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Wendy Bayne Interview

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

When and how did you start writing?

I was 63 when I penned my first book. I was done out of boredom. I retired early from a successful career in healthcare as an ICU nurse and was awaiting surgery.

I have always loved historical novels and murder mysteries were a particular favourite of mine.

I had no idea what I was doing after reading every book in our house more than once. I sat down with my laptop each day and let my imagination run wild it took me 18 months to complete my first book.

It was rough and rambling. Finally, I hired an editor, which was a terrible idea. In my naivety, I published through their company and issued a less-than-polished book trusting their experience in the business.

I took back control of my book and felt demoralised, ready to pitch it all out the window until one of my sons suggested I publish independently. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t perfect, and it took me several rewrites to develop something that I was satisfied with and turned it loose on my beta readers.

It reignited my desire to write, but my goal to become a famous writer had changed to just producing something that could be a legacy for my family.

Tell me about your books

My books are mid-19th-century British thrillers with murder, mayhem and a touch of romance and humour. My Main character is a young upper-class woman Lissa (Clarissa) Turner Johnson, later Lady Tinely, who discovers her real Father is a spy for the British Crown. Hence the subtitle for my book Crimes Against the Crown.

How does a story begin for you? Is it an idea, a conversation, a title, or an image?

Since my books are a series, they sort of catapult from one event after another, usually inspired by some historical event of the period.

The first book was inspired by writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.

What was your favourite research activity you have done for a book?

I have a cast of characters that revolve around my MCs, and I feel the need to portray real life as well as the main event. So I try to make them look and sound believable. It takes a great deal of time to research the conditions in the British Isles for the period.

But I love it, though sometimes, I get caught up in the rabbit hole of research and need to pull myself, allowing the reader to use their imagination to colour in the scenes I create.

What do you want your readers to feel when they have closed the last page of your book?

I want my readers to feel that they have been beside Lissa, discovering her world as she experiences what happens around her and to her.

One of your books was described as ‘Jane Austen meets James Bond’. What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?

One reviewer called me the mastermind of epic historical fiction. I would beg to differ, but I must admit it made me think that there is an audience for historical fiction, and I wasn’t being a fool for putting my offerings out to the public.

What advice would you give other writers?

Have patience, work and rework your book. Look at it with a ruthless eye and not as if it was your baby. And take criticism with a grain of salt. Not everyone is right when they critique your work, so try not to take it all to heart. Something I still struggle to do.

“In my experience, nothing is harder for the developing writer than overcoming his [or her] anxiety that he is fooling himself and cheating or embarrassing his family and friends.”

-John Gardner, novelist and literary critic

Has a book really touched you? Made you rethink your views on life? If so, what was it?

When I first read Jane Eyre, I realised people decide their destiny, not family, friends or socio-economic background. We choose our path. So to coin a phrase, “choose wisely”.

What would you do if you didn’t write?

Read. I am a voracious reader.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

To leave a part of me behind that says that Wendy Bayne had a passion for storytelling.

What are your current projects? What should we be looking out for?

I am writing my 16th book in my series and editing book 9, titled Retribution, a story of international intrigue, lost love, and revenge.


Wendy Bayne is a Canadian author who has always been fascinated with the 19th century since finding herself lost in the works of well-known authors such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Hardy.

She weaves historical facts from the 19th century into the fictional world of Lord and Lady Tinley by adding intrigue and suspense, a few outrageous personalities, murder, and more than one harrowing rescue, all in service to the Crown and the peace of the realm.

So, why did she choose the post-Napoleonic period for her books? It was an exciting time, a world aswirl in silks, seduction, and the intrigue of the post-war period, full of political and economic duplicity.

Radical new ideas and innovations were clashing with the past's conventional thinking. Moreover, society was changing; people challenged class norms and their society's fundamental values. As a result, there was a renewed interest in the novel during the late Georgian and Victorian eras. A key theme of these novels was social commentary, satirising the nobility's lifestyle and offering keen observations regarding the class and gender distinctions of the time.

It was a period marked by change and one in which you can find relevance to today's struggles and conflicts. Therefore, she endeavoured to infuse my cast of characters with values significantly opposed to the era, thus making them curiosities to the others in their class.

You can follow her on Twitter


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