Saturday, 27 January 2018

Diana talks to Wendy Steele, author of the recently reviewed 'The Naked Witch'

Wendy Steele's most recent book, available here

1 First things first …What is Witch Lit and why did you decide to write in this genre?

Witch Lit is contemporary, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. The stories are gritty and believable while magic is sprinkled through the stories, offering the reader a new perspective on reality.

My first two novels, Destiny of Angels and Wrath of Angels, the first two books in the Lilith Trilogy, were inspired by the witches Qabalah. I was writing novels I wanted to read but though I wanted to write books for women, I was restricting my audience.

Writing about women gives me the opportunity to write about a different kind of protagonist. My women don’t need to behave like men to succeed and they don’t need a man to define them. Their power, their strength, grows through the books as they learn to connect with both the feminine and masculine energy inside themselves, standing up for what they believe in and facing adversity with courage.

Every woman can identify with Lizzie Martin whether they know anything about magic or not.

2 What made you choose this genre?

As more than 80% of fiction readers are women, I wanted to write for them. In the Lizzie Martin series, there’s love and relationships as well as mystery, intrigue and a little magic.

3 How do you get ideas for plots and characters?

Often a character appears first, someone with an unusual trait, perspective or secret and then I ask ‘What if?’ questions. This helps me get to know them and the ideas for plots and storylines follows.

4 Favourite picture of work of art?

The Venus of Willendorf
Wendy's favourite work of art
Thousands of years ago, the voluptuous beauty and curves of women were adored and revered. Matriarchal societies flourished and prospered living close to the earth and nature’s cycles. All were able to link with the divine until man insisted that the only way to communicate was through them
and the world changed, women’s power was supressed and the patriarchal system we have today was created. As a belly dance teacher, I’ve encouraged women for fifteen years to love themselves and be proud of their bodies and through my books, I hope to inspire women to take control of their power again.

5 Was becoming a writer a conscious decision….?

Returning home from the Tutankhamun exhibition in London when I was ten years old, I wrote a poem about how I felt and I’ve been writing about my experiences ever since. Through my teens and twenties I wrote children’s stories but a two day workshop in my mid-thirties set me on a journey to write my first novel. It took me three years, sitting in the car while waiting for my children to come out of school and the resulting 100k words of ‘Hubble Bubble’ resides under my bed, waiting for me to revisit it. Swanwick Writers Summer School gave me the confidence to try again and in 2012 approaching my fiftieth birthday, I published my first novel, Destiny of Angels.

6 Marmite: loveit or hate it?

I love marmite! I follow a plant based diet so ?Marmite is a great protein either on toast or in chillis and soups.

7 I promise I won’t tell them…?

Immersing myself in my writing was difficult when my children were growing up. As well as supporting them, I had a couple of cleaning jobs and set up a belly dance company. In theory, I have no excuse now they’re grown and left home but renovating my home and working on the land when the weather is conducive can be a temptation, luring me away from my WIP.

8 Other than writing full time, what would be your dream job?

I love teaching dance and it is the perfect balance to writing so I already have my dream job.

9 Coffee or tea? Red or white?

Since being diagnosed with IBS, I’ve given up caffeine and alcohol but it’s not as boring as it sounds! I enjoy blending herbal teas and elderflower cordial with fizzy water is delicious.

10 How much of your work is planned before you start? Do you have a full draft or let it find its way?

I don’t have a plan set in stone. With each novel, I know where I want to end up and enjoy the characters interacting with each other to get there.

11 Have any of your characters ever surprised you?

My characters have adventures I hadn’t planned all the time! If they’re relevant to the plot, move the story forward and are ‘in character’, they stay in.

12 How much research do you do ….?

I’m researching all the time. I picked up a book in a charity shop yesterday ‘Ghosts and legends of Wales’ that I thought might be useful.

Thank you for your time, Wendy. That is all really interesting.  Good luck with the sales ;)

Read more about Wendy here

Ⓒ Diana Milne January 2018 Ⓒ Wendy Steele January 2018

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