Wendy Blake Pottinger was born and raised in central Ohio before moving to South Florida. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies and she has written for PBG Lifestyle Magazine. Her love of travel throughout the United States was the inspiration for her novel, A GIFT OF GRACE. To her, life is about family.
Pam: When did you discover you wanted to be a writer?
Wendy: I have always been a writer. If you don't believe me, just ask to see the many journals tucked into the old trunk in my attic. On second thought, no one should ever read those. I had some issues in the 70's.
Pam: How did your childhood influence your novel?
Wendy: Growing up in a small town in central Ohio was wonderful. Life was right out of a Rockwell painting - sledding the hills, skating the ponds in winter; swimming and fishing in the spring and summer; jumping in the leaves, hayrides, and festivals in the fall. Mostly, these moments were made more magical by being surrounded by family.
Pam: Is the story line in A GIFT OF GRACE a reflection of you or your family?
Wendy: My novel traces a journey made by three siblings after losing their mother. Many of the stories come from actual occurrences throughout the years.
Pam: Please explain a little how your story line evolved.
Wendy: The inspiration for my novel came from one year when my three kids were home from college. I was sad to see how they had grown apart. They all lived within ten miles of each other, but it seemed to me in their independence in life, they had left behind these special relationships. My book is based on a mother who sends her children on a 21-day journey together across the U.S. to spread her ashes.
Pam: What was the best writing advice you ever had?
Wendy: In Stephen King's book, ON WRITING, he is explicit in his advice to write what you know. I have to agree. You have to love your characters and your story. If not, why tell it? I have three kids. My daughter did pee in a laundry basket, my son did sprain his glute muscle. Did they enjoy my sharing their stories? Yes, they did. They all had input and opinions through the writing process.
Pam: So you got additional writing advice within the family! Do you have specific rituals when you write?
Wendy: I write daily. Usually mornings, but sometimes I have an idea and I've learned, if you think you'll remember that idea later, you're wrong! So, I may stop during the day and do a quick outline for a particular idea. Since I work on multiple books at the same time (I'm a Gemini), I need to keep the ideas filed with the correct book. I certainly don't want my time traveler to end up in my 1800's veterinarian story. While I might outline an idea, I've never outlined a book. That said, I usually know my beginning, middle, and end. But I love to see where the characters will take me.
Pam: What's currently on your nightstand?
Wendy: Another piece of advice is: to be a great writer, you need to be a great reader. I have a stack of seven books currently on my bedside table. Some of the authors I'm savoring at the moment are Lee Child, Barbara Kingsolver, David Baldacci, and Debbie Macomber. Also I have local authors' books, including your book, SURVIVING YOUR DREAM VACATION, and JM LeDuc's EVIL AWAKENED.
Pam: Thank you for taking the time to read the rules and anecdotes in my new travel book! What are you working on at the moment?
Wendy: My next novel, a love story with a time travel twist, will be out in January. The working title is SHADOW PEOPLE.
In addition to writing, I love to help new authors. If your readers have any questions or comments or just want to say, "Hi," contact me at: email@example.com
Pam: Many thanks for your time, Wendy, and best of luck with the new book!