Visit the next Author installment here: Joanne Veritkios
Did you always want to be a writer or did you kind of fall into it? Tell us the story of how you came to identify yourself as a writer.
I was always a writer and always wanted to tell stories. However, as a child, I wanted to act professionally more than I wanted to write. I gave that up, though, as I didn’t have the looks or the determination needed to get into that profession. I kept writing, more as a hobby than anything, but later friends encouraged me to do a journalism course. I did one and got a job with a small magazine, which I wrote for and edited for seven years. This taught me a lot about both writing and editing, so when I finished up with that, I started writing for fun again, but this time my writing was much more professional. Soon after, I wrote my debut novel, The Heir (Verindon #1) and found a small press traditional publisher who agreed to publish it.
As a writer, are you a reader? What genres do you read and do you read more frequently in the genre you write in, or avoid it completely?
I like to read the genre I write in, which is young adult speculative fiction. I like a lot of books in this genre. I also read historical novels and non-fiction. I like a bit of romance in the books I read too.
Tell us about your first writing experience. How does that compare to where you are now?
The first time I wrote a full-length manuscript was in my twenties. I look back now at how little I knew about the craft of writing a novel. The first couple I wrote will likely never be good enough for publication. However, the third manuscript I wrote I decided to rewrite in 2014. It went on to become my only contemporary novel to date, Once Confronted.
We all know the ‘just write’ memes if you are following any writers page, so apart from that, what’s the best advice you can give to someone new?
If you have writer’s block, sit down and write anyway, even if it’s total rubbish. I learnt this when I was a journalist. I had a deadline so writer’s block was irrelevant. The job had to be done by a certain time regardless of how I felt about it. So I would force myself to write, and it was usually terrible at first, but then I would find a rhythm and direction. After that, I could go back and fix the terrible part. It helped a lot.
What’s your biggest obstacle to writing and how do you overcome it? Most of us know that it is time, so try and let us know when you are best at your writing, and why that doesn’t work, and what you do to counter or overcome that problem.
My biggest obstacle is having no ideas! Sometimes I go for months without writing because I can’t think of anything to write about. It’s something that I struggle with, although I usually find the ideas flow again after a while, so I’m learning not to panic when I’m in that place.
Self-published or traditionally published? Tell us why that works for you?
Traditionally published, but small press, so I still have to do a lot of self-promotion, although every author should be doing that anyway. I like it because traditional publishers don’t have the stigma that still goes with being self-published. There are more opportunities available. Although there are a lot of great self-published books out there, people in the industry still look down on them and it can be hard to get reviews with certain people or advertising and acknowledgement in some places.
Here is your chance to plug a book. Tell us about it and why we need to read it?
My new novel, out on 1st May 2020, is called The Verindon Alliance. It’s set in the same world as my young adult science fiction trilogy but takes place several hundred years prior to it. It covers themes like racism, xenophobia, implicit bias and genocide, so it does have some issues that can get people thinking, but it’s also a fun adventure story.
Next project? Where are you in your writing journey and where to next for you?
I’m writing another novel at the moment also set on the planet Verindon, but it takes place after my trilogy.
What’s your favourite genre? Tell us about one book from that genre that changed your life or outlook in life?
People love it and people hate it, but Twilight was definitely a game-changer for me. It awoke in me the desire to write novels, as the passion for it had laid dormant while I was working on the magazine. I wouldn’t be a published author if not for that book inspiring me the way it did.
The most personal question of all, what does writing give you? Why do you do it, what’s the point, and what does it provide in your life that you can’t fulfil by any other means?
I love the fact that, through writing, people can experience the worlds inside my head. It’s fun to share them.
Bonus Questions (If you wrote both, feel free to answer both!)
Non fiction writers
What is the hardest thing you had to learn about putting together a factual book? Talk about how you verify facts, or try to display the information, especially if there are a lot of photos or diagrams. Offer some advice for the audience who might want to try non-fiction.
There is a lot of information about world building, character driven plots, and showing not telling. Discuss briefly how each of the elements of your book came together and which part do you love the most – the world you’ve built, your characters, or the story itself? I know, it’s like picking a favourite child, but give it a try.
I always start with the characters first, as they’re what drive my stories. I’m definitely a character-driven writer. In fact, they have been known to change things as I write them.
I usually start with a reasonably good idea of where the story will end up. I may imagine a few scenes along the way, but I’m not a draft writer. I sit and type and see what the characters do to get where I know they’re going. After I’ve finished the first draft, I read over the story, refine it and fix up any problems, editing it continually until it works as a whole.
Although I love the world of Verindon, my characters are the things I love most. I love what they reveal to me as I create them and I love to see what they’re doing and how the things they go through change them for better or worse.
Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning with short stories in her primary school days. She began writing professionally as a journalist and was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels.
Lynne is the author of the Verindon trilogy, a young adult science fiction romance series released through Wombat Books, and Once Confronted a new adult contemporary drama. Lynne’s new release The Verindon Alliance is a new stand alone in the Verindon world.