Wendy M. Wilson: “It’s a big world, so don’t worry if a few people hate [your book]. What do they know?”

Not the Faintest Trace received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Wendy M. Wilson.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Not the Faintest Trace, published January 4, 2018.

What’s the book’s first line? 

She was lying on her back, wondering if she still had time to sleep, when she saw a large shape come though the reed curtain covering the doorway of the whare.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

Sergeant Frank Hardy, an ex-sergeant from Her Majesty’s 57th Regiment of Foot is asked to find two missing Scandinavian boys, and while searching for them is tracked and attacked by a vengeful Maori warrior out to execute men from the same regiment. Set in New Zealand in the late nineteenth century, the novel has been described as a “nourish mystery.”

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I found an old newspaper article about my Danish great grandfather, Hans Christian Nissen, attending a coroner’s inquest. He was called to identify the bodies of his brother and his cousin, both 18, who turned up in the Manawatu River in New Zealand two months after they went missing. I left New Zealand as a young woman and understood the horror of going through a tragedy so far from home. Living in Canada, away from my family in New Zealand, I too lost a son. The article was the genesis of my story. Sergeant Hardy joined the cast later and took on a life of his own.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

It’s a gripping, well-researched, historical mystery with heart. And readers will come away from it knowing more about a country they have wanted to visit ever since they saw Lord of the Rings.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

My main character is a man of honour who witnesses a wartime atrocity he is powerless to stop: the beheading of a Maori chief by a colonial soldier. When his own brother suffers the same fate he leaves the army to search for a better life.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

I’ve spent some time casting the movie/TV series on a Pinterest account. For my male lead, Sgt. Frank Hardy: Aidan Turner (Poldark), or Luke Evans (The Alienist); for my female lead Mette Jensen: Amber Heard or Alicia Vikander; for the killer Anahera, Manu Bennett or Antonio Te Maioha

When did you first decide to become an author?

When I was seven a teacher recently de-mobbed from the army (WWII) wanting to help fill his day asked us to write a novel.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

The first fiction. I wrote textbooks for Pearson Education during my teaching years.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m a retired English professor who spent years teaching college students how to write.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I write or research most days. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about my current story. I don’t have to force myself to write. I just puddle along and it gets done.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

Best: Being in control of your own destiny. Hardest: The time and money it takes to keep the book moving. It takes away from the writing time. Fortunately, I have time on my hands and a pension.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

If you like your own book someone else will also like it. It’s a big world, so don’t worry if a few people hate it. What do they know?

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

Maybe for one book, as traditional gives you credibility. But I had an agent and the waiting and hoping was driving me crazy. It’s much better to be in control of your own work.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

Seeing people read my book. I especially enjoy watching the line go up when someone takes my book out on Kindle Unlimited. If they read 371 KENP, they read the whole book. If they read 390 KENP they read the history lesson at the back of the book as well.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I like all the Victorian novelists: Dickens, Eliot, Gissing, Trollope, Bronte, Gaskell. But most of all, Thomas Hardy, for whom my protagonist is named (the Frank comes from Sergeant Frank Troy, the bad boy of Far From the Madding Crowd).

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.