Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sunday Spotlight on Wendy Warren

This week The Pink Heart Society spotlights Special Edition author, RITA winner and Waldenbooks bestseller, Wendy Warren.

About Wendy:

Wendy lives with her husband, Tim, and their dog, Chauncie, near the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful Willamette River, in an area surrounded by giant elms, bookstores with cushy chairs, and great theatre. Their house was previously owned by a woman named Cinderella, who bequeathed them a garden of flowers they try desperately (and occasionally successfully) not to kill, and a pink General Electric oven, circa 1948, that makes the kitchen look like an I Love Lucy rerun.

Wendy is a two-time recipient of Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and was a finalist for Affaire de Coeur’s Best Up-and-Coming Romance Author. When not writing, she likes to take long walks with her dog, settle in for cozy chats with good friends, and sneak tofu into her husband’s dinner. She enjoys hearing from readers and may be reached at P.O. Box 82131 Portland, OR 97282-0131.

Spotlight on Wendy:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

Ordinary people who behave extraordinarily toward each other always inspire me.

When I was a little girl, my family lived in a small apartment building owned by two people who survived the Holocaust. I remember running away from home—upstairs to the second floor—where the gentleman, Leopold Page, showed me the numbers tattooed on his forearm and explained how important it is to cherish our families, even when they upset us. He and his wife raised a son and daughter. They ran a business and worked to bring Oscar Schindler to the United States. After everything they’d been through it was still love and family that guided their steps.

The discovery that we are bigger than our fears is a theme that gets my creative juices flowing, and I never cease to be fascinated that the human heart can be both achingly fragile and indefatigably strong.

What makes you mad?

Bullies! Oh, I just can’t stand bullies! And crime. Especially crimes against women and children. Nothing personal, fellas--I certainly want you to be safe, too--but crimes against women and children have run unchecked around the globe for too, too long. (Okay, now that you’ve got me going :-D…) Religious intolerance drives me crazy, as does the fact that gay and lesbian couples cannot legally marry, but felons can.

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

My husband was working nights on two movie shoots. He’s an actor, loves working on movies and had been really looking forward to leaving full-time dad duty behind for a while in favor of diving into his career. He left the house in the afternoon and didn’t return until five or six AM the next day. Early one morning, I was snuggled in bed with our daughter and awoke to see him standing over us, looking exhausted, but with the softest, sweetest smile I think I’ve ever seen. “What are you doing?” I asked, and he said, “Watching you two. Towards the end of the night all I can think of is coming home. I miss my girls.” There’s something about watching your husband watch his child….

What in a hero makes you drool?

Integrity, gentleness and humor rolled into one amazing man.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

Very frustrated.

What do you do to relax and wind down?

READ!!!! Way, way, way too late into the night…. Also—maybe this is kind of weird, but—when my husband and I are really tense, we imitate each other. Usually we wind up laughing so hard we choke. (Note to Tim in the event you read this: I do NOT look like that when I’m concentrating.)

How do you get out of a writing rut?

I use acting techniques I learned from Robert Cohen (ACTING POWER) and Michael Shurtleff (AUDITION). Essentially, I try to connect to the heroine’s most vulnerable point, the secret need she has that she might never have told anybody. If I can get emotional on behalf of my heroine (this could even mean that I’m laughing with her), then I can get out of a rut.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Cannon Beach, Oregon!!!! And I’d have a master bath that overlooks the ocean. And a path to the beach where I’d run my dog every morning. Ooh, I want it, I want it, I want it :-D

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

What a great question. You know, right now it’s not a hug for a fabulous book I’ve read, but a hug for a series of sermons and short essays that I think are amazing. So I’d hug pastor Rick Skidmore, a holy guy--funny, smart, endlessly thought provoking—and I’d coerce him into writing a book, if I could.

What music do you listen to when writing?

It depends on the character, but usually some musical theatre score, because the lyrics slot me into the emotion.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you

Okay. After you promise not to tell anyone. Ever.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Um, that would be the real answer to the above question.

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

Loads of stuff! I’m Jewish, and we have a tradition of saying “Baruch Hashem” (loosely translated in this case, “Way to go, G-D”) a hundred times a day. I’ve never made it to a hundred, but the practice of noticing turns every hair on your kid’s head into a celebration. Also, our most important holiday is every Friday night! A time to celebrate life with friends and family.

So here’s a very fun thing I’m celebrating: My book THE BOSS AND MISS BAXTER is the first romance I’ve written featuring a Jewish family, Jewish humor and a Jewish Bubby. I’m so thrilled my editor extraordinaire, Susan Litman, worked on this book with me, and now it’s a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice finalist for Best Special Edition of 2006 and a finalist for the RWA RITA. It was also a Waldenbooks bestseller, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to do more romances with Jewish characters. I grew up around people with big, wonderful personalities that helped them walk through heartache and joy, and I would love to write about them.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

The cup of tea my husband is forever telling me will spill and ruin the hard drive.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

My mom and dad, because it’s been such a long time. I still feel them with me every day, but I would love just one more kiss. And, oh how I would love to see them kiss their granddaughter (although she tells me that they do :-D).

What are you working on now?

On deadline, I’m working on continuity for Silhouette. Concurrently, I’m working up a proposal for a trilogy about three ex-showgirls, also for Silhouette. Then, a couple times a week, I noodle a single title romance featuring two elderly Jewish bookies who decide to “go straight” and become matchmakers.

As my reward for a good day’s writing, I give myself ten to fifteen minutes in the evening to work on a women’s fiction about a middle-aged alcoholic who is trying to find the courage to hang onto life and who meets an aged Holocaust survivor, a brilliant artist, trying to find the courage to let go.

I used to delve into one thing at a time; these days I get excited about so many things, I can’t limit myself. Or is that ADD?

Wendy's latest book, THE BABY BARGAIN, is out now in North America through Silhouette Special Edition!

Check out her website for more...

Thanks Wendy!


  1. Is it ADD...or multi-tasking? I never can tell...

  2. If you haven't read THE BOSS AND MISS BAXTER run right out and get it...I guess you really have to order it on line now... It is the most heartwarming story and soooo Wendy. As best buds, we walk and talk a lot together, and I can't wait for her Jewish matchmaker books to come out!

    Cannon Beach...Seaside...Newport, any town on the Oregon coast is wonderful for writing your life away :)

  3. Wendy,
    I'll order THE BOSS AND MISS BAXTER and keep an eye out for all the rest of your books. They sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing your inspirations.