Meet Wende Dikec, Pennwriters Conference Saturday Luncheon Keynote
Wende Dikec is the award-winning author of three young adult novels, as well as two novellas and seven women’s fiction novels under her pen name, Abigail Drake. A member of Pennwriters since 2013, Wende lives in Beaver, Pa., with her husband, three sons, and a very naughty Labrador named Capone. To learn more about Wende and her books, check out her websites: www.wendedikec.com and www.abigaildrake.com.
Wende will lead two workshops at the 2018 Pennwriters Conference: The Rules of Romance and How to Rock a Book Signing.
Pennwriters: What do you think is special about the genre you write in?
Wende: I write in several genres, so this is actually a rather tricky question. My latest book, “The Enchanted Garden Cafe,” is women’s fiction. In all honesty, for a long time I was very confused about whether to label it as women’s fiction or as a contemporary romance. Some editors told me it was definitely women’s fiction. Others said it was most certainly a contemporary romance. I had no idea which direction to go, but a friend from one of my romance writing groups gave me this advice — if the focus of the book is on the romantic journey between the two main characters, it’s a contemporary romance. If the focus is on the journey and growth of a single female main character, even if there are strong romantic elements, it’s women’s fiction. That really helped clarify things for me. So why do I enjoy women’s fiction? Well, I live in a house filled with men. Even my dog is male. I think this is why I’m naturally drawn to telling stories for and about women. It’s like a shot of estrogen for someone always swimming in a sea of testosterone.
PW: What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing? Did you ever encounter a serious roadblock and how did you overcome it?
Wende: The hardest thing for me is finding the time to write. I’m fortunate that I am able to write full time, but I often over-commit myself to community, school, and social events. Learning to say “no” to these things is a skill I’m still trying to master because I’m a compulsive volunteer. I need to find a ten-step program. As far as serious roadblocks are concerned, I’ve never really had an issue with this. If I do get stuck on something, I find it very helpful to do the things I learned in Mindful Writers. I either listen to one of Madhu Wangu’s meditations, or I take a long, meditative walk in the forest. Those techniques have always worked in helping me solve problems and become a more productive writer.
PW: What’s individual or unique about your writing space? Do you have a memento or good luck charm on your desk?
Wende: When my oldest son moved into an apartment, I immediately snagged his room and made it into my office. He wasn’t very happy about this. I think he wanted me to leave it empty, as a sort of shrine, but I did not. I have a desk next to a large, arched window that overlooks a meadow and rolling hills in the distance. My desk is covered in various things I collected while on writing retreats and also from friends. One of my favorites is a Jane Austen action figure that someone gave me when my first book came out in January 2016. It makes me smile every time I see it.
PW: What has been the most satisfying or significant project of your literary career?
Wende: Being the luncheon keynote speaker for Pennwriters 2018! This is definitely a highlight, but I also get great satisfaction when I hear my books have made an impact on someone’s life, especially my young adult books. I think the books we read as children become the foundation for who we grow into as adults. To have a part, even a tiny one, in shaping futures in a positive way is amazing to me. I also enjoy teaching writing classes to teenagers at local libraries for that very same reason. Knowing I could be the person who inspired a writer to believe in him or herself, and to keep writing, is the most wonderful thing I can imagine.
PW: What is your favorite tip or advice for writers?
Wende: You have a story to tell, and you are the only one who can tell it. Don’t let your fears and insecurities get the best of you. Ignore the negative voices in your head, and share your story.
PW: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
Wende: Oh, I hate this question. Do I have access to electricity? Because I really need a place to plug in my Nespresso machine and charge my phone. Without my phone, I can’t read all the TBR books I have on Kindle, and without coffee, I would die. I’m not joking. I also need to bring wine (that’s kind of mandatory), and a corkscrew, and my dog. Wait…was that more than three? I’m feeling very high maintenance here.
PW: If you had a time machine, where and when would you be right now?
Wende: I’m so happy in the moment, I honestly wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have a wonderful family, the best friends in the world, and I get to what I love every single day. What more could anyone ask for?
To register for The Pennwriters Conference, visit:
Online registration ends May 15th, 2018 at midnight. Onsite registrations taken after that date.
All meal options end May 9th, 2018 at midnight.