Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Interview with Wendy Sparrow, author of Past Her Defenses


perf5.000x8.000.inddTitle: Past My Defenses
Genre: Suspense w/a Paranormal Slant
Author: Wendy Sparrow
Publisher: Entangled Ignite
Language: English
Pages: 271
Format: Ebook

Vanessa is the fastest Lycan around. In wolf form, the only threat she can’t outrun is her allergies. After a feline dander-bomb takes her down, she wakes up naked in a cage staring at a hot park ranger who had no idea what he’d trapped. But ooooh, he smells so good. Mine.
Dane hoped to tame the silver wolf in his kennel, but all bets are off with the deliciously sweet Vanessa on two legs. Her temper makes his pulse race, and he can’t escape the feeling they belong together.
They’re hot as a forest fire even before they scent-match, but Glacier Peak’s Alpha considers Dane a danger to the pack. Meanwhile, Lycans are being poached, and Vanessa has been targeted. Dane will have to keep her close to protect her, but with Vanessa in heat and mad to mate, who will protect him?


What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I have two kids on the autism spectrum who are fully mainstreamed and would probably no longer qualify for the diagnosis. When they were diagnosed prior to turning two years old, the doctors told me to tuck away all my dreams and lower my expectations. They’ve far exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t be prouder of my kids—they amaze me every day. And I credit my husband for so much of this. Falling in love with him is the best thing I ever did. My life is a love story, and we’re closer to a happily-ever-after than I’d ever have imagined.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I was raised by a nonfiction-writing father and a fiction-writing mother in a military household. We traveled all over and my parents taught me to love the written word. I’ve grown up with one foot in this world and the other in the worlds in my head.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been pursuing publication for five years now, but I’ve been writing since I was young. I imagine I did it for the reason that most creative kids become novelists…I wanted an outlet and to read stories that didn’t exist—so someone had to write them.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve had insomnia my entire life—something common among those with obsessive compulsive disorder so I used to make up my own bedtime stories in my head. It was the only way I ever got any sleep. These days, those same stories keep me from sleep.
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
I had an incredible creative writing teacher in high school who told me that one day I’d be published. I doubted him, but he never doubted me. Teachers are incredible people.
What inspires you to write and why?
The question “what if.” I’m insanely curious and very susceptible to dares. So, all of my stories probably seem like a bet at midnight on Twitter…that’s because sometimes I bet myself that something can be done if I have the guts. Other times, they are actually dares from friends. Those are the stories I want to tell, though—the ones that look improbable or like a lot of work. The stories that start with: what if there was a wolf shifter allergic to animals?
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I’ve written everything from science fiction to memoir pieces, from zombies to first kisses…and been published with all those. I’m most comfortable writing stories in a world I can invent and in cities existing in my head. The OCD writer in my head can get the details right that way. So, I prefer paranormal when it comes right down to it. I have more control. But I still am picky about getting my facts straight.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Uhh. My brother dared me to do it. I really am susceptible to dares.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
Every author I’ve ever read.  I’m a prolific reader. I read a variety and average between one hundred and two hundred books a year. The best training for writing is to read your heart out—which I have.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Sharing it. When I’m writing, the world is mine, the characters are close friends, their problems can be solved, and their stories revised. The story feels infinite. When I share it, I’ve lost control of where their tales go—and other people will judge them and find flaws. And their stories for me have finished and been turned over to the reader to visualize and extrapolate. Basically, I’ve lost control…and it’s very difficult for me.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Well, I found out I’m allergic to marshmallows while doing research. That was disheartening.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I’d love to but success at this seems to rely on timing, skill, monetary and physical input, and then blind dumb luck. I don’t want to take time from my family, but I’d love to make this a career. I’m a strange blend of a realist and a dreamer—I’m willing to dream big, within reason—so we’ll see, I guess.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
I’m told I’m funny, and I sometimes laugh at my own jokes, so I think the answer is: I write very quirky. Some might believe there’s a hint of insanity—which I won’t dispute.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
My empathy for my characters. Oddly enough, I owe this to my OCD. My paranoia makes me a people watcher to a degree that I attempt to anticipate the motives and actions of others. It’s good for creating characters.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My loyalty to friends and those in need of protection. I’m a bit of a rabid dog about keeping them from being hurt.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
The darkness that comes with severe obsessive compulsive disorder. There’s shame and guilt and hateful things in my head from it. It scares me, and I don’t like to be scared. And too often I let the obsessive side of me outdistance my logical side. OCD isn’t about cleaning or hand-washing; it’s about control and it’s a life-long battle over that control. I like to believe I’m calling the shots more often than not, but it’s a fight every day.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“We’re all mad here.” It’s said by the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I like it because my OCD is so much a part of my life that it’s difficult to distinguish which is “me” and which is OCD. For so many years, I hid my disorder, not believing anyone could understand. Now, I’m open about it, and there’s peace in accepting something you can’t change, and happiness is finding the humor in it. I was more alone before I realized that we’re all a little mad.


Writing is in Wendy’s blood…which is also about thirty percent Mountain Dew and twenty percent chocolate brownies. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” so many times she could have written the screenplay at age five. She lives with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.



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