This week I have a pleasant interview with author/editor Jennifer Wylie. She wanted to go to someplace tropical, so I hopped in my transporter, picked her up at her house out in the country in snowy Ontario, and while her kids were off at a babysitter, whisked her off to Antigua where we lounged on the beach. While she sipped a strawberry daiquiri and I slurped milk directly from the coconut I asked her the ten standard questions.
1.Who is Jennifer Wylie and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
Well I live in the country, not even in a village, so I don't have a lot of people to fascinate. :D That said I'm a stay at home mom of two darling boys. When I'm not reading or writing (or editing) I putter about with various crafts. Otherwise I try to to be Supermom and keep my chaotic house in some semblance of order. Hmm I suppose I should also note I live in Ontario, Canada. Yes we get a lot of snow. I dislike snow. :P
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
Many people would be surprised I write, it's not something I go on and on about, I just simply do it. For those who do know about that, I suppose they'd be surprised to know I have about 50 birds. Now that my writing is keeping me busier I am trying to cut my flock down to a more reasonable size, but I do love my little friends.
3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming the Boston Philharmonic conductor?
I started writing in public school, but really got into it in high school. It was just something I wanted to do, needed to do. I have so many stories in my head and they need to come out. I did go to university and get a degree, however things happen, as they tend to do, and I ended up being a Mom rather than finding a career. I wouldn't change that for the world. I didn't write for a number of years when the kids were little, but once they were a bit older and my brain started functioning again the need to write came back. Writing is something I can do from home, so I certainly lucked out there. :)
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
Oh my, I don't even know where to start. I love both science fiction and fantasy. I've a million favorites authors for different reasons. I love books that make me feel things. If I had to choose one, the first which pops into my head is Michelle Sagara (Michelle West). I love all of her series, she is such a diverse author!
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?
They will suck you in, they will make you feel. I'm a very emotional person and this really comes out in my writing. I also like to think I tell a superb story! :)
6. Share the Wylie process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.
Goodness, I could almost write a book about this. :) My stories form first in my head. They play out like a movie in my mind and then I write. Sometimes it will come in spurts, other times I may need a while for the perfect scene to form. The characters write themselves, though I do take notes as I write. Research is either things I know, or I use Google. For the most part I make things up. I have no problem writing a chapter out of order if it comes to me first either.
My writing schedule is whenever I have time. Usually in the afternoon, or in the evening after the kids are in bed. I used to hate editing, however now that I'm actually learning HOW to do it, I'm finding it not as bad. My writing is also improving, so I've less things to fix! My first book I went over again and again a million times. My newest which I just finished, I went over twice. I'm having some friends look it over, and then will go over it once more making corrections from their input.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
Apparently everyone writes differently. You'll need to find YOUR perfect way to write. I suggest just sitting down and writing. Try different times of the day, play music or not, just write and see how things go. My biggest advice to anyone who starts and gets stuck – make something bad happen. Kill a character. A good story has conflict, your characters can't have everything happen perfectly. The more things which go wrong the better.
8. I saw an amusing t-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Be happy. Care about others. It doesn't take much to smile and say a kind word, but to someone having a bad day it can mean a lot.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I don't think I could stop writing if I tried. :) I just finished a new YA novel titled Broken Aro, so will be getting it ready to send out to the publisher. The sequel to my novel Sweet Light (which comes out in 2011) is also finished and in need of edits. I'm hoping to write a lot more short stories, and I've a number of other books in progress.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
My website is www.jenniferwylie.ca. Be sure to stop my blog too! http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/
Afterwards, we lazed around a bit before I returned her to Ontario where she gave me a picture of her recently released short story, Jump. Click on the picture to check it out.