Here she generously shares some personal insights with her readers.
- Can you tell us a little about the story in “Finding True North”?
AW: FINDING TRUE NORTH is my debut contemporary novel. The heroine, Paige, lives in Seguin, one of the oldest towns in Texas. She is a mother trying to navigate life post-divorce when she reconnects with Everett, an acquaintance from high school. She gets a second chance at love, but she’ll have to make some tough choices to find her “true north.”
- How much time did you spend researching your book? And, did the research take longer than the actually writing?
AW: The research process was ongoing, everything from facts about Seguin, Texas, to medical information. The research didn’t take longer than writing the 70,000-word manuscript, but readers sense when research has been done and when it hasn’t. I wanted my contemporary story to be authentic, and taking time to research helped me do that.
- Do you have any particular habits when you write?
AW: I used to write in longhand on unlined paper turned sideways. Something about that just put me in a creative frame. Now, I tend to type when I have the time, but I’ve also written on expired coupons, coffee shop receipts, and Post-Its. Writers are always writing!
- What distracts you the most when you’re trying to write?
AW: I have learned to write even with distractions; otherwise, I wouldn’t get much done. But I do plan my writing even when I’m not writing. For instance, I’ll think about a scene as I drive, I’ll connect plot points when I cook, or I’ll work through a character’s conflict as I exercise.
- Have you ever been so wrapped up in your characters that you dream about them at night?
AW: Many nights have been spent dreaming about my stories for sure!
- Have you ever ‘people-watched’ to gain inspiration for any of your characters?
AW: Yes, this is an effective way to learn how to write natural actions. With Paige, there are a few scenes with her eating, so even to make the dialogue and movement believable, it was helpful to people-watch.
- How did you pick your character’s names?
AW: For my debut, I couldn’t resist a heroine with a bookish name. I thought Paige was perfect!
- Do you dream that someday “Finding True North” will be made into a movie? Who do you see playing the lead roles?
AW: My publisher, Tule, had two books made into movies with Hallmark last year, THE ARTS OF US by Teri Wilson and A BRAMBLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS by C.J. Carmichael. The actors in those films were all fabulous, and I’d love to see them in a FINDING TRUE NORTH film.
- Do you think it is imperative for novelists to be familiar with the settings of their novels, or do you believe that you can write a novel that is set in a place you have never been?
AW: Familiarity, though travel or research, is important. I’m familiar with the settings I write, particularly Seguin. I think of my Texas-set writing as a love letter to the state in which I live because I adore my state as much as my characters do and hope readers enjoy the place as well.
- I am a huge fan of cover art and have a blog series called “Cover Love”. How much input did YOU have in choosing the cover for your novel?
AW: Tule Publishing gives authors lots of input. I completed an Art Fact Sheet for the cover, which shared my vision. Still, there were lots of considerations, and the first round of designs didn’t fit the genre. So we went through a second round and decided not to show characters’ faces to give the reader more imaginative power. I love the result!
- What is your biggest personal challenge in your career as a novelist?
AW: I have a day job, which I love. I teach English classes full-time at Blinn College, a two-year college in Texas. My biggest challenge is continuing to be a writing teacher who writes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get the best of both worlds.
- What types of authors and genres do you read?
AW: I’m an equal opportunity reader and like lots of different genres. When I travel, I like to read novels about the country I am visiting, like IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN by Vaddey Ratner when I visited Cambodia. But I also like novels set in countries I haven’t visited, like the Sweden-set A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman.
F: Audrey, “A man called Ove” is one of my favorite novels. We have that in common.
- What novelist writing today do you admire? Why?
AW: So many! Lately I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction, and authors like Hannah Kent, Erika Robuck, and Kristin Hannah are ones I particularly admire because of their dedication to the research side of what they do.
- What current novelist do you feel is underrated, or deserves to be more well-known? Why?
AW: I read the debut of women’s fiction author Sarah Faber ALL IS BEAUTY NOW, a striking book with a 1960s Rio de Janeiro setting, a twisting plot, family secrets and beautiful storytelling. This has been an overlooked book.
F: How neat that you chose a book written by a Canadian author as the answer to this question.
- If you could sit and enjoy a chat and a glass of wine with another novelist – who would it be?
AW: I tell my students I would love to have dinner with Kate Chopin, a woman ahead of her time. I teach her in my literature classes, as her short stories still have so much to offer readers today.
- What three novels are you most anticipating reading in 2018?
AW: Tayari Jones’ AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE
Elin Hilderbrand’s THE PERFECT COUPLE
Kristin Hannah’s THE GREAT ALONE
- Can you share with us some of your personal leisure activities?
AW: I love to travel, especially internationally. I enjoy walking/running/hiking, cooking meals at home, and sipping coffee.
- Are you working on another novel?
AW: Absolutely! A second Texas Sisters book releases in July from Tule Publishing that includes a road trip romance. Then, I have another novel set in Texas on submission.
- What interview question have you not been asked yet that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
AW: What’s my favorite snack while writing? Haribo gummy bears!
- How do you wish to be contacted by ‘fans’? Facebook? Twitter? Your own blog?
F: Thanks SO much Audrey for graciously answering my ‘nosy’ questions. I wish you every success with “Finding True North”.
Audrey Wick is a full-time English professor at Blinn College in Texas. Her writing has appeared in college textbooks published by Cengage Learning and W. W. Norton as well as in The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel, and various literary journals. Audrey believes the secret to happiness includes lifelong learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over twenty countries—and sipped coffee at every one.