Interview with Wendy Saunders, Author of The Clockwork House

09 Sep 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, The Clockwork House?

My newest release The Clockwork House, despite being the twelfth book I’ve published, is actually my first standalone novel. It’s a fast paced, mystery suspense about a young woman who discovers she’s inherited a house on an island off the coast of Maine. When she arrives on the island, she discovers that the house has a dark history that leads back to one fateful night in 1919 and the disappearance of dozens of children. It’s a story of unraveling family secrets and of course, ghosts. You can’t have a rambling old Victorian house on a cliff top without a little paranormal activity.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I can’t say it was any one particular thing or person. I’ve always been an avid reader with a very vivid imagination. Anyone who knew me as a kid would always say that I was a dreamer, but the truth was I just shy and liked to exist in the little fantasy worlds I created. I think I was about seventeen when I first thought about putting them to paper and that was the beginning of my journey to becoming a writer. When I look back to my childhood, the signs were all there from very early on. I never had that lightbulb moment where I snapped my fingers and went, you know what? I think I’ll become a writer. I never looked at another person’s books and said to myself, hey! that’s what I want to do. It was more a gradual realization of, you know what? this is who I am.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

That’s a tough one, I like trilogies and series, and as the story arcs tend to span several books it’s hard to pick a single book. I love David and Leigh Eddings, The Belgariad, at fifteen years old, this was the story that made me fall in love with magic and long running series.
I also loved The Daughter of the Empire trilogy by Raymond Feist, he introduced me to a strong female lead, one who didn’t hang around waiting for some guy to come save her, she did a pretty awesome job of not only saving herself but revolutionizing an empire.
Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine was another great one, she introduced me to the concept of reincarnation, of past and present lives colliding. I loved that she wrote the past and the present, so they ran alongside each other in tandem, slipping back and forth seamlessly until the final resolution.
I’ve enjoyed also Nora Roberts, Three Sisters Island trilogy, this was the story that showed me I didn’t have to live in middle earth for magic to be real, that it could be blended with the real-world and set in the present day.
Finally, and most recently I have enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, by the lovely Deborah Harkness. I loved the way she threw her characters back in time and basically set the entire middle section of the story in Elizabethan England.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

The guest, that’s easy, Neil Gaiman. I love his books and his quirky style of writing. The question, not so easy. I don’t think there’s any one particular thing I’d like to ask him, more like I’d just love to sit down and have a random conversation with him.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The endless possibilities, I guess. It’s always a surprise when things don’t exactly turn out the way I thought, or when things I hadn’t intended slot together seamlessly as if it were part of some grand unconscious plan. I’m like damn, am I that good? Or just incredibly lucky? I suspect it’s probably the latter. One of the things I love about writing is how real my characters are to me. It’s like they’re all sitting around in a green room somewhere drinking tea and waiting for me to call them in, then when they turn up, they’re like hi, this is my name, let me tell you a bit about my back story.

What is a typical day like for you?

I permanently exist in a state of disorganized chaos. I never have a plan, if I have a list, I not only don’t stick to the list, I’ll probably lose the list. Sometimes I write all day, some days I’ll hopelessly procrastinate, surfing Facebook and taking random quizzes to see how good my knowledge of eighties movies are (its excellent by the way) then I’ll cram a couple of thousand words in before bed, then won’t be able to sleep because my head’s full of story.
My husband loves to continuously throw the words ‘effective time management’ at me, but they bounce straight back off. I literally drive him nuts. I hope one day I’ll just wake up and be ruthlessly organized but alas, that really isn’t going to happen.
I continue to kill any form of houseplant because I forget they’re there and am hopelessly distracted by shiny objects, but when I’m in the zone I will live and breathe the story I’m writing, because I can’t not write, it’s like not breathing. After every single book I’ve written I always say I’m going to take a nice long break, but I think the longest I managed to go before I picked up my next project was forty-eight hours and that was including the nap I took.

What scene in The Clockwork House was your favorite to write?

Hmmm, that’s another tough one. I don’t want to give too much away but the scene with the frying pan made me smile. I don’t think I have a particular favorite scene, but I enjoyed writing all the little flashbacks into the past. It was fun trying to write them without giving away names and details. I wanted to give my readers lots of little puzzle pieces, so that as I introduce information to my characters, my readers were trying to figure out the mystery. This story doesn’t just sweep you along and hand out information, I hope it keeps you guessing until the last minute.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

‘If you can imagine it, you can make it happen.’ I’m a big believer in the law of attraction and positive thinking. If there’s something you desperately want to do, get out there and make it happen. The only person holding you back is you. Believe in yourself and be fearless. If not, fake it til you make it.

Wendy Saunders is the author of the new book The Clockwork House.

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