What follows is a delightful interview from Audrey Wick, a contemporary romance author with a debut novel coming out in just a few short days!
We met at the Writers’ League of Texas summer conference in Austin, both as unpublished novelists. Now, we each have debuts releasing in 2018! What an exciting year!
Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog.
What was THE moment you decided you wanted to become an author?
I wish I knew THE moment. Collectively, there have been lots of moments that have pointed me toward becoming an author. Books were my first friends, and libraries were some of my favorite places. I have always enjoyed reading, and once I had small successes with publishing a little bit of non-fiction, I was ready to try my hand at the fiction genre. I started with short story writing, which grew into an interest in long-form.
Everyone’s publishing story is different, so could you give us a brief recap of yours?
My first completed manuscript was in the young adult genre, and it was 42,000 words. I thought that was such a long book! (Now I know better . . . ). I expanded the draft to about 60,000 words and cold-queried roughly sixty agents before Barbara Collins Rosenberg at The Rosenberg Group outside of Boston offered representation. That manuscript, though, was too quiet for the market, so I wrote two others also around 60,000 words, and about forty editors turned those down. Then, my agent suggested I try writing a sweet contemporary novel for adults, and I did. That novel of 70,000 words is what was contracted by Tule Publishing, and they also wanted a sister story. So it took several years and four novels to get a full-length contract.
Your debut novel, FINDING TRUE NORTH, is coming out April 12th, do you have any stories you want to share about how this book was created/edited/published?
I knew I wanted to write in third person with alternating point of views, and I decided to plot this book with a lengthy synopsis to make sure I had a story to tell. With the planning done, the writing was so smooth! I finished the first draft during the summer months when I wasn’t teaching (I’m a professor at a community college in Texas). I edited, and my agent submitted it later that year. During Spring Break the following year, I heard from Tule Publishing! They particularly praised the character arc and strong writing voice, which were thrilling for me.
When creating your two main characters, Paige and Everett, what were their traits, hopes, dreams, fears, etc. influenced by?
Largely, my heroine and hero are influenced by their surroundings. The story takes place in Seguin, one of the oldest towns in Texas. Paige 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.” Both, though, are dealing with personal baggage that gets revealed throughout the novel. There’s also a challenge of locale because, though Everett is in Seguin temporarily, his home is eight hours away in Amarillo. But there’s a happy ending! I like happy endings, and my characters deserved one.
Getting to know the Author
Rumor has it you love to travel, any neat travel stories you can share?
Traveling is one of my passions, and I particularly enjoy international travel. Though each location has its charms, some of my most memorable countries have been Iceland, Switzerland, Cambodia, and Turkey. To prepare for Turkey, I learned a few Turkish phrases, and apparently my pronunciation was quite good. On one restaurant visit, I thanked the waiter in Turkish and complimented the food. He seemed surprised because, I assume, many travelers didn’t make the effort to speak the language. He then surprised me by stopping his service, going to the kitchen, and bringing out the chef so that I could thank him personally! It was a beautiful moment of cross-cultural connection.
Any books you’ve read recently that you’d highly recommend?
I am an equal opportunity reader and love lots of genres. For literary fiction, Tayari Jones’ 2018 release An American Marriage was an absolute page turner about the fallout from a wrongful criminal conviction. Ann Howard Creel’s The Uncertain Season is historical fiction that released through Lake Union Publishing, an Amazon imprint in 2017. The setting of Galveston, Texas, in the aftermath of the 1900 storm was what I enjoyed most about this book. And I just preordered your upcoming July 3rd debut Kiss of the Royal! I’ll be reading that this summer. Congratulations, Lindsey!
About Audrey Wick
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.
Follow Audrey on Twitter & Instagram @WickWrites