Wendy was the first author I ever interviewed and it was she who gave me the idea for the dedicated author interview blog, and also, the ill fated, but once massively successful, Independent Paperback Gift Shop on Facebook. She's one of my favourite people in Indielit.
Back in the day, I met at least twenty people I am still in contact with through Wendy's regular Share-Fests. Nowadays, such an endeavour would cause a ban, as the teeth of the Wall Street tiger sharks take ever more vicious bites at the concept of accessible social networking.
Not that this would ever stop Wendy. A popular author of occult fiction, pagan enthusiast, teacher, dancer and, most recently, house restorer, I picked up the Wizphone andinterrupted Wendy's incredibly busy schedule somewhere in rainy, windswept, Wales. Here's what she had to say.
The first EVER Wizard's Cauldron Interview - with Wendy Steele
|You knew I would do it, Wendy :D - Ed!|
Tell us about yourself, Wendy. What have you been up to in the past year? We thought you’d got lost!
Not lost, just moved to another country! I've been dreaming of starting a new life in Wales for more than ten years now but the children and their education had to come first. Once all three were through school and university and all had jobs, it was time to move.
Not a year! I lived in a tent for 6 weeks with my partner and three cats. ... then almost 5 weeks in a small caravan. Once the house purchase went through, we painted one room white and we've been living in that room for 9 months while we attempt to renovate the house. We've added a bathroom, relined the chimneys and installed two wood burners, chipped concrete off the walls and begun to re-mortar with lime.
We are now waiting...for permission to remove the old tin roof over the disintegrating thatch and re-thatch the house. We've installed a new septic tank so, once we have permission for the roof, we should be watertight and hygienic. Tent life was windy! After 3 days and nights of wind and rain in the tent, we decided to buy the caravan. Tent life is like living inside a flag when the wind blows...noisy, really noisy!
Where did you write?
I attempted to write in the tent but with little success...managed a few blog posts but the internet connection via the car battery was a tad unreliable.
Destiny of Angels was the first Indie book I noticed back in 2012. How did it do? Were you pleased with the response? Did the criticism you received, both positive and negative, help you evolve as an author?
It went fairly well but my inexperience at marketing really showed. I met some lovely people when I ran ***The Amazing Karmic Sharefest*** but sharing for others didn't do much for my book sales.
The reviews are still coming in for Destiny of Angels but my Big Birthday Promo where I gave away thousands of books evoked not one single review...I was disappointed with that, but that's just me...if someone gives me something for free, I want to give something back in return so I always review.
My second novel was edited even more than Destiny of Angels and by writing more, I'm definitely a more accomplished writer.
How long did it take you to write your début novel? Were you surprised at this? Was it hard work or did it come easy to you?
From conception to publication was about 18 months. 'Destiny' was written in 9 months. Once focussed and with the time to write, it was easy..... that was a lovely surprise. Editing was hard...getting it perfect for publication was even harder. 'Wrath' took over a year to write.
Tell us about Wrath of Angels?
It's the second book in the Lilith Trilogy. Although all the characters grow through the book, it's more about Angel's journey and the developing of her magic. Not only are Angel's strengths portrayed but her human failings too. The book is a homage to the power of our emotions and how we can choose to base our lives around anger or love. There's a lot more magical path workings in the second book and I learned so much by researching them.
BUY exciting Occult Fiction Thriller "Wrath of Angels" HERE
As a visual learner, I'm also a visual writer. Snappy dialogue and detailed place description, yes, but my plots aren't intricate; it's the characters and their interaction with each other that weave the intricacies of the story.
What has changed in Indie since you got back? Anything? What are your marketing plans?
Everything has changed! While in my tent, I read and reviewed over 20 books and I'm continuing to do this as a way to broaden my reading genres but also to read what else is 'out there'. There are even more badly written, badly edited books available and it makes it even harder to market ones own work.
FOLLOW: https://twitter.com/WendyWooauthor on TWITTER here
Facebook is no longer a great help to letting people know what you're writing or promoting...unless you pay and even then, who knows what difference it will make so I'm employing a new strategy. I'm working with just three groups on Facebook and have begun to Tweet again. I'm also marketing the Lilith Trilogy as paranormal/occult fiction, attempting to create a fan base of readers who enjoy this genre.
Boo Greedy Facebook!! How does Wendy Steele unwind away from the typewriter?
ATS® Belly Dance is my other passion next to writing. I've recently started teaching two beginners classes here in Wales and I love it, introducing non dancers to a unique dance form that inspires me so much.
ATS® is a dance language, enabling dancers from all over the world to dance together, even if they can't speak the same language. I work hard writing lesson plans and supporting my dancers but it's a labour of love.
I'm booked to teach a workshop at the Cardigan Belly Dance Festival in August and I get a real buzz from introducing non dancers to the unique dance style that I love. I love visiting Essex and dancing with my tribal sisters. My dance teacher Deana is a great source of inspiration to me.
|Shetland Ponies wearing cardigans - will they belly dance at|
Where before I had to travel to experience the wonders of nature, I've only to step out of my front door to be thrilled by red kites circling overhead, swallows diving between the ash saplings and insects busy and abundant.
What five books would you take with you on a year's voyage around the world? And with your first choice, why?
Two years ago, I chose 5 books and my choice would be very similar. Having reread Lord of the Rings (it's amazing how much time there is to read when you're sitting in a field!), I'd swap it for Magic of Qabalah by Kala Trobe.
My fascination and understanding of this magical tool that helps us understand the workings of our mind in the context of our place in the universe, has grown so, a year would give me time to digest the more complex issues and work on path workings of my own.
Celebrate the Earth – Laurie Cabot. 'Celebrate the Earth' was the first book that introduced me to 'the Wheel of the Year'. I have read and collected many others on the same subject but I always refer to 'Celebrate the Earth'. While travelling around the world, I would feel connected to the earth and the seasons of home and know that my journey would take me back there.
The Complete Works of Shakespeare (because I've explored so little)
All the books that include Granny Weatherwax – Terry Pratchett
E Sea Priestess – Dion Fortune (I'd take Moon Magic too if you'd let me)
Invite a writer, an actor and a figure from history to dinner. And what culinary delight would you supply?
Whoever I invited would have to enjoy vegetarian food! As I love sharing, I'd prepare a feast of Indian dishes, tarka dahl, chana, spiced potatoes, balti vegetables, rice and onion bhajis and it would be fun to share it with Eddie Izzard
(another great friend of the Wizard's Cauldron - Ed!) Mary Ann Bernal
all three are well-traveled and would have wonderful stories to tell.
What are your current projects and what are your plans?
I'm currently writing the third book in the Lilith Trilogy, Angels and Demons. The second book, 'Wrath of Angels', was published in June 2014...such an exciting moment when that copy arrives in the post!
'Wendy Woo's Year – A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you' was published in November 2012 and I'm working to get this book into paperback.
If you would like to find out more about how I've been following my dream, do drop into my blog for a cuppa and a read at www.wendysteele.com.
Wendy, it's been an absolute pleasure to speak to you again - 98 interviews later! - and I am sure Wizardwatchers will join me in wishing you the very best of luck in the coming year, not only with your novel, but with your house!
Wiz, it's been a pleasure. Thank you!