Sunday, February 28, 2010

Guest Blog and Giveaway- Wendy Wax

I am so honored to have Wendy Wax, author of Magnolia Wednesdays, guest blog for me today. 

My undergrad in college was broadcast journalism (although I went to grad school for early childhood education and am now a Kindergarten teacher) and I wondered how Wendy Wax went from broadcast journalism to becoming a fiction author!

Andrea asked how I went from broadcasting to writing novels and all I can say is, ‘I wish I knew.”

It seemed as if one minute I was filming interviews and doing stand ups; the next I was sitting at a computer while my babies napped and telling myself it was OK to make stuff up. It’s not easy to make that kind of switch. After years of checking facts and looking for corroboration, all of the sudden I could invent places and things and all kinds of people not to mention their motivations. It was pretty heady stuff.

I began the transition to writing fiction when I had a two year old and newborn to take care of. (I chalk this up to post pregnancy hormones, lack of sleep and ignorance-- I simply didn’t realize the magnitude of what I was undertaking!) The one thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to be off on location any more or working twelve hour days. “It’s flexible,” I told myself. “How hard can anything you can do in pajamas be?”

It hasn’t been all that easy of course, as you know if you read The Accidental Bestseller, but the pajama part remains a pretty nice perk. And I’ve discovered that although I changed fields, I didn’t quite let go of my journalism/broadcast training. In fact, a lot of it has come in quite handy.

For one thing, I understand the importance of research and have always dived into it at the start of each novel.

For 7 Days and 7 Nights, even though I had once worked in talk radio—my largest claim to fame was hosting a Friday night show called Desperate & Dateless in the eighties when I was both--I interviewed and observed a radio talk show host in action and asked him to read my manuscript to make sure I got things right. When it came time to enter the world of beauty pageants and the bra industry for Leave It to Cleavage—my favorite title ever—I found a neighbor who’d grown up in pageants and coached others and spent time talking with staff and touring a bra manufacturing company. Even the small fictional mountain town I created as the setting was based on a place I know well.

The same has been true for all my novels—the advertising business for Hostile Makeover, investigative journalism, police procedure, and ballroom dance for my current release, Magnolia Wednesdays. In some cases I’ve also used what I’ve personally experienced—youth baseball, suburban living, being a mother and wife, the constant battle to lose weight. But in almost every book there are vast unknowns that need to become known before you can make them real for your readers.

There are a lot of things that I’ve carried with me from my years in broadcasting and film that have helped me build a writing career. Writing for the spoken word and being a voice over and on camera talent has given me an ear for writing dialogue; writing copy and producing packages for air got me used to meeting deadlines and reinforced the importance of organization and working steadily on a project. I was also used to dealing with creativity as a profession—the rejection still hurts, but I’m constantly aware that publishing, like broadcasting, is a business. Our product is ourselves—our voice, our thoughts, our ability to communicate—but it has to be packaged in a way that can be sold. Broadcasting was a tough, competitive field, too. You had to be a self starter and you had to have perseverance. The hardest part of both fields is not to give up and never to surrender.

Like me, many writers come to writing later in life and from a variety of professions. I feel really fortunate to get to ‘make things up’ for a living. But it’s reassuring to have come from a background that makes me careful about what I know and what I make up.

Now I’d like to hear about Andrea’s transition. I don’t want to date myself too badly, but when I was in journalism school I don’t think the word ‘blog’ even existed.

You're not dating yourself.  When I was in journalism school, I had never heard of a blog either.  In fact, I don't think I had ever heard of them until a friend's wedding in 2006.  My blog is only a little over a year old--and I started it because I read so many books and I wanted to have a place to record my myself at times still writing like a journalist at first and have to go back and edit what I wrote--I was alwthoughts about them.  I had no idea I would meet so many great authors, publishers, publicists, and other bloggers!  I do  find ays taught to write facts for journalism, not opinions, so sometimes my reviews are more factual initially and I have to go back and make them more personal.

Thank you so much for your post!

Magnolia Wednesdays will be released on Tuesday!

Thanks to Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, I have a copy of Magnolia Wednesdays to give away!  Enter the contest here by Sunday, March 7th at 11:59 pm.  This contest is open to US/Canada only.


  1. Great interview! Posted about this on Win A Book. No need to enter me, though.

  2. I'd like to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway.'
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  3. Count me in please! Sounds great!

    melacan at hotmail dot com