Writer Interview-Wendy Van Camp

Describe your day job.  My day job is being an artisan jeweler and have been in business for 25+ years.  I create my jewelry in my home studio and sell it at various science fiction conventions, concerts, and celtic events all over the Western United States.  My jewelry features natural stones or art glass and wirewrapped bails and findings.  I’m a trained certified gemologist and have an extensive collection of unusual stones that I use in my work These days, you’ll find my books and poetry selling along side my jewelry on my table.  It is all good .

Tell me about your latest book. The Curate’s Brother is the first of four books in my regency historical series. It is a women’s historical fiction based off the characters and setting from Jane Austen’s novel “Persuasion”. I am not a romance author, per se, but I fell in love with Jane Austen’s work and I couldn’t help myself from writing with her characters and historical setting. This novelette can serve as a prequel to “Persuasion”, but it is also the first of four books I am writing that will take Austen’s characters on a new journey.

Books two through four will take the reader into different historical settings and showcase the English culture of the time.  You will get a taste of battle at sea, the marriage mart in London, a sense of the structure of classes of the time period, and the plight of women during this era.  While the story has sweet romantic elements, it is more a historical drama.

Who are your writing role models? I would claim Jane Austen as a good influence.  I love her attention to detail in the settings and deep characters without overwhelming the pace of the story.  Another favorite is Robert A Heinlein.  While I don’t always agree with his politics, he was a master at merging science with story.  There is an old saying that in science fiction, “Heinlein was there first.”  I’ve researched writing advice he’d given to other successful authors in science fiction and keep those tips for my own use.  Many are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.  Finally, I have a great deal of respect for Brandon Sanderson.  Not only for his interesting books, but for his online writing courses.  I am awed by his story planning ability and the amount of output he has with his books.  It is certainly someone to emulate.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?  Scheduling is the key to making things work.  There are a few things that I like to do each morning.  For instance, I do either weight training or aerobic exercise in the morning before breakfast.  I am not a fitness junkie, I only workout for around 30 minutes in my home gym, but it is enough that I have seen strides in my health.  I find the key to keeping up with it is to alternate what tasks I do each day.  It keeps it fun.  This also gives me time to wake up, think about stories while my hands and body are doing something else, and be away from computer screens.

Once I’ve exercised, had my morning meal, and checked my email, I go into a dictation drafting session.  I have outlines that I prepare once a week and have ready to work on so I keep the momentum going.  I dictation short stories, articles, and work on my novel drafts in this manner. I’ve only been dictating for a few months, but I am growing fond of creating drafts this way.  After an hour or two, I close that down and take a mid-day break.

In the afternoon I lug my laptop to the coffeehouse to work on revisions or I stay home and do my online marketing/blog tasks.  Occasionally, I might make jewelry in the afternoon.  It depends on if I have a show coming up or not.  After 25 years I’m pretty fast when it comes to putting earrings and necklaces together so my “day job” doesn’t get in the way of my writing.

My evenings are for my own entertainment.  I watch movies, read books or hang out with my husband.  I also like to read my poetry at open-mics.  It is a fun way to join in your local writing community.

I tend to not write on the weekends.  I’m either at a venue doing sales or going to a writing seminar/workshop.  Sometimes I take a day off and enjoy myself.  I know that many writers feel they must write every day, but after a few decades of earning my living via the arts, I’ve learned that it is okay to take a Sunday off now and then and recharge yourself.  I am consistent with my writing on weekdays and this is enough.

What are your other passions outside of writing?  I am into sketching with fountain pens.  For a few years, I was an avid zentangler and did doodles in my bullet journal to relax and pass the time.  Lately, I’ve been expanding into using watercolor with my sketches and I’ve been dabbling in urban sketching.  I have not gone out on location to sketch yet, I’m still a beginner, but I think that perhaps on one of my Sunday breaks, I might join an urban sketching group and give it a shot. Why not?

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? When you are an author, you often are writing alone in your office with no other company but your dog at your feet. Sometimes the hours grow long and you wonder if it is all worth it.  Then out of the blue, a reader sends you a positive comment on your Facebook page or on your blog about one of your stories and it is like a ray of sunshine.  I hope you all continue to be my guiding lights.  Thank you all for your support.

THE CURATE’S BROTHER

In the summer of 1806, a young curate is surprised by the arrival of his brother, Commander Frederick Wentworth of the British Royal Navy. All the good commander wants is to flirt and dance with the ladies until he is called back to the sea. He is drawn to a baronet’s daughter and pays no heed to warnings that the girl is above his station even as Frederick’s flirting with another young beauty infuriates his brother.

At the end of summer, a letter and package arrive that will change everything for the two brothers. Which will prevail? The bold actions of the commander or the quiet manners of the curate?

BIO FOR WENDY VAN CAMP:

Wendy Van Camp writes science fiction, regency historical, and scifaiku poetry.  No Wasted Ink is her platform featuring essays, poetry, flash fiction, and author interviews.  Wendy’s stories and poems appear in magazines such as “Quantum Visions”, “Scifaikuest”, “Lit Up”, “Writing Cooperative”, and “Far Horizons”. She has won Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest and is a graduate of the James Gunn Speculative Fiction Workshop.

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