As part of the featured author Q&A sessions, I am very pleased to announce that the featured author for the current session is Lynda Stacey.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Hi Laura and thank you for having me. I’m afraid I’m not very interesting, I work full time as a Sales Director for a stationery and office supplies company. I’m also a wife, a step-mother and a grandmother (not that I’m old… lol… I’m not, well, not in my head). I began writing around five years ago. I was in a bad car accident, which ruined my shoulder/ I lost a lot of the mobility in my right arm and I had to give up my other hobby of being a Scuba Diving Instructor. I turned to writing, which to be honest had always been something I knew I’d eventually do.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? I used to say that I’d like to be an international author, but House of Secrets is about to be translated into Norwegian, so… TICK… I’ve done that one. I think the next thing I’d love is to see my books in the supermarkets or Waterstones.
So, what have you written? I’ve written three novels. House of Secrets was published by Choc Lit in July 16. And they are about to release my next novel, which still must be titled. The 3rd book is with Choc Lit and I’m hoping they release that one later in 2017.
What is your most recent novel? That would be my debut novel, House of Secrets.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Maddie is a young mother, with a three-year-old daughter. She was widowed whilst pregnant, gave birth to a premature Poppy and fell into an unstable relationship with Liam. Maddie is a strong character, she has a lot of fight and needs it.
What genre are your books? They are all Romantic Suspense
What draws you to this genre? I’m not sure, I just don’t think life is perfect. I honestly believe that most people go through a battle with life and my characters probably go through a little more than most.
When did you decide to become a writer? I’ve always been a writer, even as a child/teenager I wrote and to be honest, having the ability to make up stories got me out of a lot of trouble as a teenager. I could spin quite a yarn, and my poor mum believed every word.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? Because I work full time, my writing time must happen in my spare time. Sometimes I’ll write of an evening, other times its weekends. I tend to get up early and write before my husband gets up.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? No… there is no plan. I just write as much as I can, as often as I can.
Where do your ideas come from? Life. I’m a people watcher. I love to sit in café bars, walk round supermarkets, or walk through the shops and watch how people react.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? I always have an idea of where I need to start, and where I need to end. The rest just seems to happen, albeit the first draft is often nothing like the finished novel.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? It takes me around a year. I normally write more in the winter, during the summer I like to sit in the garden and drink wine… lol..! Sorry, I’m human.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? Like every other author, I’m learning my trade more with every book. So yes, I’d say that I evolve. I also use a critique service, by the lovely Jane Lovering. She’s amazing and really helps me see the woods for the trees.
Do you read much and if so which writers inspire you? I’ve always read quite widely. I love everything from historical to suspense and if I had to choose one author, I’d probably have to say Stephen King was most probably the first author to really grip me with his words.
What is your favourite book and why? Oh no, this is like asking which is your favourite child…! I can’t answer, there are so many.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Like just about every other author in the land, I think I’d have loved to have written Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen set the bar so many years ago when it came to romance and I don’t know anyone who didn’t read what she wrote.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Keep writing, keep submitting and ignore your careers advice officer. When I went to see my Careers officer in 1984, I told him how much I really wanted to be a writer or a journalist. He looked me up and down. I was a miner’s daughter and he obviously didn’t have much time for people from mining backgrounds. He said, “Mmmm, have you ever thought about working in Boots. They have a good make-up counter. I’m sure you’d fit in well.”
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? I’d encourage any writer to join an association and to mix with other writers. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t joined the Romantic Novelist Association, I doubt I’d still be published. It was at the conference in 2015 that I met Lyn Vernham, from Choc Lit, on a one on one. It gave me the opportunity to meet and talk to publishers and I can’t recommend it enough.