Monday, January 11, 2016

Author Interview with Wende Dikec

I met Wende during an evening on Twitter when I was stuck in my own writing and she had Tweeted some encouraging words that I came across. Her first book Tiger Lily is coming out this week and is another I'm looking forward to reading.

About Tiger Lily

Lily Madison thought dying because of a bad manicure was the worst thing that could happen. She was wrong.

Waking up in the hospital and realizing she’s being stalked by an entire herd of naughty little ghosts turns her entire world upside down. She begins to doubt her own sanity until she realizes she isn’t alone. A Goth girl, named Zoe, can see the ghosts, too.

Most of the ghosts look like fuzzy blobs, but one is not blobby at all. He’s a very hot, very annoying dead guy named Nick. Although they dislike each other on sight, Nick soon realizes Lily is his only hope. With the help of Zoe and Mr. Wan, the manicurist who almost killed her, she has only days to get Nick and the other ghosts back where they belong or the whole world will be in terrible danger.

But sending the ghosts back means saying goodbye to Nick forever, and Lily isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to let him go.

If you want to pick up your own copy you can do so on (for Canadians like myself) or for Kobo.

In celebration of the release, I thought we could get to know Wende a little better...
Where did you get the idea for Tiger Lily?

Wende: It’s kind of strange, but the first line of the book just popped into my head. “I died because of a bad manicure.” I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and the voice of the character was clear to me from the moment I came up with that line. The story just grew from there.

My main character, Lily, gets so distracted by the awful color on her nails that she accidentally crashes her car and lands in the murky waters of Lake Eugene. She drowns, and gets resuscitated by a handsome stranger, but then her problems really begin. She’d passed over the barrier between life and death, and ended up bringing an entire herd of annoying little ghosts with her. Most of them look like fuzzy, black blobs, but one isn’t blobby at all. He’s a very hot, very annoying ghost guy named Nick.

Is there anything you want people to know about the characters? Quirks or unique things that didn't make it into the book?

Wende: My main character, Lily, has a lot of quirks. She’s a bit of a control freak and she has OCD. She gets weekly manicures, and I think the biggest surprise to me came in the form of her manicurist, Mr. Wan. I’d intended for him to be just a minor character, but he was so awesome that he kind of took over and became her spiritual guide. And the colors he choses for her nails every week have significance as well. They give the reader an idea about what is going to happen next in the book. The nail colors are real, by the way. You can look them up. I love the names of nail polish colors and had a blast researching them.

Do you have a favourite scene in the book?

Wende: Oh, tough question. I love the scene when Nick (the hot ghost guy) follows Lily around the school and distracts her during class. Lily is the only one who can see him, which makes it tough for her to concentrate in calculus. He needs Lily’s help to figure out what happened to him, and he won’t give up until he gets it or drives Lily nuts in the process. I think what I love most about this scene is the way he shows both his humor and vulnerability, and the way Lily’s carefully constructed façade of control begins to crumble.

What are some of your favourite books and authors?

Wende: That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! No! I can’t do it!

I’ll narrow it down to my first favorite book. When I was young, the book that had the biggest impact on me was A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle. It rocked my world. I must have read it fifty times. After I read it, I wanted to be a physicist. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. I lasted a grand total of two days in high school physics.

How many books have you written?

Wende: I’ve written two young adult books that will both be published by Inkspell Publishing in 2016. TIGER LILY comes out January 13, and STARR VALENTINE will come out in March.

I also write adult books under a pen name, Abigail Drake. I have a paranormal romance called TRAVELLER coming out through The Wild Rose Press on February 26, 2016. I have another completed manuscript that is currently under consideration with a publisher called THE ENCHANTED GARDEN CAFÉ. And I just finished two New Adult books and a sci-fi novella that I might make into a full-length novel. It’s going to be an interesting year.

Do you have any unique writing habits?

Wende: I discovered a group called Mindful Writers, and I love it. It sounds kind of weird, but we meet at a local diner every week (in a private room), listen to a guided meditation for writers, and then sit and write together (in complete silence) for four hours. It’s absolutely the best and most productive day of the week for me. I have a constant stream of coffee and food and no one distracts me. I get so much done.

At home, I have a Labrador retriever who annoys me until I sit down at my desk and start to work. He’s relentless. Once I start to write, he curls up next to my feet and snores. He’s a great taskmaster.

What do you find the most challenging part about writing?

Finding quiet time to write. My house is a chaotic place, but I need calm to write. There is always something to distract you, something you think you ought to be doing instead of writing. I force myself to ignore the laundry and write when I can. Eventually the laundry will get done, but if you don’t write when the muse is calling to you, you might lose that fantastic idea rolling around in your head.

What do you love most about writing?

Wende: A day without writing feels incomplete to me. I honestly want to do it every single day. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. Or talking about writing. Or dreaming about writing (I actually do that – which is kind of sad!). I’m happiest when plugging away at a new story, but I love editing, too. That was an acquired taste. I had to learn to love editing. Now it’s like a puzzle to me. I can’t wait to sit down and make my story as good as possible. One of my editors once said, “Let’s polish this up like a shiny new penny” and that stuck with me. I love polishing it up. It’s almost as fun as actually writing the book (but not quite!).

National award winning author Wende Dikec writes Young Adult speculative fiction with romantic and humorous elements. An avid traveller who spent many years abroad, she now lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, three sons, a puppy named Capone, and a very well used espresso machine.

To keep up with Wende, you can find her on her website, her Amazon author page, or on Twitter.

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