Please give a cold dead welcome to the lovely Wendy Oleston! This is an interview I thoroughly enjoyed! I hope you do too!
What were you like at school?
I was not a very good student. I was undiagnosed ADHD until I was 32, so while I tried really hard to do well in my studies, I did not succeed. I enjoyed creative writing in English class but was not good with grammar or spelling. I had a belief that I was stupid because of how hard I studied and then how poorly I did with grades. Personality-wise, I was a quiet, nerdy type without a lot of friends. I did not enjoy school – at all! Reading is actually a very difficult task for me because of my ADHD. Even now that I am medicated, I have a trouble focusing on a book unless it really grabs my attention. It is for this reason I do not beta read many books.
What draws you to your genre?
I have a strange genre – it’s fairly new: Edgy Christian Fiction. Definition: A fictional story based in Christianity which included language, violence, and/or sex (for a purpose) which could make the average Christian fiction reader uncomfortable. I love it because it allows me to write morally infused stories while keeping the more interesting and REAL aspects of life in the story. The reality of sex, for example, needs and should be discussed. My books are sexy, hot, and passionate even though they are considered Christian.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My entire purpose in writing is to chase after what I believe to be a “moral breakdown” that is happening in the world. It seems our entertainment is taking our values away… it’s destroying our basic moral decency. It is my ambition to help rebuild some of those morals through the entertainment of my writing. I do not write in a “preachy” way and I do not “shove” God at people, in fact a lot of people who read my work forget they are reading “Christian” writing because, for the most part, that aspect is very subtle. I talk about the real stuff of life… sex, divorce, infidelity, abortion, addiction, suicide… just to name a few. And not in a condemning way… I write it in a realistic way.
How much research do you do?
I do A LOT of research because writing the reality of life is very important to me. I do a lot of interviews, blind surveys, reading, public speaking, and a large portion of my stories are based on my own personal experiences.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I wrote my first book in 2004/2005 but it was not very good. I was a drunk then – got sober in 2007 (been sober ever since) and was afraid to write fiction again thinking the alcohol was why I enjoyed it. In 2012, I read the book Silence by Natasha Preston (perma-free book that is very good). Her writing reminded me of my own so I contacted her to let her know how much I enjoyed the book. She wrote me back and ended up inspiring me to start writing again. I have not stopped since and with each book I write, I get better!
Why do you write?
I write for several reasons. First, my writing helps me process the events of my own life. I have had a lot of interesting personal experiences that I believe were given to me for the purpose of me using them to help others on their journey. My writing not only helps me work through it but it is my hope it will help others do the same. Secondly, as I already stated, I write to help with what I see as a moral breakdown in society, to spread God’s love for His people; to let all people know that no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done… they are very loved! Thirdly, I write because I love it! My mind is very creative and I absolutely love creating characters and their backgrounds and world. It’s like having a bunch of friends no one can see but me!
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I am a full-time writer. I signed with a publisher in late 2015 which was a dream come true for me. We are currently in the process of re-releasing all of my self-published books while also working to put out new ones. I have a structured writing schedule because if I didn’t, I would never stop. I have a husband and two children which makes for a very busy life. Writing is a passion and I have had to learn how to put it down and walk away, even when I don’t want to. Having a schedule is very important to the balance of my life. I do author work every day, seven days a week. Writing is only one piece of the job. There are promotions, social media, re-writes and manuscript reviews, reviewing manuscripts after they have been professionally edited, research, and the dreaded final read through. I may not actually WRITE every day, but I do author work every day of my life.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I write on my laptop mostly using Google Docs/Drive. I feel using a cloud interface is the safest way to create. I have had many computers die on me and nothing feels more aggravating than to lose an entire manuscript and have no way to get it back. Sometimes if I have an idea while I am out, I will use speech to text on my phone.
Where do your ideas come from?
My ideas typically come from phrases I hear other people say. For example, a phrase my pastor said in church one Sunday inspired an entire book. It wasn’t the point of his sermon, it was just something he said in passing. Some of my ideas come from songs. I will be listening to music and I can see a scene happening in my head, or a character will come to life. Also, I base a lot of what my stories are about on my own personal experiences.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
“Conceptions” has been the hardest book I have written because of the personal nature of it. I have chosen to include something extremely personal in the afterward that makes me feel naked… so, getting comfortable feeling naked in public has been a challenge. It will be released in February 2016… I am working hard to be ready for my bare self to be exposed.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Be patient. When you have that feeling… “I will never write again!” just know that it is temporary. You will… you are a writer. If you try to force writing when you are blocked, most the time the writing is no good so just be patient and relax. I see writer’s block as God’s way of keeping me from writing something I’m not ready to write yet. Maybe I haven’t had the experience I need to write it yet. Maybe my mind is not in the right place to do it justice. Yes, it is frustrating, but I just go with the flow and know in my head – it will come back. It always does.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
“Conceptions” is book two in the “Fruit of the Vine Series”. The first book was “Seeds” and is sort of a partner book to “Conceptions”. “Seeds” is the reality of the male perspective of four sexual sins (sex addiction, pornography addiction, casual sex/infidelity, and homosexuality). Conceptions is about the reality of the women’s perspective of those same sins which have resulted in three unplanned pregnancies. The books share characters and a few scenes but are completely different. There will be three more books in the series, each devoted to one of the couples discussed in the first two. And just so you know, as a Christian, my stand of homosexuality is that God is the judge, not me and I am not privy to the conversations between God and anyone else.
Thanks so much for joining us this week Wendy! Please be sure to follow Wendy and check out some of her work!