I’m happy to be welcoming author Lynne North back to Novel Kicks today to talk about her latest book, Be Careful What You Wish For.
About Be Careful What You Wish For:
Finn is a bored young leprechaun. He lives with his mum and dad in a small village named Duntappin, and goes to the local school there. He spends most of his free time with his best friend Dallan, but craves some excitement in his life. Unfortunately, Finn missed out on being blessed by the Good Luck Fairy and soon gets far more than he bargained for. He finds himself a long way from home in the hands of a travelling circus where he is little more than a ‘freak’ to amuse the customers.
Hi Lynne, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little about your latest book, Be Careful What You Wish For and now the idea originated?
‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ is a children’s humorous fantasy tale about Finn, a young leprechaun. It was published by Crimson Cloak Publishing on St Patrick’s Day, 2016.
So, it’s a happy story about a lucky chap with a liking for green clothes? Well no, not exactly. Finn is far from lucky. His parents missed his blessing with the Good Luck Fairy, the reasons why will be revealed in the book. Anyway, if there is bad luck to be had, Finn finds it. Despite knowing he isn’t the luckiest leprechaun in the village, he still craves adventure and excitement. Something he believes to be in short supply in the peaceful village where he lives with his parents. Somehow though, when Finn’s big chance of adventure does come along, he soon discovers that all adventures are not necessarily as much fun as he expected…
Anyone who has read my books before, like ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’, will know that I like to turn the expected on its head. I’m not entirely sure where my first thoughts of Finn began, but there he was winding his way through my head. All leprechauns are lucky, I thought, but what if this one isn’t? The ideas began to flow quickly. I also delved into Irish myth and folklore for some great characters. You might not have heard of a lot of them, but even if you do know about them, you won’t recognise my versions. I can guarantee that no character in this book will be quite what you expect!
How do you approach the process? Do you look at characters or plot first? Do you edit as you go?
I like to find my characters first. Or they find me, and insist on being written about. As I said, Finn wheedled his way into my thoughts until I just had to write about him. I tend to write in longhand in the first instance. In that way I can fling my ideas down in any scribbled format I choose. Once a chapter is completed in this way, it then meets my computer and becomes more legible and professionally written. So yes, I edit as I go along, though of course once the book is complete it undergoes one, or more, final serious and structured edits and proofreads. It’s a long process, but what matters is my satisfaction (and my publisher’s of course!) with the final product.
Do you have any writing rituals? (Writing in a particular place, writing in silence etc.)
I tend to write in my bedroom. Not sure why but it seems the quietest, most relaxed place. I’m pleased to say I have never fallen asleep whilst writing. That would prove to me that I was writing a boring book! I hope I have never written a boring book, I certainly don’t think I have and my readers tend to agree with me. I guess another ritual is the scribbled version first. I think all writers just get in the habit of what works for them, and if it works, don’t fix it!
What fictional world would you like to visit for the day and why?
I would love to visit Terry Pratchett’s Ankh-Morpork. I love that guy’s books, and so miss his new ones coming out. What a loss to the writing world. I think of him with great sadness now, and probably Terry would hate that. He brought humour to so many, and that’s the way he should be remembered. Maybe if I could get to Ankh-Morpork, I would find him there happily engaging with all his wonderful characters.
If you were only allowed to own three books, which three would you pick and why?
That is a nightmare question for someone who loves books as much as I do! My book collection is like a small library, well, maybe not that small…
If I can cheat a little, I will say ANY book by Terry Pratchett, for reasons already touched on above. Terry is my favourite writer, and the biggest influence on my own writing. I have never read a book of his that I didn’t love, and I have read them all.
I also love to read books by the children’s author, Joseph Delaney. I will choose ‘The Spooks Secret’ because though Joseph’s Spooks series is all based around Lancashire, this one mentions Anglezark, Winter Hill, Rivington, Smithills and Belmont, which have a special interest for me because they are areas all around where I live.
So, all fantasy choices so far. My last choice is no exception. My third book would be ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien. This is where my love of fantasy began, and how well this book has stood the test of time. Since The Hobbit, my chosen genre was decided, and I have never looked back since.
If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
My first is quite a sad one, so I won’t dwell on it. I would have my Mum back again, even if it was only allowed for a short time. I lost her suddenly in 1997, and though we spoke about anything and everything all the time, I still feel there are things left unsaid. I would love to know how she is going on in the afterlife, and that she is happy.
Number two would be to have a best-selling book. I’m sure that would be one of every author’s wishes. How exciting would that be? I could give up the day job and dedicate my life to what I really want to do, be a full-time author.
My third wish, sorry, I have to stay on the author track because life as a writer is what my life is all about. To see one of my books made into a film. I can see my characters so clearly already, but to see them up on the screen would be like coming home…
What’s your typical writing day like?
I wish every day could be a typical writing day for me, but unfortunately I have to pay the bills so still have a full time job. My writing is fit in as often as I can, when I can.
My perfect writing day would be to let my mind wander and come up with the next part of whichever book (or books) I am working on while I have my morning cup of tea. I sometimes work on more than one book at a time so that if I come to a point where I’m not entirely sure how to deal with the part I have reached, I write some of the other book to give my mind a break. While doing this I usually decide what I want to write in the original book!
Okay, where was I? Yes, a light breakfast. After that I would type up my last scribbled chapter, changing and adding as I go along. Once finished the typed version would look like a real chapter rather than a child’s scribble pad. After that I would give myself a break to check online, do some promotion, check out sites where author’s can promote themselves, and perhaps work on an interview or article for my blog. I would then be ready for more writing. As you can tell, my life pretty much revolves around my books in one form or another. I really need to give up that day job… In the real world when I don’t have a day off, I do all these things as and when I can!
What song best describes you?
That’s hard to say because there are quite a few, but I will choose the first one that sprang to mind when I read the question. For an author to survive, I guess it has to be:
“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.
What are the challenges of writing for a younger audience?
To be honest, I don’t think they are much different to writing for any audience. Obviously you have to be careful with subject matter and not using words that are too complicated, but I tend to write for the 9-12 age range in general so I don’t have problems of writing for children who are just learning to read. Children can sometimes have a short attention span, but so can many readers. I hope that my books keep their attention and make them want to know what is coming next. I try to end as many chapters as I can with cliff hangers. If the readers (any age) want to begin that next chapter right now, then I’m achieving what I set out to!
What one piece of advice do you have for someone thinking of writing a novel?
As the song goes, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’
If there is a story in there determined to get out, then nothing will stop you writing it. Bear in mind that completing a novel takes dedication, hard work, and often a long time. After you have written your last words, then comes the editing, proofreading, and finding a publisher. It’s neither a quick nor an easy task, but it is so worth it when it all comes together. There is no other feeling quite like holding the first copy of your new book in your hands.
If you are serious about your book, go for it.
More about Lynne:
Lynne is a children’s author who lives in the north-west of England and works as a data analyst for one of the local Health Authorities. She has been a prolific reader all her life, and for many years has spent most of her free time writing. She’s completed courses and received diplomas from ‘The Writing School Ltd’ and ‘The Academy of Children’s Writers’. Her aim in life has always been to write, She has completed four children’s novels. ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ was published by Ghostly Publishing in 2013 and launched at Earl’s Court Book Fair. It is currently available on Kindle on Amazon worldwide. Zac’s Destiny is also available on Kindle. They will both be re-released in paperback shortly by Crimson Cloak Publishing.
She is currently working on a fantasy novel for young adults titled ‘Dimensions’.
You can find Lynne on any of the following:
Author page on CCP: http://www.crimsoncloakpublishing.com
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/hukne5x
Amazon USA: http://tinyurl.com/z7v4xrm