The Last Rose: Wendy Clarke

My blog is all about writers and their journeys to becoming published authors. Normally I talk about my personal journey, but this week I am excited to introduce you to a different story. The story of a friend and fellow author I met via the internet’s thriving author community.

Wendy Clarke writes a great romance tale. Her first book, Room in Your Heart, is a collection of captivating stories that cannot fail to make you smile. In the interview below, Wendy tells me not only about her author journey but also about her latest projects.

If you have got a question you would like to put to Wendy, feel free to post it. I know that Wendy will be checking in here from time to time to respond.

Wendy Clarke      My interview with Wendy Clarke

Ben) So that we can get to know you a bit before we start, I’m going to fire a few quick-fire questions at you. Starting with your favourite author?

Wendy) Ann Weisgarber

Ben) Your favourite film?

Wendy) Life is Beautiful

Ben) Your favourite food

Wendy) Chilli con carne

Ben) Your favourite tipple?

Wendy) Red wine

Ben) You are a romance writer. What’s the most romantic place you have ever visited?

Wendy) Venice… oh, and the little Greek taverna on the island of Samos where my husband proposed to me.

Ben) And what’s your ambition as an author?

Wendy) To see my novel published and on bookshelves.

Your writing

Ben) Seeing your novel on bookshelves is my ambition too. Is your novel your latest project?

Wendy) I have got a few projects on the go. I have just finished putting together my second collection of short stories called ‘The Last Rose’. The theme is family and friendship and all the stories in it have previously been published in national magazines.

The Last Rose cover

Alongside this, I have been finishing my latest serial for The People’s Friend and have recently started writing my first novel.

Ben) You write lovely, atmospheric short stories. What are your top three tips for people who want to write short stories?

Wendy) 1. If you want to write for a magazine, make sure you read the guidelines carefully. 2. Try to think outside the box a little – editors are inundated with submissions so make yours stand out by being a little different. 3. Check your story has a strong ending. I’d also like to add another one: write from the heart – if you don’t love your story, nobody else will!

Ben) That’s a theme in my advice too. If you aren’t happy with what you are producing, then no one else will be happy when they read it. What, for you, are the essential elements of a great romantic tale?

Wendy) Your reader has to like and sympathise with your main character. Their emotions also need to be believable. Look deep inside yourself for memories of your own of love and loss and use these to make your characters’ emotions come alive. A great romance doesn’t necessarily have to end happily but there should always be hope or a sense of moving on.

Ben) What’s the nicest compliment you have been paid on work you have published?

Wendy) People have said some wonderful things in their reviews for Room in Your Heart but I think the greatest compliment was when my friend told me that my stories made her cry.

Your writing journey

Ben) What made you start writing?

Wendy) I started writing three years ago when the private school I was teaching in closed down and I was made redundant. I felt anchorless and had no idea what I wanted to do.

I was very lucky in that I had recently got married and my husband was very supportive, telling me that I should take my time to think about the future. It was my brother who suggested that I enrol in the online creative writing course he’d just completed – after all, I had been an English teacher. So I did.

Little did I know how much I would enjoy it – so much so, that I did a second course and when it had ended, I felt bereft! My tutor suggested I try writing for magazines and, with nothing to lose, I thought I’d have a go. I was very lucky to have stories accepted quite quickly and now I have sold over a hundred!

Liking a challenge, I then decided to try my hand at writing a serial. This was more difficult as I had to show the editors at The People’s Friend a synopsis first which meant I had to plan the whole thing out – something I’m not very good at! Luckily they liked the idea and I found the longer length fun to write. I have now written a second one for them.

Since then, I have joined the Romantic Novelist Association’s New Writers’ Scheme as I am in the early stages of writing my first romantic novel… so the journey is still continuing.

Ben) Other than the decision to write full-time, what was the most important decision you took in your writing journey?

Wendy) It may well be the decision to write the novel… but whether that decision will turn out good or bad is yet to be seen.

Ben) I’m sure it will be good! Can we get a sneak preview?

Wendy) I don’t want to jinx it by giving it away. Let’s just say, it involves two sisters, a beautiful Greek island and a mystery… oh and of course there’ll be romance in there too!

Connecting with Wendy

I hope you have enjoyed hearing from Wendy. I certainly did. If you would like to connect with Wendy directly, she has a great  blog, or you can find her on twitter @WendyClarke99 or on Facebook.

The Last Rose is available to buy on Amazon. The stories in this collection explore the intricate family relationships of thirteen ordinary people. In them, we discover the sorrow, love and joy that is shared… but not always spoken.

19 thoughts on “The Last Rose: Wendy Clarke

  1. Wendy Clarke March 9, 2015 / 7:07 am

    Thanks so much for inviting me to be your first blog guest Ben – it’s been fun!

  2. jenanita01 March 9, 2015 / 9:12 am

    Loved your very first interview, Ben. And it went well…something I see you doing more of, maybe?

    • Wendy Clarke March 9, 2015 / 9:15 am

      Glad you enjoyed the interview. We should definitely encourage him to do more!

  3. Ben Adams March 9, 2015 / 9:27 am

    I enjoyed doing it too. I am sure there will be more in the future.

  4. T.O. Weller March 9, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    Hey Ben and Wendy! Great interview!

    Ben — I love your natural voice. I can almost hear you speaking the words.

    I’m guessing a “tipple” is an alcoholic beverage? I’d love to add that to my vocabulary here, but I can just imagine what people would think I’m saying.

    Wendy — I hope things are going well one week into the launch of your book?

  5. Wendy Clarke March 9, 2015 / 3:31 pm

    Yes, great, thank you Tracey… and I can’t believe you don’t use the word ‘tipple” across the pond!

    • T.O. Weller March 9, 2015 / 3:57 pm

      Nope, never heard it before … but now I’m going to try it. Next time we’re in a pub, I’ll throw it out there … maybe snap some pictures of the people’s faces when they react. LOL

      • Ben Adams March 9, 2015 / 5:38 pm

        I drank too much of Wendy’s favourite tipple last night and am still suffering now!

  6. Tracy Fells March 9, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    Enjoyed reading this & learned some things about Wendy I didn’t know! Thanks for a great interview, Ben and Wendy.

    • Wendy Clarke March 9, 2015 / 5:12 pm

      I’m impressed there’s something left to surprise you, Tracy!

      • Ben Adams March 9, 2015 / 5:42 pm

        Welcome to my blog Tracy. I’m guessing the bit you learnt wasn’t the ‘red wine’ bit?

  7. Natalie Kleinman March 9, 2015 / 4:24 pm

    Loved the interview. I felt as if I was sitting in a lounge having a conversation with friends…well, listening to a conversation between friends. What an exciting journey you are both having.

    • Wendy Clarke March 9, 2015 / 5:13 pm

      Thank you, Natalie. I’m glad you felt part of our chat.

    • Ben Adams March 9, 2015 / 5:44 pm

      Natalie, that’s exactly the tone I was trying to find. And Wendy made it easy. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  8. Ann Weisgarber March 12, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    Wendy, thank you for the lovely mention. I’m touched and humbled.

    The decision to write a novel is a good one and you won’t regret it. You’ll finish the book, it will be read, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did your best. Many people talk about writing a novel, but few do it. You’ll make it happen.

    Congratulations on this terrific interview. Ben, great questions.

    • Wendy Clarke March 12, 2015 / 5:03 pm

      So lovely to see you over here, Ann… and if anyone reading this hasn’t yet read ‘The Promise’ put it on your reading list!

      • Ben Adams March 12, 2015 / 5:08 pm

        It’s now on mine! Ann, thanks for your kind words.

  9. Ann Weisgarber March 12, 2015 / 9:17 pm

    You and Wendy did all the hard work here. I’m just an admiring fan of the blog.

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