Two years ago exactly, I took the momentous step of giving up my career as an English teacher (I was head of department) in order to focus on my writing. I loved teaching, but I love writing even more. I was born and brought up in England, although I lived abroad for a few years (in Greece), as you might have guessed by the Greek surname. I’m quite a private person and live with my wonderful son and our anthropophobic cat in an early-Victorian cottage in Surrey.
You can read about the latter and my other ramblings in My Blog or Find me on Twitter or Find me on Facebook.
Lyn, now for the fun part...let's chat! Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Absolutely! I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. I was writing stories from the moment I learnt how to write – but they were strictly for an audience of one – my younger sister! I only began to pursue the idea more seriously during the years I spent abroad when I had nothing left to read and little to occupy my days.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I don’t think there is anyone from real life in ‘The Apple Tree’ – but people I know do rather creep into other stories, I’m afraid! I admit I ‘borrow’ characteristics, mannerisms and habits from friends and family, but because I mix and match them, I don’t think anyone will be able to tell for sure.
I do the same thing with my book characters. Where do you go to do your research?
In those earlier writing days in Greece, I had to make trips to the British Council Library to do my research. I also drove relatives and friends half-crazy with my questions on medical, financial and even piloting procedures for different stories. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, I’m much more self-sufficient – how can any writer live without it?
I agree with that...the Internet is an awesome resource for authors. How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
Many of my story ideas come from dreams – not entire dreams, just dream fragments that bear no relation to my life but intrigue me nevertheless. They might give me the idea for the start of a story until my imagination kicks in. Other ideas come from discussions with other people. I love bouncing ideas around with friends – before you know it, you have a great premise for a story. Writing a book is not a long process, but letting anyone read it is! It takes me forever to pluck up the courage to share what I’ve written and that only happens after I’ve gone over it five thousand times to make sure it’s as perfect as I can make it. I take criticism very seriously!
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Several! I have a romantic suspense called ‘In Loving Hate’ ready for publication and a women’s fiction/ghost story called ‘Unworkers’ which has been simmering for years but which now just needs a final polish – that’s probably my most adventurous work. I might then try my hand at a completely different genre – Sci Fi or Fantasy.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
As an English teacher I was often handed stories written by students that they dreamed of publishing. All too often these emulated their favourite writers or were thinly disguised fan fiction. Whilst I think it’s vitally important for writers to be great readers with eclectic tastes, I think it’s equally important for new writers to find their own voice and be prepared to experiment with it. Again, thanks to the Internet, there are some great sites to publish part or all of a story or book and get some valuable feedback and criticism from willing readers. Wonderful blogs such as yours, Joanne, have to be the best invention of the Internet age for writers!
So true, that new writers must find their own voice. Thanks for the compliment on my blog...love the Internet and the opportunity it brings for authors like us to connect with each other and readers online. What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why? Do you have a favorite literary author?
I’d like to say Shakespeare, but I’m always torn between ‘Othello’ and ‘Hamlet’; so instead will say ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen. I love Austen’s witty observations of society and human nature and the way she captures her heroines’ emotional worlds with such clarity and refinement.
I'm a big Austen fan! How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
I’ve actually touched on this in my own blog. Initially I had decided to self-publish ‘The Apple Tree’ – not having even attempted to find an agent or publisher for it. I had it up on Amazon and Smashwords for a few weeks while I started approaching review blogs hoping someone might agree to read and review it for me. One of those was Inspired Romance Novels. I submitted the entire novel and a week or so later, Joan Allen contacted me saying she had enjoyed it very much and wanted to offer me a contract. Can you imagine how surprised I was? Not only that but by submitting when I did, I had, without realising, entered myself into a competition – which I then won! You could say that was the mustard seed that made my dream come true.
Lyn, I'm glad you decided to submit your book and that your dream came true!
My debut novel, ‘The Apple Tree’, which won Inspired Romance’s kick-off writing contest, was published in December. Here's the premise:
Escaping from your past is never easy, as young hospital doctor Juliet discovers when she tries to start afresh, leaving both her marriage and her career behind. Love blossoms rapidly when she meets the mysterious and forthright Nicholas, who seems to herald the new beginning she craves. The past quickly dissolves into insignificance as their all-consuming romance propels them forward but Juliet has to learn the price of happiness in the cruellest way possible. Juliet is forced, in more ways than one, to confront her past before she can find the rightful place for herself in a world now turned upside down.
Sounds like a book I'd love to read. Where can readers find your book online?
Purchase Link for The Apple Tree (it is available in eBook format from all the usual sales platforms).
Thanks again for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your book.
Hope you all can stick around to visit with Lyn. Don't forget, she's doing a giveaway and if you'd like to enter to win her book, please comment on this blog post.