Buckeye Crime Writers member Ray Wenck has published an astounding 13 books in the past two years. In addition, he’s experimenting with new vehicles in publishing, such as Amazon Vella. Eileen Curley Hammond caught up with him recently to get an update on what’s been going on in his writing career. Ray will be presenting in August, so keep an eye out for more details. Ray’s books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, and all your other favorite book sites.
ECH: That’s a lot of writing. Can you tell us some of your history? I believe at one point in time, you were traditionally published. What made you decide to go the independent route?
RW: I wasn’t given much choice. Just when my second novel, Random Survival, hit the top 20 on Amazon, the publisher announced it was going out of business. A second publisher saw the book’s potential and contracted the series. We rushed three more novels out before they too went out of business. Maybe it was my books. I was left with 13 titles that no one else would touch because they had already been published. To get them back on the market, I had to learn how to publish them myself.
ECH: You also write multiple genres: mystery, thrillers, post-apocalyptic, and humorous YA adventures. What was the appeal of these different categories?
RW: I never started out to write multiple genres, at least not as many as I have. I started writing mysteries with the Danny Roth series. After writing four books, I had an idea for a new series, and Random Survival was born. There are now eight titles in the Danny Roth series, and with the latest release in May, seven in the Random Survival series. The other stories come to me from out of nowhere. They rattle around in my head for a while demanding to be let out. I write them and worry about the genre later. So now I have two paranormal stories, an urban fantasy series, and three different portal fantasies. It may not be the right thing to do, but I write them and figure out where they go later.
ECH: I saw from your bio that you are also a chef. Does food feature in your work? And have you ever thought of writing a cozy mystery?
RW: Food does feature in the Danny Roth series. He finds himself the owner of a restaurant that other people try to take from him.
I have thought about doing a cozy, and maybe one day will, but if I go too far into a story without killing someone, my body begins to shake like I’m in withdrawal. I lose consciousness, and when I come out of it, bodies are everywhere. (On the pages, of course. Well, except for that one time, but that’s another story). I did write one story where no one dies. I didn’t realize it until one of my Betas pointed it out, but so far, that’s as cozy as I’ve gotten.
ECH: Ha, ha. No worries, people get killed in cozies too! Would you like to share something from your most recent release, “Random Survival – A Life Worth Dying For“?
RW: I’m not sure where this series goes from here. Book six ended with a true ‘WTF did he just do moment’ from the reader’s standpoint. Though I dealt with the situation in book seven, the thought has entered my mind to end it or possibly take a break. The spin-off series, Random Survival The Road has taken off. Down the line, the two may meet, but that’s a distance away yet.
ECH: What’s next for Ray Wenck?
RW: Onward and upward. As long as I’m having fun, and readers still like what I’m doing, I’ll keep going. The direction isn’t always up to me at a conscious level. Subconsciously, I have a plan. It’s sometimes not revealed to me until much later. (Yeah, I know … weird.)
Though still writing, I spend a lot more time now on the business side. The books mean nothing if no one reads them. I’m working hard at finding new audiences.
Though apocalyptic works are more what I’m known for, my focus has been on writing a lot more mysteries. I released two books in the Bridgett Conroy series, a character I really like and plan to do much more with, and am writing a new one currently titled Buzz Kill, which I hope to release sometime later this year.
Book three of my fantasy trilogy is scheduled for October. Buzz Kill, maybe September. Stealing Death, another mystery, is set for August. Slicer, Book five in The Road series is set for June. If I can’t get an agent or publisher to bite on When the Cheering Stops, another mystery, I’ll release that possibly in July.
I have promised my readers book three in the Bridgett Conroy series this year, so I’ll have to make time for that at some point.
Now that I see this written out, it’s kind of daunting. I think I need to schedule a vacation. Who am I kidding? The voices in my head will never stand for that.