Jen: Tell us about Of Dukes and Deceptions and where it’s available.
Wendy: Of Dukes and Deceptions is my seventh published Regency romance. It’s a lively romp featuring a haughty duke who more than meets his match in the guise of a humble poor relation. It’s released as an e-book by Carina Press on March 14.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Wendy: I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t make up stories in my head. I thought it was entirely normal. Everyone does that, don’t they? I did, and still do, enjoy escaping into a fictional world where everyone has to do exactly as I say! I wrote my first full-length novel at fifteen. Any child showing that sort of flair nowadays would be given all sorts of encouragement. I guess I was born too soon! Anyway, I wrote another Regency-type book when I was in my twenties and consigned it to the back of a cupboard. It languished there until we were moving house about eight years ago and I discovered it. That set me off again and my first Regency romance was published in London by Robert Hale five years ago. They took four more from me before I then turned my attention to the exciting new world of e-publishing, so suitable for my nomadic lifestyle.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Wendy: No we have a florist and an aspiring artist but I’m the only scribe, for which I think they’re all secretly grateful!
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Wendy: When writing romance I’m very much a go-with-the-flow type. My characters tend to take over and run away with the plot. They’re constantly surprising me with their adventurous spirits. However, I’m now branching out into crime, (only in a fictitious sense, you understand!), and those sorts of plots do require some sort of forward planning. I still don’t manage to stick to my outline absolutely, though.
Jen: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?
Wendy: I guess being brought up on the Isle of Wight, literally a stone’s throw from Queen Victoria’s Island retreat, and surrounded by heaps of other historical buildings, inspired me without my actually being aware of it. I must have gained a love of history through osmosis, I suppose. I love the idea of courtly good manners. A gentleman never sitting if a lady is standing. A lady never being permitted to carry so much as a book if a man’s there to relieve her of the burden. Mind you, my heroes aren’t quite so gentlemanly when it comes to the bedroom. It would be pretty boring if they were but I make sure my heroines are feisty and lead them a merry dance before they get to have their wicked way with them.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Wendy: Of Dukes and Deceptions is set on a stud farm where Hanoverian horses are bred. Hanoverians were widely used in the Napoleonic wars because of their confirmation, a combination of speed and sturdiness on the battlefield. I needed to learn more about them. Hardly a hardship, since horses are a subject which I hold dear. Other than that, I just let the story flow. I learned a hard lesson from the editor of my first book, which included a scene in Egypt. I did a heap of research and included it all in the story, just to show that I knew what I was talking about, but my editor made me cut it. ‘This is a novel, not a history lesson, Wendy, and all this stuff slows the story down.’ She was right. Now I make sure of my facts but don’t labour them.
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Wendy: Absolutely! I think that must be true of any good writer but at my husband’s request I’ve stopped sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night shouting, ‘that’s it!’ when the resolution of a plot twist occurs to me.
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Wendy: As I said before, I’m breaking into crime. Andre and I have owned boats for years. They say write about what you know so I’m starting a series of marine crime novels based around my boat-living, piano-playing detective, Charlie Hunter. He’s retired early from the police force but keeps being drawn back into his old, unsolved cases. The first, Unfinished Business, will be released by Carina Press later this year.
As for a genre that I’d stay away from…hum, probably fantasy. Not sure I’d know where to start with that.
Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?
Wendy: This is the first question that I’ve had to stop and think about. I suppose the Regency period, since I’ve researched and written so much about it, but I’d need to be wealthy mind, none of this poverty stuff. I told you before, I don’t do realism! If I could only take three things with me then obviously I’d have to have a plentiful supply of books to read, a decent horse to ride and my dog. I’m betting a shrink would have a field day with those answers!
Jen: If Of Dukes and Deceptions was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Wendy: Oh heavens, I’m useless at famous people because I almost never watch movies but even I know who Johnny Depp is. He’d make a wonderful duke. So would Colin Firth. Either one will do; I’m not fussy! And as for my heroine, Keira Knightly, perhaps.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Wendy: Making some decent money out of it! Seriously though, everyone strives to improve upon their art. I have a brilliant editor at Carina Press, Deborah Nemeth. I followed her from Samhain and she’s taught me so much but I still feel I haven’t reached my full potential as a writer. Perhaps writing now in two different genres will help in that respect.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Wendy: Well, I have five e-books contracted for release this year. Two historicals with Carina Press and the release of my first print book in electronic form with Aurura Regency. Then there’s Unfinished Business also with Carina and Topspin, a contemporary romp featuring a disparate group of people pulled together by their membership of an up-market country club on the Isle of Wight due to be published by Aspen Mountain Press. Oh, and I also have two more out with publishers waiting for decision!
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Wendy: My website is www.wendysoliman.com and I’m just developing a second www.wsoliman.com to cover my crime and contemporary titles. I’m on twitter as wendyswriter and I have an Author’s page on Facebook – Wendy Soliman – Author.
I’d like to encourage everyone to stop by my website and enter my contest for a copy of the book. You’ll need to read the first chapter of Of Dukes and Deceptions on my website and then go to the contests link and answer a simple question to enter.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Wendy: Yes. Feedback. Please, if you read my books, leave me a comment on my website. Let me know if you like or hate them. Go on, I can take criticism. But most of all, please let me know that I’m not talking to myself.