Welcome book fiends and coffee aficionados! Today we are lucky enough to be chatting with, and learning more about, talented author Wendi Zwaduk. Thanks for taking the time to be with us today, Wendi! To start, could you tell us something about your recent release, You’ll Think of Me?
It's the story of two people who love each other and the tragedy that can tear their love apart. It had its moments when it was heartbreaking to write because Cade's emotions were consuming. I loved the interplay between Rhett and Cade and the introduction of Tracker, the itty bitty orange kitten. Plus, a book with aircraft mechanics....how can you go wrong? <g>
Your depiction of what it is like for a military man coming home after the trauma of battle was strikingly accurate. Did you research this or was this character based on a real life hero?
I did both. I researched and had someone in mind for the hero. My hubby is a pilot, so any flight terminology or aircraft info I got from him, but we have a good friend who is in the Air Force, so when I needed specific info, I turned to him. But the trauma and surviving trauma part was a bit of research and personal experience. I've never been in the military, but I know plenty of people who have and I understand the difficulty of seeing them leave or not come back.
Not just in this book, but out of any that you have written previously or are working on, who is your favorite character and why?
I don't know if I have a favorite anymore. I have so many wonderful, sexy heroes I've written, it's hard to choose. Of the heroines, they all have chutzpah and mile-wide independent streaks. I'd have to say, if I must choose, the favorite would be my stock car driver, Tucker Poston. He drives stock cars, so that's always a plus for me. He's also behind the eight ball in his story -- which is nowhere near done. But I think what I like the most about him is when he could and should give up, he doesn't.
What kind of books do you read for pleasure? Stuff nothing like what you write, or pretty close to the same genre?
I read just about anything. John Grisham. Stephen King. Lora Leigh. I like alpha males and love it when they are pilots. I love super steamy stories too. I want to squirm in my seat and then have reason to go find DH for recreation.
Do you plot your stories out prior to beginning or do you wing it as you sit down in front of a blank document?
I plot my stories, but they never seem to come out just the way the outline says. I once had a character mid-book inform me he was a vampire. I'd written him as a plain old private investigator. Another I planned out as a ménage. It turned into a straight m/f. I just let the characters run. If it’s supposed to be a ménage, it will be. If not, then it's not. I found once with a story I forced things. Decided the heroine and hero would be together by a certain page and would declare love by a certain page. It fell absolutely flat. So as much of a pantser as I truly am, I'm also a plotter...does that make me a plantter? Hmmmmmm.....
Do you have a newsletter or chat-loop where fans can keep up with you?
My area within the Coffee Time Forums is here and fans can keep up with me at my blog as well.
What books/authors were your faves as a child and what characters stand out in your memory from them today?
I got into trouble in seventh grade English for reading "Murder on the Orient Express" rather than diagramming sentences.
Most kids get yelled at TO read and I was yelled at to NOT read. In high school, I devoured all the John Grisham books I could find.
I saw on your website that you like NASCAR and that one of your characters as well as your cat are named ‘Rusty’ like the driver Rusty Wallace. What a fun way to mix your interests into your plot! What inspires you to write the stories you create?
First off, I love NASCAR. Rusty retired and the kitty passed January of 2010, so that's a little touchy but I still cheer. I have a new driver and love to watch the newer drivers come up through the ranks. My very first attempts at writing romance were race themed stories. I'll go back to them someday. In many of my stories there are race themes or race scenes--usually dirt races, which are my favorite.
But you wanted to know about inspiration. Well, the races inspired the early works, and in some cases, the more recent ones. I see a man on television and I don't work from his personality, but rather what I perceive his personality might be. Rhett, in "You'll Think of Me," was based loosely on a NASCAR driver, but since I don’t' know the driver personally, I have no idea what his true personality is. It’s fun to guess.
I also seem to be inspired to write AT races. Drives the family nuts. I have little bitty notebooks I carry everywhere just in case. I've been known to be furiously scribbling in the notebook between heat races.
Funny you should ask. I happened to be rewriting a farm-themed story for what seems like the umpteenth time and it was going nowhere. So I sent it to a CP who informed me (rightfully) it was going nowhere. The characters started talking to me and telling me which direction it should go. I was plowing (pardon the pun) along great guns...and then I got to the climax. Crickets. Seriously. Crickets. I sat dumbfounded for a moment. They just shut up. Now I listen to itunes as I write and I let myself get absorbed in the tune on at the time (Gary Allan) and chatted with the CP. Funny thing, it was like once they realized I wasn't paying attention to them, then they started chatting again. I have no idea what the climax of the story will be but hey, they started talking again. So that's what I do, turn on the itunes, let myself get lost and the characters will find me.
Do you have anything else you would like to add/say to our readers?
I hope you enjoy "You'll Think of Me" and will go back and check out my earlier work. I've got two books coming out in early 2011 - "Tangled Up" the story of a man and the two people who love him, and "Careless Whisper" the story that proves Ghosts are real to those who see them.
Well, fellow book addicts and coffee lovers, it was truly a pleasure to get to know a new author and thank you for stopping in to read with us today. I also want to make sure to thank the author for the worlds you create and transport us to with your words and mention that we look forward to more great reads in the future!