Chris Wenger has worked in the criminal justice field for more years than she cares to remember. She has a dual master's degree in Probation and Parole Studies and Sociology from Fordham University, but the knowledge gained from such studies certainly has not prepared her for what she loves to do the most - write romance!
Her first book, THE LADY AND THE COWBOY, a western historical, was written for beginning adult readers and was sold to Laubach Literacy. In 1998, it was chosen by the Publishers Liaison Committee of the Public Library Association's Adult Lifelong Learning Section as one of the "Top Titles for Adult New Readers."
One of the biggest thrills of her life was receiving "the call" from Susan Litman at Silhouette Special Edition in January of 2004 that they wanted to publish THE COWBOY WAY. Yeee-haw!!
THE COWBOY WAY was released in January 2005.
A native Central New Yorker, she enjoys watching professional bull riding and rodeo with her favorite cowboy, her husband, Jim.
How long has it taken you to see THE COWBOY WAY published?
I've been writing for publication since 1992 when I attended my first local writers' conference sponsored by the Central New York Romance Writers. I'd written twelve complete books and several short stories before I received "the call" from Associate Editor Susan Litman on January 22, 2004, that Silhouette Special Editon wanted to buy THE COWBOY WAY. I don't know the release date yet, but I believe it will be in 2005.
How did you deal with past rejections?
I ranted, whined and cried. Each book represented my blood, sweat and a significant time investment. I've quit a zillion times, but each time I began again...and again...and again. If the editor gave me any kind of feedback, I studied it and learned from it. I attended conferences, workshops, listened to tapes, got involved in a critique group, and studied my craft to become a better writer. I wasn't going to give up. Call me stubborn, but it finally worked.
What advice would you give to other aspiring authors as to "not giving up on their dream" to see their work one day in print?
If you give up, it'll never happen. It took me TWELVE YEARS. I'd given up a zillion times. After all, when you stop beating your head against a brick wall, it feels good! It depends how much you want to be published. I wanted it badly. Some people just like to write for their own enjoyment, and that's okay, too, but that's not me. Show me the money!
Will you try writing other genres in the future?
I tried my hand at scriptwriting, and I love it. I'd like to get better at that. I also have a knack for comedy. But I love the romance genre. I'll stay with that.
How has RWA been supportive to your writing career?
RWA, Romance Writers of America, has been supportive of writers since its inception. RWA also organizes a fabulous annual conference. I attend whenever I can and am present at every workshop with conflict, emotion, and sexual tension in the title. Their monthly publication is top-notch. RWA has taken on several tough issues with various publishers on behalf of their membership and RWA gets stronger every year.
How has your family helped support you?
My husband Jim is a gift from God. He thinks there's nothing I can't do. He doesn't balk at the money I spend on writing, which I remind him is tax-deductible. He encourages me to go to conferences and loves it when I go to critique meetings or when my critique group comes over. When I got the call, he couldn't have been happier and has told all the neighbors, everyone at the golf courses, and anyone else who doesn't run away when they see him coming. Whenever I'm on email or dragging my feet getting to the computer, he reminds me that I should be writing. He cooks and cleans so I can write and is my biggest cheerleader. He's my hero and one of a kind.
What authors do you read and how have they inspired your writing?
In my younger days, I read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Cherry Ames. I loved the adventure and the gutsy gals.
In the romance genre. I read Carla Neggers for romantic suspense. She's brilliant. I love reading Patricia Kay for the emotion she puts in her books. Maggie Shayne writes in several genres, but the romantic suspense she's doing lately is edgy and nail biting. Gayle Callen and Mary Reed McCall write brilliant historicals. Susan Peterson, who writes for Harlequin Intrigue, pens page-turners as does Darlene Scalera for Harlequin American. I loved the Regencies of Laurie Bishop and Jenna Mindel. I won't miss a western historicals of either Joan Johnston or Pat Potter. It was after reading Genel Dellin's first book that got me hooked on reading the historical romance genre.
I've also read all the Harry Potter books and anything by John Jakes, Sidney Sheldon and Judith Krantz.
What are you currently working on?
I'm working on a second book for Silhouette Special Edition, which I hope they'll buy, and I'll keep going as long as they want me. I have a million ideas, a million!
Where do you get your ideas?
I really and truly don't know, but I hope they keep coming.
"Christine Wenger writes heart-warming stories of every woman's hopes and dreams." --Susan Wiggs, NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY best-selling author
"Strong, sweet characters make up this story that will stir the heart." -- Four stars from ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEWS on HOW TO LASSO A COWBOY
"Christine Wenger makes a promising debut with this touching story, tugging skillfully at reader's hearts with her characters vulnerabilities. Cowboy fans will love Jake." --ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEW on THE COWBOY WAY
"Happiness is a book by Christine Wenger." --PATRICIA KAY, USA TODAY best-selling author
FOUR STARS FROM ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEW FOR
THE COWBOY WAY!!
"THE COWBOY AND THE CEO overcomes its overused premise through attention to subtleties of characterization. It's often touching and occasionally humorous, too."--ROMANTIC TIMES
"CHRISTINE WENGER is the most talented writer to come along in ages!" --Maggie Shayne, USA TODAY best-selling author
"Christine Wenger writes stories that tug at your heart and make you laugh out loud at the same time. Highly entertaining!" --Carla Neggers, NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY best-selling author
"This is a sweet story filled with genuine characters that is a delightful read." --ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEWS on THE COWBOY CODE--