Friday, March 1, 2013

Announcing the Latest Release from Talented Aussie Author Wendy Laharnar

For a review copy of A Summer Squall, answer the question at the bottom of the post!

Readers, have you ever wondered what it's like to live inside a writer's head or how stories come to be?

Writers, have you ever suffered from writer's block?  This Action/Adventure shares a bit of both.

Wendy Laharnar makes every word count, so although this is only 4,220 words long, the journey is eventful and memorable.

I personally recommend reading Wendy's other books too. Rarely does an author elicit emotion with as much skill or apparent ease. Rest assured, when you join Wendy through her writing, you will be transported to new  and exciting worlds. 

The gods don’t always help those who help themselves; or do they?

A writer, desperate to meet a deadline, struggles with writers’ block. Drawing on the five senses for inspiration, she is swept out of her depth when she tries to rescue a shipwrecked child. She rushes in, ill- equipped for the challenge and unprepared for the ensuing revelation.

Mini Excerpt:
Empty seconds became minutes. Think, damn it, or don’t think, which way should I go? Listen. The noise of the wind intensified from a low moan to a wail, announcing the onset of a summer squall. My windows rattled, and outside, the olive trees writhed and hissed. Grey clouds followed a pelican pair across the azure sky and brought my passive world to life.

Get your copy of A SUMMER SQUALL  
Find WENDY LAHARNAR on her Website or

RIGHT... now for the fun stuff.. 

Hi Wendy, it is great to celebrate your latest release “A Summer Squall” a short story set on a huge tapestry.

It’s lovely to be able to celebrate, Rosalie.  It is very exciting to have another of my little darlings accepted and published. I love your description: A Summer Squall a short story set on a huge tapestry. Can I quote this? Often?  I’m honoured you think so, especially since you are the master weaver of the huge tapestry in your wonderful Chronicles of Caleath series.

*blushes* Thanks Wendy you can use my quote. :)

Your short story is being released through Museitup Publishing. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to write “A Summer Squall”? The title suggests a sea borne adventure…is that correct?

Yes, A Summer Squall is published by MuseItUp, the best publishing house in the business. Please excuse me if I’m biased. MuseItUp is already home to my novel; my science fiction short story, and my short Middle Graders chapter book.  Lea, our publisher, my editors, Annie Duguid and Nancy M Bell and the fantastic Art Department, especially my cover designers, Tiger Matthews, Kaytalin Platt and Marion Sipe make dreams come true. I love ‘name dropping’ their names.

Writer’s block, when I needed a new story, inspired me to write A Summer Squall. Staring at a blank screen, wanting to write, wanting the great feeling that comes from having written, glued me to my seat until words crept into my mind and made me tap the keyboard. I kept telling myself, ‘Write something, anything. You can’t edit a blank page.’ So I did. I wrote, ‘verbs are action words and nouns are actors.’ 

After more thought, I had a working title Of Actors and Action and my imagination took over from there. The actual process of engaging my imagination began my story and led me into the adventure.

The title suggests a sea borne adventure…is that correct?

Yes, that’s right. This story is a stormy experience about a woman adrift at sea.  Isn’t it amazing where our imagination takes us. I find mine brings forth people, places, dreams and experiences familiar to me, even when I think I’ve forgotten them. The old title is still relevant to the story, but the new one fits much better.  

After the final edits were complete, my editor said Of Actors and Action might mislead my readers into thinking they were getting a story about the theatre, so, reluctantly at first, I settled on A Summer Squall

 Now, I can’t imagine any other title on my enigmatic cover designed by Museitup artist Marion Sipe..  
Knowing you hail from the south coast of New South Wales, I feel much of this story reflects your own environment. I hazard to guess you take inspiration from your surroundings and your own writer’s journey. 

It’s inevitable I’d write a story about the sea, especially this one when I suffered from writers’ block. The sea has always been special to me. Most of my holidays were spent on the wild and windy cliffs of Coogee, a Sydney suburb  at my grandparents' house. Vast ocean views and sea spray on the windows, whales spouting water and ships on the horizons, rocks and rock-pools to climb over and explore provided plenty to stimulate a young imagination. 

The seascape in A Summer Squall is based on those cliffs. I lived in a lakeside town in my early school years, moved to the country, then to the city, back to the country when I bought a farm with my husband and now we live close to the sea, no cliffs but a lovely long, sandy beach. I’m glad I’ve come almost full circle.  Yes, in my writing, I draw on all the settings I know.

I remember a similar childhood holiday house, perched on the cliffs overlooking Forresters Beach on the Central  Coast. Those memories never leave us, and instill a deep love of the ocean in all her moods, don't they.

Did your characters follow your plot path or did they take on a life of their own? Do you keep them in check?

My characters in A Summer Squall, hmm, one is me, fictionalized of course, to protect my real identity. The boy is also fictionalized so only I will recognize him – please don’t give me away. J Let’s just say the characters played out in the only way they could because I controlled the rudder, and I had real facts to draw on. 

Although, I must admit, this is not really Faction (i.e. fiction based on fact). It is, of necessity, more fiction than fact since this is a story about accessing Imagination. Too cryptic? Sorry. I’m a clearer writer than talker. J The story is quite easy to follow.

The story is beautiful. In every aspect. Yes, it is easy to follow and compelling too.

Writing the story is only half the exercise though, isn’t it. Becoming published is not always easy. Even with self-publishing as an option. What do you think is the most important thing a writer needs to face, along the road to publication?

For me, the most important thing to face, all the time, is: readers aren’t mind readers. If the text confuses even one reader, 99% of the time it is writer-error. The writer needs to work out how to clarify rather than blame reader-ignorance.  

Not easy when we are so close to our work. This is why critique groups are essential in the early drafts of a story, whether long or short, to test the clarity of our writing and catch snags before they become stumbling blocks.

What has been the hardest hurdle for you in getting your short story, or your longer novels published?

Next to actually bringing the story to a conclusion, you mean? Having the courage to send out query letters, is the hardest hurdle I find. No one wants to face rejection, but if you don’t take that one small step, you’ll never stand in front of the ladder, let alone step onto the first rung.

Have you always been a writer?

No, I didn’t begin to write until I came home from my first trip to Europe in 1977. I wrote three ‘volumes’ about our three months of travelling, filling them with lots of research about the historical characters and events we heard of. 

Then I wrote my first ‘short’ story. It covered a man’s life until his death in the Australian bush – a short amount of words but hardly a short story. 

I realized I’d need structure if I was to be the next O’Henry. I took a couple of diploma courses from different colleges and then a BA degree at UNE, in Armidale, and read so many How To books and followed all of Alicia Rasley and Holy Lisle’s workshops until I grasped what I needed to do. 

In the meantime my stories were being assessed and gaining good feedback from the tutors.  I figured writing was what I really wanted to do and I’ve kept at it.

What is your favourite pastime, when not writing, or wondering what to write, or editing your writing, or helping other authors with their writing?

When not doing all of that, haha, that’s easy – Thinking (mental pastime). Or did you mean physical pastime? Then that’s teaching my mini schnauzer new tricks. Although, Spitzli probably thinks she is teaching me. Either way, we are good for each other, and of course she’s good for my husband too. The three of us walk on the beach or on the promenade and go to outdoor cafes together. We love it when someone points to Spitzli and says, “I want one of those.” One day I’ll write a story about Spitzli, fictionalized of course to protect her identity, but for now I’m too tightly wound around her little paw to be objective. 

LOL, I know what you mean! 
Thanks for sharing your time and your writing journey with us Wendy. I hope visitors grab their copy of A Summer Squall today and enjoy reading it as much as I have.


If you’d like a free copy of this short story, A Summer Squall, to review, answer this simple question.
When I suffered writer’s block, what did I keep telling myself?
email your answer to the author

It is wonderful to learn more about your writing career, Wendy. Congratulations on this new release. A wonderful addition to your other sci fi short story Happiness Guaranteed, your YA, Billy the Bonsai Bull and my favourite time travelling adventure The Unhewn Stone... all from Museitup Publishing.


Penny's Tales said...

What a wonderful interview/post ladies. Wow, Wendy your book sounds really interesting. You didn't give too much away so now I have to see what it's all about! Wishing you tons of success....
I am jealous....I want to live by the ocean!!!!

Penny Estelle

Suzanne de Montigny said...

I love the cover. It makes me want to step right in.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Congratulations on the release of a wonderful, captivating and beautifully evocative and scripted short story.
Once again your magic pen has held me spell bound.
I guess working on your blog post, remembering the story, explains my dream of storms and the beach we used to visit for weekends and holidays. Those storms that would hit the cliff where our little fibro cottage shook and shivered until the wind died down.
Great memories...brought to life by A Summer Squall.

LJ Roberts said...

What an excellent interview and I love the photos. Your story sounds very interest; a sea setting is always perfect.

Wendy said...

Rosalie, thanks for your great interview questions. They made me think, outside the box. :)

Thanks for dropping by Penny, thanks for your good wishes. Yes, it is nice by the sea but I'm guessing your ranch is pretty special too.

Suzanne, you are so right. Marion did a wonderful job, didn't she? Lovely to see you here.

Hi LJ, I'm so glad you came. Especially glad you love the photos :)

Rosalie Skinner said...

Just read my copy of A Summer Squall. Loved it. Thanks Wendy.. what a great read for a wet and windy afternoon.

Edith Parzefall said...

First, congrats and many happy readers, Wendy!

Very interesting and fun interview. I simply had to get a copy from the publisher's bookstore, where it's available at a 20% discount. Yay! :-)

Wendy said...

Thank you Edith. Happy you could save all that money. Try not to read it in one sitting lol.

Edith Parzefall said...

It'll be hard, Wendy. I know your engaging writing, so I bet I'll devour it in one big gulp. :-)

Pam Kelt said...

Super interview. A good read in itself.

Marian Lanouette said...

Great interview, Wendy. Good luck with your book.

Elle said...

Congrats on the release and interview.


Wendy said...

Thank you for dropping by PK, I really appreciate you saying that :)

Hi Marian and Elle. Thanks for your good wishes. I'm so glad you called in.

Pat McDermott said...

Wonderful interview, ladies. Congrats on your new release, Wendy. I live by the sea here in New Hampshire, but your sea 'down there' sounds much more dramatic and inspiring. Will look forward to enjoying this one. Keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

This was a great read. I thought it was very well written and I liked the imagery. It was like I could see the story playing out like a film :)


Wendy said...

Hi Pat, Thank you. So you live by the sea, too? I like the scenery and the evening breeze, so that's something we must share in common. I hope you enjoy this short story.

Gabriela, how nice of you to leave such a lovely comment. I really appreciate it. I'm so happy you enjoyed A Summer Squall. Thank you for stopping by.