Note: the giveaway is now closed. Winner will be posted on Saturday.
Admittedly I might be a little biased, but I think that Berkley has some fabulous authors. And one of the great things about being a Berkley author is getting the opportunity to get to know other Berkley authors.
I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Wendy Wax at the Berkley signing and cocktail party at RWA. Wendy’s most recent release The Accidental Bestseller, has been getting all sorts of great buzz.
Who knew the truth would make such great fiction?
Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at a writers’ conference. Ten years later they’re still friends, veterans of the dog-eat-dog New York publishing world.
Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose novels support her and her husband’s lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason juggles two jobs, two kids, and a difficult mother. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of bestselling inspirational romances; no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aims’s once-promising career is on the skids—as is her marriage. Her sales have fallen, her new editor can barely feign interest in her work—and her husband is cheating.
Under pressure to meet her next deadline, Kendall holes up in a mountain cabin to confront a blank page and a blanker future. But her friends won’t let her face this struggle alone. They collaborate on a novel none of them could write by herself, using their own lives as fodder, assuming no one will discover the truth behind their words.
No one is more surprised than they are when the book becomes a runaway bestseller. But with success comes scrutiny and scandal. Now all bets are off….as these four best friends suddenly realize how little they’ve truly known each other.
I love books and movies with author heroines and heroes. (Romancing the Stone, anyone? How about Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets?) And while I haven’t read The Accidental Bestseller–yet– I heard about it through my girl Rowena at The Book Binge who called it a keeper and an “emotional story about friendship and courage.” (And you know my girl Rowena has great taste in books.)
I have The Accidental Bestseller in my TBR pile and can’t wait to get to it. And I also have a signed copy for one of you. When I told Wendy about the giveaway, she very graciously agreed to do a little Q&A. Here’s it is:
JJ: When did you first realize you wanted to write, and how did you get started?
WW: I was a journalism major in college and had always written during my years working in radio, TV and film. Although I was voracious reader, it didn’t really occur to me to try fiction until I was at home with a two year old and a newborn. I chalk this up to post-pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep, but nonetheless I suddenly had a burning desire to write a book and see it published.
I did sell the first book I wrote and only realized later how unusual and lucky this was. However, it didn’t happen quickly. Given my life and responsibilities at the time, it took several years to complete the first manuscript, another year to find an agent, and another year after that to sell. It was only after my youngest went to kindergarten that I was able to write regularly and for long periods of time.
JJ: What is it about writing romance that appeals to you?
WW: I don’t actually write romance anymore although that’s where I started. I write what would be labeled ‘women’s fiction’ and my books are generally an interweaving of several women’s journeys. I like to write women discovering who they are and what they’re made of with real emotional growth and a heavy dollop of humor. But that’s not to say that there isn’t romance in my books; all the women I write have relationships and/or significant others.
JJ: What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
WW: Give yourself time to learn what you’re doing and to hone your craft. And then, although it’s very hard, you have to have patience. Being an author and writing for a living is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. You have to be in it for the long haul.
In The Accidental Bestseller, which is about four writers, friends for a decade, who help each other survive the publishing industry, I begin each chapter with a quote about writing. They all resonate with me, but one of my favorites is from James Baldwin who said, “Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck–but most of all, endurance.”
JJ: What do you do on those writing days when you’re stressed, worn out, or distracted?
WW: I sit down in front of my computer and try to lose myself in the scene I’m writing. If I can ‘go there’ and be in my characters’ heads, all will be well.
JJ: What can you tell us about your current (or next) release?
WW: The Accidental Bestseller, which came out in June, is probably the most personal of all the books I’ve written. I’d wanted to write about writer friends for a long time–I can’t imagine being in this business without them–but it wasn’t until I encountered some unexpected turbulence in my own career about three years ago that I knew the time had come.
A writer named Tappani Bagge said, “Everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And later you can use it in some story.” And that’s what I did. I used bits and pieces of the things that didn’t kill me and those that didn’t kill other writers I know to create a story about what it is to be an author in today’s publishing environment.
Most of all, it’s a story about friendship and how far we’re willing to go for our friends. But it’s also as true a story about being a writer as I could write without having to label it non-fiction.
JJ: Fun questions. What are you watching on TV these days? (Or what are you reading?)
WW: I’m not a huge television watcher, but I really love the HBO series Entourage and I’ve watched a number of episodes of True Blood because I liked Charlaine Harris’s books so much, but I like the books better than the series.
At the moment I’m reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, which is wonderful. She wrote The House at Riverton, which I also enjoyed. I really liked Bound South by Susan Rebecca White, too.
JJ: Complete this sentence: One fun thing about me that people might not know is…
WW: I hosted a live radio show called ‘Desperate & Dateless’ in Tampa, when I was both!
Thanks, Wendy! Desperate and Dateless– I love it.
So now for the giveaway– one lucky person who comments below will win a copy of The Accidental Bestseller. The contest will run until 10pm CST on Friday.
Happy reading everyone!