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Interview with Wendy Wax, Author of Ocean Beach

Wendy Wax is one of my new favorite authors, and I loved her book, Ten Beach Road, so much that I recommended it for the Mother’s Day issue of Women’s World Magazine.

In Ocean Beach, readers will be reunited with the heroines of Ten Beach Road — Madeline, Avery, and Nicole — as they come to South Beach in Miami to renovate yet another historic house for the television show Do-Over.  While the women have no qualms about working together again and having it televised, they are less interested in having their personal lives shown to the world on television.

Today, I’ve got an interview with Wendy Wax.  I hope you give her a warm welcome.

The characters from Ten Beach Road return in Ocean Beach. When did you know you were not done with these characters and their story and how soon did you begin writing it?

When I finished writing and revising Ten Beach Road I said goodbye to the lovely ladies of Bella Flora thinking that I had given them enough closure to send them off to live the rest of their lives and either find their happy endings or not in the imagination of my readers. But doing a series was something I had always thought about and for some reason as the launch of Ten Beach Road approached and as I talked to bloggers, bookstore owners, friends and fans about the book, ideas for a sequel began to take shape. This was new territory for me and it was very exciting. Over the years as I visited with book clubs and readers to talk about my books I was often asked if there would be more on some of those characters or stories and while I so appreciated the connection readers were making with my characters, for me they were complete and I had no desire to go back. But Maddie, Nicole, and Avery were different – and the idea of tackling another renovation with them for another sweat-soaked summer, seeing where there lives were headed and giving them new challenges was just too hard to resist. Shortly after the tour for Ten Beach Road ended, the writing of Ocean Beach began and now as Ocean Beach is about to hit shelves, I already find myself thinking about new renovation projects and new sunset toasts for my gals, so be sure to stay tuned!

Ten Beach Road was a hit with a number of women and made my recommendation list for Women’s World Magazine in May. How many readers have said they share their books with their mothers, sisters, and friends? And have any readers said they’ve shared your books with the men in their lives?

When I discover a new author or come across a book that I love, it’s automatic for me to share that information with the women in my life, so I love hearing from my readers that they “introduced” me and my work to their mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. Especially since I write about the bonds between women and I feel those relationships are so important in life. Probably the most fun is when readers say “I told my mom/sister/friend all about your books but I made her get her own copy because I don’t want to let mine go!” What author doesn’t love to hear that?

I do hear from some readers that they’ve tried to get their husbands to read my books, because they’d like them to a) understand what women are thinking, b) understand why we need our women friends, c) act (and look) like Joe Giraldi from Ten Beach Road and Ocean Beach or d) all of the above.

When writing your novels, do you start with an event in the news or a character? Please explain.

For me every book is different. In one case it may be an idea for plot that gets me started, in another case it might be a character that begins to take shape first or a news story that gets me thinking. In Ocean Beach it was a combination of things… our country’s obsession with misbehaving and self-obsessed celebrities was something that I touched on in Ten Beach Road and wanted to explore further. Then the idea of contrasting that with an “old school” celebrity who was a true gentleman and class act from the Vaudeville days began to take shape. Also, because Ten Beach Road was very current event based (the women are strangers who come together when they lose everything in a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme), I wanted Ocean Beach to be driven much more by their personal struggles.

Book bloggers have become very influential in the publishing world. Have you enjoyed your interactions with them on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook? And what advice would you give to other authors?

It’s a very different world now than it was when I first started writing. I love that the Internet has made connecting with fans so direct and so easy. In many ways, book bloggers are like independent booksellers in that they make a personal connection with readers, and love to share and recommend books and authors that they discover. Interacting with people like that, who are passionate about books and about reading, is something I will never get tired of, no matter what the medium.

Please recommend a favorite poet or poem and why.

I wish I had more time to read and enjoy poetry than I do. In fact with two teenage sons, a husband and some tight deadlines from my publisher, I wish I had more time to read in general! That said, I love how some of the modern poets like Lee Rossi (Wheelchair Samurai) and Laura Kasischke (Space, In Chains) incorporate modern imagery from our everyday lives into such an old art form. I have to also admit that I’ve always loved the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou mostly because I think it would be lovely to feel that way about one’s self every day.

Thanks, Wendy, for answering my questions.

Author Wendy Wax

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

  • Amy

    This is a wonderful interview and makes me want to read Wendy’s books all the more. I especially intrigued that Wendy touches on our society’s obsession with misbehaving and self-obsessed celebrity in Ten Beach Road since that annoys me!

    Wendy’s summer books sound terrific and I love that the same characters are portrayed in Ten Beach Road and her new Ocean Beach.

    Thank you Serena and Wendy!

  • I’m reading this one right now and enjoying it. I loved your questions.

  • Great interview! You’ve made me excited about giving her books a try.

  • Wendy is wonderful! I hope to read her new book soon!

    • I hope you love it as much as I did.

  • Serena,

    Thanks so much for the interview and for your enthusiasm for my work. Both are much appreciated!

    • You are welcome. I love these characters and hope there will be a third book!