Friday, 3 May 2013

Author Spotlight: Lyn Gardner

Lyn Gardner


Book Description:

The last time Maggie Campbell and Alexandra Blake worked together, they both received two-week suspensions. This time...it's worse.

Ice begins when a boy is kidnapped from a London park and Detective Inspectors Alex Blake and Maggie Campbell are brought together to work on the case. While their goal is the same, their work ethics are not. Intelligent, perceptive and at times disobedient, Alex Blake does what she believes it takes to do her job. Maggie Campbell has a slightly different approach. She believes that rule books were written for a reason.

Unexpectedly, their dynamics mesh, but when her feelings for Alex become stronger than she wants to admit, Maggie provokes the worst in Alex to ensure that they will never be partners again.

Three years later, fate brings them together again. Their assignment is simple, but a plane crash gets in their way. Now, in the middle of a blizzard, they have to try to survive...and fight the feelings that refuse to die.
What inspired you to write your first book?

Fan fiction – or rather my addiction to a television show called Bad Girls. I discovered the show quite by accident, and one night while surfing the Internet, I stumbled across a site about the show featuring fan fiction. I began to read the stories, immersing myself in the imaginations of other fans, and along the way a story came into my head. So, one day I sat down and started writing. That was a little over five years ago...and I haven’t stopped since.

How did you come up with the title?

I like cryptic titles. Ones that don’t quite make sense when the reader begins the book, but somewhere in its pages, they’ll find the meaning. Like most of my stories, Ice didn’t have a title until one day I was writing some dialogue, and Ice got its name.

What books have most influenced your life most?

The only one that comes to mind is actually a self-help book entitled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. It contains a lot of little tidbits on how to cope with life’s challenges, and there was one thing in that book that has always stuck with me. The author suggested that when something goes wrong in your life to ask the question “What’s this trying to teach me?” It’s a very good question, and the breadth of answers can be vast depending on the situation, but more times than not, if I can ask myself that question before reacting to any given situation, I’m ahead of the game.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

This will probably sound a bit odd, or maybe not, but it wasn’t until a read a book by Stephen King when I realized just how powerful the written word could be. I’ve told this story before, but one night alone in my apartment, I was reading The Shining, and the book scared the shite out of me. I mean, for any author to write words that can evoke an emotion like fear takes talent. There are many who can write to titillate or to intrigue, but to paint a picture with words so vividly that you actually cause fear in the person reading them is quite astounding, and to do it in such a way that the reader cannot put down the book no matter how afraid they become...that’s just amazing. While I have no intention of writing a book of horror, I do want to try to do what Mr. King did by pulling the reader into my story. To make them feel. To make them see. To make them smile...and maybe even to make them sigh.

What book are you reading now?

The one I’m currently writing. :) I honestly don’t read very much anymore because I’m always writing. I’m a focused person, so once I start a project, it really does consume me. I know that most authors read, but I don’t have the time to do both. Writing is still a hobby for me. I have a full-time job that takes a huge chunk of my time, so any free time I get, I devote to writing. One day I’ll read again, but for right now, I’m having too much fun writing.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

A woman who I will call Storm. She is a fan fiction writer in her own right, and a soon to be a self-published author. She is one of my closest and dearest friends, and she’s also my editor, my sounding board and my conscience. She forces me to be true to myself, to my stories and to my characters, and she’s not afraid to call me on something if she feels it needs attention. She stood in my corner through the months and months of writing and editing Ice, and when I needed a shoulder, or when I needed to have my confidence propped up, she was there every single time. I would never have had the courage and the confidence to try to self-publish if she hadn’t been there for me, telling me a thousand times I could do it. And yes, she has said, “I told you so” quite a lot recently.

Do you see writing as a career?

I think that’s up to the readers, but yes, I’d love to make this a career. I have lots of ideas running through my head, but finding the time to get them on paper can be difficult at times. So if I could spend my days doing what I love instead of doing what I have to, that would be great.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I’m sure if I read Ice again, I’d find lots of things to change...starting with typos. But honestly, for a first effort, I think I’d leave it just the way it is. It may not be perfect, but the only way to learn...is to do.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I have always written in my head, so to speak. Developing a plot and characters, even down to dialogue, but I never put anything on paper until I became hooked on a TV show and started writing fan fiction, which was a little over five years ago.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m working on a novel called Give Me a Reason. It’s not what I would call your typical love story, but there is definitely some romance in its pages.

It’s a story about a woman who struggles every day to take her next breath because she’s terrified of the world around her. Her past has left scars, both physical and mental, and the story revolves around her learning to live again, to trust again, to love again, and to face her demons when they appear.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Oh, there’s a long list, but I think one of the biggest challenges would be the time element. Finding enough of it to really concentrate on making my stories the best they can be, and when I do find the time, I’m still faced with another challenge...my own anal ways. I’ve been known to spend hours on a scene before it meets with my approval. And when it comes to research, I’ll spend days looking up the smallest details or coming up with what I believe are the perfect names for my characters. I’m not a person who settles for “good enough” or “that’ll do” very easily, so if I think that while I’m writing or while I’m researching, I put away the story until I’m ready to make it better than “good.”

Who designed the covers?

The ideas for the covers for both Ice and Mistletoe were mine, but the artistry and talent to make my vision come to life belongs 100% to Robin Ludwig at Robin Ludwig Design Inc. She’s a very talented graphic artist, with loads of great advice. http://www.gobookcoverdesign.com

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Writing the words “The End” is the tough part. Like most, the characters in my books become part of my life, so to speak, and it’s hard to let them go. I know there are some who write sequels to their earlier works or continue to utilize characters they’ve established, but that’s not me. I think the thrill of writing is to develop something new, something different, and maybe something unexpected, so usually when I write “The End” it is just that. I’m never saying I’ll never write a sequel, but right now, I like creating the new.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

What haven’t I learned? LOL The very first lesson came rather quickly, and that was that above all else, I have to stay true to myself. I didn’t know how passionate I was about my writing until I was offered a contract from a publisher, and I turned it down because they wanted to control my words, and that doesn’t work for me. I don’t mind correcting typos or punctuation, but if I ever get the chance to see one of my books on the shelves in a store, the story on the pages will be mine...hopefully without typos.

And I think a lesson that all authors learn is that you cannot please everyone, so when I receive a less-than-stellar review or comment about my books, I try to take the criticism constructively. It’s not always easy, but I fall back on “what’s this trying to teach me” and learn from it if I can.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t let constructive criticism stop you from your dream. Learn from it, but first and foremost, follow your heart. Study your craft. Never give up, and when you think that your words are “good enough” walk away from them until you’re ready to make them the best they can be.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I’d like to thank them for allowing me to live a dream. Most have been overwhelmingly kind in their reviews and comments, and the emails they send put a smile on my face. Yes, I know I’ll never please everyone, but from what they’ve told me, I think I’m on the right track for pleasing at least a few.

I don’t know about other authors, but this one would not be sitting where she’s sitting if it wasn’t for the feedback she’s received from readers. Without it, I’d still be writing in my head, so I’d like to thank them for their courtesy, their feedback, their time and hopefully, my new career...one day. :)