This month, in the Member Showcase spot, is our own Blog- and Webmaster extraordinaire, Wendy H Jones, who always astounds me with her boundless energy and enthusiasm. For some reason she didn’t feel she could conduct her own interview …
I know you’ve travelled to many places around the world. Which has been your favourite place to visit?
This is a hard one as I have loved them all. They are all unique and I love the adventure of finding out more about the country and the people. If I had to choose just one then I would have to say Nepal. The people there are lovely and it is so different to anywhere else in the world where my travels have taken me. I also worked with the Ghurka families in Hong Kong so that was an added level of interest for me.
Which your least favourite place?
I don’t think I have a least favourite place. Everywhere has its charm and is different. I have found something to enjoy, and love, in every single country I have visited.
Who is your hero?
I’m not really the hero-worshipping type but if I were to choose someone it would be Val McDermid. A fellow Scot, she is not only a superb writer, but also a genuinely nice person. Can I have another, also related to writing, and also Scottish? This would be Andrew Carnegie who helped establish libraries worldwide, including 56 in Scotland. he helped to bring reading to the ordinary man in the street.
What is your favourite mode of transport?
I love all modes of transport. Travelling is a time of excitement and time to myself. Planes, trains and automobiles excite me but the most fun I have had in travelling was riding on top of an elephant’s head through a jungle. As you can imagine that was awesome.
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
I went parascending in New Zealand. That basically involved, running off a mountain with a parachute on my back. I will never forget the feeling of drifting to the earth. It is the most peaceful place I have ever been.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
Witchetty grubs in Australia and Sheep’s Testicles in Palestine. I will try anything. I have only ever refused to eat two things. These were, snake in Hong Kong, because they were skinning them alive as I watched and deep fried crickets in Cambodia.
Have you had any brushes with fame?
I’ve met several members of the Royal Family and I sang for the queen when I was fifteen. I’ve met most of the crime writers in Scotland. They’re famous in my world, and also genuinely nice people.
Now we know you a little better can you tell us a bit more about your writing?
When I was in Academia I wrote academic articles and books. I now write murder mysteries set in Dundee, Scotland. The first book in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Killer’s Countdown, was released in November 2014. The second book in the series, Killer’s Craft, will be released on 20th July 2015. The Launch will be held in Waterstones, Dundee, and if it is anything like the last one will be a lot of fun.
What drew you to crime writing?
I have been a passionate reader since the age of three when my mother taught me to read. I read anything, but especially liked the children’s crime books. These included The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The famous Five, and Secret Seven. By the age of 10 there was nothing left in the children’s section for me to read so I moved on to adult crime books. No mean feat in those days. It was a natural progression from reading to writing crime.
Can you elaborate on your decision to self-publish?
Whilst writing my book I attended several conferences on crime writing and writing in general. The agents and publishers were saying that it is almost impossible to get traditionally published. They are now looking at those who are self publishing and are successful. They will then look at these for a traditional publishing deal. I do not think that the two are mutually exclusive. There is room for both.
What would you say is the best thing about going the self-publishing route?
I have overall control of what I do and what I write. Choosing editors and cover designers is down to me. I can work very closely with both to ensure that the finished product is what I want. I also keep the rights to my characters and books.
And what’s been the hardest thing about it?
I found I had to be very organised. Everything that happens with writing, publication and sales is down to one person, me. Whilst this brings freedom it is also hard work.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?
Edit until you feel you can edit no more, then edit some more. Make sure your book is the best it can be and then let it go out into the public. There comes a point when it needs to be read, and enjoyed, by others.
Thank you, Wendy, for joining in and giving us some insight into you as a person and as a writer. To find out more about Wendy, visit her website or her author page on Amazon.