Tag Archives: A Kind of Mad Courage

Fact in Fiction. by Guest Author @wendyproof

A well-researched novel is a joy to read. I love it when an author seamlessly weaves his or her research into a story. An excellent example of this is Susan Louineau’s The Chapel in the Woods. I enjoyed this book so much, I felt compelled to write a review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/576806766

However, too many facts can get in the way. The research overpowers the fiction. I had to stop reading one political thriller because the author wanted to tell me everything he knew about the workings of the British Parliament from its inception to the present day. I was so lost in the detail that I couldn’t locate the beginning of the actual story.

Equally, a lack of research can also get in the way of telling a good story. If the facts are wrong it undermines the fiction.

These facts include things like the spelling and punctuation of the names of well-known companies, products and people. When proofreading novels I regularly have to remove an extraneous apostrophe from a popular coffee chain, and equally regularly add one to a popular burger chain.

I need the internet to do my job efficiently. Without checking online I wouldn’t know how many ff’s and whether it’s ei or ie for Michelle Pfeiffer.

I often wonder what the internet bods who monitor everyone’s online life must think about me. Driven by the proclivities of the fiction I’ve been proofreading in the last few months, I have recently found myself looking up French fashion designers of the 1950s, automatic pistols and yoga positions. I fondly hope they think I’m a well-dressed, dead-eyed assassin, who can balance on one leg for an hour.

As well as confirming spellings of the names of Renaissance artists, towns in Madagascar and the odd rare cheese, I sometimes carry out more extensive fact-checking and research online. Not to the level and expertise of an editor, but when proofreading I double-check dates and historical references if they strike me as incorrect. It gives me great joy to spot an anachronism or two. Allow me a little fun:

Debbie put the phone down and dashed to her diary. Turning to 10 January 1983, she wrote: “First date with G!!!!” Finally, finally, the man of her dreams had asked her out. Admittedly watching Pulp Fiction at the local cinema wouldn’t have been her first choice, she would have preferred a romantic meal at the new Italian restaurant in the high street, but a date was a date. And it was with Gary!

Not the ideal first-date movie, I’ll grant you, but that’s not the biggest problem for our young couple. They should be more concerned that that particular film won’t be out for more than a decade.

Living so close to London, I love proofreading books set in the capital. They give me an excuse to double-check all sorts of snippets about its history and geography. The London Underground is my favourite obsession – the three maps on my dining room walls can attest to that.

This is why I was thrilled when a few years ago, author Larry Brill asked me and my husband (an even bigger London buff than I am) to help him with some research for his satire on modern media, set in 1760s London. He’d written the story, but wanted some advice on the authenticity of the dialogue and the accuracy of the depiction of London geography.

Part of the humour of this story is generated by the juxtaposition of modern phrases alongside authentic eighteenth-century London language. However, the reader needs to feel secure that the author is in control and is using modern idiom on purpose, rather than in error. As soon as a reader starts to wonder whether a particular word would really have been used at that time, the suspension of disbelief is broken.

We looked for words that might jolt the reader out of eighteenth-century London and undermine the whole wonderful conceit. We debated long and hard about the use of words such as “moniker” and “conniption” (nineteenth century) “doozy” and “ginormous” (twentieth century).

As well as spending a lot of his time in London pubs, the lead character also wanders the streets of London. So we spent many a happy hour poring over old maps to check that his walks along Fleet Street and The Strand would indeed take him to his intended destinations.

We also double-checked the dates for the construction of the now-familiar bridges across the Thames. We were surprised to learn that there weren’t many options for walking over the Thames in 1760s London: only London and Westminster Bridges existed at that time. We suggested to the author that he remove or amend references to Blackfriars, which didn’t open to the public until 1769, and Waterloo Bridge, which wasn’t ready until 1817.

I would hesitate to put myself forward as a professional researcher, but it was heaps of fun and I hope we played a tiny part in helping the author ensure that the reader fully enjoys the reading experience.

In case this has whetted your appetite for this gem of a book, here’s a link to The Patterer by Larry Brill: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18587008-the-patterer?from_search=true

To sum up…

An untrue “fact” or a historical “blooper”, while delighting the sort of person who loves to spot howlers, can spoil the flow for the majority of readers who want to be entertained as well as educated.

Too many facts, however brilliantly researched, can take a good story and turn it into a textbook, or worse – a dreary showing off of the author’s knowledge. A little learning goes a long way.

The internet and the reference library are the author’s/editor’s/proofreader’s friend. Authors/editors/proofreaders, do you have any websites or books you use when you research that you’d like to share?

wendy_janes_author.jpgWendy Janes is a successful freelance proofreader for a range of large and small publishers and has been for over a decade. She has a Bachelor of Education degree from Goldsmiths College (London University) and a Chapterhouse qualification in proofreading and copy editing. Her own work can be found in two anthologies; A Kind of Mad Courage and Romantic Heroes , the non-fiction memoir of her grandfather The One and Sixpenny Englishman, and her full length literary fiction novel What Jennifer Knows. For her services, go to her site http://wendyproof.co.uk/testimonials/ and make certain to connect with her on Twitter, . (She in no way proofread this bio.)


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The Proof is in the Reading. by Guest Author @wendyproof

The Proof is in the Reading

If I do my job properly, I am invisible.

Very few of us finish reading a novel and say, “That book was beautifully proofread.” And who would want to? A story should transport us, take us out of our everyday lives, excite or move us in some way. We don’t want the misspelling of a character’s name or a missing full stop to jolt us out of the story. OK, maybe that can be forgiven when we’re being swept along by an entertaining tale, but repeated typos and inconsistencies can undermine our trust in the author’s ability to spin a good yarn.

When I’m proofreading, I’m always thinking about the link between the author’s words and the reader’s mind. I like to believe that I play a tiny part in ensuring that the story travels cleanly from one to the other. I often find myself asking two questions: “What is this author trying to say?” and “Will the reader understand it?” Using these questions as my focus I spend hours choosing when to intervene and when to step away. It often feels like I’m walking a tightrope.

I’d like to demonstrate some elements of this high-wire act, and share with you the types of decisions I make when I’m proofreading fiction. This post inevitably touches on the differences between proofreading and editing, and I’ll say categorically, up-front, no doubt about it, I’m in the troupe that firmly pitches its circus tent in a fuzzy grey area. However, as a general rule, when proofreading I tend to only correct proofreading errors and make suggestions or ask questions about editing issues.

So, let’s get down to details with one example of a descriptive passage and a couple of examples of dialogue.

Dirk has escaped from his kidnappers and the author is describing how he’s now lost in the desert:

The son beat down like a demon, dragging his very soul from his aching limbs. Dirk couldn’t take any more of this dessert. It filled him with a stomach-churning dread. He could be stuck hear for ever in these dessert sands that stretched for ever. The harsh, cruel, unrelenting terrain played tricks on his tired mind and his weak body.

Having corrected “son” to “sun” and “dessert” to “desert” and “hear” to “here”, there really isn’t anything else I should go ahead and amend as a proofreader. I would probably add a note to suggest avoiding the repetition of “for ever”, but however much I might want to cut down on the number of adjectives describing the terrain or think that the word “battered” would work heaps better than “weak”, I have to rein myself in because it’s not my job to put my stamp on an author’s work.

Let’s move forward to the moment Dirk is being helicoptered out from the “harsh, cruel, unrelenting terrain” of the desert. The dialogue runs:

“How long have you been out there?” The medic enquired.

“Dunno,” said Dirk, “L-lost track of t-time,” he coughed.

“Take a sip of this,” the medic offered a bottle of water.

I’d make the following corrections:

Line 1: Change “The medic” to “the medic”.

Line 2: Alter the comma to a full stop after “Dirk”.

Line 3: Amend the comma to a full stop after “this” and “the medic” to “The medic”.

Basically I’m ensuring that speech tags and action tags are punctuated correctly. I have a dilemma deciding what to do with the second line. Strictly speaking “he coughed” is action rather than speech and so the comma after “time” should be a full stop and the “h” of “he” should be amended to upper case. However, the hyphens suggest to me that Dirk is coughing as he’s speaking (probably he’s suffering from all the sand that got down his throat after an undisclosed number of days in the desert), so I’d probably leave this, even though the grammar police are probably beating a path to my door as I type.

Dialogue can be an excellent way to efficiently drive a story forward, but often when a book has been through a few drafts I’ve found some authors have lost track, and included details in both the dialogue and the narrative, which results in unnecessary repetition. We now find Dirk being interviewed by the police after his kidnap ordeal. He’s been asked to provide a description of the kidnapper whose afternoon nap allowed him to escape:

“Tall guy, six-two or six-three maybe, well-built, massive shoulders, like a rugby player, black hair, longish, clean-shaven, broken nose.”

“What about accent? Anything unusual about his voice?” asked the policeman.

“English, probably London. Deep voice,” replied Dirk, remembering how the kidnapper tried to intimidate him with his height, his deep voice and rugby-playing physique, but that he whimpered like a baby in his sleep.

Here I would guess that the author initially put the detail in the speech, then in a later draft decided to do this via Dirk’s memory, but forgot to remove the detail from the description. It’s not a proofreading error, but I’d query whether the repetition was on purpose or not.

Which leads me on to another question I often ask: “Has the author done this on purpose or not?” The most exciting writing breaks the rules, and I need to be alert to the occasions when an author breaks the rules on purpose. A very simple example of this is when an author drops in short phrases rather than full sentences to inject pace and drama. It’s usually pretty clear that the author knows perfectly well how to write a conventional sentence, but has chosen a few choppy phrases to create an effect.

I don’t sit there wielding my red pen correcting novels as if I’m a teacher (although I was a teacher long, long ago), nor is it my job to criticise an author’s work or to show off. I’m fully aware that the author of Dirk’s adventure knows how to spell “sun”, “desert” and “here”. They are typos, not a reflection of the author’s intelligence or ability to write. I don’t approach my job in a judgemental way.

I do need to tune in and judge how formal or informal the author’s style is and in turn respect the author’s voice. So if an author regularly uses the comma splice or doesn’t punctuate “that” and “which” in the way that I was taught at school, as long as the meaning is clear I won’t change the text. And as long as the use of commas works for a sentence I won’t get bogged down in gradable, qualitative, classifying or coordinate adjectives. Essentially, if the author is getting the message across I try my hardest not to interfere.

A little aside, in case you are interested in the comma splice and the punctuation of “that” and “which”. Here’s a basic outline:

  • The comma splice, also known as the run-on sentence, occurs when you use a comma to join two unrelated main clauses. For example, “I enjoy proofreading novels, I spend all day playing with words.” Strictly speaking the comma should be replaced by a semicolon or colon, or the two clauses linked by a conjunction. I have to admit to a guilty fondness for the rhythm of comma splices.
  • “That” is used without a preceding comma to introduce text that is integral to the sentence, whereas “which” is preceded by a comma when the text is not integral to the sentence, which makes sense really.

If you’re interested in reading more about those gradable, qualitative, classifying and coordinate adjectives I suggest you set aside an hour, pour yourself a strong cup of tea or a stiff drink and read section 4.3.4 of The Oxford Style Manual (UK) and 6.33 of The Chicago Manual of Style (US).

There are rules, and many of them are there to help the author’s words convey his or her intended meaning, but equally many of those rules are made to be broken if the author knows what he or she is doing. A huge part of my job is to judge when to impose those rules and when to keep shtum.

Having raised my head above the parapet with this post, I’m now going to wrap myself in my invisibility cloak and return to working on other people’s words.

wendy_janes_author.jpgWendy Janes is a successful freelance proofreader for a range of large and small publishers and has been for over a decade. She has a Bachelor of Education degree from Goldsmiths College (London University) and a Chapterhouse qualification in proofreading and copy editing. Her own work can be found in two anthologies; A Kind of Mad Courage and Romantic Heroes , the non-fiction memoir of her grandfather The One and Sixpenny Englishman, and her full length literary fiction novel What Jennifer Knows. For her services, go to her site http://wendyproof.co.uk/testimonials/ and make certain to connect with her on Twitter, . (She in no way proofread this bio.)

I want to thank Ms. Janes for giving us an inside look into the world of a proofreader. I must say I like her method, and the length of times she takes. Give me a person that says they will turn around a book in a couple or three days, and I will give you someone I worry about.~Ronovan

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What Does a Proofreader Actually Do With Your Book? by Guest Author @wendyproof

You’re considering sending the manuscript of your novel to a proofreader.

Her website is error free – that’s a good start.

She has a number of testimonials – so that’s reassuring.

You agree rates and dates, and she confirms it will take her ten to fourteen working days to return your book. You picture that happy day when, hey presto, typos will have been eliminated, inconsistencies expunged. Although you have confidence in her skills, what you’d really like to ask is: “What do you actually do with my book during those fourteen days?” You don’t want to sound like you don’t trust her, but…

So, this is a post for anyone who has ever wanted to know what a proofreader actually does with a manuscript but was afraid to ask. Of course this is only how I work, but from chatting with colleagues we all do pretty much the same, with a few slightly different incantations and flicks of the wand.

Welcome to my dining room where the magic takes place.

Day 1: As soon as an author sends me the Word document, I open the attachment on my PC to ensure that it is the author’s novel and not the email intended for Great Aunt Pam. I download and save that copy, and confirm receipt with the author.

Onscreen I look for formatting issues. I turn on “backward P” for this. Better known as the paragraph mark icon in the home menu, it allows you to view the invisible parts of a document. I look for things such as:

  • chapters set at the start of a page using carriage returns
  • unusual fonts/mix of fonts
  • mix of straight and curly (smart) quotes
  • double spaces after punctuation and between words
  • extra space before new paragraphs
  • incorrect/inconsistent use of hyphens, en and em dashes.

Over a cup of tea (and maybe a few biscuits), I email the author to clarify what I’m going to do (if anything) with these issues. I also encourage the author to allow me to make these particular changes with Word’s track changes facility turned off, otherwise the manuscript will be littered with red-lining and it will be very difficult for the author to see the detailed proofreading corrections.

So the first amendments I usually make are to simply delete multiple carriage returns and insert page breaks at the start of chapters, and alter the document to a single font (unless the story requires multiple fonts). The other agreed changes will be carried out later. I save this version of the original document with the novel’s title followed by the words “print version”.

Printing can take ages, so I usually do a bit of knitting or a crossword to keep me occupied or catch up with the Twittersphere or Facebook-land while my trusty printer does its stuff.

Day 2 to Day 4: Now the real fun starts. I proofread the printed manuscript while seated at the dining-room table, marking up any obvious errors using proofreading symbols in red pen, circling in pencil any words that may be wrong or inconsistent, and noting in pencil any factual errors or queries. I also write a list of characters as I come across them. We don’t want Edwin starting off as Elmira’s brother-in-law and ending up as her uncle – unless there have been some family shenanigans, of course. I try not to stop and research or double-check anything during this proofread because I’m aiming to pick up obvious errors and to get a good feel for the book. This results in a manuscript that is littered with my pencil scribbles.

Day 5 to Day 10: I like to let a novel rest for a day or two, and then I proofread the same hard copy again. I usually pick up a few more errors (yes, I will have missed some on the first reading) and work through my extensive pencil scribbles. I check spelling and hyphenation of words, grammar and style issues against one or more of the following reference books: the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, The Oxford Manual of Style (UK) (which, I confess, I need to update to the New Oxford Style Manual) and The Chicago Manual of Style (US). While I rely on my eyes – and a good pair of prescription lenses – to find inconsistencies, I also carry out double-checks and various searches using Word’s “find and replace” facility as back-up as well.

I write up a document with additional notes for the author. This consists of spelling, grammar and style points, including items such as:

  • a list of words I’ve amended for consistency
  • setting of numbers (eg, all numbers up to ten in words, numerals 11 onwards)
  • setting of correspondence (eg, indented) and emails (eg, in quote marks).

During this proofread I spend a lot of time dithering, trying to decide whether to intervene or not (a subject for another blog post, I think). At this point I also do my research and fact-checking (ah, another blog post beckons). This involves a lot of traipsing back and forth between dining-room table and PC – my exercise for the day.

Day 10 to Day 12: My next step is to transfer all the amendments from the hard copy to the document on my PC with track changes (TC) turned on. Then, I’ll turn track changes off and input the other amendments I agreed earlier with the author, such as:

  • amending straight to curly (smart) quotes
  • replacing double spaces with single spaces after punctuation and between words
  • deleting that pesky extra space before new paragraphs
  • replacing spaced hyphens with spaced en dashes (UK) or unspaced em dashes (US).

I’ve repeated this list because I think these types of things scream amateur if left in even the most beautiful prose. Again, Word’s “find and replace” facility is useful for some of these operations.

I name this document with the book’s title followed by “TC showing”. I put any specific questions for the author in a series of comment boxes on the document, and other general comments are added to my additional notes.

I generate a copy of the TC showing document, accept the changes, and call this document by the book’s title followed by “TC accepted”.

Day 13 to Day 14: I then compare the TC showing and the TC accepted documents side by side. This ensures that I haven’t introduced any errors with my corrections. I will admit – just between you and me – that I sometimes find a couple of last-minute boo-boos at this point, which I correct with thumping heart and dread fear that I’m not perfect. Any changes I make to the TC showing document means that I must generate another TC accepted document, which I save over the existing TC accepted document.

I send both documents, along with the additional notes, to the author. I like to send a TC accepted document so the author can see the book without all the red-lining. Both documents will display the comment boxes, which the author can deal with and delete one by one.

I encourage my authors to get back in touch with me if anything is unclear or if they have questions about the proofread. I hope this post has answered some of your questions and if it’s raised some more please get in touch via this blog or via the email address on my website.

wendy_janes_author.jpgWendy Janes is a successful freelance proofreader for a range of large and small publishers and has been for over a decade. She has a Bachelor of Education degree from Goldsmiths College (London University) and a Chapterhouse qualification in proofreading and copy editing. Her own work can be found in two anthologies; A Kind of Mad Courage and Romantic Heroes , the non-fiction memoir of her grandfather The One and Sixpenny Englishman, and her full length literary fiction novel What Jennifer Knows. For her services, go to her site http://wendyproof.co.uk/testimonials/ and make certain to connect with her on Twitter, . (She in no way proofread this bio.)

I want to thank Ms. Janes for giving us an inside look into the world of a proofreader. I must say I like her method, and the length of times she takes. Give me a person that says they will turn around a book in a couple or three days, and I will give you someone I worry about.~Ronovan

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#Book #Review @RonovanWrites David Janssen-Our Conversations-The Early Years by @MichaelPhelps3

david janssen our conversations volume 1 book reviewTitle: David Janssen-Our Conversations Volume One-The Early Years: 1965-1972
Author: Michael Phelps  michaelphelpsnovels.com
Format: Kindle, Paperback
Price: $5.99, $16.97
File Size: 734 KB
Print Length: 351 pages
Genre: Memoir, Biography
Publisher: Blue Line Publishing House, Inc
Published: 27 Sept 2014
Language: English
ASIN: B00MX6VPYE
ISBN-10: 0988777827
ISBN-13: 978-0988777828
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled

Lending: Enabled
Sold by: Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

I’ll start off by saying, Mike Phelps is a friend of mine since I interviewed him. You can’t help it. But that doesn’t mean this review will be anything but honest. If I couldn’t give an honest review on the site I created then I would not do the review. 

David Janssen wasn’t just a Star. He was human like the rest of us. He had the same problems but at times magnified with different circumstances but the Exact. Same. Problems. It’s just that his problems were free game for the world to see. Just think, you frown in a picture next to your wife or girlfriend and the next thing you know the world hears there is trouble in paradise. You and your girl find out there is a problem in your life months before there is one. Self fulling perhaps? Who knows?

In David Janssen-Our Conversations Volume One-The Early Years: 1965-1972 we discover just how human David Janssen was. The original Fugitive before Harrison Ford knew what a Wookie was and the reason the movie Ford was in was ever even made. But we also discover how super human he was. His long time non-Hollywood friend Michael Phelps gives us an inside look at just how David Janssen handled some of the toughest moments of his life, including his divorce from his first wife, Ellie Janssen. If you don’t know about that particular part of Janssen’s life, you’ll find out why I call Janssen super human.

David Janssen’s success with The Fugitive series and his problems following its success and its ending while still at the top of the ratings are discussed along with relationship problems with Ellie Janssen, Rosemary Forsyth and the woman he missed out on, as well as his love for the children the women brought into his life.

I like that we see David’s side of things, even these many years after Ellie Janssen’s biography David Janssen-My Fugitive told a decidedly different story about her time with David. A biography in which Michael Phelps was involved with but has clearly stated was Ellie’s story, not his. He typed as she dictated with his filling in blanks one moment while dodging flying glass objects another.

Michael Phelps’ back ground as a police officer prior to meeting David Janssen and then in security and as an investigator comes through in his approach to sharing his memories. As a historian I enjoyed the straightforward way the conversations were presented with small snippets of Michael Phelps’ own life interlaced to give a good passage of time and some parallels of the two friends’ lives that I’m not even sure Phelps realizes. This wasn’t just about a man sitting around waiting for his famous friend to call. Mike had his own life and David was interested in that life. Mike cared about David Janssen just as you care about your best friend. The long distance friendship Janssen and Phelps shared proved to me what kind of man Janssen was more than the words spoken revealed. And Mike’s concern for David throughout is obvious. That’s Mike. That’s Mike then, and that’s Mike now.

I enjoyed discovering David Janssen’s opinions about John Wayne, which I could see as being true. The discussions between Phelps and Janssen about Jack Webb of Dragnet fame who was the creator and executive producer of O’Hara: U.S. Treasury, a one season Janssen series. The people David found to be true friends were at times surprising to me. As you read through the conversations David also reveals more about himself than I think Michael Phelps realizes. In a way I think Mike was living a life that David Janssen wanted, but never realized it was what he wanted. David never actually recognized that was part of the thing that made his friendship with Michael Phelps work.

You move through the book at a good pace waiting for that next communication with David Janssen to find out what was going on in all facets of his life. Parts of conversations at times were just like any other friendship in the world in that things were repeated just like you would to your own friend; Greetings, inside jokes and endearments. You find yourself saying the same things with the nuggets of information mixed in. That was part of the editing agreement Michael Phelps had, don’t touch the conversations. Just think, “Hi, Dave.” “How did you know it was me,” Mike said with a laugh through the phone. “I would kill anyone else calling me at 3 AM.” (my paraphrasing of dialogue) That’s Michael Phelps.

As for the writing itself? Chapters are short so you commit to very small amounts of time reading and you know if you start another chapter it won’t be much to jump into as you are about to head out the door or go to bed.  David Janssen did have a use of language at times that one might would expect from someone in the middle of situations he found himself in, but that adds to the authenticity of the book. I recommend reading this over the course of days as opposed to in one or two sittings. The reasons being there is a lot of information and the repetitive nature of parts of conversations between friends might lead ones eyes to skip forward. If you do, you might miss little moments that are very telling.

Michael Phelps gives the warts and all. Sure, Janssen was his friend but he gives it all to us. We get to make our own opinions.

If you are wanting a book to learn about the behind the scenes world of Hollywood, how actors had to play the game, how they had to worry about things we never need to and learn about a TV Icon Legend, about how a TV series really is made, then this is the book for you. Gift it if you want to.

Overall, this is a recommendation for any fan of old school real acting TV and Movie legends. This isn’t a name dropping sensationalist book, though names are mentioned. What you get is David Janssen, period.

(My Amazon Review)

Michael Phelps Author
https://twitter.com/MichaelPhelps3 http://www.MichaelPhelpsNovels.com http://michaelphelps1.wordpress.com/

Ratings
Realistic Characterization:N/A
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall Enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

 

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Review by:
Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

RonovanWrites.WordPress.com

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Meet @WendyProof Author&More Q&A

From Cuddle Bug’s review of “Verity” in A Kind of Mad Courage on Amazon.com: The ending of one of my favorite stories, ‘Verity’ by Wendy Janes, about an aging woman in the UK, made me cry from surprise and possibility. I won’t spoil the story but say that the skillful denouement, and the general short story plot included a sort of lovely misdirection (whether intentional or unintentional) which meant I was surprised and truly touching in reading the ending. The prose pacing and ambiance of that story really flowed and gave me a sense of being there.

From Terry Tyler’s review of “Verity” in A Kind of Mad Courage on Amazon.com: …my other joint favourite! So touching, really moving, I loved it.

Joy E’s review of “The Stars They Never Own” in Romantic Heroes on Amazon.co.uk: …my favourite story within the anthology, by far…. The Author managed to draw me into the story so quickly and the twist at the end was absolutely charming. To construct a story like this in so few words is no mean feat and Ms. Janes should be complimented. I hope that she continues to write and look forward to reading more by her in the future.

I met my guest today in some way a time ago. I don’t always remember how I meet people ever since an accident brought about short and long term amnesia. For a History teacher and Author this is a frustrating thing. I tell you this only so you understand that my first meeting with today’s guest was not a case of not being memorable, just a case of me being the current me. A joy of a friend and social media supporter. A very accommodating person. Meet . . .

Author

Proof Reader

Editor

Wendy Janes

wendy_janes_author.jpg@WendyProof

RW: We’ve known each other for a little while, and for some reason I never think of people being in places, I just think of names, faces, and words, but now it’s time to expose you to the world. Where are you from?

WENDY: I’ve always lived in the south of England. I was born and brought up in the leafy Surrey countryside, and I now live in a less leafy suburb of south London. I love being so close to the vibrancy and history of London.

RW: I swear I am like a British magnet. What is it about Britain and me? Is it the Scot in me? With that in mind what is your favorite beverage?

WENDY: Chilled champagne if I’m celebrating. A cup of Earl Grey if it’s afternoon teatime.

RW: You are fully British so let’s see, tell us who your favorite authors are?

WENDY: Oooh, that’s so difficult to answer. I’ll pick two from the past – Graham Greene and E. M. Forster – and two from the present – Maggie O’Farrell and Jon McGregor. Brilliant writers whose stories take me to wonderful places in my head.

RW: And there you go the British package complete Four from the British Isles. Let’s get into why you are here. First, what is the genre you would say your book falls into and why do you write in that genre?

WENDY: Contemporary women’s fiction. They say “write what you know” – so I do. I love to write about the people we meet every day; to delve into their private lives and reveal the depths below. It never ceases to amaze me how ordinary life is so extraordinary.

RW: You told me there is a conflict within you that you are striving to resolve. You must resolve this or never complete your novel. Why can’t you name your novel?

WENDY: Ah, I wish I could give you give you a straightforward answer to this question. You’ve no idea how many hours I’ve spent trying to summon up the perfect title for my novel. I have two front-runners at present – What Jennifer Knows and Take Two. The first captures the central dilemma of my lead character. The second is more subtle and works at a number of different levels. When readers reach a pivotal scene (my favourite) they’ll “get” the full ramifications of the second title. Oooh, which to go for…?

RW: Perhaps a Take Two: What Jennifer Knows? Tell us a little about your book and what inspired it and perhaps that will give as the reason for such a dilemma.

WENDY: Jennifer unwittingly stumbles across some information that she’d really rather not know: two of her friends who don’t know each other have more than Jennifer in common. She has to decide whether to speak out or not, and as the weeks roll by, things become more complicated, making her situation even more difficult.

A similar experience happened to my parents, but with far less drama involved. Many discussions around the family dinner table about what happened, and what might have occurred if things had panned out differently, led to my father suggesting it would make a good story for me to write. I eagerly took up the challenge. Essentially, my story is an exploration of all the tantalising “what ifs” that didn’t happen in the real-life story.

RW: What do you think will make your main characters connect to readers, which is key to a books success?

WENDY: Jennifer is a dance therapist. Her natural empathy for her students and her friends mean she’s excellent at her job and a trusted friend. It’s her kindness and her genuine wish to do the right thing that (I hope) readers will relate to. She also has a wonderfully eccentric husband, Gerald. Their relationship provides a lot of the comic and heartfelt moments in the book.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

WENDY: English. I hope I’m allowed to explain my choice. The setting, characters and feel of the book is very English – mannered and peppered with self-deprecating humor. It’s set during the 2012 Olympics and touches on the incredible wave of positive feeling that swept the country at that time.

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

WENDY:

Jennifer would say: “When life gets complicated, do your best.”

Gerald would say: “When life gets complicated, hang on to your sense of humor.”

 

I’ve connected to Wendy everywhere now it’s your turn. I can tell you that she is a great social media friend. She has really helped with many of the Tweets and Google+ things I put out. Seeing what she does reminds me of techniques I’ve forgotten. (Remember I am the amnesiac author and poet.)

My proofreading website is: http://wendyproof.co.uk/

Twitter: @WendyProof

Facebook: Wendy Janes

Google +: Wendy Janes

Linkedin: Wendy Janes

Goodreads: Wendy Janes


If you’ve visited before you know I have different types of questions, now we move into more shall I call them  different types of questions. (Yes, I tried to come up with something funny but failed.)

RW: What is your escape when writing just is driving you a bit mad?

WENDY: Chocolate. It helps soothe so many of life’s problems.

RW: What is your favorite word?

WENDY: Chocolate.

**I see a pattern here.**

RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

WENDY: I’ve spent many years writing journal entries (private) and book reviews (public), so I’d say that’s my background in writing. Then, five years ago I was sitting with my friend in her kitchen and our conversation turned to the lack of good books with well-written sex scenes in them, and on the spur of the moment we decided to write our own. We had a fantastic couple of years developing our characters and our story, and it was a good test of our friendship to negotiate how two very different writers could collaborate. Eventually we self-published Living Lives: Living Lies by Ruth Allen. Alas, the book didn’t take the world by storm as we’d imagined while scribbling away at the dining room table. I’m happy to report that we’re still very good friends, although my days of writing erotic fiction are over. The whole experience introduced me to self-publishing and helped me find my own writing voice. I now write short stories and am working on a novel that I’m planning to self-publish in 2015.

RW: What other books do you have to share with us and can you tell us a little about them?

WENDY: My short story “Verity” features in A Kind of Mad Courage, a selection of stories about motherhood, written to raise money for the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation. Another short story, a_kind_of_mad_courage.jpg“The Stars They Never Own” appears in the anthology, Romantic Heroes. Although they are stories about very different people (a retired woman in her seventies and an actor in his thirties), both have their poignant and their funny moments.

**But Wendy isn’t just about her own fiction writing and anthologies, collections or even her own full length novel. There is a more personal work out there with her name on the cover.**

the_one_and_sixpenny_englishman.jpgAs a family we self-published my grandfather’s memoir in 2014. The One and Sixpenny Englishman tells of my grandfather’s arrival in England as a baby at the turn of the twentieth century, his experience in the First World War, and his eclectic choice of occupations. It’s a little slice of personal history told in words and family photos.

 

 

RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.

WENDY: No I don’t currently have representation. My agent would need to be patient, honest, supportive, motivated, professional, and creative. And so would I.

RW: What are you working on right now?

WENDY: In addition to What Jennifer Knows/Take Two, I’m also working on a couple of short stories. One of them is a departure from my usual relationship-based drama, and is an absurd comedy. It’s making me laugh. Let’s hope it will make readers laugh too.

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

WENDY: ‘I’ve just finished reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I laughed. I cried. I didn’t want it to end.’.

RW: Uh oh, an Australian invades Great Britain’s literary territory! So I have to ask, if you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

WENDY: If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. His poetic prose is beautiful.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

WENDY: I’m a proofreader, so I have to declare that my biggest tip is: “Get your book edited and proofread, please!”

Here’s a lovely little trailer we made for Living Lives: Living Lies

Wendy Janes, more than an Author. Yes, today was about her upcoming full length novel, but what I personally took away was something else. She’s authentic. Wendy, as I said before helps out with the little things at times with some Social Media retweets, Tweets, Google+ shout outs, and the like. Some do that to make connections in the business. Anyone that writes and works so much to put out a book about their grandfather is, to me at least, the real thing. To be honest if I had .99 to spare the book would be in my Kindle library already. Talking with Wendy outside of this interview I have discovered she only does something that she can give her all to. That’s the kind of Author I want to read. Connect with her everywhere, buy anything she is involved with and as always . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

 

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