Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Wendy is giving away an eBook copy of her bestselling fantasy from 2018, The Imposter Prince, with this post – for a chance to win, just comment below.
Today, Wendy Rathbone – I love to write. The reason I write romance these days is because the overwhelming power of falling in love (which has been proven to heal even cancer) is a game-changer. It makes sad people instantly happy. It makes bleak reality look sun-warmed and friendly again.
Thanks so much, Wendy, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Wendy Rathbone: I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was twelve and won first place in a city-wide essay contest. I knew in college that I had the love for it, and the drive, but my writing became self-conscious and stilted in the academic arena. That set me back a bit. I don’t think I realized I was maybe pretty good until a couple years after graduating when I sold my first sci fi poem to a pro magazine called Aboriginal SF.
After that, I sold poems and short stories, even won awards, but I struggled for many years not feeling good enough, and did my best only when I wrote for love and not with the pressure of selling. I was not able to complete a novel-length work until my late 30s.
Sadly, I took a nine year break from writing which I do NOT recommend to anyone. But for me, it was sort of freeing. No more gatekeepers in traditional publishing (this was before ebooks were invented) to feed my critical mind. It was bliss!
When I got the bug to write again, I was really ready to let my muse go. The indie publishing world is a fantastic platform for me to present myself. I even tried a publisher again, and was, within weeks, accepted! (Dreamspinner.) I haven’t looked back since.
JSC: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
WR: I have always found Anne Rice fascinating. I would talk to her about the muse as an entity of its own because I know she would understand what I’m talking about
JSC:How would you describe your writing style/genre?
WR:My style is poetic. What can I say? I love words. I have streamlined my style to be simpler for romance, and steered away from the poetry as best I can. But it still creeps in, and reviewers mention “Wendy’s poetic style” often, mostly in a positive manner. It’s not that I think poetic is bad, but I do think to achieve decent pacing in romance novels, which is what I write nowadays, reining myself back from too many pretty descriptions has helped make my stories more accessible. But beautiful writing is still something I strive for, even when simplifying.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
WR: I’ll talk about my first published gay romance. It was a self-pub called “The Foundling” and I did it to see if I could. The story is super poetic, hot and steamy erotica, and I fell in love with the characters of Diego and Alec so much so that my novella turned into a trilogy of books which I am about to re-release in early 2019 with new editing and new covers and new subtitles. But it is all still called: The Foundling Trilogy. It’s a contemporary trilogy, which is not my usual fare—I usually write fantasy or sci fi. But it’s full of strange situations, memory-loss, dreams, and best of all, how falling in love transforms the characters.
JSC: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
WR: I lit candles in glass candle holders, then held them close to my skin to see what colors the shadows were as they danced upon bare flesh.
JSC: What is your writing Kryptonite?
WR: Sitting in my desk chair and staring at a blank page (no Internet allowed)! It takes about a minute before I get bored and start composing stories.
JSC: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
WR: I don’t get writer’s block. I get stubborn and sad. Every day I fight a resentment that I can’t write full-time even though I do my best and put out good products. I have to force myself to write through that resentment and find the love again. Sometimes I face this every day. It’s not a block, it’s my own mind being a big baby. That’s all. As soon as I realize my inner brat is pouting, I give myself bigger assignments, deadlines, and challenges to overcome. Which means working every day that I can (when not working my other job). Which means I don’t have time for inner brats.
JSC: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
WR: Don’t let the critics, or the inner critic freeze you up or make you think you don’t have entire incredible universes to offer. The critic is only one person’s opinion, and cannot define you. The muse defines you. The muse knows what it loves, and it knows story intrinsically from day one of playing make-believe as a child. Find that inner child daily. Daydream to feed your soul. Find the love in every page of words you write. Don’t stop. Do minimum daily word counts even when you don’t feel like it. Do not take breaks that are too long if you can help it.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
WR: I am a pantser. Outlines make me anxious. I have often told people, “Yes, I do outline, just very very detailed outlines which end up being the first draft of my novel.” I do 60k word outlines. You see, if I have the idea, I just write it. I don’t make notes about it. That’s a waste of time. Making notes takes up writing time. Why not just write it all out? I flesh the idea out as I go, chapter by chapter. My muse knows story, so I trust it implicitly. There is very little re-writing involved when I trust my instinct. Some line cuts and some line additions, yes, but re-writing—no.
JSC: What are you working on right now?
WR: I am currently working on a series of standalone novels set in an alternate universe current day Earth where the selling and training and owning of pleasure slaves is legal in most countries of the world. The series is called “A Kingdom of Slaves.” The first book, which is completed and now in the editing phase, is “The Slave Palace.” I am aiming for a late Jan. 2019 release. I am currently working on the second book called “The Secret Slave.” I have ideas for at least three more books in this universe. And titles for at least five more.
And now for Wendy’s new book: Lord Vampyre:
When Lord Neverelle becomes a guest at Cliffside Keep, Vanni watches helplessly as Damion, the young man he’s grown up with and secretly loves, falls for the alluring and seductive stranger. Lord Neverelle is danger incarnate, and soon takes control of the household.
Not satisfied with Damion alone, Never uses a vampire trick called “the tempt” to compel Vanni, who is swept into a love triangle that includes fiery passion and nightly threesomes.
Now Vanni must ask himself, is any of this consensual? And what about Damion—does he really want to be with Vanni, or is it all a sensual play controlled by vampire compulsion?
M/M and M/M/M romance.
This is a little snippet just before the delicious mmm sex scene. There has been a lot of tension for a while now before this scene:
As if toying with them even further, Never said, “What do you think, Damion?”
Softly, “About what?”
“Your love is no longer a question.”
“It never was,” came the reply.
Vanni looked at him.
“For you, my lord,” Damion added.
Vanni’s chest ached.
Never smiled until his white teeth showed. “I know. And for Vanni?”
Damion’s breath hitched. “I–I–“
“I see,” Never said. He leaned in close until Vanni could smell the roses and the fresh spiced earth scent of him. “It is overwhelming, I know. Love. From all angles a twisting road, an agony of easy bruising for want of simple pleasure. An opening, a vulnerability that leaves you in weeping pieces not from pain, but unbridled rapture. The bliss of the body. The ecstasy of the mind. It is a risk to take that road for fear you might never reach the end. Or if you do, the fear is you will never reclaim that moment again, seeking your whole life for one more taste and always falling short. That is the agony of it, that the yearning cannot be stopped.”
Vanni swallowed hard. His muscles were bunched beneath his skin. He was hot and cold at the same time.
“Vanni, I want you to kiss Damion.”
His mouth opened. “But he doesn’t want me—“
“He does. Here and now. A little push is all you need and I am here to ease you through it. To taste the new flowering of all you are. It is better this way, all of us together. You will see.”
I love to write.
The reason I write romance these days is because the overwhelming power of falling in love (which has been proven to heal even cancer) is a game-changer. It makes sad people instantly happy. It makes bleak reality look sun-warmed and friendly again.
I have written in all genres: scifi, fantasy, horror, paranormal, contemporary, erotica, romance. But I keep coming back to romance. Gay romance. Male/male romance. The idea of two men falling in love in a society that has winced at that sort of thing for far too long is alluring. Many of my themes involve the forbidden, abduction, pleasure slavery, indentured servitude, and imprisonment. It’s like, with my writing, I’m constantly breaking out of some self-imposed cage and letting my wings unfurl until I can finally fly.
All my books are available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited. So if you have the urge, go take a look. See what’s on the shelf.