|Wendy Corsi Staub, Multi-Genre Author|
Wendy Corsi Staub
MMM: The Black Widow is out now. It's the final book in a trilogy with social networking themes, which tap into everyone's worst fears of online predators. What prompted you to tackle this subject?
Wendy: I’ve long been struck by how the way people who might lock their doors, set alarms, and guard their deep, dark secrets from their real world friends are willing to make themselves utterly vulnerable online—some publicly sharing with total strangers information they wouldn’t entrust to their own spouse. Anonymity is a dangerous thing and internet predators are rampant. This trilogy examines three different social networking backdrops: THE GOOD SISTER is about cyber-bullying via a fictionalized Facebook site; THE PERFECT STRANGER is about a group of bloggers; THE BLACK WIDOW is about online dating. These are all standalone books, connected by the theme that you never know who might really be lurking behind a screen name.
MMM: A large part of book promotion is done via the internet now. How has the rise of the web affected the way you promote your books?
Wendy: A social media presence isn’t really optional anymore—it’s mandatory. I love connecting with my readers on Facebook and spend time there each day, but it’s difficult to keep from getting sucked in and losing precious writing time. I find, though, that it’s time well spent. Word of mouth remains the most valuable means of promotion, and I find that if I tell them what’s going on in my daily research/writing process as it happens, then my readers get excited about my books months in advance and share the word with their friends.
MMM: You were very enthusiastic, and gracious, when I approached you about doing a Q&A for this website, even though it is a brand new site. There is a proliferation of book bloggers, and book vloggers, on the internet. What are your feelings about bloggers, as an author? Is it daunting to deal with so many bloggers, on top of regular book promotion?
Wendy: Where would I be without readers? Just as there are more ways to read and more places to buy books than ever before, there are more ways to spread the word about them, and I welcome every opportunity! That said, the stakes are ever higher and I’m busier than ever in my career, so it can be daunting to get to promo opportunities—like interviews, or even just finding an hour to write my monthly newsletter, which I haven’t done since April. My family and my book deadlines always take top priority, but I do make an effort to stay on top of promo as well!
MMM: You have Blood Red, the first in the new Mundy's Landing trilogy being released by Harper Collins in September. Would you tell us a bit about the series?
Wendy: I conceived Mundy’s Landing, a fictionalized Hudson Valley Village, as a town that’s on the map because of murder and bloodshed—kind of like Salem, Massachusetts or Lizzie Borden’s Fall River. In 1916, an eerie series of crimes unfolded there—three local families woke up to find dead girls tucked into vacant beds in their homes—girls they’d never seen before, and who were never identified. The “Sleeping Beauty Murders” were never solved. After falling into economic decline, Mundy’s Landing began hosting a yearly convention to generate tourism, inviting amateur detectives to visit the historical society and try to solve the crimes. Now “Mundypalooza” draws people from far and wide—including a copycat killer. The setting ties these three books together, along with the theme that this picturesque town can’t seem to overcome its blood-drenched legacy. BLOOD RED will be followed by BLUE MOON and BONE WHITE.
MMM: . You also have another Lily Dale Mystery, Nine Lives, being releases by Crooked Lane Books in November. Is this a YA book? Will we see some of the same characters as the earlier Lily Dale books?
Wendy: No, the Lily Dale Mysteries are brand new and targeted toward an adult audience. But my longtime readers will recognize the setting—the real life upstate New York village populated by spiritualists—along with a couple of secondary characters they met in my young adult Lily Dale series a few years ago. That series has a die-hard fan base and I’m excited to offer them updates on all their favorite characters (Odelia is back, along with Calla, Ramona, Jeff, and Evangeline—and maybe even Jacy and Blue!). More importantly, I think they’ll fall in love with my new heroine, widowed Mom Bella Jordan, her son Max, and the lost pregnant cat, Chance, who was inspired by the lost pregnant cat, Chance, our family adopted last summer! While the YA series was paranormal, though, this one is not. Bella is surrounded by clairvoyants but finds that when it comes to solving mysteries, good old-fashioned logic often gives her the edge.
MMM: Crooked Lane Books is a new, small imprint, that just publishes mystery, crime, and suspense right now. Why did you decide to publish with Crooked Lane for Nine Lives? Is this a one off, or does this mark a possibly permanent change of publishers for you?
Wendy: I’ve always done everything fast—I’m a New Yorker!—and writing is no exception. I’ve been prolific throughout my career, at one point writing more manuscripts that than individual publishers could publish. That’s why I created a separate brand, Wendy Markham, very early on, and it’s why I have written in various genres. I’ve always wanted to write a cozy mystery series, and NINE LIVES is the first in the LILY DALE series that will be published by Crooked Lane, with the second book scheduled for 2016. And of course, I’ll continue to write my suspense novels for HarperCollins.
MMM: You write in a number of different genres, including YA, Romance, and Suspense. What do you do to prepare, and switch gears, from one genre to another?
HJ: Switching genres has always felt natural to me, as long as I’ve captured the voice and know my characters well from the very beginning. I never write more than one book at a time, though—so I’m able to really live in the book and inhabit the characters’ heads from beginning to end.
MMM: >Hello, It's Me, your book written as Wendy Markham, is being made into a Hallmark movie premiering this fall. That's exciting. Did you have a hand in writing the script, or are involved in the production in any way?
Wendy: What if a widow kept her late husband’s cell phone connected so that she can call it to hear his recorded voice—and one day, he answers? That’s the premise of my book >HELLO, IT’S ME, and it’s such a natural tagline for Hollywood that producers have been dancing around it from the time it was published a decade ago. It’s been optioned for several years now, and Hallmark greenlighted it and rushed it into production in April to air in September. I actually found out it was happening via Kellie Martin, the actress starring as my heroine, with whom I’d been discussing other projects for awhile. The author is always the last to know! A screenwriter wrote the screenplay, which I did read and loved. I flew up to the location shoot in Toronto in May. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be on-set (I even got my own director’s chair and headset!) and see my book come to life before my eyes.
MMM: Thank you, Wendy.
You can order Blood Red on Amazon