Wendy Van Camp is the writer behind the blog No Wasted Ink. She has published memoir shorts in literary magazines, writes non-fiction articles for various art and literature magazines and is a volunteer municipal liaison for Nanowrimo. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband. Wendy enjoys travel, bicycling, gourmet cooking and gemology.
I was lucky to scoop an interview today with this busy and talented lady, for the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network
• Book title:
The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion
The Curate’s Brother is a short story about the relationship between the two Wentworth brothers as seen through the eyes of EDWARD WENTWORTH. It follows their romantic antics over one summer in 1806. This short story could be seen as a prequel to Jane Austen’s famous novel “Persuasion”.
Edward Wentworth lives a quiet, structured life as a curate in the regency era village of Monkford. He spends his days ministering to the sick and downhearted, which he considers his life’s calling. His comfortable life is shaken when his elder brother, COMMANDER FREDERICK WENTWORTH arrives on his doorstep for a visit. Frederick has returned to England after seeing action and commanding his first vessel, a prize ship won in the West Indies. He is awaiting orders and has the hope of commanding a ship of his own by the end of summer. His only goal is to pass the time with the only family he has left in England until his next assignment.
At first Edward is glad to see his brother. They have not spent time with each other for years due to his brother’s naval service. They are opposites in many ways. Frederick is bold and likes to take risks. Edward is shy and over-aware of social implications. When his brother flirts with SALLY MARSHALL, an outgoing beauty that Edward is used to viewing as “a child”, the young curate becomes aware that his viewpoint of Sally is sorely outdated. His peaceful life is full of turmoil as he observes Sally flirting with men at public assemblies and realizes that he does not like it.
Meanwhile, Frederick finds himself a celebrity in Monkford. Word from the London papers paint him as “the Hero of San Domingo”, where he won a commendation for his quick thinking in action. The men want to hear the story of his exploits, but Frederick would rather dance with the ladies. The Commander takes an interest in shy wallflower, ANNE ELLIOT. He pays no heed to Edward’s warnings that the girl is the daughter of a baronet and well above his station. Edward fears that no good will come of a union between his brother and the girl due to her family connections.
At the end of summer, a letter and a package arrive that will change everything for the two brothers. Which way will prevail, the bold action of the commander or the quiet manners of the curate?
• Publish date:
Hi Wendy, welcome to the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network
Wendy: Thanks Kasper
When did you start writing and why?
Some of my earliest memories are that of being a writer. I wrote my first novel when I was in 4th grade and a second one when I was in high school. Neither of which I will show to anyone! I always intended becoming a professional writer when I “grew up”, but then a little thing called “Star Wars” happened. I was enamored by the film and its slick new editing style. I decided that I wanted to be a film director like George Lucas. I ended up going to filmschool and spent a good fifteen years after that producing and directing television projects as a career. Writing took a backseat in my creativity.
It was not until I was in my early 40s that I returned to writing. While I had been a participant of Nanowrimo for several years, I was suffering from writer’s block and could never put together a fictional story. Then one day in 2010, a character woke up in me and demanded that I start writing about him. That year was the first time that I won the 50K word count goal at Nanowrimo. I viewed my writing as a hobby at that point, but now have come full circle and have returned to the idea of being a professional writer
It sounds like a great start to your career, well done.
How do you develop your characters?
Most of my stories start with a main character that I build my plots around. This means that most of my stories are character driven as opposed to plot driven. When a character wakes up in my mind, I allow the formation scenes to develop mentally. Then I write down these scenes and I create a basic character sheet. As I write the character, new details about his or her past will come out and I make sure to note them on the character sheet as I go. This method creates organic, natural characters that readers seem to care about.
In “The Curate’s Brother” the first characters who came to me were Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot. They figure more prominently in the sequels that I have planned for next year. Edward Wentworth sort of took over this story as this young shy man who is better at ministering to his flock than understanding what love feels like. Since few Austen inspired stories feature Edward as the protagonist, I became intrigued with using his character as the main one for this story.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
I am an artisan jeweler and have been in business for 18 years. I create jewelry from semi-precious stones, sterling silver, copper and handmade art glass. My work has a Celtic theme, but with contemporary style. I sell my jewelry at Highland Games, Science Fiction Conventions, and Concerts. I currently do not have a webstore and frankly I am not sure if I want one. While jewelry is my day job, I am more focused on shifting into being an author these days. I suspect that I will be making jewelry for years to come, but gradually I will be making items for myself and friends instead of being a business.
That sounds like a great career. You're one creative lady.
I am working on a sequel to “The Curate’s Brother” called “Letters From The Sea”. It will feature Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot as the main characters and will be told via their eyes. I am also working on a steampunk science fiction trilogy loosely based on Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, various science fiction and fantasy stories that will be shorts or novellas, and a couple more short memoirs. I can’t say which ones will publish first. It depends on which story calls me the strongest or if they are accepted into magazines first. If they are, they will have much later publishing dates on Amazon since I give the magazines first publishing rights.
What’s your writing routine?
I start my day in my home studio/office. I check email, do my basic daily marketing for the blog and tend to any questions that have come in via email. Then things shift depending on what I’m working on. If I’m drafting, I take my Alphasmart Neo to the local coffeehouse and draft a good 2K words or more. An Alphasmart is a lightweight, digital typewriter without internet connections. If I’m editing, I will do that at home on my desktop. My writing program of choice is Scrivener. I also use copy editing software such as Rightwriter, Smart-Edit, and Hemmingway.
I like to take a long lunch break around noon. When I return, unless a story is grabbing me, I’ll work on house projects, make jewelry on my bench, or even cook a gourmet meal for dinner. After dinner and a little television watching with my husband, I return to my office. This is when my true creative time is. I create the best stories late at night. I’m not sure why. At least my husband seems to accept my night owl behavior.
Describe your road to publishing your book?
I have always wanted to be an independently published author. Due to my experience in marketing, I knew that I would be able to handle the promotional aspects for my books and I am technically literate enough to understand the software involved. When I first returned to writing in 2010, in addition to publishing a few short stories in magazines, I also developed my writing blog.
Through No Wasted Ink, I have become a top contributor at Suvudu Universe, a science fiction portal for sci-fi related entertainment news, have developed relationships with hundreds of authors, readers and groups on the internet, and have joined local area writer groups and literary science fiction conventions.
The technical aspects of producing my first amazon release, “The Curate’s Brother”, turned out to be much easier than I expected, although time intensive. The manuscript has been to several critique groups for content review and underwent a full rewrite until I was satisfied with the story. I did not hire an editor, but used editing software to make the story as clean a read as possible. Next, I created an epub of the book via a free program called Sigil. The epub was bug free and uploaded onto Amazon with no issues. Now the ebook is out. I continue to market the short story, but am now working on new writing projects. My plan is to publish one short story a quarter and one novel annually on Amazon. The stories planned are a mix of science fiction, fantasy, regency romance (Austen inspired), and memoir.
Congratulations on your success.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I have graphic design experience due to my background in television production, but the method I used for “The Curate’s Brother” book cover could be used by anyone. I took a tutorial class on how to use Canva to create Facebook headers, twitter posts and ebook covers. In Canva, I purchased a licensed image of a ship and used the program to create the title and soften the image. The result is simple and it was cost effective. The cover cost a total of a single dollar. Using my own graphic software, I have shrunk the Canva ebook cover into various sizes. I have one size for my ebook on Amazon and smaller images to use on blogs or as a sidebar.
What do you write about in your blog?
No Wasted Ink is my writing blog and the base of my writing platform. You will find a bibliography of my published stories, a list of upcoming writing projects and a biography. The blog itself is not really about me personally. You will find no posts about my dog or what I had for supper. Instead, I interview science fiction and fantasy authors, both traditionally and independently published. I write book reviews of classic science fiction, fantasy novels, or books that have inspired me as a writer. One of my favorite post series are the Monday Writer’s links, where I link to various articles on the internet about writing, publishing, stationary and fountain pens. I write articles about the craft of writing, review writing events that I attended in the Los Angeles area, and do software and writing tool reviews. In 2015, I plan to start a new post series featuring my Scifaiku, haiku poetry about science fiction subjects.
What book clubs are you in?
I only belong to one book club. The Orange County Science Fiction Club. They have a “Reader Orbit” and a “Writer Orbit” that meet separately from the main group. The meetings host guests that range from science fiction authors, film directions and even a bonafide Polish Princess who makes her living drawing comics. The members are mainly readers of science fiction and somewhat elderly. I’m considered “the kid” there. I’ve never met a group of people that are more widely read in the science fiction genre than myself. I attend the Writer Orbit and they serve as a critique group for me, although I try and limit myself to science fiction and fantasy stories within the group.
What an acclectic and inspiring group!
What’s your experience of the fantasy sci-fi network?
I discovered the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network when I was looking for science fiction book reviews to link to my Twitter account via Triberr. The network had just opened and I joined their Triberr and Facebook group. Since then, I have interviewed other members of the network on my blog and promote them on my twitter feed. It is an active group with friendly fellow authors. I like that everyone there has written science fiction and fantasy stories like myself. Fortunately, I am not the only one who also writes in other genre from time to time. I feel that the network is a good fit for me.
Thanks so much for dropping in to share your thoughts with us today, Wendy. It's great to learn about you and your diverse talents. We'll check out an excerpt from your new book now and your links.
Excerpt from “The Curate’s Brother” By Wendy Van Camp
Stepping out into the soft morning sunshine the following Sunday, Edward found his accustomed place to one side of the doorway of the Monkford church.His Vicar took the other. A mother and father followed by four children were the first to depart. The father stopping for a moment with the Vicar to chat for a moment before the family set off to walk home. This was his first day at church since his brother arrived. That Frederick wanted to come to service and see what he did for his living, pleased Edward.
“Thank you for the biscuits, Miss Marshall. It was kind of you to bring them to the cottage.”
The girl blushed, the ringlets of her hair giving a pleasant bounce as she dipped her head. Was this the young girls that brought biscuits to his doorstep or help organize the contents of the poor box after services? That memory did not fit the girl standing before him now, wearing an adult frock and a bonnet to protect her complexion. He found the juxtaposition of Sally the child and the adult clothing of the newly come out Miss Marshall to be disconcerting.
Miss Marshall’s attention shifted and her eyes grew wide. Edward noticed his brother, wearing ill-fitting cast offs from the church in place of his naval uniform, had come to join him. He was giving Miss Marshall a casual grin that warred with his feral appraisal that swept over her form. The girl’s eyelashes fluttered and she blushed. Edward felt a wave of discomfort start in his gut and flow to his chest.
“Would you do the honor of introducing me to your fair companion?”
Miss Marshall looked at Edward with expectation and a flash of excitement. He prevented himself from grimacing. “Miss Sally Marshall, may I introduce my brother, Commander Frederick Wentworth of his Majesty’s Royal Navy. Frederick, this is Miss Marshall, the daughter of the village apothecary.” Sally gave a polite curtsy to his brother’s bow and the introduction became complete.
More families streamed through the open double doors of the church, filling the narrow porch. Sally dimpled and said, “Welcome to Monkford, Commander. Will you be staying long with us?’
“As long as the admiralty allows, Miss Marshall. I am awaiting reassignment.”
Miss Marshall’s smile diminished, but she rallied. “Mr. Wentworth, you simply must bring your brother to the assembly next week.”
“You have not mentioned an assembly, Edward.” There was a good natured prodding in Frederick’s voice.
He faced his brother. “I am sure that I would have in time.” Turning back to Sally, “We will both attend, Miss Marshall, you can be certain.”
The girl gave a clap of her gloved hands and this time her winsome smile included both men. “What delightful news. I look forward to telling Papa.” More people were crowding the narrow entry. The girl gave a quick curtsy to the brothers and continued down the steps where her family was waiting.
“What an amiable girl. You have been holding out on me, Edward. I wonder what other delights Monkford will hold.”
“Frederick, Miss Marshall is a respectable girl and the daughter of a friend. If you intend to ruin this girl’s reputation…” A hand from his seafaring brother on his shoulder stopped him.
“I am returning to sea soon enough. I have no intention of starting a complication here. Come, greet your parish. Say no more.” Edward studied his brother’s face and saw no guile there. He relaxed. One after another, the people exited the church, pausing either with himself or with the Vicar across the way.
There did not seem to be a preference by the people of Monkford between the elder Vicar and the Curate. Though Edward was a scant two and twenty years of age, he was as respected as the Vicar. At least, until the baronet’s family from Kellynch Hall exited the church.
Sir Walter Elliot wore a puce frock coat and appeared well groomed, to the point that his coiffure would be the envy of women. His silver headed cane gleamed in the morning light. An elegant woman of similar age followed along with two young women. The first girl had elaborate braids, perfect skin, and a dress of the finest cut and quality. The other was pale, exhibiting fragility. She wore the sprig muslin of an innocent. Sir Walter never stopped to speak to Edward, a mere curate. He would only acknowledge the Vicar when he and his family came to church.
He heard a catch of breath behind him. “Who is that beautiful creature, Edward?”
Edward glanced back to learn who his brother was speaking of and realized he was looking at the baronet’s daughters. “Miss Elliot is the belle of Somersetshire. She is Sir Walter Elliot’s eldest daughter. Reputed to be the heiress of quite a fortune.” There was much speculation about whom Miss Elliot would settle on. Perhaps a man of wealth and title would be able to tempt the golden haired beauty. Sir Walter was in excellent health and while Miss Elliot was quite eligible, neither father nor daughter was in a hurry to find a match.
“No, no, not the fancy one. The one behind her with the brown hair, the lady’s companion? Pretty little thing she is.”
“That is no companion. Miss Anne Elliot is Sir Walter’s second daughter.”
“She is like a pocket spite, you could just scoop her up and put her in your…”
“Frederick, please. There are people about.”
Across the way, Anne Elliot had noticed his brother’s regard. Her pale face colored a becoming pink and she looked away.
“Such a shy one. It might be fun to draw her out.”
“Frederick, did you not pay heed? She is the daughter of a baronet. Come to your senses man.” While their father had been wealthy enough to buy Frederick’s commission in the navy and to sponsor Edward an education at Cambridge, they were of the merchant class, no match in status for someone of the peerage.
His brother followed the girl’s progress down the steps as Sir Walter led his party to the carriage that waited at the end of the lane. “Brother, you will learn that sometimes risk has its reward.” Anne Elliot entered the carriage and a footman closed the door. His brother turned from the girl and gave Edward his full attention. "Why are you convinced that I have come to cause your doom? Do you think so little of me?”
Edward deflated. “No. I suppose I keep thinking of you as the twelve year old scamp that insisted he was for the sea until father gave in to your desires. I do not know the man that has come back to England. At least, not yet.”
“Fair enough. We need a shakedown cruise to clear the decks between us.” Frederick moved behind Edward to allow more of the parishioners to exit the church. “I hope that we both prove to each other’s satisfaction.”
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00OUGNQ60
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Curates-Brother-Austen-Variation-Persuasion-ebook/dp/B00OU1V45A
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