WRITE QUESTIONS: Hywela Lyn

February 4, 2008 at 3:17 pm 5 comments


This week’s interview is with Wild Rose Press Author Hywela Lyn. Without further ado..

When did you start writing?

I first started writing seriously when I was about fourteen although I’d been writing stories since I learnt to read. I only thought of writing for publication when I was in my early twenties though.

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start writing a book?

Some years later, having had several short stories published it seemed natural to write a full length novel. I wrote a rather clichéd Western, which I finally laid to rest in a drawer, then a few years after that got the Science Fantasy ‘bug’. ‘Starquest’ started out as a short story, but once I got to know my main character I realised there was a lot more to her tale.

What made you take yourself seriously?

I’m not sure that I’ve ever taken myself seriously. I’m crazy about horses and for a long time I was so busy with my three, as well as working full time that I didn’t have time to write more than the odd short story, and I put my novel on the ‘back burner’. The main character was always with me though, and I knew I had to do something with the story. A month off work, looking after my sister’s beautiful home in the Welsh Mountains, gave me the opportunity to go back to ‘Starquest’ and start revising it. I knew then that I wanted to be a novelist – that’s when I started getting serious about my writing.


What have you learned about writing that shocked you the most?

That although writing the initial story is a very personal, even a lonely thing, it takes many people to produce a novel. Crit partners are essential to spot inconsistencies and flaws in a novel – and different people see different things. I had a great crit partner for Starquest but it was also read by several other writers who gave me really helpful feedback.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

I’ve always been a romance writer. I started off writing Westerns, as I’m fascinated by the Old West. I ride in the Westernstyle and have read a lot Western history. Unfortunately, there was not much of a market for Westerns, in the UK, so I changed to Science Fantasy. In a way it was not that much of a change as the romance and adventure aspects are the same. The pioneers of the old West were opening up a new world in the same way as the explorers of space. Instead of horses there are now starships, and instead of bad men and outlaws, my heroes and heroines are up against strange aliens and often the environment of space itself. Men and women still fight against seemingly impossible odds – and fall in love.

(Is it just me, but I love that answer.)

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

Live for today, follow your dreams and don’t let anyone discourage you.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

Read as much as you can and let your favourite authors inspire you – but don’t try to copy their style, let your own shine through. Get some good crit partners and don’t be afraid to take their advice.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

I always have a very brief outline and the ending. It’s essential that I know where my story is heading and have something to work towards. Of course the end often changes, but that doesn’t matter. What is important is that I know where the story is heading when I start writing, and even if my characters make me change the plot I’m not going to get stuck halfway wondering what happens next. Once the story is finished, I revise and revise, using my crit partners and reading the work through and making amendments several times until I feel it’s the best I can get it.

What keeps you writing?

My characters, nagging away at me! I love giving them obstacles to overcome and seeing how they eventually achieve their goals. It’s great when they surprise me and take the story in a direction I hadn’t actually planned. It is also a wonderful feeling to be able to share these characters who are so much part of me, and if the reader enjoys reading what I’ve written then that is the greatest reward I could have.

Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

Yes, I belong to several on-line writers groups and have some great on-line crit partners, including Lula Thomas, who was interviewed by you recently and helped me tremendously with my last novel. I have learnt that one can rarely spot the obvious oneself, and that sometimes less is more In other words the reader likes to fathom some things out for herself, so it’s better not to explain things too much, but rather subtly show them to the reader so she can pick up on the ‘subtext’. ‘Showing rather than ‘telling’ is something which is continually being drummed into us as writers, but it takes a lot of practice and a good crit partner to learn the difference.

I have also learnt to grow a thick skin, and to realise that a good crit partner is not criticising the writer personally, she is trying to make the story even better by spotting the flaws. Of course it hurts when that sentence you worked so hard on turns out not to be so riveting after all, or you’re told that scene you thought so poignant doesn’t really work. Usually though, when you’ve wiped away the tears you find they’re right after all, and your work will be better for their advice. Conversely, there may be times when having gone over your partner’s notes and thinking about them, you find you really don’t agree. Sometimes you have to go by your ‘gut instinct’, after all it’s your story. By the same token, critting your partners’ work not only repays the favour, but often makes it easier to spot errors when revising your own.

Define success for yourself?

Definitely having my first novel, Starquest accepted for publication. It’s ‘the book of my heart’ and I am so happy that I will soon be able to see it in print although it will be e-published first.

What’s your comfort reads?

Something light and romantic with characters I can relate to. Although Fantasy, Science Fiction and Westerns are my favourite genres, I’ll read pretty much anything if it grabs my interest.

Who are you reading right now?

‘All the Weyrs of Pern’ by Anne McCaffrey. This is one of the few of her ‘dragon’ books I’ve not read before. When I was starting my novel I wrote to her telling her I wanted to be a writer. She very kindly wrote back with the advice ‘Write what you would like to read’. So that’s what I do.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ and Zane Grey’s ‘Riders of the Purple Sage.’ I think it was the latter that made me want to write a novel

Tolkein created a whole world, with its own culture and languages. I can never aspire to that level of genius, but I hope my characters and settings are good enough to take the reader ‘out of this world’ for a while. Also Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and many other reference books I have on my shelf are invaluable when I need a bit of technical assistance.

Plug away…

Hywela Lyn has had several short stories published in magazines in the UK, including ‘The Lady’. Her debut novel ‘Starquest’ will be released electronically by The Wild Rose Press some time in early 2008. The print version will be available approximately six months later.

The sequel ‘Children of the Mist’ is currently under submission with the same publisher and she is thrilled and privileged to be one of nine other authors of the Faery Rose line who are working on a series of novellas about the nine Muses of ancient Greece. These novellas will be released individually at intervals in the summer of 2008 and three anthologies of three stories each will be available in print some time later, making a collection of three books comprising nine different novellas.

Bio:

Hywela Lyn was born and spent most of her life in rural Wales, although she now lives in a small village in England with her long suffering husband, Dave, three horses and a rescued dog called ‘Bouncer’. Long horseback rides in the Welsh mountains amid the beautiful scenery of Wales have helped to inspire many of her stories. She writes mainly romantic science fantasy and usually manages to include a horse somewhere in her writing.

visit Hywela Lyn at her website:

http://www.hywelalyn.co.uk

or her My Space site

http://www.myspace.com/hywelalyn

Blurb for Starquest:

When Jestine Darnell is rescued from her sabotaged starship by the crew of the Destiny her only objective is to complete her mission and keep her promise to save a world from slavery. Love is the last thing on her mind. However, she has not counted on losing her heart to Keri Marchant the ship’s second in command, who makes his distrust of her painfully obvious, despite the chemistry between them. The completion of her mission has consequences neither of them could have foreseen.
Enter Dahll Tarron, who becomes involved in a long and dangerous quest to find the Destiny. Fates become intertwined, perils shared, culminating in the realization that sometimes love may be so close there is a danger it will not be recognized until it is too late…

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Entry filed under: Write Questions.

IT’S BLEEPING KILLING ME FRIEND’S, DON’T LET FRIEND’S RELEASE DATES GO BY UNNOTICED

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Miss Mae  |  February 4, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Great interview! It’s so interesting to read what makes the individual writer “click”, and makes you–though maybe a crit partner and you think you should know–learn new things about your buddy!

    Loved it! Looking forward to seeing the release date of StarQuest!

    MM

  • 2. Cindy Spencer Pape  |  February 4, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    great interview! I’ve been waiting so long for Starquest!

  • 3. Mary Andrews  |  February 5, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Enjoyed the interview…good answers to good questions. Nice blog too.

    (Have u considered adding a short ‘teaser’ from the book so the readers can check out writing style too?)

    –Mary Andrews

  • 4. Mel  |  February 5, 2008 at 1:36 am

    From the interviews or from my own writing? Because if it’s my own writing you can check out my website at http://www.melissablue.net and find an excerpt on the Books page.

  • 5. Jane Richardson, writer  |  February 6, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Great interview, Lyn! Hope it won’t be too long before Starquest in released, I know loads of people (myself included!) are looking forward to it!

    all the best.
    Jane x

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