Thursday, 26 May 2011

Interview with Wendy Swore

We made it to the middle of the week again, my friends. That's reason enough to celebrate, right? Sure it is. So let's do so by meeting another awesome writer. Say hello to Wendy Swore.

Hello, Wendy! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Writer, Farmer, Mother of 5. That pretty much sums up my life. I named my blog "Goddess of the Corn" because it sounds so much better than "Unpaid Grunt labor" which is what I am. I love winters because I can write for hours every day—whereas in the summer/fall I spend much of that time picking corn, weeding, or leading kids through our corn maze. I don't like to shop or spend money on myself...unless there's a book store around. I probably need to check into a Book Addiction program.

How long have you been writing?

I've always dabbled, but I've been writing seriously for about four years. When I started out, it wasn't with the intent to write a book, but I had this story in my head that wouldn't leave me alone. I have learned so much since then about structure, plot, outline, editing.... I don't think writers ever stop learning. I love it. I also volunteer for an after-school young authors club that just finished for the year.

Tell us about your contribution to UNLOCKED: Ten "Key" Tales. What’s your story about?

My good friend, Rita Webb , and I had a few stories included in an anthology the year before called Menage-A-20, Tales with a Hook and we thought it would be fun to do another one that would still be okay for a younger audience to read. We invited several of the writers from the previous project to submit. The only requirements were that the stories be age appropriate and have a reference to a key in the story. It was fun seeing how many different interpretations of the word "key" came out of that. I wrote one of the stories, Crop Circles, helped edit the others, and took the photos you see on the cover and in the Youtube trailer .

How did the idea of the story come to you?

Crop Circles is a light-hearted tale about a farm family that makes the most of an unexpected boon, but things don't go quite like they plan in the end. The farm is on my mind all the time since it is such a huge part of my life, so many of my stories are either set on a farm, or have something to do with agriculture.

What else are you working on?

I'm currently sending out queries for my first novel, Coyote Dreams, a coming of age YA contemporary set on a farm on the Sho-Ban reservation. It's in the same vein as Hattie Big Sky but with Tony Hillerman aspects. While that one is going the rounds, I'm working on my next YA, an alternate history—sort of like The Hunger Games meets The Uglies, but with more race related issues. Both have strong multicultural characters.

Wow, sounds interesting. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Keeping the balance between home, work, and writing. I think many of us struggle to find the right mix. When the words are flowing and I’m typing like mad, the house falls into ruin, and the weeds grow up around my ears. When the house is perfect and the farm work complete, I struggle to write a few lines. Right now we’re at a happy medium on all fronts—more like an uneasy truce.

Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

Besides being a voracious reader, the single biggest help to my development as a writer has been being active in an online critique group. I have met some amazing people that have completely changed me from a country bumpkin who penned a few lines for fun, into a serious writer who takes no prisoners with edits. If you don't have a good critique group, find one. You can do so online through groups like Goodreads, or in person through SCBWI or your local writer's league. Also, go to writers conferences. They are worth every penny.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Pandora. My house is full of five active children, and there is no such thing as a quiet moment. I also don't have the option of going in another room. I write in the middle of it all. So, when I'm writing, I use earbuds and Pandora to nullify the squawks and giggles enough to focus on my writing.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Teleportation. I spend so much time on the farm, far from everything and everyone. I would love to be able to pop over to see my grandmother, or some of my online critique friends for an afternoon chat, and then pop back home in time to change the water on the fields.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: licorice, palm trees, and woolly mammoth.

Next winter I’ll be eating licorice under a palm tree in Hawaii instead of staying home wrapped up like a woolly mammoth. (Not kidding! It will be my first visit there.)

Sounds dreamy! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

My longtime cyber besties have to be first. Renee, Rita and the rest. You’ve changed my world. My family, of course, and one more to Authors Incognito and my Storymaker’s pals.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

You can find all my links to my blog, Twitter, FB, and everything on my website, or you can see the anthologies on goodreads.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Wendy. Crop Circles sounds great, and I look forward to seeing Coyote Dreams in the bookstores some day.

Here's the book trailer for Unlocked!


Wendy Swore said...

Dorothy, thank you! I appreciate your kind words.

Weaver said...

Nice interview. And Wendy, I love Pandora, too.

Eileen Schuh: said...

Wendy, you have a definite knack for conjuring up titles and book covers. COYOTE DREAMS and UNLOCKED --wonderfully intriguing.

Mike Keyton said...

A really interesting interview. Good luck with what happens, Wendy

Rita Webb said...

Nice interview. I can't wait for Coyote Dreams to find a home so that I can buy it to read with my daughters.