Wendy Zomparelli


The first thing I remember writing was the front page of my own newspaper, which featured a celebrity interview with the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker. I was 6 years old. I didn’t know it then, but journalism was to become my career.

I majored in English at Cornell University. In my senior year I became a junior editor for Cornell’s literary magazine, Epoch, working alongside such writers as Alison Lurie, James McConkey, and Archie Ammons. I dreamt of a life writing fiction, but post-graduation reality demanded an immediate income. Like many women of my generation, I started out in secretarial positions. Eventually I was hired by Cornell’s Office of Public Information, where I wrote press releases and articles for the university’s newspaper, The Chronicle.

I’ve written two novels – the first was my starter book; enough said – and I hope to publish the second in the coming year. I have plans for other novels, as well as more adventures for Ingeborg and Esmeralda.

Writing fiction is astonishingly different from writing news or feature articles. A friend refers to it as “channeling characters,” and that’s true. I used to be able to write an on-deadline review of a rock concert in the midst of blaring music and screaming fans – but for fiction I need solitude. Like toys that come to life only when children are asleep, the characters won’t speak to me if others are present. And as Anthony Trollope lamented, sometimes they refuse to stick to the plot outline or say what they’re supposed to say. It’s very odd – and magically rewarding.

If you were to ask which I prefer writing, journalism or fiction, I could have only one honest reply: