Wendy Potocki lives and writes in NYC. If that isn't scary enough, she writes in the genre of horror. She feels creating good horror is an art form. She religiously devotes herself to pursuing it over hill and dale … and in the crevices of her keyboard.
She has four self-published novels: The White Lady Murders, The Horns of September, The Man with the Blue Hat, and her latest, Adduné: Part I. The Vampire's Game. Book trailers for many of her works may be found on her official website http://www.wendypotocki.com/. Her next planned projects are Black Adagio, The Virgin, and the second installment of Adduné entitled The House of Cards. The Adduné saga is a three book series that is as much as an adventure to write as to read. "Many, many hours of research are going into making this a sweeping, exciting tale about love, revenge and the hidden power lying dormant within the soul."
In her spare time, she loves to go for long walks, drink Starbuck's Apple Chai Lattes, make devotional offerings to her cat named Persephone, and be stilled by the grace, beauty and magic of ballet.
What is the current project you are working on?
I’m working on two. The first is Adduné: The House of Cards.The House of Cards is the second in my Adduné vampire trilogy. It’s finished and in the proofing/editing stage. The series is a sweeping adventure about Miranda Perry’s harrowing journey into the dark world of vampires. I’m very pleased with how it’s turning out. The other book is entitled Black Adagio. Black Adagio is my first writing foray into the world of ballet, something near and dear to my heart. Naturally, I had to mix the art form with horror in hopes of producing a grisly, interesting tale. The story concerns a young dancer, Melissa Solange. She’s presented a chance of a lifetime when chosen to be a member of a new ballet company. Her happiness is short-lived due to the inclusion of a sinister ballet into the repertoire. When dancers begin to disappear, the old warning about the work being cursed is taken more seriously. A death worshipping cult called The Innocents is blamed, but she believes they’re a scapegoat for the evil that lives in the woods of Holybrook. She desperately searches for what lurks in the shadows of the old trees before she becomes the next victim of the Danse Macabre. Both these novels are up for grabs as Goodreads giveaways.
How do you define success?
Being at peace with what you do and who you are. It differs for everyone, but I believe this feeling of equanimity is achieved only when the inside matches the outside. Therefore, if what you feel about yourself is wildly divergent from the opinion reflected back by the outside world, there’ll be disconnect and that is never pleasant. It’s much like looking into a mirror, and receiving only a distorted view. However, the distorted view may be the reality, and it may be you that needs to change. Or it could be you see something glorious that the world has yet to recognize. Either way it’s confusing.
How do you handle rejection?
Well, I hope more maturely than when I started this process! The reason I say this is because the traditional method of publishing, beats the aspirant down for the purpose of getting them to act professionally. This includes being able handle harsh criticism in an objective, non-emotional way since what prospective publishers and agents have to say is nothing compared to being in the spotlight’s glare. However, with the wonderful advent of self-publishing, a lot of us have circumvented the Ritual of Eleusis, and haven’t been fully tempered by fire. So it’s incumbent upon independent writers to understand that they have to receive this education in some other way. Of course, not all indie writers fall into this category. Some have been groomed and polished like gems long before they enter the public arena, but for those of us who never entered the bull ring, and don’t know the protocol of what is expected, it’s up to us to learn.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, but it was a big secret. When younger, I would never have dared whisper such a goal. As I got older, I tested the waters, and finally let the cat out of the bag to a few people I considered friends. To say that the idea was dismissed is an understatement. The reactions ranged from stunned silence, to belittling snickering, to blunt suggestions that I was much too dumb to do anything so grand. It was a wake-up call for me to reevaluate my life and figure out why I was choosing to spend time with people who thought so little of me. After much soul-searching, I decided that people that profess to be friends don’t act that way. I knew I didn’t. I’m the one with the cheerleading outfit replete with pompoms, and no, I don’t use it to entertain Charlie Sheen. However, I have used it countless times in support of friends trying something new. Consequently, I broke off contact with those negative individuals, allowing a whole new set of supportive people to enter my life. And by supportive, I don’t mean that they think anything I do is fine, and that if I scribble on a napkin that it’s high art. I just mean supportive in that they understand the concept of someone following their dreams, and aspiring to be more.
What inspired you to become a writer?
For me it was a process. I would start by saying that the decision is rooted in my exploration of religion and trying to find out what enlightenment really is. The whole journey started in the late 80’s, when I had a very mystical experience. What followed was a burst of energy that lasted all through the 90s. I read all sorts of books on topics that some would say aren’t related to religion at all, in order to understand what occurred. I should add here that I still have no idea what happened … or why. I just know it did.
The miraculous religious event triggered a whole upheaval, a personal renaissance. I branched out into other religions, other viewpoints, physics, yoga, tarot reading, dream interpretation, alchemy, and anything else even tangentially involved in self-improvement on an occult level. This included Greek mythology. One book in particular got the pistons firing in my head. The book was The Body of Myth by J. Nigro Sansonese. It’s a brilliant book that set forth the notion that Greek mythology is actually a series of koans designed to explain how the body works. The result of following this wisdom is to lead us into a trancelike state that will allow us to find our way home. And by home, I mean enlightenment. The whole idea totally captured my imagination. I was soon formulating my own theories about Zeus, the pantheon of gods and goddesses, and those elusive muses. By following a blueprint drawn up by me, I seem to have activated Pieria, the area of the brain involved with the arts. Before I knew it, my muse began telling me stories, and I began to write them down.
What is the best thing about being one?
The best thing is the communing with what I believe is a universal well of knowledge. It’s a beautiful place to be. While some insist that it is the writer who writes, I insist it’s not me, it’s this muse who lives at the foot of Mt. Olympus. Therefore, I’m entertained during the process because I really don’t know what is going to happen. I act as a court reporter, and just transcribe what’s said. I’m as surprised as anyone at the stories I’m told. Writing also allows me the fantastic opportunity of getting to know all my characters in a way that’s not possible in the real world. I know them intimately. All their hopes and fears, their longings and dreams. The level of understanding is astounding. Consequently, I feel very close to them.
What is the worst thing about being one?
Are you talking about my spreading tuchus? Other than my burgeoning butt, I’d say that it’s the constant challenge of being able to translate the stories in vocabulary equal to the ideas. I’d also say that the isolation and lack of validation is difficult. I liken my current circumstance to having a conversation with myself. It’s very unrewarding, but it’s the way it is. I continue to work very hard on becoming better so I can get beyond this stage and develop into something worthy of respectful attention.
What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?
Oh, gosh! I have no idea. There are five or six finished movie scripts, plus a few more that I’ve started. Then there are teleplays … all in various stages. And there are many more novels I’m working on. I have another one that’s finished, and I’ve already started on about four or five more projects. I also just got two amazing ideas that I can’t wait to start on. To sum it up, let’s just say, if nothing else, I’m prolific.
Who is your favorite author?
So many. I love Herman Hesse and Camus. Joyce Carol Oates is a favorite as is Anne Perry, Anne Rice and Martha Grimes. Then there’s Agatha Christie, Jack London, Walter Farley, Jack Finney and Jane Austen. Whitley Strieber, Peter Straub, Lovecraft, Clive Barker … and the master of horror, the brilliant, fantastical Stephen King. Oh, gosh, I can’t tell you how much I admire his writing. I’m a real fan.
How has your life changed since you became writer?
It’s changed enormously. Besides what I’ve consciously pursued, there has been an unearthing of a whole series of very painful past remembrances. I truly wonder how people survive, but we do, don’t we? It has been a journey about learning, growing, pushing through boundaries, developing confidence, maturity and becoming happy with what I am.
What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to be a writer?
Learn, write, grow. Don’t give up, but don’t stay in the same place. The worst thing you can do is not progress. One should never aspire to be a wheel stuck in the mud. Also enjoy the fact that you’re in the privileged position of even deciding to embark on such a pursuit. Always be grateful for that fact alone. Writing is a tremendous privilege no matter what level the staircase step you’re standing upon.
What do you like to do besides writing?
I love ballet. I used to take class, but very recently I became officially too old and decrepit to continue. I started to dabble in dance photography and hope to become more actively involved in capturing the beauty of the discipline of dance. I also love to sketch/draw, go for long walks, and drink Starbucks.
What's your favorite movie quote and why?
It’s from Body Heat.
Maddie: “Well, some men, once they get a whiff of it, they trail you like a hound.”
Why? Do I really need to explain? It’s undoubtedly one of the best lines ever spoken on film. So audacious, provocative and unexpected. There were a lot of zingers in that film.
What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?
Oh, don’t get me started on this. In general, I hate sequels and remakes! Hate them! People went all crazy about the colorization of classic black and white films and nobody’s thought to picket this present practice that’s about a million times more offensive! And the recyling of original to carbon copy has been reduced to about five years! See the original and leave it at that.
What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?
I’m all for it! It’s very difficult to do, but when you love a novel, it’s what you long to see.
It’s funny how adaptation is so tricky. There are a few successful transitions that spring to mind like Rosemary’s Baby, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the Harry Potter series, and Lord of the Rings. I’m sure there are lots more, but those were superlative adaptations.
I suppose I want to tell people beginning anything not to cherry pick too much. Just be open and available for things that come your way. I notice that sometimes people think they’re going to be put on top of the wedding cake without doing the groundwork. Most often success is a gradual process. Of course, it’s fabulous when someone’s first project takes off and becomes insanely successful, but most times it’s just not like that. Take what’s offered and gratefully climb the ladder without complaint.
I’d also love to give my website and a link to my trailer for Black Adagio. And thank you so much for this opportunity. I do appreciate it.
Black Adagio trailer