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Interview with Wendi Dennison

A little something about Wendi Dennison:

Wendi B. Dennison was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up with a love for telling stories, whether it be in the form of writing, theatre or film. She has been writing stories since she was a child and went on to study Playwriting, Screenwriting and Creative Writing at Central Washington University. She lives in the Seattle area with her fiancé, stepdaughter, and yellow lab Samara.

Questions and Answers:

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was really young, elementary school age. It was around the age of 10 that I developed an intense love of all things scary and decided I wanted to try my hand at reading Stephen King’s IT. Let’s just say I did it; shouldn’t have, but I did it. After that I knew I wanted to tell stories.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

A very, very long time admittedly. I first wrote ‘Who Are We Fooling?’ as a short play when I was a theatre major in 2013. It took all these years to get it to where it is now. When I write a story, it becomes my baby, and this story in particular took time.

3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I work an early morning job specifically to make time for my writing. I’m up at 3AM and home by Noon or earlier most days. I’ll do whatever errands I need done, get some exercise, play with the dog and then it’s all about the writing. I very rarely have a day where I don’t write at all.

4. What would you say is your unique writing quirk?

Sometimes I write out of order. If I know a very particular scene I want and feel inspired, I’ll write it and then just hang onto it until it’s time to add it in. Usually, I’ll end up editing the shenanigans out of it, but sometimes it helps me get into the groove if I’m feeling uninspired have a case of writer’s block.

5. Whether it be traditional, self, or story book apps. How d you find the publishing process?

There have been great points and low points. I started out posting on sites like Wattpad and Inkitt, thinking I would just find a couple of people who might give me some feedback on this story I loved so much. I never believed I would have so many people coming back week after week to read, and definitely never expected the 15,000 reads on Inkitt before I took the story down. Learning the self-publishing process has been rewarding but also difficult, and I’ve been very lucky to have amazing friends who helped me with each and every part, from the editing to the art to the formatting and everything in between. This book has been a labor of love from a large group of people.

6. How much of your writing process involves research in your subject matter or plot?

All of it. I research everything to the best of my ability, because nothing is worse than reading something that has obviously not been researched. If you don’t take the time to do your research, then that’s a whole level of care you’re not giving your book. How can it be the best it can be if you can’t hit google when you need to? Or call up that friend who just happens to be a doctor? Or speak to people who belong to a marginalized community? Or even find out if there is a Main Street in a city you’re using as a setting. It all matters.

7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book when I was about nine or ten years old. It was about seventy pages, and I was so proud of myself when it was done, it felt like I wrote a full-fledged novel at the time. I still have it on my same 90’s laptop under my bed, I will never get rid of it.

8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Spend my time with my fiancé and stepdaughter, as well as the dog. I read a lot, which is probably not a surprise, and indulge in the occasional Netflix binge (Schitt’s Creek, anyone?!) Exercise is also important since writing involves a lot of sitting, but my job keeps me moving and on my feet which I love.

9. What does your family think of your writing?

They’ve always encouraged me. My brother is an English teacher and acts as my editor.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books (characters, location, plot)?

Writing ‘Who Are We Fooling?’ in a lot of ways was therapy. David and Andrew are very much pieces of myself that I pulled to create these two very different people who fall in love, and I think they’ve played a huge part in my own journey of self-acceptance these past few years.

11. What is it you particularly like about the genre you write?

I’ve always loved love stories. They keep me on the edge of my seat and satisfy the intense hopeless romantic that I have inside. There is nothing more important to me than writing stories that are inclusive and there is a tremendous need for more queer fiction. I look forward to being a single small voice among so many amazing LGBTQ+ authors and allies.

12. Do you have any suggestions to help others become writers? If so, what are they?

Read, read, read, read, read. In the words of Stephen King, “if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Read genres you don’t love and genres you do, give things a chance you wouldn’t normally, and indulge in the stories that make you happy. Take lessons learned from everything you read and put those forth into your own writing. Takes notes of writing styles you enjoy and see what feels most comfortable for you. Find your unique voice through educating yourself.

13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

My reader feedback has been so overwhelmingly amazing I still am not sure how to handle it. The most special thing I’ve ever been told (aside from anyone admitting I made them cry, which is always satisfying) is that my story brightened someone’s bad day, that they looked forward to my story as a high point in their week, that the story was one that they felt they could relate to.

14. Do you like to create books for your target audience?

I love to create books for any audience willing to listen.

15. What do you think makes a good story?

Heart, a little suspense, and characters that feel real. Humans aren’t perfect, we make mistakes, and I like reading about characters who reflect my own thoughts and emotions. Also, I’m a sucker for anything steamy.

16. How do you handle writers block and what do you tell other aspiring authors who may be fighting or fearful about hitting that wall?

It happens to the best of us, and really is inescapable. There are so many things you can try to get the creative juices flowing; I’ll meditate, listen to music, read a book, take my dog for a walk. Sometimes you need to just walk away to get a new perspective. It is hard to do, but it will benefit you in the long run.

Final thoughts:

The last thing I want to do is come off as belittling or condescending when I say I find Wendi very bold, brave, and fearless. I wish I had an ounce of guts she has. To be able to write the content she explores - and she does it in such a beautiful, graceful way that it makes you forget what many backward thinking people in society consider "traditional" love. Love is love in my opinion and this book will break your heart and put it back together again.

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