May 10, 2014

Interview with Wendy Beck Author of 9th LIFE & THE FORGOTTEN

*5 years ago: what were you doing?
Not writing. LOL Around that time I was learning to integrate office work with Tibetan monks. Yes, a Unity church is an interesting place. It was my first non-zookeeper job in years. I was told that background made me uniquely qualified for them though. Ha! They were so right!

*Do you have a certain writing ritual? 
Time and silence. It's a head space. I can't write a book here and there over months and months. I bury myself in it. Both of the books now out took exactly 3 months each to write first drafts. And I have to edit by reading out loud. I need the house to myself for that b/c I'm too self conscious. It's a truly bizarre thing, but ever since I read the entire Harry Potter series out loud to my son with a British accent, every book I read out loud has the accent. I have to really pay attention to sound normal. Yes, the brain is a truly odd  mechanism.

*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? 
The toughest criticism is always the things that ring true. Hell, ARE true! I'm a freak in that I love criticism that is undeniably spot on. It's the science degree. Given my non-writing background, I always expected to need lots of feedback. The toughest though is the maybe just possibly true feedback that my stories won't ever catch on because they don't fit nicely into any genre, because the reader has to "pay attention", because paranormal readers demand a fast pace and won't read a paranormal with the pacing of a contemporary new adult. I've heard all that. I figure I'll let time decide if it's true. So the toughest criticism is that which you can't fix without losing your own voice.

*Ever fangirled over another author? Who was it? 
Darynda Jones and Colleen Hoover. Thankfully I didn't scare either of them. Both had a bit of an impact on my own journey as a writer. The one I probably shouldn't meet is Laini Taylor. Her whimsy up close and live would likely have me needing to sit and prop my head between my knees.

*Is there an author you'd like to meet? 
Laini Taylor. I want to trip through that girl's whimsy-filled head and watch her mind work.

*Biggest writing pet peeve?
 Mine or others? LOL  It frustrates me when I really enjoy a series and it seems as if the author lost interest in writing it but continues to do so. Contracts maybe? Similar to that is when you begin to realize that a formula is in play, the same wording and same interactions attached to new names.

* Do you read other's reviews of your books? 
Yes, absolutely. Perhaps that will change if I ever hit something that makes me lose my lunch but til then... I'm not one of those writers who would write just because. It's time-consuming, isolating, an acceptable madness. If no one wanted to read my stories, I'd be thrilled that I wrote what I did for myself, but I'd probably stop. Too many other amazing things I could be doing that won't turn me into an even more exaggerated hermit. :)

Fun Five:

Fav Color - true cyan, you have to love a color that can't be recreated on a screen!

Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with? Bastian, always. But if you meant one not living in my head---Toothless because... dragon.

Fav food - my grandmother's homemade pumpkin pie that no one's been able to recreate. I fear forgetting the wonder of it.

Fav song and/or singer - Imagine Dragons & Florence & the Machine

Guilty pleasure - Lately, it's Nutella. It's chocolate crack

Zookeeper-turned-author Wendy Beck is more accustomed to wrestling gators than grammar. She has a conservation biology degree from Oglethorpe University and learned a whole lot of hands-on studying killer whales in Puget Sound, loggerhead sea turtles on Cumberland Island, and everything else at Noah’s Ark in Locust Grove. She went on to serve as the animal caretaker for Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail in Athens for four years before moving back to the Atlanta area to care for the wildest animal of all—her son.

She lives with the love of her life and personal hero, Mike, and can be found reading, writing, practicing kriya yoga, or creating whimsy out of fondant… out of the Lego collection… or sometimes out of both.


~ Concerning Zookeepers ~
Working with the wild is a diverse calling. You learn to scale heights and sedate hurts, rate scars and skin rats, celebrate life and suffer loss. Animals are freer with their acceptance and adoration, also fiercer when angered or threatened. All in all, it’s a safe way to live passionately.
So Skyler thought.
Then he came. Lines were blurred.

~ Concerning Shapeshifters ~
Being a shapeshifter is to know life at its depths. The initiated know the truth. It’s all One. Form is an idea. Ideas can be changed. 
But all ideas are not equal.
So Bastian learned.
Then he found her. Lines were crossed.

Skyler Ashcraft never could have guessed the line crossed when she drugged an injured lynx. What Bastian was didn’t even footnote in her zookeeper’s manual. But it did nearly overshadow what he hid.
Secrets are like lines. They divide.
Before and After. Truth or Lie.
Life or Death.

NOTE: New Adult is a diverse genre. 9th Life contains no sex, but the rest of the series does. Mild language throughout. (I get asked about these things a lot so thought I'd share.)

There's all the difference between forgive and forget.

Nothing in Sky’s life looks the same since she met Bastian-exiled Ailuro, love of her life, and his own worst enemy. The revelations of the last few days, days that saw the end of Bastian’s ninth life, what should have been his last, have rendered her life unrecognizable-but survivable.

Bastian can’t claim the same.

He only lives with his sins in the hope of keeping Sky out of Maarjaaran hands. His hope lies in hers. And she’ll do anything to save him. Unfortunately, the only thing that might work demands far more from her than simply giving in to the Maarjaaran marks.

NOTE: This is book 2 and won't make sense without first reading 9th Life, book 1 of The Naming of Legends.

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