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Today’s guest blog is by a wonderful author and friend, Wendy Roberts:
When people first hear I’m an author, the next question is almost always, “Do you write children’s books?” Since I have four children and I’m relatively “nice” they believe that is a logical assumption. Though when I describe whatever book I’m currently working on, usually there is an uncomfortable pause sometimes followed by them slowly backing away with fear in their eyes. To skip to the nitty gritty, my husband has taken to introducing me at business functions as, “My wife, Wendy, who kills people for a living.” At that, people will laugh politely before quickly excusing themselves or slowly back away.
I write murder mysteries and, yes, I’ve been known to kill someone off while sitting on the sidelines at a child’s baseball game. In a recent interview I talked about my newest book, The Remains of the Dead, and told the interviewer the story was about a woman who cleaned crime scenes for a living and spoke to the dead. She joked sweetly, “And you look like such a nice person.”
It seems what people really want to know is when does the “nice” side drop away and the savage, murderous side kick in? For me, it’s usually about the time someone cuts me off in traffic. The truth is, I enjoy writing about seemingly ordinary characters and making their lives extraordinary. Although I enjoy adding a comedic element to my stories, I also love to torture my heroine with relationship problems, day-to-day anxieties and then up the ante with a murder or two.
I confess that, yes, I have been known to get my murderous thoughts from my day-to-day dealings in the real world. Who wouldn’t want to take that rude, cantankerous auto mechanic and brutally slaughter him? Ahem. On paper, of course. Now I know you’re a “nice” person because you read Susan’s blog. But, c’mon, who pushed your buttons enough this week that you wouldn’t mind seeing them suffer? Was it the butcher? The baker? That condescending banker?
Clairefontaine tablets are getting popular! We knew it was only a matter of time!
But…um…what’s wrong with this picture?
Okay, she knew this would make me blush but never mind that. Geri Krotow’s debut novel is wonderful, as I knew it would be. Here’s a very sweet post from one of my best friends. Here’s a contribution from Geri:
My dear friend Susan Wiggs has offered to let me blog for the sake of promoting my November release, A RENDEZVOUS TO REMEMBER, a Harlequin Everlasting Love novel. But I figure that if you’re reading this blog on a regular basis it’s because you know and love Susan and her work.
So why blog about me? I’m going to blog about what you come here for—Susan. Of course I hope you go out and by my book, and more importantly, love it. This is my first published novel, and it’s quite the “full-circle” moment. And in my circle of life, especially my writing life, there have been key sister-friends along the way. Some things are meant to be. In spite of what seem to be long-to-impossible odds, people beat terminal diseases. Lovers reunite. A lost pet finds its owners after a long trek across state lines.
And so it is with friends. Some friends we feel an immediate bond with, regardless of any apparent (or unapparent) dissimilarities. One of my “miracle” friends is Susan Wiggs.
I met Susan in July 2000. I remember when because it was my very first Romance Writers of America National Conference, and it was in Washington, DC that year. As Patricia Potter once said at a Memphis RWA meeting, I felt like I’d “died and gone to heaven with all the other writers.” This was a place I belonged. It took a while to find it, but I did.
Very unpublished and somewhat naïve of professional boundaries, I went up to Susan at the book-signing and asked her which island she lived on in Puget Sound. At her hesitation (did her blue eyes see a psycho-rabid-fan?) I hurried to tell her that our Navy family had been stationed in Washington, and was due back, also to an island in Puget Sound. She smiled, told me where she lived, and encouraged me to contact her as soon as I relocated to the Seattle area.
I did just that, and through her guidance found the Peninsula Romance Writers. Susan became one of my mentors. I’m not sure it was ever her choice to mentor me, as I immediately took advantage of any sage advice she shared. I soaked up any knowledge like Sponge Bob in the Sahara. Susan encouraged me to not only follow my dreams, but to do so with no-holds-barred. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a phrase that’s passed her lips more than once. And it reflects in Susan’s continuous series of richly written, highly acclaimed, and reader-beloved, novels.
Perhaps the greatest honor I’ve shared with anyone I shared with Susan and her husband Jay when they came to help celebrate my husband’s Navy Change of Command. Susan went on to write THE OCEAN BETWEEN US which I watched, from our overseas tour in Italy, become a New York Times Bestseller. Then of course there was RWA National 2006, in Atlanta. Susan asked me to take her place at the RITA awards, and not only did I do that, I was honored to accept, on her behalf, Susan’s RITA for LAKESIDE COTTAGE.
One thing I’ll always remember about Susan is her fearlessness. We once explored the streets of Naples, Italy together. She calmly sat in the passenger seat of my minivan as I whipped up an alley in the ancient, chaotic city. When I got too close to the lamp posts, and inadvertently smashed off the passenger side mirror, Susan barely screamed.
Where and when others would cower in complete terror, or give up, or fail to reach out a helping hand, Susan remains steadfast and true. She’s been there with me when I sold, when I’ve won a contest, and when I’ve received the umpteenth rejection for the same manuscript.
Susan didn’t wait for me to ask, but offered a quote for my novel to my editor. For those of you not in the publishing industry, this is beyond generous. It is downright remarkable.
The world needs more Susan Wiggses in it. Yet, there’s only one Susan, and I’m so grateful to call her my friend.
Who’s been an anchor in your life?
This is a particular honor because The Winter Lodge was a “monster” book–one that drove me nuts, writing it. (For those of you who’ve read it, I’m talking about Jenny’s romantic history.) The emotions were hard in that book, and the deadline was insane. But I’m not complaining. Garrison Keillor reminds us that writing, as a job, is the opposite of hard:
“The truth, young people, is that writing is no more difficult than building a house, and the only good reason to complain is to discourage younger and more talented writers from climbing on the gravy train and pushing you off.”
All’s well that ends well. Thanks to PW and Amazon!
Pop on over to Sheila Roberts’s website (www.sheilasplace.com) and check out her ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS contest. Some lucky reader will win Godiva chocolates.
Aaannnd….please meet both Sheila and me at a booksigning on Saturday in Port Orchard, WA:
Saturday, November 10, 2007 – Port Orchard, WA. Booklovers Day Booksigning 1-3pm.
PAPERBACKS PLUS 1618 Bay St., Port Orchard, WA 98366 Phone: (360) 876-7224
Booksigning featuring Susan Wiggs, several others, and marking the long-awaited debut of Sheila Roberts’s novel, On Strike For Christmas. Expect the merriment to come early this year.