Continue reading to learn what Lynne’s plea is to Canadian relatives to help increase literacy in Canada, how she finds time to “research” for her next book and why she appreciates Kindle opportunities a bit more than paperbacks.
Thank you, Lynne, for finding me and answering the following questions:
My pleasure. I’m sincerely pleased I did find you, and I have thoroughly enjoyed answering your questions.
When did you discover you were a writer? Was there one clear moment for you that made your passion clear?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. From first learning how to write I knew I wanted to be creative. During school years I enjoyed my English classes (yes, I was the one), and even liked being set essays to write. In my teens I began writing articles for magazines, and making money from my hobby. Once writing became such an interest, to me it was a natural progression to want to write a book. The thought can seem quite daunting, and I find that I never sit back to wonder how much I will have to write to complete a book or it could seem an arduous task. Writing should be a pleasure. If the author does not enjoy writing it, then the public will certainly not enjoy reading it. Writing a book to me is a series of stages, never looking ahead to the next until I have completed the present one. When I finally look back over how much I have written, it can be quite a pleasant surprise. To answer your question, therefore, my passion for writing has been set by a series of moments throughout my life, that all culminated in the wonderful one of seeing my first book in print.
You studied psychology, do you find this helps with your writing in general, do you use it in specifying your readership age or is it just in the subtle background of everything you do?
I would probably say that psychology affects not only my writing, but my life in general. I think that the ‘subtle background of everything I do’ sums it up very nicely. People are a complicated race, and learning what makes us tick can be an amazing experience. I’ve not really thought about this before, but I guess it affects character development in my stories, and the fact that once developed, I know without question what my characters would or would not do. It isn’t something I have consciously used to specify my readership, because I find that children from many age groups and adults have told me they enjoy my books. I want to appeal to as many people as possible, so setting age limits is something I find quite difficult. The subject matter defines these humorous works as children’s books, but quite a bit of the humour appeals to anyone young at heart.
On Facebook you play a lot of games, how do you find the time to write, live and have fun?
Guilty as charged! Yes, I enjoy some of the Facebook games. You’ll find they are all fantasy based, so you see, they are only research really (Hmm. Do you think anyone believes that?) Seriously, I find games therapeutic and a way to relax. I limit my time on them, and often jot down ideas for my latest story as I play. Sometimes a distraction is what I need to figure out the next part of my book. I think it is possible to try too hard. Give your brain a rest, and the solution will come to you. I am not on a deadline to complete my books, so my time is my own. The main thing that interferes with writing time is my job, but I’m not in a position to give that up just yet…
Gertie Gets it Right (eventually) is a children’s book about a blond haired, blue eyed girl who is free of warts but comes from a long line of witches. What about the idea of witches and fantasies interests you the most?
I have always loved to read fantasy. It is escapism into worlds we can only imagine, full of colour and fascination. Terry Pratchett introduced me to humorous fantasy, and I have never looked back since. What a writer. I like to think that he has been my inspiration for my humorous writing, and my witches of course! As to witches in general, I feel they have had a hard time of it over the years. There may be some bad ones (though mine are not!) but throughout history alleged witches just seem to have borne the brunt of other people’s misfortunes. If someone’s crops failed, they blamed the little old lady with the hunched back who lived down the road for walking past. If their cattle died, the cross-eyed woman stared at them funny. Tell me, how else could she stare at them? I thought it was time to follow in the footsteps of my hero, Terry, and try to raise an appreciation for witches for a change. Many of the persecuted ones in our dim and distant past were probably little more than healers and herbalists.
Lynne, Zac’s Destiny, your second children’s book, has a cover that should interest any girl or boy. What about this story will catch their parent’s attention?
I love the cover used for the Kindle version of ‘Zac’s Destiny’. Unfortunately, when the paperback was published the only cover I could have was a very boring one. It was the same with the paperback version of ‘Gertie’. This is my only regret about seeing my books in print. Once I decided to publish on Kindle, I sought the help of an excellent cover designer, hence my new book covers were born. I’m pleased you like the cover. I would be happy to pass on information about my cover designer should anyone wish to discuss their books with him. He too lives in Canada, actually!
What I would say to encourage any parents to let their children read ‘Zac’s Destiny’ is that it not only has an exciting story to tell, but it also encourages perseverance, courage, adaptability and the importance of being able to give and receive help. Zac could not accomplish his quest without support from unlikely sources and a growing belief in his own value. He learns a great deal about himself and others during his adventure, and becomes a better person for it. Zac epitomises the virtues of bravery, determination, willingness to accept advice and work with others, and maybe most of all compassion, a sensitive nature and the ability to put others first. I believe Zac, and other characters in the book, to be excellent role models for young and developing minds.
In Canada, where I am from, literacy rates are disturbingly low. Do you have any suggestions, as an author in England where the rates are 99%, to improve or at least encourage our population to start reading?
I had no idea reading rates were very low there! How can anyone resist books? They have everything for everyone. Whatever your interests, you can find them in a book. Where else can we live in other worlds, visit other countries, laugh, cry, fall in love, experience fear or joy…all in the safety of our own homes? I will never understand how people cannot love books. Don’t schools encourage reading from an early age? I have relatives in Canada who I know love to read, so I am amazed they are in a minority. They originally hail from England, so maybe they gained their interest in books over here! Hey, my Canadian relatives, do your bit for Canadian literacy, get out there and extol the virtues of reading!
You have an adult novel coming out soon, Dimensions. When is your expected date for this and did you prefer completing this story or your children’s books?
I don’t at present have an expected date for the release of ‘Dimensions’. I tend to write two novels at a time. In that way, if I reach a writer’s block in one story, I can write the other for a while to give my imagination a change of scene. That usually does the trick, and ‘what comes next’ sorts itself out. ‘Dimensions’ has however currently been put on the back burner. This is not because of any lack of enjoyment in writing it, but simply because the ideas are coming thick and fast for ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’. I can now see my way right to the end of this one, so I am staying with it to get it completed. I’m sure the characters in ‘Dimensions’ will be glad of the break, and will be happy to wait for me for a while. I think that answers the second part of your question too. At the present time, I am enjoying completing my next children’s humorous fantasy most. That might well change when I move back to ‘Dimensions’. My favourite form of writing always seems to be whatever form it is taking at any given time.
Be Careful What You Wish For promises humour for its readers. Do you find there’s a challenge writing funny stories for kids or does this come naturally to you?
Gertie Gets it Right (eventually) was my first children’s humorous fantasy. I enjoyed writing that so much, I couldn’t wait to start on another. Writing humour is second nature to me, and is probably what I do best. I enjoy writing serious fantasy, but even there I can’t prevent a little humour sneaking in at times. Certainly at the present time, my heart lies with humour. My characters never cease to amuse me as they take over the tale. Once this happens, it almost writes itself. I provide the plot and the characters decide how to get where I need them to be. I’m hoping to finish the first draft of ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ by Christmas or soon after. I will then head back to revise and polish it where necessary. In particular that applies to the first few chapters. Publishers tend to judge a book initially by its first two or three chapters, so they have to be attention grabbing. Once that is complete I’m back to the task of trying to interest potential publishers. Is anyone out there reading this a publisher, by any chance?
Any advice for emerging authors around the world?
I think the main advice is don’t give up. Get used to those rejection slips, because they will come. Try not to take them too personally. Very few authors are taken on by top publishers these days, especially in the current economic climate. If you love to write, then you are doing something you want to do. Someone out there will realise your talent if you spread your web far enough. Don’t expect to make millions, because we can’t all be J.K.Rowling. There are ways to get your work noticed. Kindle is a great way, because it won’t cost you anything and could get your books out there. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to get my first two books published as paperbacks by YouWriteOn in conjunction with Legend Press, but I was a long time finding them. I recently also published them on Kindle to try to get my name known more. There are always ways, if you are willing to be patient and try hard enough. It is also important to promote your work as much as possible, because getting it out there is only the beginning. Websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and online interviews like this one are there to use. It’s hard work, but well worth it when you are following your dream.
Do you believe in ghosts and do you have any of your own proof they exist?
Yes, I do believe in ghosts, though I have never seen one. It’s funny you should mention that because I have quite a strong interest in the supernatural. I’m very sensitive to atmospheres in old building and unusual places. It can be quite alarming for anyone accompanying me! I certainly have a belief in the afterlife. That’s probably because so many of my close relatives are already there. When I join them in a hundred years or so, there will be some party…
And lastly, have you ever wanted to be asked a question in an interview that you haven’t been? If so, what is it and please answer it.
Yes, there is one question I would love to be asked. It goes something like this: “Would you like to sign a lucrative contract with us for your next books?”
I don’t suppose I need to provide you with an answer to that one, do I?
To keep up to date with Lynne North’s endeavours please visit:
And, of course, Thanks For Reading!
author of Sending You Sammy, Brain Tales – Volume One and Arm Farm