WOW! had the chance to host Lynn on her Virtual Blog Tour today.
Relax, sit back and get to know Lynn.
WOW: First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lynn: I’m a life-long writer and take it pretty seriously. I knew what I wanted to do for a living since I was 10 years old. I used to hide under the covers with a flashlight and read Nancy Drew books late at night. To me, writing a book was the one thing I knew I could do well. But I was sidetracked by journalism to make a living.
Now, I’m freelancing, have written three novels, and working on a third. It’s a dream come true. When not writing I’m playing tennis.
WOW: What made you put that first story/poem down on paper?
Lynn: As I said, I’ve been a writer since I was 10. We had free writing exercises in fifth grade and my teacher took notice of my little stories and praised them to my parents. I wrote my first “book,” called “Laura’s Mysterious House” In his class. It didn’t have a very good ending, though. I was disappointed with that.
WOW: What do your family/friends think about your writing? Are they supportive?
Lynn: My family was all for my journalism, but seemed skeptical when I wrote my first novel, Excited Light. I think they were humoring me, as were most of my newspaper friends. I had an editor who really thought I was joking when I talked about fiction. Boy, did that ever make me mad!
But when Excited Light actually came out in book form, my family went nuts. Everyone who is possibly related to me has a copy. A cousin came up to me at a family party a couple weeks ago, and said “You’re the first person in our family to ever have completed and published a book.” He was thrilled.
My friends? Some are still skeptical, to tell you the truth. Most have bought my book, but I think I still need to convince them that I am a real novelist.
WOW: For you, what is most frustrating about writing? Most rewarding?
Lynn: I tend to repeat words, which drives me nuts. I also make certain typos that I read right over when I edit, so I have to give my drafts to my sister, who’s a professional and eagle-eyed editor. You wouldn’t believe how much she catches.
The most rewarding thing is seeing my stories touch someone. I’ve gotten many heartwarming reactions to Excited Light, and it makes me excited to know I can inspire someone that way.
WOW: Do you read much? What kinds of books inspire you to write – if any? Favorite authors?
Lynn: Oh gosh, I read like crazy. A book a week. I think any writer who doesn’t read is cutting him or herself off from new ideas, different ways to express themselves, even contemporary style. We don’t write the way D.H. Lawrence did, for instance. I think if a ms. came into an agent’s office in his style it would be rejected—rightly or wrongly. It’s just that style keeps on changing.
There’s another reason to read, too. We should be supporting other writers and keeping the market strong.
Inspirational books for me are anything by Alice Hoffman or Neil Gaiman. I also just went crazy for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. That was a tour de force! Another favorite writer is Robertson Davies, who died about a decade ago, but I still return to him now and then because his writing is so delightful.
WOW: Do you take most of your ideas from life? Or your imagination? A mix? (Do you hate when people ask this?
Lynn: No, I don’t hate it; it’s a legitimate question. I think a little of both. People think that certain characters I write are based on them, but they aren’t. I made up everyone I’ve ever written about. The characters just pop fully formed into my head. The only character who was drawn from real life is the boy protagonist from Excited Light. He was based on my son and the conversations we used to have when he was 10.
The plots are totally my own imagination. Thank goodness none of these things happen in my real life or I’d be going bonkers. However, I do a lot of research to make situations and settings as realistic as possible. Right now I’m writing about ancient Egypt and I discussed my work with an Egyptologist at the University of Chicago.
WOW: Do you have days when the words won't flow? What do you do?
Lynn: Not really. Being trained as a journalist, there is no such thing as a day when you can just not feel like writing. I’m used to just pounding it out. But I do take time to think things through thoroughly. I consider that to be writing, too, even though it doesn’t look like I’m doing anything.
WOW: Do you have a "golden rule" of writing that almost always works for you?
Lynn: Sit your butt down and do it. Honestly. And don’t sit and perfect your first chapter or you’ll never get a complete novel done. Write a first draft, crummy or not. You can always revise it—and I guarantee you will. Remember, no one ever has to see your first draft.
WOW: What is the best piece of advice you've been given as a writer? What's the worst?
Lynn: The best piece was the part about moving forward on a first draft.
The worst was to write x-number of words a day. To me that’s just stupid. You need to write out a whole scene, something that means something. If it’s just 500 words, do or die, you’re apt to end up with 500 words of boring description. It just seems pointless to me.
WOW: Did we forget anything? What would you like to add? Any upcoming publications or links for our readers? Current projects we should watch for?
Lynn: Well, everyone should go over to my Web site, where I have a link to buy Excited Light. It’s also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. I must give this out for Chicago-area residents: It’s available at Women & Children First Book Store in the Andersonville neighborhood, and at Planet Earth in Evanston. I think it’s important to support local bookstores.
Also, my blog is here. I try to stick to writing topics, but sometimes anything goes over there. Xanga has a great writing community.
And my book trailer is a must:-)
Thanks for having me here!
You're very welcome. And we wish you the best of luck with your writing.