Interview of Wendy J. Dunn by Lucy F.
Wendy: “ A little scary, because they may not like it. Of course, I want everyone to love my work but I know not everyone will. Getting a book published can be very confronting at times.”
Lucy “What expression do you put into your books?”
Wendy: “I write with my heart and soul, Lucy. I really feel being a fiction writer means you are committed to explore, through writing, those really big questions about life, questions about truth and what it means to live, and be part of, even if only in a small way, the story of humanity.
Lucy “Where to you get your ideas for your stories?”
Wendy: “All around me really, simply by living. I’m also very drawn towards paintings. I love the stories told in paintings, and they In turn inspire me to turn these stories into words.
I am very passionate about history, too. I wonder about what happened behind closed doors, and the untold stories of history. Those kinds of gaps fire my imagination and make me want to explore them through writing fiction. So many of these gaps involve the silence of women. For centuries, history concentrated on the history of men, and treated women as if they were invisible players on the board of life. My new novel came about because of one of these gaps in history – trying to make sense of the true story about why Henry VIII executed Anne Boleyn, a woman he adored for years.
Lucy: “How do you feel when a publisher likes your book?”
Wendy: “It’s very exciting, Lucy. My publisher is very friendly, supportive and does a great job with producing my work. I also think that because they are a small publisher they take more far interest in nurturing their writers than bigger publishers.
Lucy: “Did you always want to be an author?”
Wendy: “It feels that way! I was only eight when I decided to become a writer. I was always an imaginative child who loved to read and write. Writing allowed me to step into imagined worlds. I discovered early the magic of writing, when words become alive on the page.
But becoming a writer wasn’t an easy dream to achieve. I knew from childhood that writing novels was an enormous undertaking, one that needed a lot of life experience as well as training in the craft of writing.
I married at eighteen and had my first baby at nineteen. By the time I became pregnant with my second baby I was fighting an almost daily battle with depression. I couldn’t understand why. I loved my husband, was completely besotted with my first child and wanted more children. My second child’s traumatic birth opened my eyes to the reason for my depression: I was no longer writing because I felt I had put that passion aside for my family. That was an immensely important turning point in my life, one that returned me to writing. I discovered then how it important it was to stay true to your passions.
Lucy: “If you could meet any author who would it be?”
Wendy: “If she was still alive, I would love to meet Rosemary Sutcliff. She made history come alive for me as a child and inspired me to write historical fiction. Some of her books continue to be my comfort novels: novels I will re-read when I need a bit of reassurance about life.
Lucy: “What is your favourite book?”
Wendy: “I love so many books, Lucy! But two books will always stay on my bookshelves. The first is one of Rosemary Sutcliff: The Lantern Bearers – a novel about forgiveness and faith in humanity. My other loved novel is ‘The Last of the Wine’ by Mary Renault. Set in the time of ancient Greek, it has similar themes, but also about how love never dies.
Lucy: “What do you have to say to your readers?”
Wendy: “What I have to say to my readers I write in my novels. I write for my readers, Lucy, and in hope of connecting to them. I write in hope readers will tell me that my writing really spoke to them – that they really understood what I was trying to say in my stories. When that happens, it makes all the hard work of writing worth it.