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Interview with Wendy Wax, Author of The Accidental Bestseller

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Wendy Wax is represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.

Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at a writers’ conference. Ten years later they’re still friends, veterans of the dog-eat-dog New York publishing world.  This is the premise of Wendy Wax’s new book, The Accidental Bestseller, just released from Berkley Books.

We interviewed Wendy to find out more about her new book and her life as a published author.

Thank you for this interview, Wendy.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I was a journalism/broadcast major in college and after graduating I worked in radio, television and film both in front of and behind the camera. I worked for the Tampa PBS affiliate, on a number of feature films, and as a voiceover and on-camera talent for commercial and corporate projects. The most memorable of these was my stint as the host of a live radio call in show on WDAE Radio called Desperate & Dateless.

In 1994 while at home with a newborn and a two-year-old, I was looking for a creative outlet and decided to try my hand at writing fiction. Looking back, I wonder that being a full time mother, which is the hardest job I’ve ever had, and the fact that I knew nothing about writing fiction, didn’t deter me. It did, however, slow me down.

It took me three years to complete that first novel, find an agent, and sell it. (This seemed like an eternity at the time; it was only after being in publishing for a while that I discovered how slowly things can move!) Love Talk, which drew on my experiences as host of Desperate & Dateless, came out in 1997. Each book after that also took years. It wasn’t until my youngest started school full time, that I became more productive.

In the intervening years, I’ve been published by Kensington, Bantam and now, Berkley. The Accidental Bestseller is my seventh novel.

Do you write full-time?  

Yes, and every day I think how fortunate I am to get to make things up for a living. (Maybe I should amend that to ‘on those days when it’s going well!’)

At what point in your life did you make up your mind you were going to become a published author?

See above!  I had a two-year-old and a newborn! I’m not sure what in the world I was thinking!

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

The Accidental Bestseller is about four writers who meet at a writers’ conference, support each other through the joy and pain of getting — and staying — published, and ten years later end up taking on the publishing industry to save one of their own.

Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose novels support her and her husband’s lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason juggles two jobs, two kids and a difficult mother. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of bestselling inspirational romances; no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aims’s once promising career is on the skids – and so is her marriage. Her sales have fallen and her new editor can barely feign interest in her work.

What was the inspiration behind your book?  Why did you feel a need to write it?

I had wanted to write about a group of writers, especially a critique group, for some time. No one understands what you’re going through like someone else who’s on the same path. Your family and non-writing friends may know and love you, but they don’t necessarily relate to the unique highs and lows that are a part of writing a novel and staying afloat in the publishing business.

The Accidental Bestseller is about that bond between writer friends. It’s also as true a look at what it is to be a writer in today’s publishing industry as it was possible for me to write without straying into nonfiction. (Which is something Mallory, Faye, Tanya, and Kendall have a slight problem with!)

What message are you trying to convey with this book?

I have tremendous respect for writers – both aspiring and published. The publishing business is not for sissies. To write a novel requires a great leap of faith – in yourself! To write and pursue publication requires not only talent, but tremendous strength of will. The Accidental Bestseller is dedicated to those who persevere and refuse to give up on their dreams.

Do you write mainly by day or by night?

Mornings are my best time. I sit down every day as soon as my sons leave for school and generally write until they come home in the afternoon.

Do you blog?  If so, what can you tell my readers about the advantages of blogging as a useful tool in book promotion?

I have to admit I’m very new to blogging. I’m just beginning to learn the ins and outs. Given the thriving online community of readers and writers, it seems a great way to communicate and expose people to your work.

I really appreciate this opportunity and look forward to becoming increasingly active online.

What’s next for you?

I’m just finishing up revisions on Magnolia Wednesdays, which is due out next March from Berkley.

I’m also very excited about the release of The Accidental Bestseller on June 2. One of the neatest things planned is Accidental Radio, which began airing on my website, www.authorwendywax.com on May 15 and will run through July. It features bestselling authors sharing the ‘accidental moments’ that changed their lives.

Thank you for this interview, Wendy!  Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?

Thanks so much for having me!

I hope your readers enjoy The Accidental Bestseller, and I want to invite them to stop by my website to submit their own favorite accidental moments. I’m planning to post some of the most interesting and unusual!


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