Wendi Zwaduk/Megan Slayer
Wendi Zwaduk always dreamed of writing the stories in her head. She earned a BA in education and a Masters in Education and has tried her hand at teaching, waitressing, and retail sales, but writing holds her heart. She tends to write books with titles taken from songs because music is one of her many muses. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are her favorites, as long as they have independent women keeping them in line. Currently, she has books under contract with Total-E-Bound Publishing, Liquid Silver Books and The Wild Rose Press.
Q. A big welcome to you, Wendi, from TwoLips Reviews Interviews. So we can get to know you better, we're very happy to have you join us this month. Please describe who Wendi Zwaduk is in three sentences.
Wendi: Dirty jeep girl. Writer of steamy books. Mom, wife, blue meanie.
Q. How long have you been a writer? What started you on the path to becoming an erotic romance author?
Wendi: I started writing 7 years ago. I got on the path to publication because I’d read a Harlequin book. I didn’t like the ending and didn’t like the way the sport was treated in the book. I decided I was going to give the characters in my head a story. I haven’t looked back.
Q. How many books do you have published and in what genres? Is there a genre in which you can never see yourself writing?
Wendi: I’m published in contemporary erotic romance, contemporary romance, paranormal erotic romance, and sci-fi/fantasy erotic romance. Megan writes m/m contemporary, m/m sci-fi/fantasy romance and m/f paranormal romance. All erotic. She’s the bad girl. I’ve got....26 works out or under contract as either Wendi Zwaduk or Megan Slayer.
Q. Why do you feel it necessary to write under an alter ego?
Wendi: I’ve found some of my readers weren’t comfortable with m/m stories. Megan writes those. Megan’s also allowed to get much dirtier than I write. I’ve never hidden the fact that Megan and I are the same person, although she’s got a way better picture.
Q. What projects are on the horizon for you (and Megan) and when can we expect to see them?
Wendi: I’ve got a novella coming out in July from Total-E-Bound – Sunshine of Your Love. It’s a recent historical set in 1970 Ohio. Noel’s a returning Vietnam vet and Cindy’s the art teacher determined to win his heart.
Megan’s got a Forever Wicked title coming out in April from Changeling Press – Always. Peter Pan’s a dom and Wendy’s his sub. Things will get hot and fast.
Megan’s also got a short coming from Razors Edge Press called Cock and Bull. It’s a no-holds-barred m/m/m short taking place in a strip/fetish club.
Q. Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do they influence your writing at all?
Wendi: This is a sticky question. I do read my reviews. Some are fantastic. Some really get painful. I realize reviews will always be the reader’s opinion, but some can be scathing.
One thing I love is the comments from the readers. I’ve actually written based on the suggestions of readers. Now that doesn’t mean I write what they tell me to, but for example I was asked if Arran and Mindy from Tangled Up would get a genesis story. The more I thought about it and asked them, the more they wanted to show where they came from. Someone Like You was born.
Q. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Wendi: The toughest? Gee... I had a reviewer tell me they would not read anything else I’d written until I got better. My question to the reviewer is how will you know if I got better if you don’t read anything else? I try to shrug that kind of thing off because again, it’s opinion. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt a tick.
The best? A reader who initially didn’t think they would like one of my titles, but gave it a chance and then loved it. That’s great. I love when readers tell me they enjoyed the books.
Q. How important is it to have family support in your writing? Do they know you write erotica?
Wendi: My husband is my research partner and my biggest fan. He knows and loves it. He bought the tire cover for my Jeep that reads “Dirty Jeep Girl”. My family for the most part knows. Those who do know love it. Those who don’t know would probably keel over. Can’t please everyone.
Q. What do you feel is the most important element of an erotic romance and why?
Wendi: Romance. There had better be love between the characters. If I want to read a sex scene without emotion, I’ll read porn. If I want love and emotion, I’ll read an erotic romance.
Q. Have you ever written an erotic romance you thought would be controversial and found that it wasn't?
Wendi: Yes. Megan wrote Permanent. When I subbed it, there were elements in it—the main character was raped and although it’s not specifically described, it’s there—and I thought that would put some off. I’ve had people email me, angry that I didn’t put what happened in the book. They felt the book wasn’t as rough in that aspect as it should’ve been. Then again, I’ve had others that thought it wasn’t erotic enough. Again, can’t please them all.
Q. Which of your books was the easiest/hardest to write and why?
Wendi: None of the books are easy to write. There’s a lot of emotion involved that takes a toll. But the one that I had the biggest ball with has been Ever Fallen in Love. I got to go to Charlotte, NC to the NASCAR races to research. Yes, I was a happy girl.
The hardest to write has been either Permanent or Someone Like You. Permanent was hard because River has just been raped when the book opens. There are a lot of emotions he deals with that are tough to take. Tory, the other hero has a hard time dealing with understanding what happened. Someone Like You was rough because I knew what would happen between that book and the follow up. I haven’t written the in between story yet, but when you know what will happen and the characters won’t always be happy, it’s tough.
Q. Would you ever collaborate with another author? If so, who would be your “dream” partner and why?
Wendi: I’ve, as Megan, collaborated with Kealie Shay. She’s my best friend and we have a blast when we write together. We get each other and can literally end each other’s sentences.
I don’t know if there’s a dream author I’d like to work with. I’ve worked with many authors as critique partners and I know how twitchy I get when my work is twiddled with. I love my CPs and don’t mind changing things, but I like to control my work. That’s a great question I don’t have an answer for.
Q. Which of your books published under either of your author names is your favorite? Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
Wendi: Megan’s book – Fire Woman is the favorite because I loved being able to write about a fire elemental and a water elemental attempting to balance each other out.
My Wendi favorite – Sunshine of Your Love would be, even though it’s not out yet. I have a family member who served in Vietnam and I’ve spent lots of time talking to him. I love the fashions of the era as well as the music. Getting to write the characters was the best.
My favorite character is Sully Tanner from Somewhere I Belong. Why? He’s a former rock and roller turned farmer. Yes, I love farmers. Plus, he’s not what you think. I love when people aren’t what they seem – in a good way.
Q. How do you plan out your books? And how do you decide on either a traditional m/f romance or a ménage situation?
Wendi: The characters talk to me and tell me what they want to do. For example, Juniper and Jacoby from Savin’ Me started off saying, we’re in a ménage and our third isn’t right here with us. Make him show up.
I am a slave to the characters. I’ve had characters I thought for sure would be in ménage relationships get really angry because I tried to put them in one. They insisted they have a M/F relationship. I did what they wanted and I’m glad I did.
Q. What attracts you to male/male writing?
Wendi: There are certain issues that m/m relationships deal with that M/F relationships don’t realize. They aren’t always as accepted as M/F ones. I like to read the stories because I like to see different perspectives on tried and true relationship issues.
Q. A lot of women read male/male books. I sometimes read and review them for the same reason I pick any other book: because the plot has caught my attention. Do you think most women share my reason for reading them or read them because two men together in a romance just plain turns them on? An do you think a reader has to have a sympathetic view of the gay movement to enjoy an GLBT book?
Wendi: I need the plot to catch my attention. Just because a book is m/m isn’t a guarantee I’ll read it. Granted there are authors I will jump to get their books, but that’s a very few. It helps to be sympathetic to the GLBT movement when reading the book, but really I look at it this way – the plot is solid and the characters are interesting, the genders shouldn’t matter.
Q. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for you?
Wendi: I love to go on Facebook with my work. Post excerpts and links. Twitter's fun. I don’t know that I’ve found my niche yet, but I’m working on it. I’m trying to be more visible on the loops and the sites. I love to guest blog and have guests on my blog.
Q. On your website you mention that you love NASCAR. I have to ask this because I'm a NASCAR fan too. Who's your favorite driver and why? Did he have any influence on your writing of Ever Fallen in Love?
Wendi: Grin. My driver isn’t just one. I’m greedy. I am a Clint Bowyer fan, but when he moved to Toyota, it pained me. Sigh. I loved him in the Cheerios car. I’m a big Richard Childress Racing fan and in turn, I’m following Ty Dillon in the truck series and Austin Dillon in the Nationwide series. Who are Austin and Ty? Richard Childress’ grandsons. I love to watch all the divisions of NASCAR because there are drivers in each that are great and lots don’t get the attention they deserve. I’m also big on dirt racing and the World of Outlaws.
Clint didn’t necessarily have much influence on Ever Fallen in Love, but Kevin and Delana Harvick did. Delana owned/ran Kevin Harvick Inc. (no longer in existence). A woman at the helm piqued my interest. I studied what she did and let my character Megan Rodney run with it. And yes, I visited both Kevin Harvick Inc and Richard Childress Racing.
Q. What question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
Wendi: Is Megan Slayer really you? Yes, she’s really me, just dirtier.
Q. Where can your fans find you and your books on the Internet?
Savin’ Me: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1448
Someone Like You: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1513
Tangled Up: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1055
Ever Fallen in Love: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1325
Somewhere I Belong: http://www.king-cart.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi?store=linda018&cart_id=12851.7645&product_name=Somewhere+I+Belong&return_page=&user-id=&password=&exchange=&exact_match=exact
When You’re With Me (new release): http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1581
Fire Woman: http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1683
Down to Earth (new release): http://changelingpress.com/product.php&upt=book&ubid=1788
Q. What’s your favorite “do not touch or you'll eat the whole thing” food? And when do you reach for it?
Wendi: Pickles. Claussen pickles. I don’t reach for them often, but Claussen pickles are one of the few foods that make my mouth water. Dunno why.
Q. What's on your sexual bucket list? Please share one or two things from your list with us.
Wendi: I’d love to get my nipples pierced, I suppose. I dunno. Most everything I’ve wanted to try, I’ve tried. Grin.
Q. When, where and with whom (if you can share that with us) did you last go skinny dipping?
Wendi: I’ve never been. Never had the chance to go. Sad, isn’t it?
Q. You’re having a clandestine affair with a famous historical figure. Who is it and why him?
Wendi: Hmmm. There are two. John Lennon. I know he’s more recent historical, but the guy had some great ideas that were never really fully executed. I’d also pick him because I could talk art with him. I went to school to teach art, did and it would be nice to talk to someone who gets the nuances of art. And Alan Kulwicki. I’m a nerd, I know, but I have a thing for smart, like wicked smart can do math in the race car smart, racers. Again, he’s more recent historical and a little geeky looking, but nerds need love, too.
Q. If you knew the world was ending tomorrow, what would you do tonight, with whom and why?
Wendi: A crazy hot lovefest with Gerard Butler. I want to hear him whisper sweet nothings in my ear in that sexy brogue. And if he wasn’t available (and it wasn’t a fantasy), I’d tackle my DH (dear husband). We’d heat up the sheets. Why? Cuz he’s my DH. :-)