Interview with Wendy Lynn Clark

Published 2014-01-05.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have the best day job in the world, which is working at an academic library. Surrounded by books, I always have some question I'm researching, whether it's the origins of electromagnetism or exactly how many steps it is to the Sistine Chapel.

When I'm not indoors researching and writing, I draw inspiration from hiking in the gorgeous green Pacific Northwest and discovering new cultures by traveling all over the world. We live in an amazing time period of discovery, technology, and adventure. It's a beautiful time to be alive!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
As a kid, when we visited the bookstore, my brother and I could see so many glittering new books but we were only allowed one each. I loved going to the library because my parents let me come home with as many books as I could carry -- even if I had to make two or three trips! The library is where I discovered that I loved Anne McCaffrey and diligently collected every book she ever wrote, spending all of my Christmas and birthday money. Libraries are still how I browse authors to see what sticks.

In the e-world, where libraries are often a distant afterthought by publishers, I discover new authors by trying free first. I do get hooked on samples, but happy endings are a requirement for me so I really prefer full free reads. There's nothing that makes me angrier than thinking a book will have a happy ending and then getting horribly surprised! If I love an author's style in a free book, then I will purchase one or two more to see if they have staying power with their characters and plots. Then they become one of my new favorites.
What is your writing process?
Inspiration strikes! I write furiously for hours at a time in a dollar-store college-rule composition notebook with a hot pink fountain pen and Smudge Guard ( glove.

(The Smudge Guard is to prevent the skin from getting scraped off my hands by the paper -- not even kidding. I used to tape my fingers with Scotch tape or else I would literally rub raw spots onto my pinkie and hand. I already put holes through a maroon Smudge Guard. My current one is black.)

Then I let the story idea marinate in the notebook for several years while I work on the projects I'm *supposed* to be working on - which I love, and have researched, and have already been waiting for several years for *their* turn.

Then I pull out the hand-scribbled pages and fall in love all over again. Research! More brainstorming! Plotting!

When I've come up with a hook, the characters, or a burning story question that I just have to answer, then I'm ready to begin. I block out the big scenes on a story board, check with the plotting experts like Blake Snyder and Randy "the snowflake guy" Ingermanson, and draft out scene cards. Finally, when I am satisfied I have a great beginning, a turbulent middle, and a happy end, I start writing.

I write three drafts: a hot-fast first draft in 2-3 months, a slow-thoughtful second draft in 1 month, and a smooth-polish third draft in a couple weeks.

Then, I begin showing my story to others. Trusted readers. An agent, if it's going that direction, or an editor and a copy editor if I'm publishing it myself. Finally, it's ready for readers and for print!
How do you approach cover design?
I am the kind of person who will purchase a book I have no intention of reading because it has such an unstoppably gorgeous cover.

Beautiful dresses, startling poses, intensely passionate fonts. I have to own them. I have to make them mine!

For the San Juan Island Stories, I let myself go with Photoshop to create the kind of stories that I would stop in a bookstore to admire. I wanted to convey that they were romantic, so I went with pink tones and parted lips and hearts, but they are also women's journeys homeward to self-discovery, so I went with abstract impact over soft couples sharing sweet kisses.

For my print anthologies, however, I felt that a hobbyist's talent wasn't enough, so I hired an award-winning professional designer who happens to be a friend of the family. Lucky me! She designed a gorgeous cover fitting the anthology in the tradition of the "scenic" covers favored by such famous romance authors as Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber. I love it and I hope you do too!
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

San Juan Island Stories Anthology
Series: San Juan Island Stories. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 55,720. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories, Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
First love, first touch, first kiss...everything about your first crush is sparkling and sweet. In the lush San Juan Islands, five women rediscover their breath-taking first loves and learn that every journey, no matter how far, is ultimately about finding the way home. This anthology contains five previously published stories, including bonus introductions. Buy the anthology and save 40%!
Promise Me: A Romantic Short Story (San Juan Island Stories #5)
Series: San Juan Island Stories, short story #5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,790. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Allison knows that she’s not the same as she was in high school. In high school, she was thin, smart, popular...and terrified. Now recovering and married to her high school sweetheart, she struggles to keep her head above the reunion's increasing demands. If she resigns, it means giving in to her illness. But if she doesn't, it may cost her something far more precious...
Swear To You: A Romantic Short Story (San Juan Island Stories #4)
Series: San Juan Island Stories, short story #4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,290. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Reformed bad girl Sera just can't keep her hands off church-boy-turned-biker Graham... Seraphina doesn't even go to her five-year high school reunion. Another five years can't go by fast enough. So she's more than a little concerned when, a day after the big deal, a heart-breakingly familiar face turns up at her door...
Artful Dodger: A Romantic Short Story (San Juan Island Stories #3)
Series: San Juan Island Stories, short story #3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,330. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Shy Kat bares her secrets to arrogant photographer Talon...Five years ago, Katelina knew what it was like to be hidden in plain sight. But she never dreamed it was possible to change - until a strange connection binds her to the uncompromising photographer. Now an adult, she is shocked to find her feelings haven't changed. And neither have his... [Lunch-sized story]
Chance Of Happiness: A Romantic Short Story (San Juan Island Stories #2)
Series: San Juan Island Stories, short story #2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,630. Language: English. Published: August 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Practical smart-girl Mia made all the wrong choices with vulnerable smart-aleck Ellis. At her five-year high school reunion she can finally forgive herself, forget him, and move on. Or so she believes...
Fatty Patty: A Romantic Short Story (San Juan Island Stories #1)
Series: San Juan Island Stories, short story #1. Price: Free! Words: 7,510. Language: English. Published: July 8, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Bittersweet first love and magical second chances unfold at the San Juan Islands high school reunion. Step aboard and journey to the San Juan Islands. Pepper shows off her slim new body to the crush who broke her heart...and his reaction reverses everything she thought she knew.