Interview with Wendy Hewlett

What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot. My love of reading is what inspired me to start writing my own novels. My reading preferences used to focus on mystery and suspense novels, particularly those with a strong, female protagonist. Lately, I've been reading more and more romances, which I blame on my sister who turned me on to Nora Roberts.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kobo e-reader and have read over 200 books on it over the past two years (Yes, I know I'm a reading junky). I have the Kindle app on my iPad that I use when I want to preview my eBooks in the Kindle format, but I prefer to read on my Kobo as I find it easier on the eyes.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
As a newly published indie-author, I am still playing around with marketing and figuring out what works. Social Media is one of the techniques that I am focusing on because there is nothing better than personal recommendations from people who have read my book. I've also entered my novel into several book awards, hoping to gain some exposure from that avenue.
The great thing about self-publishing is that you can do it for very little investment. Where you do need to invest is in the marketing and publicity and I am currently exploring my options.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I remember way back when one of my high school English teachers told me that I should consider a career in writing. At the time, I took great pride in the compliment. All these years later, I found myself with some extra time on my hands and decided to put pen to paper and give writing a try. Nora Roberts, and the In Death series she writes under the J.D. Robb pen name, were a huge influence when I began writing. I really wanted to portray a strong female character that makes a success out of herself despite the struggles of dealing with an abusive past and dealing with everyday issues.
I chose the indie route instead of trying to hunt down a publisher partly due to the fact that it is so easy to self-publish these days. I am a terrible sales person, even when it comes to my own work, and I dread the whole 'pitch' aspect of trying to get published. I much preferred getting my book out there and letting my readers review and criticize my work. I'd rather a publisher pick up my book on someone's recommendation then approach me about a publishing contract. If it saves me from pleading and begging on my knees for an agent or publisher to even look at the first page ... oh, yeah ... self-publishing was definitely the way to go.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am new to Smashwords, but what I love about it so far is that Smashwords makes it easy to promote your book and your brand. The other thing that I have found with Smashwords is they make it easy to participate in site wide promotions, which I have found to be unique to Smashwords over other self-publishing platforms. All I have to do is post links to my books during the promotion on my social media accounts and voila...instant increase in exposure and sales.
We'll see how that converts to long term sales success, but I believe that it will definitely be a positive factor.
What are you working on next?
With the first two novels in the Sinclair series, Taylor is still transitioning from her life on the streets to life as a Toronto police officer. I'm currently working on book 3 which sees Taylor finally working on a major sex crimes case with Detective Sergeant Chris Cain. I'm really excited about the continuing relationships between Taylor, Chris, Gray, and Caillen, delving a little deeper into Chris's estranged family as well as repairing some of the damage to Taylor and Cail's relationship.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A lot of the eBooks that I read I find through Kobobooks. Because I have a Kobo, it just makes it easier. Kobo sends me regular emails suggesting books that are similar to what I am currently reading or have read in the past.
Since joining Goodreads and the Online Book Club, I have found some excellent books through the chat forums. I'm also enjoying reading the novels of other indie authors that I have connected with on Facebook and Twitter.
What is your writing process?
Basically, I just sit down and write chronologically from beginning to end. Then I'll go back and edit, edit, edit, and then edit some more. It doesn't seem to matter how much planning I put into the story, it often takes off in its own direction. When I'm stuck, I'll walk away from writing for a while and just think it through. Another technique I have found to get me over a bout of writers' block is to switch to research for a while. Eventually, the answer always comes to me and I can sit back down and start typing away again.
I keep my iPad Or iPhone handy for when ideas pop into my head. I've got a great app called 'A Novel Idea' where I type in the ideas that I have and then I can refer to them when I'm sitting down at my computer again.
How do you approach cover design?
So far, I've designed my own covers, both for Saving Grace and Unfinished Business. In Saving Grace, Gray Rowan loves to sit in her Muskoka chair on her deck over the lake. I live in an area very similar to the fictitious Balton that Rowan calls home and I took a picture of three Muskoka chairs on a dock on the water. It became the cover for SG because it reminded me so much of Gray's little sanctuary.
The Unfinished Business cover features a photo of Taylor Sinclair in her workout gear with the City of Toronto at night as a backdrop. This is actually the second cover I've designed for UB. The original was an abstract of the Toronto skyline, but I think the image of Sinclair with all of her muscles makes a much better visual.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
What really surprised me when I began writing the Sinclair novels in earnest was that I became so involved with the characters. You spend so much time with them, digging into their personalities, sharing in their triumphs and their sorrows, that they become like family. I think this has been my greatest joy in writing. I hope that I can continue writing the Sinclair Series and delve into the characters even more deeply. Whether the series becomes four books or forty, I will always hold Sinclair, Rowan, Cain, Callaghan and the Worthingtons close to my heart.
What do your fans mean to you?
All of the feedback that I've had so far with Saving Grace And Unfinished Business has been so positive. You take a huge risk putting your work out there for the world to criticize, so when the people reading your book tell you things like they couldn't put it down and they can't wait for the next book in the series, it is humbling and exciting. Having fans that are genuinely interested in your characters and the story validate your work and it makes me want to continue to hone my writing skills and deliver better and better novels.
Published 2015-03-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Unfinished Business - A Taylor Sinclair Novel
Series: Taylor Sinclair, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 155,190. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Taylor Sinclair makes an explosive return to Toronto after a grueling thirty-two day North American tour to promote her book, Leila's Locket. What greets her upon her arrival is more than even she could have imagined.
Saving Grace - A Taylor Sinclair Novel
Series: Taylor Sinclair, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 126,360. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
Life on the streets of Toronto has not been easy for Taylor Sinclair. When her sister's killer, Ralph Morse, escapes from prison, Taylor embarks on a mission to save the woman who put him in prison and quickly develops a deep friendship with her childhood hero. When Morse is recaptured, Taylor is catapulted into a media frenzy that leads to an investigation into her terrifying past.