Lynne Murray: I've always loved stories, even tried to write a "Little Golden Book" style story before I could read. During a difficult time in my 20s, I was walking around talking to the walls about my sufferings when my friend said, "You always say you want to write, why don't you write down what you say when you talk to the walls." I did, and I have ever since.
LBBB: How long did it take for you to write your first book?
L.M.: My first novel, a sensitive story of disillusioned youth, took about three years to write. It was totally unreadable--I tried later and even I couldn't get through it. But I learned that I love putting jigsaw pieces together into a novel. My second book, a mystery, took four years to write and was published in 1988.
LBBB: How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
L.M.: I like to turn situations upside down when I write. For example, Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone stemmed partly from a Carl Jung book called Flying Saucers, where he suggests that the UFO craze is an example of a religion being formed in front of our eyes. That led me to think, "What if the people of Earth have been doing this for thousands of years, creating a new religion every time they run into alien tourists?" I also liked the idea of a heroine who comes from a planet where women are expected, indeed required, to have several husbands.
LBBB: What is your writing routine like? Do you have a set schedule or are you flexible?
L.M.: Over the years, I've tried many tactics and the one thing that has worked most reliably is writing the minute I get out of bed in the morning. One problem with that method is that when it works best, my "writing brain" gets started before I really want to get up and I end up losing sleep to write--not complaining, I like that even when it's annoying.
LBBB: What inspires you to write?
L.M.: I think of things that make me laugh, make me want to change injustices or sometimes even scare me. I feel driven to weave these things into stories to share with others.
LBBB: Are any of your stories written from personal experience, or any character traits that mirror yours?
L.M.: Many things from my own life make it into the stories, but always transmuted into the characters' experience. For example, it might take years to think of the perfect revenge to a wrong or response to a remark or action that bothered me. The heroine of my story comes up with the perfect response right there on the spot and acts on it immediately.
LBBB: When in a slump, what do you do? If you read or listen to music, what are your go-to books or music?
L.M.: I generally am reading fiction, but sometimes when I'm stuck I read books on writing, until I can't stand it anymore and have to go back to writing. Most recently Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, Joanna Penn & David Gaughran's Indie Author Power Pack energized me.
LBBB: How do you respond to negative feedback/comments with your work?
L.M.: Sometimes those can provide helpful ideas to improve future books, but often they reveal more about the commentator's views and prejudices than my work.
LBBB: What is your writing space like? Do you work anywhere or do you have a special place just for your writing? Messy or clean?
L.M.: I write on bits of paper, envelopes, etc., put in my pocket and transcribe to the computer. Obviously the bits of paper pile up.
LBBB: Do you have a favorite author? Series?
L.M.: Um, sorry, I've got to join the millions who love Jane Austen. Also I've read every Terry Pratchett.
LBBB: Any fur-babies?
L.M.: Kitties rule! I live with a small group of rescued felines, who daily return the favor.
LBBB: Thanks for stopping by Lynne and letting us pick your brain a bit!