Interview: Lynn Love
Lynn Love is the winner of our August contest 'Waiting for Angie'. Lynn is a florist, blogger and novelist-in-training living in Bristol, UK. When she’s not writing blog posts and being distracted by the internet, she’s tripping over ghosts and demons in her current urban fantasy novel. She has written three other as yet unpublished novels, won and been shortlisted in several print and online competitions and her short fiction has appeared on Mash Stories, Every Day Fiction, Micro Bookends, Dark Tales and in her writing group’s anthology, Still Me. Her ambition is to give up playing with flowers and become a full-time writer.
Congratulations on winning our August contest with "Waiting for Angie"? What gave you the inspiration for your story?
Thank you and what a lovely surprise and honour it was to win.
I'm not sure I can put my finger on the initial spark of inspiration for the story, but I'd wanted to write an authentic female relationship, the way two young girls can have rivalries, be antagonistic to one another, while simultaneously have a close bond. The two sisters in the story - Anita and Angie - are really me and my best friend through my teens. We really did blow the smoke from pilfered cigarettes out of her bedroom window, fought over boys, argued the merits of Duran Duran over Spandau Ballet (Duran Duran every time) but when it came down to it, we were always there for each other.
What type of books do you like to read and who are some of your favorite authors?
At the moment I'm reading The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, an extraordinarily talented author, as are Sarah Waters and Kate Atkinson - all three are literary heroines of mine. Their novels are generally set in recognisable, everyday worlds, but I'm drawn to the fantastical too, so I'll read anything by Neil Gaiman (my absolute writing hero), Ben Aaronovitch and Philip Pullman. And I'm a history graduate, so devoured Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall books, Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White, the ghost stories of M.R. James, anything by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters ... There really are too many wonderful writers, aren't there?
You mentioned that you also work as a florist and a blogger! Can you tell us, how did you find an audience for your blog when you were first starting out?
Slowly! I had a bit of a shaky start with blogging, starting one site then abandoning it because I didn't know what to write about, what the style and feel should be. Everything I put out there sounded stilted and pretentious so I lost heart and ignored the whole thing for a while. A year later I decided it really was something I wanted to do, to conquer, so I tried again and this time I just threw myself into, became a lot less tentative in my approach. I took part in a couple of WordPress 101 courses where I learnt a little of the techie stuff, made some connections with other bloggers. I was fortunate to be featured in WP's Discover section which boosted my follower numbers nicely, but really it's just grown organically. You have to genuinely engage with people, be generous with your time, reading other blogs as well as hoping other people will read yours. And posting a lot - I've written over 700 blog posts in two years.
What does a typical writing day look like for you? Any writing rituals?
I wake up about half past six every day, but the writing doesn't start until my husband and son have breakfasted, packed their bags and their lunches and left the house. Then I have the place to myself. I try to get some exercise in early on, even if it's just a walk in the park or a trip to the shops, just to get my mind sparking. We only have a small house, so I don't have a dedicated study - my work space is at the dining room table, looking out over the garden. I open my laptop, light a scented candle, make a coffee, listen to the rain beating on the conservatory roof (I live in the UK, remember) and try to write. Distraction comes through the internet - emails, blog posts to write, comments to answer - so I often set a timer on my phone, usually an hour, where all I allow myself to do is work on the current project. With regular breaks to stretch and move (if I don't, I find my brain begins to shrink and the ideas shrink with it!) that goes on until my son comes home from school and the evening routine of homework and cooking begins.
What are you working on at the moment?
I always have a short story or two on the go - I have several entered for competitions at the moment - and I've just sold a serial to a weekly women's magazine, so I'm developing some more ideas for them in the hope that now I've finally broken into the market it might become a revenue trickle over time. My main work in progress is an urban fantasy novel about a borderline agoraphobic who sees ghosts - everywhere! - but only in their dying moments. He succeeds in hiding from the horrors that stalk him, until a knock at the door brings an old friend back into his life with a terrible request ... The first draft is complete, now I just have to dredge through the dross and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until it feels like something I can send to agents.
And there are always more ideas out there, always the next 'what if?'
You can read more about Lynn and her work over on her blog.