I studied Japanese and International Economics in college, and worked in international business for many years (in Japan, in Turkey, and in the States). Then I began working for colleges in their international studies and ESL departments. I loved teaching, but I never felt completely satisfied until I started writing fiction. My youngest son had some health problems, so I wanted to stay at home for a few years. I had some time on my hands, so I began writing. My first book, a YA about Atlantis, was pretty awful. My second book, another YA, was better. With my third YA book, a sci-fi, I signed with an agent.
End of story, right? Not quite. Although my agent was terrific, and tried really hard to sell my book, it just didn’t happen. Eventually, I decided it would be best for both of us to part ways. At this time, I had four completed manuscripts (two YAs, one paranormal romance, and one contemporary romance). I decided to try to sell them on my own, and sold three in two weeks. The fourth was being considered by a large publishing house.
Demi: What genres do you write in as Abigail Drake? And what should writers keep in mind about reader expectations in each of those closely related genres?
Wende: I made the decision to write under two names basically because I’m a mom. I didn’t want one of my YA readers to pick up one of my adult romance books and think it was age appropriate. I also teach writing classes to children. I thought it would be wise to separate my books according to “books with sexual content” (which I publish under Abigail Drake), and “books with no sexual content” (which I publish under my real name). It’s just easier that way.
I currently have three books published under the name Abigail Drake. Traveller, which is a paranormal romance, and Saying Goodbye Part I and Part II, which are both new adult contemporary romance. Saying Goodbye Part I and Part II are the debut novels in my new series called Passports and Promises. This series has been such a pleasure to write. Each book takes place in a different country, and involves the stories of young women falling in love as they are working or studying abroad. The next installment in this series, Delayed Departure, will be out in early 2017.
Why do I write in so many genres? Because I can’t help it. I love reading in different genres. It seems natural to me to write in different genres, too. I might not be the smartest decision, but I have to go where the muse leads me.
Thank you! My websites were designed by the wonderful Brynna Curry (http://brynnacurry.com
). I had some additional help with the Abigail Drake website from June Clark of Get There Media (http://www.gettheremedia.com
). I had three books coming out in the first three months of 2016, and June was a great help with keeping me organized and helping me figure out a marketing strategy and author branding.
Demi: Do you have a favorite tool or app you use to make life easier?
Not really – unless you’re talking about my wine app!! I love Vivino! (https://www.vivino.com/app/
) One thing that did help me in my search for agents and publishers was a free site called www.querytracker.net
. Querytracker helps you to keep track of your submissions, and also helps you to pinpoint which agents and editors might be looking for your particular genre. Another useful site was Manuscript Wish List (http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com
). There you can find a very current list of agents and editors and what they are looking for right now. It’s very handy.