I am happy to introduce you to Wendi Starusnak. Starusnak has dreamed of becoming a published writer since she was very young and is currently working hard to make her dream a reality. She is living her own version of “Happily Ever After” in Central New York with her husband, six children, and elderly live-in mother-in-law. She is also a step-mom of two grown children and step-grandma (or Mema) to six beautiful children.
Her book is Detached, but it has not been released yet. Here is an excerpt from her work:
I felt the back of his rough, calloused hand slam into the side of my face. My whole head jerked around with the force and I had to grab the counter to keep from falling to the cold, hard wood floor. “I don’t want none of you belly achin’ over that dumb horse. It had ta be done. Tha’s all. Yer all lucky I din’ make one of you do it. Don’t I always tell ya, don’t git too attached ‘cuz it might be supper? I think some of you haven’t been paying enough attention to me when I speak. Maybe now my message is clear enough for all of you. Now go and get ready fer bed,” Dad said just before spitting his tobacco into one of the three dirty cups that remained on the counter.
My heart ached along with my face. It was stupid of me to question him. I would have to remember to keep my big mouth shut before it got me killed. I licked the blood off the side of my split top lip with my tongue. I was careful to keep my gaze focused on the plate I was washing to avoid eye contact with any of my siblings or either of my parents. I didn’t want to cry and get myself into more trouble. Finally I heard them push their chairs away from the dinner table.
There was a sniffle from behind me. Without thinking, I turned my head and saw the tormented look on Johnny’s face. I was heartbroken for my older brother as well as for the rest of my family.
I hated my father. I hated him before he fed us Whisper, our beautiful mare, and I hated him even more now. I would forever despise that vile beast. But I didn’t dare say that out loud. Nor did I dare think it where he could see me. So I turned my head again, trying to stay as invisible as possible while I finished up washing the last of the dishes.
In my mind I could still hear Whisper as she whinnied in happiness while I groomed her beautiful blonde mane only the day before yesterday. She had looked at me with one of those big brown eyes and seemed to understand my troubles as I told them to her.
Then I had taken her for a run to give her some exercise. I could still feel Whisper’s strength beneath me as I pushed her to run faster along the side of the deserted gravel road. There wasn’t another house for miles, just open fields and trees. I didn’t want her to stop ever. I wanted to ride off to someplace unknown and live happily ever after.
But Whisper and I had made the short journey along the gravel road back to our deceptively nice-looking house instead. We had journeyed slowly past our produce stand and up the slightly curved dirt driveway.
In the late summer and early fall I often picked two apples off from one of the trees on our way up the driveway. I would give one to Whisper as a treat and keep one to snack on myself. It wasn’t apple season yet though. So the six apple trees that we had lining the left side of the driveway when you were looking towards the house weren’t yet producing apples. I got down and led Whisper by the reigns around the front porch of our house, past the barn and the chickens to the fenced area where we kept the horses.
I couldn’t help but think that if we had not come home that day, she would still be here with us now. I couldn’t throw up. Or cry. But Whisper was gone. And gone to… I couldn’t even bear the thought of where she had gone to without my dinner trying to come back up. My mouth got that horrible watery feeling and then I started to gag on the thoughts that were catching in the back of my throat. I was sick to my stomach with disgust and grief, but I was terrified of Dad and what more he would do. He would know if I got sick and then things would end up being even worse.
Wendi is very excited about her debut novel and current work in progress, Detached, which is a psychological horror novel. She is preparing the very intense process of beginning submissions to publishers. When asked how she gets from start to finish, she explained it this way: “Normally an idea, or group of ideas forms in my head and I write it down so I don’t forget. Then when I have the time I figure out all the details like the premise, theme, hook, trigger, climax, antagonist, protagonist, etc. which gives me a great outline usually to work with.”
Researching? She said this when I asked her about that: “For Detached I did a couple of interviews with people that I knew had some bad experiences in life. I also had to Google what human tasted like, what turpentine would do to a person if ingested, and other strange things that would have the police really starting to wonder about me if they ever looked at the history on my computer.”
I love to know about the characters authors breath life into. So, I asked Wendi about one of her characters. She told me this: “Emily Fleischer is my main character and the protagonist of Detached. Most people have nightmares in their lives, but this poor 11-year-old girl lives them every day. She is quite strong emotionally, though that is put to the test with the struggles that she faces. She loves her siblings, loves to write, is afraid of her doll, doesn’t mind housework, and that’s just a little about her.”
Wendi’s reply to, “How do you balance your time” was quite funny. She said, “Ha ha…. I have six children and a live-in mother-in-law that I care for. I also have an editing business so I edit for other authors throughout the day and after everyone goes to bed at night. I write as I can between playing taxi, Mom, personal shopper, nurse, editor, etc. Most times I stay up late at night to do the things that I really want.”
Authors that inspire Wendi are Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
She said she has always dreamed of becoming a published author. Regarding the complex world of marketing, Wendi said, “So far my marketing strategies have been social networking, creating my own website, and word-of-mouth. I have also done a couple of author interviews for other websites. Once my book is actually published I plan to do plenty of book-signings and interviews (hopefully including t.v. and radio).”
Her one wish: “I hope to become the female equivalent to Stephen King, so my wish would be for people to love my work and eagerly anticipate what comes out next.” Charities she supports: Child based charities, The March For Dimes and The Burn Foundation Of CNY.
I asked Wendi where she gets her ideas for her work. She said, “Experiences of myself and others that I know, nightmares, random thoughts that pop into my head.” When asked about her vision, she said, “I’m just following my dreams and living my life…. Trying to raise my children and make the most out of life. I want my children to be able to see that you can do anything that you truly put your mind to.” The most important thing she wants others to know about her: “I don’t have time to waste on meaningless things. Everything that I do, I do with all of my heart and soul… including the book(s) that I am writing and will write.”
I want to thank Wendi for taking the time to talk to me about her aspirations. Thank you all for reading and following!