Welcome friends. I have a delightful post today featuring an author from New Zealand.
Authors, like my guest today, have so many delicious facets to their writing that it becomes a challenge to explore all of the rich writing they deliver. Wendy Scott is one of those amazing individuals who succeeds across multiple genres. With this framework, I want to share the world of Wendy Scott, WJ Scott, and Wendy Jayne.
I have read and reviewed several of Wendy’s stories on this blog, but I wanted to get more information from this delightful author.
Welcome, and thank you for joining me, Wendy. Please share a little of your background with my readers and friends?
Thanks, for inviting me onto your lovely blog.
My first job was at a Salt works, where I studied for a New Zealand Certificate in Science (Chemistry). This qualification opened opportunities in a variety of laboratories in NZ & Australia. I was fortunate to work at one of the top Australian wineries – best homework ever –Thursday nights at the Adelaide Wine Centre for a Wine Appreciation Course (the taxi ride home was always a bit blurry!) – I loved my job!
While in Adelaide I stumbled across an advert for community education at the WEA, all sorts of courses from deciphering the Dead Sea scrolls to belly-dancing. Luckily for me, rather than belly contortions, I chose How to Write a Novel – this six-weekend course changed my life. At first, I was just curious about the mechanics of novel crafting but within 20 minutes I was hooked – I was going to write a novel! A fantasy novel.
Wendy, I know a little about your background, with Australia and New Zealand at the top of my bucket list so please accept a houseguest visit at some point. Your background in the sciences allows you a fun perspective to explore in your writing. Has this scientific background lent itself to the variety of characters you invent?
Rox, you have an open invitation to stay with us!
My interest in chemistry started early when I coveted a Chemistry Set for Christmas. The glittering vials full of crystalline substances called to me. In my writing, when I’m describing things, I like using chemical hues and odours.
The fighting arena in my story, Ferrasium, is an iron oval inspired by the Coliseum, but referenced by ‘Ferra’ because it’s constructed of iron. I like the perception that there’s a twilight zone between science and magic. Many old tales suggest iron deters magic.
In my story, Tails, the Head Wizard’s study resembles an ancient laboratory with bubbling potions and glass paraphernalia.
You write a wide variety of fiction including Children’s books. I have heard you reading your books to children and your heart seems in this? Why do you like to read to children, and do you have a specific reason to travel this path?
There’s something magical about reading to children because they fully immerse themselves into the character’s story. Without question, they believe and readily step into your created worlds. I love seeing their enthralled expressions as if we’ve joined together inside a magic spell.
My writing journey started with fantasy stories for mature readers, but when my son was younger, I wanted to write a story I could share with him, so I wrote Tails.
He inspired the creation of the silvertails when he asked me, “Mum, if you had a tail what would it look like?”
For a long time, Tails, was a private sharing between my son and me. He was the first person I shared my story with. Each night I’d perch on the side of his bed and read him a chapter, and to my delight, he’d always say, “You can’t stop there! Read me more!”
Your books require a dedicated amount of research, especially when conveying lessons to children. Are the facts important for you to convey?
It’s important to get any facts right. One of the trickier parts is weaving fact and fiction together in a story seamlessly so that the readers can’t quite tell where the fact ends, and the author’s imagination has taken over.
This technique was particularly important when I was developing the plot for ‘Hieroglyph’.
My bookshelves are crammed with reference books and I enjoy researching ancient cultures and seeding my stories with facts.
You write and win awards in children’s, romance, fantasy, short stories, and more. You also write under multi-names. Why the different names and how do fans decide who to follow?
Originally, I wrote fantasy under Wendy Scott, but when I branched into children’s and family-friendly books I used WJ Scott to differentiate from those with mature content and themes. Later on, I added Wendy Jayne for other genres like short stories. All my pen names are versions of my name.
Fantasy ~ Wendy Scott
Children’s ~ WJ Scott
Other (Short Stories/Romance/Paranormal) ~ Wendy Jayne
I’m blessed with some readers who like to read across all my pen names.
For me the covers for all your books have whimsical flair. Who creates your covers?
Some of them I designed myself with help from Pixabay (royalty-free images), using either Canva or within the Amazon KDP dashboard.
Other covers are from a multitude of professional sources where I have some input about the design concept. Sometimes the designers create what they think works better and they are usually right!
Do you have favorites in each of your main genres you would like to share how these rose to the top of your list?
This question is like asking me to choose favourites between my children (if I had more than one!).
I write such a variety of material my favourite is usually whatever project I’m working on at the time because that’s where I’m focusing all my energy.
If I’m forced to choose my top ones, I’d go with Lodestone (Witch-Hunt, Hieroglyph, Tails, and Slimmer.
What is the hardest story you every published and why did it earn that honor?
Hieroglyph challenged me as it was first time I’d written in ‘real’ time and place plus there was an enormous amount of research for the historical aspects.
I thoroughly enjoy researching so it has to be a balance to maintain the focus on the actual writing.
You have lots of awards. Is there one that you are most proud of achieving?
My heart just about stopped beating when I discovered Hieroglyph had won the Gold Medal in the International UK Wishing Shelf Book Awards for 9-12 yrs. What’s special about this award is that the initial round of judging is performed by school kids in the UK in the category age range and here’s what they thought:
‘The best part of this book was all the mystery. Not all of it was answered so I will be hunting out the next to find out more. This is the best book I have read since Harry Potter.’ Girl, aged 13
‘I love T.C. She’s very cool, particularly her gift. The plot was amazing – even funny in parts – and I’m very glad I read it.’ Boy, aged 12
‘I read this book with my class of 11-12 yr olds and they loved it. They liked the historical aspect, and it was a good ‘jump off’ for studying Egypt and myths and legends. The author has a very lucid writing style which kept the children enthralled till the end. Highly recommended for this age group and even older.’ Primary school teacher, aged 55
Stats: Editing: 10/10 Style: 10/10 Content: 10/10 Covers: 9/10 = 39/40
Another positive from the Wishing Shelf Awards was Hieroglyph made available for inclusion in the catalogue for Blind Children UK.
Hieroglyph also gained a Silver Medal in the International Readers’ Favorite Book Awards for preteens. One of the highlights of my life was attending the award ceremony in Miami with my sister from Canada.
What is the process you tend to follow in creating your stories?
My approach varies depending on the length of work.
For full length novels, I plan out the story outline into scenes. This guide is flexible and can change during the writing process. I also spend time fleshing out the main characters, so I understand their motivations, strengths, limitations, and how they fit into this particular world. World building is crucial for fantasy stories, and I often draft up rough maps.
For shorter works, quite often I start with a spark of an idea and develop it as I go. Or I may have scribbled notes for the start, middle, and end.
Before I write, I like to picture the scene in my mind so when it’s writing time all I have to do is transcribe onto the page. There’s an ideal state where words flow faster than I can type. Most times, it’s more labored and one of the strategies I use is to keep moving forward, take notes for the gaps, and know I’ll address any issues in the next draft. I do heaps of drafts!
How do the multiple genres and author names impact your social media presence?
I haven’t done myself any marketing favours by writing in multiple genres. It helps having the three different pen names and I try to use social media accounts that separate the mature content from the family-friendly, but there’s certainly crossovers.
One of the features, I love about my new website is that it uses searchable keywords on the book pages that way readers can easily filter for the content that appeals to them.
Okay, now by your author names, what are the next stories we can expect and when? Inquiring minds are so curious. Bring it on.
Wendy Scott: I coordinated a Fantasy Anthology from seven New Zealand and Australian authors, titled. ‘Down Under Fantasy Realms’. Scheduled for release before the end of 2021. I’ve included prequels for both the Witch-Hunt and Windflower series. High fantasy and low, magical realism, retold fairy stories, and even a hint of science-fiction – it’s all here.
Some stories in this collection are excerpts, others are background or spin-off stories about characters in pre-existing novels, yet others are tasters of works-in-progress; the remainder are stand-alone tales.
You will meet star-beings, enchanted amphibians, dimension-traversing private investigators, faerie changelings, mysterious teachers, mercenaries, and cowgirls.
Within these pages, children are born who have a special destiny, and old men relinquish their powers as their journeys come to a close; truths are found and lies are exposed; fears are faced, and dreams become reality.
I’m also working on the 3rd and final book in the Windflowers trilogy. Pyramidion. And another prequel short story to the Windflowers Trilogy, Catspear.
WJ Scott: I’m currently working on Book 7 in the Aspiring Author Series. Mythical Creatures Writing Prompts: 31 Creative Activities For Kids. This will be a deluxe colour edition.
Wendy Jayne: Because readers adored Pippa and Simone’s antics from Slimmer they requested a sequel, these fun ladies will reappear soon in Sleeker.
How important are reviews to you and how do they impact your writing?
I’m always appreciative of readers who post genuine reviews as this helps similar-minded readers decide to choose my story, too.
My pre-publishing process is rigorous so I’m confident I’m presented a quality read. Although, I’m open to constructive feedback or help finding and eliminating any pesky typos! I also independently verify using book awards, seals, and quality marks.
I’m not a fan of trolls and I’m saddened that they live in such a negative mindset where they get their thrills from spreading their toxicness. Especially, those that cower behind anonymity. Or worse, other writers, desperate for attention, who think leaving awful reviews can somehow elevate their works or profile. Their time would be better spent developing their writing and human-being skills.
If I love a book and it captivates me, I’ll happily post a review and share it with the world. I believe all authors should be paying-it-forward to other authors with genuine reviews.
As an accomplished author what tidbits of things to avoid would you like to share?
Beware of procrastination. Set a writing/planning/researching schedule and keep projects moving forward. Track your progress and be accountable (cross-check with a writing buddy). I set word count goals and record my progress. If I’m falling behind, I challenge myself to word/time sprints.
Don’t worry about it being perfect – you can always improve it during the next draft.
Never skimp on editing! For novels, use an accomplished editor who offers structural advice as well as copyediting.
What do you think every author should do to become successful?
Keep writing! When you’ve finished one project move onto the next as having a body of work makes you more discoverable.
Never stop learning the writing craft. Every story you write should be better than the previous one.
Form genuine friendships with other writers and support each other through the writing, publishing, and promoting phases.
Where can fans find you and follow you.
Websites & Blogs
https://authorwendyscott.mysites.io (New website & blog)
Wendy Scott https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Scott/e/B009B1N8NA/
Wendy Jayne https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Jayne/e/B07F3M3KF2
Wendy Scott https://www.facebook.com/AuthorWendyScott