A warm welcome to Lynne Shelby as she talks about her latest books and her writing process. (And an excerpt! Mustn’t forget that.)
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and is published by Accent Press. She is currently working on the third book in a series of novels set in the world of show business. The first book in the series, ‘The One That I Want,’ is due to be published in July 2018. Lynne is an avid reader, and when not writing or reading can usually be found travelling or at the theatre. She lives in North London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby. Visit Lynne on the web here: www.lynneshelby.com
What genre do you write and why did you pick this genre?
My writing can best be described as contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Over the years, having read many different genres, I’ve also written in different genres, from hard science fiction to historical, although my writing always had a subplot of a developing relationship between two of my main characters. Then roughly five years ago, I ‘discovered’ the broad spectrum of books that fall into the genre of contemporary romantic novels, and realised that this is what I’d been writing all along without knowing it – I just needed to put more emphasis on the romance element in the plot. Now I write about contemporary relationships with all their complications, exploring how women juggle the often conflicting demands of modern life, and achieve their ambitions and dreams, whatever they may be.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I’m a bit of both! When I begin writing a new story, I know how it starts and how it ends, but have very little idea what happens in between. I do, however, know a lot about my characters before I start writing – from their age and appearance to the type of school they went to and which car they drive – so I throw them together and see what happens. Fortunately there is always a point in the story when the characters seem to acquire a life of their own and take over the plot! When I’m about two thirds through a book, and need to start drawing all the different threads together, I do start planning, noting down bullet points for each chapter, not just the basic action, but also the place my main characters have reached in their emotional journey.
Do you write at the same time every day?
I’d love to be able to say that I get up early every day and write 2,000 words before breakfast, but in reality, I aim to sit down at my desk in my writing room (aka the spare bedroom) around 9.00 a.m. I must admit that the first thing I do when I switch on my laptop is check my emails, but then I write for most of the morning, taking a break at lunchtime, (when I can never resist catching up on Facebook and Twitter), and then do a couple more hours of writing in the afternoon. I have been known to forget to stop for lunch if my writing is going really well. With a first draft, I usually end up writing 800 words a day, and it takes me a year to research, write and edit a book. I do aim to write every day, but try not to be obsessive about it. After all, if writers don’t get out and observe the world and the people in it, they don’t have anything to write about!
Does your particular genre require research? If so, how do you do it?
My stories are set in the present day, so I don’t have to do the vast amount of research on-line or in books, as I did when I tried my hand at writing a historical novel, but I do like to thoroughly research my novels’ locations by visiting them if at all possible, so that I can portray an authentic sense of place in my writing. My debut novel, ‘French Kissing,’ is set partly in Paris, one of my favourite cities, and before I edited the first draft of the manuscript, I spent a few days there, walking the same routes that my characters walk, soaking up the atmosphere, and taking lots of photos – not that I ever need an excuse to visit Paris! Most of the action in my next novel, ‘The One That I Want,’ takes place in London. I know London well, but I still spent several days visiting the parts of the city my heroine visits, making sure I’ve got roads and buildings in exactly the right places.
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