Author Event Wrap Up & Giveaway: Wendy James In Conversation with Jaye Ford.


So a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an author event at my local Independent Bookseller (MacLean’s Booksellers) where MacLean’s were hosting a book launch of sorts for local author Wendy James as she spoke to fellow crime writer and friend Jaye Ford about her new release  The Lost Girls (Wendy’s book) and the return of the domestic novel. All in all the night was a great successes, with MacLeans Booksellers bursting at the seams with book lovers, life long fans and family members.

Throughout the night Wendy and Jaye talked casually to each other about their books, writing habits and how they first met and became writers. It was a fantastic night, filled with laughter, good-natured teasing, and a hell of a lot of great questions from the audience. One gentleman in the room for instance asked a question that has fascinated me ever since, he asked both Wendy and James what their views where on the idea of writers and workshops and whether they thought that writers could be taught or was it something naturally ingrained within oneself. I’ve never heard this question asked before and was immediately floored by it; and like most of the room, I waited silently as the two authors considered their answers over.

When I was studying at university as an undergraduate a lot of my classes where English or Creative Writing based, and because of this it meant that majority of my classes were writing workshops. My experience of these workshops and how productive they are is mixed, and it really depends on what type of day you get me on as to how I favour them. I will say though, that the success of a writing workshop comes largely down to the creativeness of the lecturer and how they broach the subject, as well as the mindset of those in the class at the time. Having thus taken a variety of workshops and having read my fair share of ‘How To Write” books, I was eager to hear what these two talented ladies thought about the subject and I wasn’t disappointed by their answers.

Together the pair decided that although you could be taught part of what makes a person a writer, they also felt more was required in the process and thus from the individual then what could ever possibly be taught in a classroom. For they agreed that although a writer can learn how to write in a workshop, and certainly how to better their work, one still needed their own push and passion to write in the first place. Wendy for example had been writing diaries all her life, and it was during a drunken girls night that she read one out loud and realised that she could in fact write.

The originality of this question in both topic and form (I’ve been to hundreds of author events now and never heard it asked once before) made me wonder what else people would like to know about or from authors? I’m a quiet person out and about and are way too terrified to ever ask a question in public ( I go red and shake, it’s not the most attractive thing to watch happen) no matter how bad I want to know the answer.  Or better yet, what kind of questions do you like to hear authors asked? Are you keen to learn about the types of books they read? Or how they get their ideas? Or are you more interested in their writing process? Who Influenced them? How long and when do they write? Personally I love to know what they are reading currently and a bit about their writing process. I find it fascinating to listen to authors talk about how they write and why, and what their publishing journey was like, but I know a lot of people who find that boring. Who want to know more about the characters, why something happened the way it did, or why the cover art was feature the way it was. So I’m curious, what would you ask if you had the chance?

I’ve got a signed copy of Wendy James The Lost Girls to giveaway to one lucky reader who leaves a comment below about the kind of questions you would most like to ask an author if you got the chance? Keep in mind I don’t have access to these authors and can’t answer them for you. Or better yet, what’s the best question you’ve heard someone ask an author (you don’t necessarily have to remember the answer they gave, but if you do, tell me that as well).

Because of postage restrictions (unfortunately I’m not rich and postage can be a problem) I’m restricting this giveaway to Australian Residents Only. The Giveaway closes on Wednesday April 30 2014, with Winners drawn via announced via a blog post on May 1st.

If you’d like to read a transcript of the night and see first hand what makes these two writer’s tick make sure you checkout the Newcastle Herald’s article on the night here.

To learn more about Wendy James’ book The Lost Girls checkout my review, or Goodreads.

9 thoughts on “Author Event Wrap Up & Giveaway: Wendy James In Conversation with Jaye Ford.

  1. allvce says:

    The answers to the question was, I feel spot on. You can be taught to write but only in the process of writing do you discover yourself and your style. What a lovely question.
    In regards to the question I would like to ask, it would be in regards to the authors routine. When do they write? Be this in the early in the morning, only at night, or a number of times spread out through the day. I think its a question that can reveal a lot about the way an author writes 🙂

    • Jess says:

      I love that question Allyce. It’s something I ask on the odd occasion I get the nerve. I know Fiona McIntosh gets up early morning, well before 6am and starts writing then so that she doesn’t miss out on time with her family. She’s super disciplined, whereas I’ve learnt other authors like Dianne Blacklock like to write during the day. Kate Forsyth starts in the morning, but she won’t put start writing until she’s gone for a walk because it means a) she gets exercise and b) she has an hour in her head to really get to know the characters and a feel for where they are. She says it helps keep writers block away as well because when she gets to her computer she is ready to write.

  2. Gloria Bale says:

    I am not very imaginative, that’s why I like to lose myself in others imagination. My usual question is…….how much is the book based on real life? Standard answer seems to be…….it is a work of fiction (loosely) based on experiences and people I have met. Surprisingly, given the content, I was once answered with……It is all true. I tend to think she was pulling my leg.

    • Jess says:

      🙂 That’s a great question Gloria – especially when you consider the old adage that they used to hound in workshops “Write what you know.”

  3. Amy says:

    The question I love to hear is “Where did the idea come from?”. With so many unique stories out there it is always interesting to hear how it came to be, especially if it isn’t like anything else you’ve read. It’s amazing to hear how an author’s mind works to get the book they got.

  4. writenote1 says:

    That would have been an interesting author night, Jess. As a fellow blogger, I do get the chance to interview a lot of authors, which I like because it reminds me of when I was working as a journalist … finding out peoples’ stories was one of my favourite aspects of the job. I’ve started wondering what authors do when they have ideas at odd times, or what it’s like to write a really nasty character.

    • Jess says:

      It was a great night Monique. Jaye and Wendy are such great friends and their passion for books and writing is such a beautiful thing to bear witness too.

      I’ve never worked as journalist, nor do I believe I would be capable, but I’m must admit that reading interviews and being able to conduct some on the rare occasion is one of my favourite parts of reading blogs and blogging myself.

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