Getting ‘A Leg Up’

Local author gets 3-book deal

Wendy J. Reber, of Wellsboro, found her voice while healing from disc surgery on her neck. From January 2016 to Halloween of that same year, she wrote three novels, loosely based on her own transformative life experiences and all-too-common women’s issues.

As it happens with most writers, Reber submitted her novels, “A Long Legged Life,” “A Leg Up” and “On Her Last Leg” to several publishers until she was picked up by Fifth Ink Publishing Co.

Reber’s usual activities included hiking, biking and kayaking. “I’m a pretty active person,” Reber said, “so when the surgeon told me to be still for several months, I thought, ‘How in the world am I going to get through this?’ “

A friend had the answer — she told her to write. Reber had lots of experience in technical writing in a 23-year career in the ophthalmic field, but very little with creative writing. “So I just plunged in and started writing,” she said. “And all these memories and ideas just flowed out of me.”

Reber had waded into these creative waters briefly in the summer of 2001; then September 11 happened and that excursion stopped, abruptly, “… as did many people’s normal lives on that day,” she said.

Reber’s first novel, “A Long Legged Life,” introduces five college friends, each character the focus of a separate novel. Novel one explores the life of Eva Kenier, from her perfect childhood, through college forays into sex and drugs and a life that withstands loss and physical agony, demanding extreme resilience. Much of the story takes place in rural New York and Pennsylvania and under the influence of anesthesia.

“A Leg Up,” Reber’s second novel, is a thriller. It tells the story of Eunice Barner’s perseverance through tragic loss, her criminal behavior and the complications and consequences of these factors.

“On Her Last Leg,” follows the life of Renee Gregor, whose son is murdered in their home. Her battle for acceptance leads her through rage, hope and sacrifice.

Books four and five, featuring the other two college friends introduced in “A Long Legged Life” are in the works.

“I really hope to make a connection with my readers,” Weber said. “I want them to know they’re not alone and they don’t have to live in shame or fear.”

Reber said that during her writing process, she always begins with an outline. “I just take off from there, but when I leave the writing for a while, I go right back to the outline when I come back,” she said.

Reber’s favorite author is Ken Follett; she especially praises “Pillars of the Earth,” and plans to try her own hand at historical fiction. She also treasures the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon and “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands” by Chris Bohjalian.

Reber and her husband, John, met in Wellsboro, and have lived there since 2005. They share their home with three dogs and two cats.

“The inspiration I receive from our natural surroundings and quiet slow pace lends itself to creative writing,” Reber said.

She expressed gratitude for guidance by Erica Christensen, best-selling author and owner of Fifth Ink.

“A Long Legged Life” and “A Leg Up” are available digitally and in paperback. “On Her Last Leg” can be found digitally and soon will be released in paperback. The novels can be bought on Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Scribner; Kobo; iBooks; Inktera; My Shelf Books & Gifts, Wellsboro; and Otto Bookstore, the site of Reber’s recent book-signing during First Friday this month.

Future signings for Reber include Thursday at the Waverly Free Library, New York; and Aug. 4 at From My Shelf Books & Gifts, Wellsboro.

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