Name: Kimberly Wenzler
Books: Both Sides of Love, Letting Go, The Fabric of Us, Seasons Out of Time
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Fiction
Background: I live on Long Island with my husband and rambunctious, needy puppy, Archie. When not working or writing, I dabble in gardening (is there anything better tasting than a homegrown cucumber?) or I’m reading on a beach under an umbrella, by the fire, with wine or spending time with friends and family.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer? I’d kept journals for years, so I’ve always been writing. When my younger son stepped onto a school bus giving me a few hours to myself, I thought I’d try to write a full novel.
Do you write full-time? If not, do you have an outside job or other responsibilities? I wrote full-time for a few years and then returned to work. Now, I work full-time in a high school and write in the evenings and on weekends.
If you write fiction, where do you get your ideas for characters and plots? I get ideas from my own life and experiences, from friends and family, the news, dreams, conversations I may overhear in a diner… Everywhere, really. I keep my ears open. You never know when you might overhear a juicy tidbit that might be worth exploring.
Have you ever written yourself into a story? I think some part of me finds its way into every book, not necessarily the characters’ choices, but maybe a personality trait here and there. How could it not?
What kind of research and preparation do you do before you write? My stories are very emotional so it’s hard to research that. However, if a character has a career or job that I’m not familiar with, I’ll research what it’s like to perform that job. I spend a lot of time searching on Google.
What is your editing process? Do you hire an outside editor? I write the first draft and step away from it for as long as I can. When I’m ready, I’ll make a few more passes before asking my beta readers to read it. I’ll edit further based on their critiques and then hire a developmental editor, followed by a line editor, and if I can afford it, a proofreader. If not, I look to my writer friend for help.
How do you decide on your book covers? Do you outsource? I work with a wonderful graphic designer, Suzanne Parrott. We come up with the covers together, but she designs them.
How did you come up with the title of your latest book? My last book is about a woman in her forties who falls in love with a much younger man. I wanted a play on words about where they each are in their lives, so “seasons” seemed descriptive. Of course, nothing is as it seems, so we came up with the title, Seasons Out of Time.
What route did you take to get published? Describe your experience. I self-published all four books. I sought advice from other authors I’d met, read countless blogs and websites and ultimately, found my graphic designer, Suzanne, who is knowledgeable in indie publishing and helped me. She does all my uploading, formatting and cover designs. It took a long time to put my first book out because I had so much to learn and wanted to make a good first impression.
Have you ever tried to get an agent? If so, what steps did you take? Yes. I queried my first book to 80 agents. I had no idea what I was doing and though I received a lot of positive feedback and full requests, I was told I needed to get my manuscript edited first. When I did that, I figured, let me go the rest of the way on my own and see what happens.
What kinds of things do you do to promote your book? I use social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and recently joined TikTok), enter contests, do giveaways and participate in interviews on wonderful blogs like this.
Have you ever had a book-signing event? Tell us about your experience. I haven’t done a book signing, but I’ve been invited to over two dozen book clubs on Long Island which is always an amazing experience. To meet readers in person and hear how they respond to my writing is everything.
Have you taken writing courses? Not really. One adult ed course in the beginning of my writing journey and one with Gotham Writer’s Group in Manhattan. I learn a lot by reading.
Do you belong to a writer’s group? If so, is it in-person or online? Tell us about your experience. I joined a writer’s group before I put my first book out, and met some great people, but it has since disbanded. Now, I have two critique partners who are an integral part of my process.
Are you in a book club? If so, tell us about it. Is it in-person or online? Friends or acquaintances? Yes. In fact, I was in two for eight years, but had to leave one due to scheduling conflicts. I’ve always been an avid reader and love to talk books. We’re a close group of neighborhood friends and have so many lively discussions…with wine, of course.
Do you ask friends/family to read your WIP? Yes. My mom, my husband and my reader friends are my first readers. They’re not afraid to hurt my feelings and that’s exactly what I need.
Name three unread books on your bookshelf. Ready Player One by Ernest Kline, Well Behaved Wives by Amy Sue Nathan, Never Meant to Meet You by Alli Frank & Asha Youmans
What is the last book you read? The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I really enjoyed it. I’m currently reading The Winners by Fredrik Backman.
How many pages do you think a book of fiction/nonfiction should be? This is a tough one. I tend to write an entire manuscript and then go back and tighten the prose as best I can to keep it within the suggested guidelines for my genre. However, I’ve read amazing books that were eight hundred pages and equally wonderful books that were one hundred. So, I don’t really have an answer.
What is the riskiest or wildest thing you’ve ever done? I wrote four books and put them out for public consumption. It never gets easier.
What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Being a mom is hands down the hardest job in the world. I have two wonderful sons who are grown. But the mothering never ends.
What advice can you give to new writers entering the writing and publishing arena? Do your research. Believe in yourself. Don’t give up. And read!
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