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Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Wendi Darlin

An Undeniable Urge by Wendi Darlin

For as long as I can remember the strongest urge I've ever known came over me when I closed a really good book. I'll bet as an erotic writer, you thought I was going somewhere else with that.

I began reading early. Very early. You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you how old I was when my mother discovered I could read. So for as far back as I can remember I have gotten lost in books. When I was in elementary school, I remember closing a book that had touched me and feeling this incredible heaviness in my chest. It was the strongest desire I'd ever known, a need that I could almost taste, but couldn't fully comprehend.

I needed to write a story like the one I had just read. I needed to create something that could move myself and other people that way. So now you might expect me to say, I curled up with a crayon and some notebook paper and scrawled out my first novel.

I wish it happened that easily. I knew I couldn't write a book like I wanted to write. I understood even then that I didn't have the experience. I didn't understand my emotions enough. I hadn't lived enough. I hadn't loved in that earth-shattering way yet.

Years passed, and I came upon that feeling time and time again with every good book I read. And I read a lot. Eventually, as a young adult, I tried my hand at piecing together a novel. It was awful. Truly awful. And I had unintentionally plagiarized some of my favorite authors. I hadn’t found my own voice yet, and I didn't have the confidence to create a story that was uniquely mine. Thankfully, no one ever read that piece of literary poo but me.

Life went on. I lived. I loved. I cried. And I got some of that experience I had been lacking. And then one day the urge to write struck again. Only this time, it wouldn't be ignored. So what did I do? I wrote another truly awful book, of course! But this time it was mine. It came from me, not from others I had read.

I did what I could to learn the craft of writing. I got to know other authors and learned the industry. I spent a few years getting my skin thickened by too many rejections to count. And then I wrote another book. This time when I came to the end, I knew I had done it. I had created what I always wanted to create. And though I've been published many times over now under a few different names, that book is still my favorite. It's The Water Bearer, written as Wendi Christner, and I'm proud to say it's mine.

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