We sat down with Meraki Press's newest debut author, Wyeth Doty, to ask her about her book, writing, and inspiration!
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up as a pastor’s daughter and often found I was too Christian for my unsaved friends, and not Christian enough for church friends. I loved Jesus but I also loved thriller/horror books. I had to figure out how to balance that. Now as an adult, I'm proud that I can do both. I think that's evident in my debut novel It’s All in Her Head.
What inspired/led you to write It’s All in Her Head?
I’ve actually had the general idea for this book for a long time. It started when I was in high school and I wrote a small excerpt of a woman lying on a basement floor, ready to give up on her life. That was all I had for quite a few years. Then, I went to school for Psychology and loved the idea of writing a book about a therapist. Fast forward to 2018 and I don’t know how it happened, but the idea of someone stalking a therapist alongside a demon just came to me and I started writing. Funnily enough though, Marnie was originally going to be a prostitute! I changed my mind because I didn’t feel equipped to write about that life or do her justice in that way. I was also very much inspired by the Day of Evil series by Melanie Wells. Excellent series if you ever want another book about a demon wreaking havoc on a therapist.
What does/did your writing routine look like while writing this book?
It’s All in Her Head was the first time I ever attempted to write a novel, so my writing routine changed a lot. I experimented with a lot of different routines before I was able to find one that really worked for me. For a while, doing timed sprints was the best option. Whatever time of day I was able to set aside, I would set a timer for twenty minutes and would write as much as I could in that twenty minutes. When the timer went off, I’d take a five minute break, and then get back to it. I also liked to write in cafes. I did my best work in cafes.
What was your biggest obstacle going into this book?
My biggest obstacle was definitely having the discipline to sit down and actually finish the book. There comes a time in every first draft where you decide that you hate the book. At least, that happens for me. And finding a way to push through that and keep going was definitely the hardest part. I shed many tears while writing this book, and I’ll probably continue to shed tears over my future projects as well.
Your favorite part of writing?
Seeing the book come together! I love looking back and comparing the final draft to the first draft. It’s incredible how much the story evolves and how much closer I feel to the characters between those drafts. It makes all the hard stuff worth it.
Do you have a favorite review or story from a reader?
One of my endorsers is a police officer. He isn’t much of a reader, but he said he devoured my book. I’m also great friends with his wife and she told me that even still, months after he finished the book, he will randomly talk about it. That makes me so happy. I love that the story had a lasting impact on him. I also just love when readers tell me that the book was creepy. That is the highest of compliments.
Do you have a piece of advice for someone who wants to write a book?
Write it. You can sit and think and twiddle your thumbs but nothing will get you to the end except actually writing. Just write the darn thing. You can figure everything else out later.
What was the easiest and most difficult part of publishing?
The easiest part is probably editing and rewriting after feedback. There is clear direction, so it’s easy to fix the problems that have been presented to you. The hardest part is marketing. I am not good at staying consistent on social media and I have a hard time promoting myself. I wish I could get someone else to do that for me.
If you could go back to the beginning, is there anything you would’ve done differently to get this book published?
Absolutely not. I had the immense joy of working with Katie at Meraki Press and the decision to work with her has changed the trajectory of my life. She is incredible and has been so encouraging. She made this book all that it could be and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Give us a book recommendation.
I try to read a wide variety of books, so giving just ONE recommendation is hard. I’d say, if you’re looking for a good Christian thriller read then you can’t go wrong with Ted Dekker. My favorites by him are Adam and The Bride Collector. For general market, I really like Simone St. James right now. She mostly writes ghost stories. My favorite by her is The Sun Down Motel.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
This book means a lot to me. I put a lot of myself into it and it feels very personal. It’s rough and messy in parts, but that’s life. I think it portrays the average person’s journey of finding God in a beautiful way and I am so proud that I was able to tell this story. I hope readers like it.
Where can readers find you and your books?