fun now!
If you had to write yourself as a character in your book, would you be a heroine or villainous?
A bit of both! After all, nice guys finish last and villains are way more interesting so I’d like to write myself as someone who is a little bad but everyone still likes them regardless.
What would you be like and what would you name yourself?
I’d like to be a little like Eva Valdez – Dean’s detective partner. She’s a great cop but she does things her way and she’s got a lot of attitude. It would be hard to fool her.
If you were to find a bottle with a genie willing to grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?
If they were writing-related wishes it would be:
1. That Netflix picked up the Dean Matheson books and made them into an awesome TV series.
2. That Henry Cavill or Matt Bomer would be cast as Dean (that’s what he looks like in my head!).
Yeah either one of these two would be fab as Dean! I am huge fan of both……I may have also got slightly distracted now…
3. That the new book series I’m currently writing is my best yet and shows how much my writing has improved over the years.
And finally what are you working on now?
I have a few new books up my sleeve at the moment, four on the go and one already finished but not ready for release just yet. I’m not sure which one I’ll prioritise this year but they’ll still be my usual mix of creepy crime fiction. As a massive horror fan, I do find that my books are a little darker than some crime and not strictly police procedurals. Won’t You Save Me includes a little more horror than the other books.
I can’t wait to read more of Wendy’s book especially if they are more creepy!!
Thank you so much Wendy for answering my questions these are some fab answers!
Come back tomorrow where we have an exclusive excerpt from The Girl Who Died.
Until next time xxx