Wendy S Swore lives on a farm with a corn maze and pumpkin patch that is home to her five kids, two dogs, two geese, seven peacocks, eleven ducks, nineteen cats, and two hundred thirty seven chickens. She farms in the summers, writes in the winters, and would rather chew her leg off than eat something spicy.
Her debut novel, A Monster Like Me, comes out in March 2019.
Q: What made you write about a character who has a hemangioma?
A: When I was a child, I had a hemangioma on my forehead that stuck out far enough that my bangs could not cover it no matter how hard my mother tried. I remember feeling my heartbeat pulsing inside it. When the hydra lady in the first chapter says, “Hey look kids! That girl doesn’t even need a Halloween costume. She’s already got one!” that’s word for word what a woman said to my mother and me at a grocery store. Eventually, my hemangioma deflated and was removed. I traded it for a scar.
Q: Did you get bullied a lot because of the Hemangioma?
A: Yes. There were kids and adults that were cruel about it. My dad recalls chasing off a pack of bullies that followed me home one day making fun of me and pushing me into the street because of my birthmark. Even though I did sometimes wish I could hide from bullies, I didn’t let my birthmark stop me from making new friends or doing activities. Everyone gets bullied at some point because of where they’re from, how they look, how they talk, how they dress, or for some other silly reason. The challenge is to never let the bad things bullies say define who we are.
Q: What do you like to read?
A: Almost everything. I listen to audio books ALL THE TIME when I'm farming, driving, cleaning, etc. I love to read a variety of genres. I've started posting pictures of what I read on Instagram. Some of my favorites that I'll go back and read again are the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, The Ryiria books by Michael J Sullivan, The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill, and and... too many more to list.
Q: When did you start writing?
A: I had a fourth-grade teacher that did writing exercises in class. We wrote poetry and did creative writing exercises. I wrote a cheetah story for class where the cheetah grew up, had kits, grew old and died. Fourth-grade-me shed tears over my beautiful, long, wonderful story. Year later I found this “epic” tale and laughed to see it was a half-page long including pictures.
Q: What is your writing process like?
A: When I get the idea for a story, I like to free-write the first chapter and explore this new world. Then, if I want to finish, I’ll brainstorm what I want to have happen in the story, outline the rest of the plot, and keep going. I listen to movie soundtracks on my earbuds to help me focus, and sometimes I sit on an exercise ball while I write because it’s hard for me to sit still. I write my books in the winter because I’m a farmer, so I’m usually outside working in the fields and greenhouses during farming season.
Q: What else can you tell us about you?
A: Let's see,
* I lived in Spain for 4 months. I wanted to be cool like my big sister (who went to Costa Rica) and speak Spanish, but I don't like spicy food, so started saving money when I was 11 to go to Spain as an exchange student after high school.
* Other countries I've visited: England, Poland, Sweden, Puerto Rico, China, & Canada.
* I'm a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do
* I love sushi! (not spicy)
* I am allergic to strong perfumes. Strong perfumes and chemical scents give me migraines. I am not a fan of smelly candles.
* I enjoy drawing, painting, and sculpting.
* I'm too chicken to watch scary movies. Since I spend 3 months out of the year walking around in corn fields, I will never, ever, EVER watch a scary movie with a corn field in it.
* I'm a nerd. Marvel, DC, X-Men, Star Wars, Star Trek, Sherlock, Dragons, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Hamilton, Supernatural, Avatar the Last Air Bender, etc.. Yes, please! All the LOVES.
* I like to wear funny or ironic shirts.
* My dad was a crop duster so we moved a lot (following bugs and blight) when I was little and I used to climb into the cockpit with him and fly over fields while sitting on my dad's knee. I've lived in Sacramento CA, Portland OR, Logan UT, Walla Walla WA, and now in southeast Idaho.
Wendy is represented by the amazing Agent Stacey Glick, Vice President of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Bio from the cover:
Wendy S. Swore Is farms with her husband and children. She writes part-time, particularly in winter when her farming chores give her time to plant seeds in her imagination. She is a member of SCBWI. This is her debut novel.
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