1 What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?
My first job, as a teenager, was a weekend one in a tobacconists. I hated it and it didn’t last long as I had no aptitude for maths (I’m no better now!). We weren’t allowed to add things up on the till so had to do it all in our heads. Needless to say, after about the tenth person had complained that I’d charged them the wrong amount or given the wrong change, it was suggested that I might be better employed elsewhere! Not surprisingly, it’s my husband who does all my writing accounts.
Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?
Well, funny you ask that question as I really do have a ‘pet’ peeve! Ask most people, and they will tell you that I am usually very easy going and hardly ever get anger. There is one thing, though, that makes my blood boil and that is people who don’t put their dogs on leads. I don’t mean all the time – just when they see me bend down, put Bonnie on her lead and call out, “I’m sorry, my dog doesn’t like other dogs.” Most people are courteous and realise there is a good reason I’ve put her on a lead and will do the same but others just let their dogs bound up to her which she hates. Saying, “My dog just wants to play” doesn’t help… mine doesn’t. Rant over.
Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ____?
When it comes to everyday clothes, it’s jeans, boots and my trademark stripy t-shirt but when I’m at a ballroom dance it will be a lovely dress and my fabulous dance shoes. As for my house – I’d like to be able to describe it as any of the above but the best description is probably just ‘messy’!
Tell me about your book The Last Rose and where you got your inspiration for it?
The Last Rose is a collection of twelve short stories (all previously published in national magazines) with the theme of family and friendship. The inspiration behind the book is my wonderful circle of friends and family (including my step-family) who have furnished me with many of my ideas - through tales they have told and things they have done.
Who is your role model? Why?
My mum! If I can be half as active and involved in life as she is at 84 then I will be very lucky.
How much of your book is realistic?
I steal snippets of people’s lives and turn them into fiction, so in that respect a lot of the stories in The Last Rose are realistic.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I have just finished my debut novel and so my ambition is to hopefully find a publisher for it. I wrote the novel alongside my magazine stories and serials. I hope to be able to do that with the second one too… but this might not be realistic.
Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.
When you meet me, you may not see it but I am incredibly nervous and full of self-doubt.
In his hand is the rose, as beautiful as I have ever seen - its creamy apricot petals curling inwards from his palm. He holds it out as one might a precious gift.
“The Last Rose is for you,” he says.
The Last Rose, is a collection of short stories of family and friendship. All thirteen stories have previously been published in either The People's Friend, Woman’s Weekly or Take a Break Fiction Feast Magazines. If you like stories with emotional depth and a satisfying ending, then these stories will not fail to leave you unmoved.
Angie’s daughter says she is coping after the birth of Alex but is she really?
Thelma’s grandson helps her to see that you don’t need bricks and mortar to house your special memories.
After her second marriage, Kate hopes a holiday in Greece will bond her new family but the cracks soon start to appear.
The stories in this collection explore the intricate family relationships of thirteen ordinary people. In them, we discover the sorrow, love and joy that is shared... but not always spoken.
Wendy Clarke is a full time writer of women's fiction. She has sold over a hundred and fifty short stories and her work regularly appears in national women's magazines such as The People's Friend, Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman's Weekly. She has also written serials and a number of non-fiction magazine articles.
Wendy has published two collections of short stories, Room in Your Heart and The Last Rose. She lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex.