Wendy Lee Davies began writing romances as a lark after leaving her communications and editing job of many years. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, but they’ll be relocating to the country soon.
She enjoys cycling, especially cycle touring which she did a lot of in her younger, some say more foolish, years. Now that she’s older and wiser, Wendy is wearing out the bike paths around her home town, making good use of her amazing pedal-assist electric bike. She’s also traversed most of the incredible rail trails available in Victoria, and one in New Zealand as well.
If she’s not writing, or riding her bike, Wendy can be found enjoying a coffee in some cafe. Or taking landscape photographs. Sometimes she makes cookies or muffins. She’s even been known, on occasion, to annoy her writing friends with long, detailed editorial comments on their latest writing endeavour. But don’t worry. They get her back, tenfold, when it comes to critiquing her latest romance-in-progress.
You can catch up on her latest news via her website. She loves hearing from readers, so don’t be shy about dropping her a line.
Good Enough For Love
by Wendy Lee Davies
Good Enough For Love is a contemporary, small-town romance, set in the south western part of Victoria, Australia. It won the Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Award for the Best Unpublished Manuscript in 2017.
It was also a finalist in the Mid-American Romance Writer’s 2017 Fiction from the Heartland competition.
Q. Where did the idea for your book come from?
Well, I was looking for something creative to take my mind off an uncertain future. I noticed Writers Victoria advertise a course – Romancing the Page – and I thought why not? At the first session I had to introduce myself and say what my romance story was about. I didn’t have a story! I didn’t even have an idea for one!! So, I was sitting there, heart palpitating, hands sweaty, until it was my turn. “My story,” I told everyone, “is about a city girl who inherits a hotel in the country and falls in love with a sheep farmer.” I have no idea how I plucked this out of thin air, but I did, thankfully.
Q. Why do you write romance?
I love reading romances. Always have. But it never occurred to me that I could use my professional writing and editing course, or my corporate and technical writing experience for anything other than work-related. I had never even considered writing a novel. Short stories, yes. But not a novel. Now, I love writing happy ever afters. I love the escape that writing a romance story brings. And setting these romances in the wide-open spaces of country Victoria seems as natural as waking up in the morning and having a coffee.
Q. Is there anything which sets your story apart from any other book in the genre?
This is such a hard question to answer without sounding like I’m up myself or think I’m better than sliced bread! I’m not, and I don’t think that at all. My story does have some differences from the other small-town romances on the market. For a start, it’s set in Victoria and there isn’t a lot of romances around like that, and especially not ones set in the grain and sheep belt of Victoria. The next thing would be the slightly off-beat humour I’ve tried to incorporate into my story. It’s not a romantic comedy, but there are some funny spots that will hopefully make readers smile.
And then there’s the zombies…
Q. What, if any, were the challenges you faced writing your book?
My characters wouldn’t behave. They kept side-tracking me and taking me down paths I never intended to follow. They were like naughty children, hiding stuff, refusing to do as they were told.
And the plot just wouldn’t sit still. It kept jumping up and wandering off at the most inappropriate moments. As for the “all is lost” part of the story, that caused me no end of trouble. Every time I tried, the scene dissolved or changed and ended up being not the disaster I thought it was. Of course, then I’d have to think of something even more horrible to throw at my hero and heroine. Being a nice person, I hated making my hero and heroine suffer, but I knew it was in their own best interests to do so.
As you can probably tell by now, the biggest challenge I faced was understanding what this story was about. I didn’t plan it out. I just sat down and started writing. It took me longer to edit, restructure and shape this story into an acceptable, publishable and award-winning story than it did to write it in the first place. Like three times longer.
So, my take home message from this long ramble is: have some sort of idea where your story is going before you start writing. That way, you won’t fall down the same rabbit holes I did. And maybe, just maybe, your characters and plot will do what’s expected instead of misbehaving.
Q. Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?
Oh, how I wish I had a magic formula for this. But I don’t. Basically, I sit in front of my laptop and stare at the screen. Sometimes, I read what I wrote the previous day and either love it or hate it; there’s no in-between. Then, I stare out the window. Make myself a coffee. Check out what’s happening on Facebook. Have another coffee. Come back to my laptop … and eventually begin to write.
No really, some days it’s just like that. Other days I jump out of bed, forget to shower, or even say hello to my husband, before I’m on the laptop pounding away at the keyboard. On days like that, I’m completely unaware of anything else around me. And I just keep writing and writing until the ideas run out.
I wish all my writing days were like that, but they happen so rarely. Besides, my husband would probably disown me if I forgot to kiss him good morning or wasn’t even aware of his presence for an extended period of time.
Q. What is the underlying theme of your book, if any?
Trust. Feeling good enough, worthy enough, acceptable enough to warrant another person’s love and attention. It’s about facing up to your past and taking a chance on your future.
Q. Would you call your hero and/or heroine a typical romance hero and/or heroine?
Why not? What sets him/her apart from the men/women we usually encounter in romances? I’ve been told Zach Wentworth, my sheep and wheat farmer hero, is a lot more intelligent and articulate than most country guys. I don’t agree. Country guys can be both, surely? Zach is an honourable guy, and of course he’s handsome. But there are heaps of well-meaning, kind, trustworthy males out there in romance-land.
Amber Hutchinson is like other heroines, in that she can stand on her own two feet, she doesn’t need anyone’s help to achieve her goals, no matter how hard they turn out to be. Amber’s also different, in that she needs to learn this lesson – that no man or woman is an island and there is no shame in asking for help. But her main, all important lesson, one she absolutely needs to comprehend, is that she is indeed more than good enough for love. This is something she struggles with throughout the entire story.
Q. What was your inspiration for your Main Characters?
Amber is someone I plucked out of thin air and brought to life over many, many rewrites. The same goes for Zach. Indeed, both characters sort-of introduced themselves and then made me chase them all around the place, trying to get to know who they were, what they wanted and how they would react in any given situation. I hate to admit this, but they sure played hard-to-get with me! But I eventually nailed them. Or so I tell myself anyway.
Q. What kind of research did you undertake when writing?
Ah, this is where I tell you all about that fantastic pub crawl I did through every country hotel in Victoria, putting it all down to research, right? It’s where I talk about all the self-build and renovation sites and magazines I devoured. It’s where I tell you about how I worked in a hotel for a whole day, pulling beers, just so I knew what I was talking about.
I wish I had done all of that. But I didn’t.
I read books. I lurked around the fringes of country reporting. I looked up hotel licencing requirements online. I researched wills and what you’d need to do if you wanted to contest one. I undertook more than a few online writing courses, figuring out character development, how to craft the perfect ending, and how to pitch my story to potential publishers and agents. Oh, and I broke my ankle (not on purpose of course), so I can tell you that that part of the story is based on what I went through, albeit a bit more glossed over than my own experience.
Q. What was your favourite part in writing this book?
I love the opening. It’s the first image I had when I was sitting in that Writers Victoria class and it still brings me out in a smile.
I had great fun setting up the first trivia night that Amber’s “forced” to hold in the hotel. And I found writing the graveside scene between Zach and his Uncle Bill really enlightening and surprisingly easy. I absolutely loved writing the scene where Zach returns to Willow’s Bend and discovers zombies roaming his town, threatening Amber.
Then there’s the scene where Amber’s cousin, Ryan McCormack, returns home, threatening everything she’s worked towards. It sets up how the plot is resolved, and that leads to how Amber and Zach find their happy ending.
You know, I may as well just say my favourite part of the book is…the whole book!!
Q. Besides the gorgeous cover, what about this story will draw your reader into your world?
The opening chapters certainly will. I reckon that my main characters – Amber and Zach – can suck you in and make you care about what’s going on and how they’ll resolve their problems. The fictional town of Willow’s Bend is somewhere almost everyone who’s read my story wants to live. But the real reason, I believe, is that the issues Amber and Zach face are real, ones any reader can identify with. But really, it’s not up to me as the writer to answer this question. I’m biased after all. It’s the people who read my story that are best placed to answer this question.
Q. So, where can we buy your book?
Good Enough For Love is found at the following:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D9C85TG for US$2.99
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.com.uk/dp/B07D9C85TG for £2.25
Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07D9C85TG
or from: https://www.books2read.com/u/b5MAV6 for A$3.99.
If you would like to get in touch with Wendy or keep an eye out for future publications, you can visit her website: http://www.wendyleedavies.com
Or follow her on Social Media:
Thank You for taking the time to chat to us about your writing and your book, Wendy!