“We need people interested in writing our history.”
Wendy Garman, manager of the Mount Wolf Elementary cafeteria, is the author of the book “No Regrets,” published in May of 2014. Recently, I had the chance to sit down with her and talk about her book and how it came to be.
How long did you work on No Regrets?
It started as a book for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, in ’09. It worked well because I can be very ADHD. I wrote at a specific time of day and had a support system – The NaNo community – to keep me on track. Obviously, I edited a lot after that, but that was when I got the skeleton of the story done.
Did you ever quit or stop writing?
No. It was difficult when I went on a “no technology” vacation with my family the November I was writing, but I had to find time to write. To keep myself from getting caught up in the story, I only let myself read the last sentence I wrote to continue with. Making sure it all flows happens in editing. When I finished the first draft, I didn’t pick it up for maybe three weeks, but I never totally stopped.
How much of your writing is based on true events (versus being made up)?
I’d say about 40 percent of it is based on my own experiences, and the other 60 percent is stuff I made up. When I write, I don’t have any kind of outlining; I let my characters do what they want.
What do you take into consideration when writing?
The best parts of my stories come from me wondering about the “what-ifs”. One thing I couldn’t think about was how others would interpret my writing. My first reader, my sister, is brutally honest. When I read it to my friends and co-workers, they would laugh at me sometimes. I couldn’t focus on their reactions until I finished.
No Regrets was self published. How hard was that?
It was actually really easy. I used CreateSpace by Amazon, and they give as much or as little help as you want. The prices were decent, and it was definitely a worthwhile investment. I might not ever be able to quit my job, but I got more back than I put in, and in the end all I wanted was to hold a tangible copy of my book.
What do you think makes a better writer?
Writing, writing, writing. Read the stuff you write about, and follow trends – as in, now would not be a good time to write a vampire novel. Read what’s current.
What is the best advice you’ve been given regarding your writing?
Don’t quit, regardless of any negative feedback you get. Don’t give up easily; the writing market is becoming easier to get in to, especially with self publishing becoming a big thing.
What can you tell those who want to become an author?
To read what you’re interested in. Also, buy a thesaurus to increase your vocabulary!
Northeastern High School‘s book club read No Regrets not long ago, and the reviews they gave were nothing but good.
“It was very intense and was filled with powerful emotion,” said sophomore Heidi Wood.
“I really enjoyed Mrs. Garman’s book, especially because she works right in our district,” said junior Destiny Eisenhour. “It’s one thing picking a book off the shelf because you like the genre, but it’s even better if you know the author and are able to put that into perspective while reading the book. I’m always into young adult drama novels so I really liked it. She did a really good job of putting the reader in the shoes of her main character as well. It was even cooler that she came in and personally autographed all of our books for us too.”
You can buy Garman’s book on Amazon.