Guest Authors,  Writer's moments

Author Spotlight: Audrey Wick Has a New Novel!

What fun to welcome Audrey Wick to the spotlight today! She is a writer, a teacher, and world traveler and I always love talking to her! Be sure to check out her latest novel, Seeing Us–links below will take you right to it!

Audrey is a novelist of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. She is also a full-time English professor at Blinn College in Texas and serves on faculty at the San Miguel Literary Sala. Her writing has appeared in college textbooks published by Cengage Learning and W. W. Norton as well as various literary journals. She has been a repeat contributor to Writer’s Digest and Woman’s World. Audrey believes the secret to happiness includes lifelong learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over twenty countries—and sipped coffee at every one.

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N: Welcome to the blog, Audrey. I’m so delighted to have you with us today. So, opening question, what comes first—characters or plot?

A: Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Nan. It’s always fun to talk with you about writing.

And what a tough opening question! I would say that sometimes characters form in my mind when I’m developing a story concept, but other times, it’s the plot. However, I must admit that setting is usually the very first element that takes hold: I like setting a book in a place that resonates with me. Once I nail that down, then the other pieces of the story can fall into place.

N: Your new novel, Seeing Us just released. Tell us how that story came about. 

A: I adore stories with a fun premise, and that’s the basis for Seeing Us: what if an optometrist looking deep into the eyes of one of his patients started to fall for her? The setting of an optometry office in a heartwarming town was appealing to me, and I used the real location of Seguin, Texas (outside of San Antonio) as the fictional optometry office location in Seeing Us.

N: What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing Seeing Us?

A: I don’t need glasses every day, but I do wear them on occasion. So thinking about the role they play for me—and so many other people—and then weaving elements of that throughout the story helped me (pardon the pun) see things more clearly.

N: Can you speak to the whole concept of sweet romance because it really is a genre unto itself.

A: Absolutely! Sweet romance is appealing to readers young and old because of its breezy, emotional storytelling. It’s like a Hallmark film in a book. I write with a few elements of the women’s fiction genre in order to add more depth to my storytelling. Regardless, though, with sweet romance, readers can relax into the story knowing a happily-ever-after is guaranteed.

N: Give me three words to describe your heroine Danica Lara and three words to describe your hero Dr. Grady Urban.

A: Ohh, that’s challenging! Without spoiling the story, I’ll settle on a few safe choices here . . . Danica is friendly, hard-working, and supportive. Grady is driven, resourceful, and generous. They partner together on an important project in the book, which allows their personalities to really shine.

N: What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

A:  The world is an uncertain place, and when people need an escape, I hope they will turn to fiction. I want to give readers a chance to shelve their worries by being whisked away into a lovely Texas setting full of small-town charm, with characters who hopefully feel real to them. I strive to create heartwarming novels, and I hope my writing will bring a smile to readers.

N: What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

A: Maybe this is the English professor in me, but it’s all the small stuff! Compound words, homophones, hyphenated adjectives: there are so many choices to make on the page, so it’s difficult to get everything polished.

N: You have been a professor of English and are now on the faculty of San Miguel Literary Sala. As well as writing novels, you’ve had articles published in numerous journals, newspapers, and blogs. How do you think your teaching and nonfiction writing influences your novel writing?

A: Writing is a creative outlet for me, so whether I am writing fiction or nonfiction, it’s a fulfilling process. I enjoy inventing sentences that no one has ever written before and then organizing those sentences in such a way that can communicate a story, whether that’s through the long form of a novel or the short form of a personal essay. Writing in a variety of forms also allows me to share different ideas with different audiences.

N: Writing can be an emotional, stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

A: Yes, writing can definitely be emotional and stressful. Writing is always a process, and it is not easy—though it may look easy to others. Aspiring writers should remember there is a lot of polish that happens before a final draft is ready. For me, the process brings enjoyment, and I would encourage aspiring writers to focus on the aspects of the process they enjoy as they work hard on the craft.

N: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I had so many interests, so my what-do-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up answer definitely changed with age. But I did come back in various capacities to wanting to be a teacher. I was fortunate to have many great teachers in my own life, and it’s a noble profession. Luckily, I get to do that now with my day job working at Blinn College.

N: Favorite book when you were a kid?

A: I read a lot growing up. My family enjoyed trips to the public library, and it was there that I discovered some of my absolute favorite middle grade series, including Hank the Cowdog (John R. Erickson) and The Babysitters Club (Ann M. Martin). I still appreciate these books!

N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?

 A: I would love to have a dinner party with a trio of Southern women writers I have enjoyed and have exposed my college students to over the years: Kate Chopin, Katherine Anne Porter, and Flannery O’Connor. In addition to talking about writing, I would love to hear directly from these women about their lives—because all three lived such interesting ones!

Finally, Nan, thank you so much for the opportunity to chat. You are such a friend to fellow authors, and I am grateful that we can talk about our writing.

Seeing Us

A sweet love story between a patient looking for new glasses and the town’s optometrist

Danica Lara hasn’t been seeing clearly. Blinded by the lure of profit in a partnership with her best friend’ s ex, she’s also battling changes in her vision, which prompts a visit to Dr. Grady Urban, the new optometrist in town. Yet the hunky doctor who looks deep into her eyes senses that she needs more than glasses.

Trying to make a name for himself in a small town, Grady offers more than just optometry expertise as he plays armchair psychiatrist to clients who need some quiet hand-holding. With Danica, Grady finds himself attracted not only to helping her but also to partnering with her in a public school charity outreach. But mixing business and pleasure results in blurred vision for them both.

Can Danica and Grady see clearly enough to make the right decision with their time and talents but still find love in the process?

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