Interview with YA fantasy and Adult Contemporary Author B.L. Wheatley

B.L Wheatley is a librarian and mom of three daughters. She loves nature and spends most weekends hiking new trails while trying to keep up with the girls and puppy Luna as they run ahead to become wild things. She lives in Vancouver. And no one believes she writes about dragons. But who would? She’s not a very believable person. She is currently working on three books at once because she’s a master at multitasking.

Bee author photo

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you start?

I knew when I was ten. How did I know? I started ripping off Sweet Valley Twin stories. I figured if I could complete a “novel” (I think that, in my mind, equaled 55 pages) that I was a writer.

What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them?

I write children’s fantasy, YA contemporary, and Women’s contemporary (is that a category? Don’t put this part in. This is a legit question for kelly). I love them for completely different reasons. With children’s fantasy it captures that part of me that refuses to grow up and not believe magic isn’t all around us. With contemporary for YA or Women’s it’s a way to express real life situations and emotions, to find a different way of looking at things that can bring an aha moment to a reader (and more often writer)

What are some of your other favorite avenues for storytelling besides books?

I love to tell people funny things that I’ve seen or have happened to me. It’s actually good practice anyways, because storytelling should be informal, a conversation between friends.

What path are you going to pursue for publication?

First, the traditional way. I’ll query, pitch in person when possible. Last resort will be sitting outside a publishers house. Or befriending JK Rowling by climbing over her wall. You know, the typical paths.

All writers are readers so who are some of your favorite authors and why?

JK Rowling. Duh. I love Liz Gilbert. I’ve decided she is my spirit animal. I also enjoyed A Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. His writing made me hungry. A true sign of a skilled writer.

What inspires your ideas? How do you come up with them?

Sometimes they pop up while I’m talking to a cat. Other times when I’m talking to a friend and a kismet comment will bring it all to me. I find that most of my ideas are like hummingbirds – they pollinate from multiple places: conversations, books I’ve read, places I’ve been, things that make me curious.

What are you working on now? Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I’m working on a women’s fiction contemporary novel. I was writing by the seat of my pants till 18k word count and then realized, I need to have a loose outline. Mainly the outline occurred once the story had solidified within my brain and I had the general ending in mind.

What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?

I tend to write in the morning during the weekend. I also write after I’ve put the kids to bed. I’ll even write during my lunch break. Are you seeing a pattern? I write where I can and I grab moments. It’s balanced by my Friday’s off, when I’ll shlep to a coffeeshop and write for a few hours at a time before I have to do school runs.

If one of your novels was made into a movie, which would you choose and what actor would you cast to play the main role?

A tough one. I want them to ALL be movies. But if I had to pick one…my children’s fantasy with dragons, cats, and a girl. Because who doesn’t love a lovable dragon with it’s own netflix account? Pretty sure the dragons would animated. Unless we find a real one. The girl protag could be played by a young Rachel McAdams.

What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

To ignore my inner voice that says ‘you suck’ and ‘you’re faking it till you’re making it’. That it’s not a hobby. That my persistence is what makes me a writer.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing?

Just keep writing. Deceptively simple, right?

Anything else you would like to add or talk about?

Reading is HUGE (imagine Trump’s voice saying this (or that he even reads)). It’s probably the single most important thing you can do as a writer. It’s the equivalent of going to Italy to learn the Italian language versus trying to learn it by hanging out in Jersey Shore.

You are hysterical! TRULY. Thank you so much! Where can people contact you?

On Twitter: @BLWheatley

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