A visit with Wendi Christner

WaterBearer-med copyWhat is your favorite part of writing?  The characters can make or break the best of stories, so I do love creating fully evolved people in my mind and putting them on the page. But for me it’s just as much fun to mold the sentences, manipulate the words, and figure out how all the pieces of the story weave together. That’s kind of weird, isn’t it? I do love the structural challenge, though. I guess it’s like making a quilt or putting together a jigsaw. There’s such a sense of accomplishment when you create something complex out of a bunch of simpler pieces.

 –What is your next project and when will it be released? Water Bearer is available now. It’s a bittersweet story of ever-lasting love and forgiveness set in a rural farming community much like the one I grew up in. Cassidy accidentally set a fire that killed her parents and has decided she needs to leave the ghosts behind. But her last summer with Jared, her best friend, changes everything.

–Where do you get the ideas for your stories? They come to me when my mind wanders. Sometimes I’m given a snippet of conversation first, and I start writing until I know who’s speaking. Then I follow their lead until they tell me their story. Sometimes I get what I call lightning strike moments where it all just kind of hits me out of nowhere and I run to my laptop to catch it before it’s gone. The most difficult books to write are the ones I start typing before the characters come to me on their own.

–Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in? My muse is a fickle little sprite, but I’ve come to understand at her heart she’s almost always speaking in my native Southern tongue. Over the years, the genre has become less important to me than capturing the characters and their truth. I read in a lot of different genres, and I write in a lot of different genres. But almost all of my books have a Southern setting.

–Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Yes, I think I did. I didn’t always believe I could do it, though. My entire life, I’ve loved reading. I began to read when I was about a year old, and books were always my most prized possessions. When I began reading chapter books, I would often turn the last page with tears in my eyes and think “I wish I could do that.” Great books still bring those tears and that same wish.

–Describe the genre of this particular title, and is it the only genre you write in? Water Bearer is a coming of age love story. As I mentioned, I’ve become less focused on genre and more focused on the characters and their story. I write what tugs at me to be told. The characters in Water Bearer grabbed hold of my heart the moment I met them and still haven’t let go.

–Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? Keep improving your craft and believe in yourself. Writing success is like everything else worth achieving in life. You only fail when you stop trying.

–What’s next for you? Thank you for asking. Fetch Us Some Water is a gritty Southern novel that explores the depths of love and forgiveness possible between a mother and daughter. This book took me almost a decade to write. It’s rich and complex, and I’m excited to share it. Those familiar with my Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Contest winner “Throwing Stones” will recognize the setting and some of the secondary characters. Release day is November 2, 2016, and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon now.

Thank you so much for having me here today. It’s been an honor.

Water Bearer Excerpt

Jared parked the tractor next to the barn and stepped down. He had a clear view of Cassidy as she hefted a rug over the clothesline behind Gima’s house. Her dark blond ponytail swung with the effort, and her long legs extended as she rose onto her toes. The shift of her body twisted his gut and sent an ache even lower. He couldn’t imagine a day when she wouldn’t be there, but that day was coming. And coming fast.

She whacked the rug with a broom, and a cloud of dust billowed out around her.

“When’s she leaving?” Clarence asked.

Jared glanced over his shoulder. He stood taller than his father. Two years ago they’d been the same height, but Clarence’s shoulders had started to bow. The lines in his face were carved too deep, and his hair had turned solid gray. He was too young to look as old as he did.

“End of August. Week after the Corn Dance.”

“Sooner the better.” Clarence slapped him on the shoulder and started toward the barn. “Just let her go.”

“I’m going to town,” Jared called after him.

“See if Lilith needs anything.”

Jared wiped the sweat from his brow and climbed in his truck. At the end of his driveway he turned right and pulled onto the narrow rutted path that led to Gima’s.

He heard Cassidy coughing before he made it to the back of the house. If she’d heard him drive up, she didn’t let it stop her from her chore. Dirt smudged her face, and the sweat that trickled from her temples had left trails in the grime.

A familiar heaviness settled on his heart at the same time his groin tightened. She was the only girl he’d ever seen who would look beautiful if she wrestled a pig on its own turf, and she didn’t have a clue how gorgeous she was or what she did to him.

“Hey, beautiful,” he said with a smirk.

Water Bearer Blurb

One last summer together forever changes the lives of best friends in a small Southern community. These unforgettable characters and their moving story linger long beyond the final page.

Amazon: https://goo.gl/4863fA

WendiChristnerWendi Christner Bio

Wendi Christner is the author of Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Competition winner “Throwing Stones,” a fairy self-help book, and several novels written under various pseudonyms. Her gritty, emotional stories tend to have a Southern voice born of her roots in the Florida panhandle. She currently lives in Tampa with her husband, son, and their fur family.



Twitter/Instagram @WendiDarlin

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