Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lynne North - Gertie Gets it Right (eventually)

Our featured author today is Lynne North, with her book Gertie Gets it Right (eventually.)

What is your name?
Strangely enough, I even have a story to tell about my name. My actual name is Lynne Northing, but I write under the name of Lynne North. No, this is not a tax dodge. I have spent so much of my life being mailed as Lynne Nothing, that I was determined that awful name would NOT accidentally appear on my first book cover! They can’t go far wrong with Lynne North…I hope.

I could be said to be in my second (or even third?) childhood. If truth be told though, I don’t think I ever left my first one…

Where do you currently live?
I live in a lovely countryside area in the North West of England.

When did you first start writing?
Way back in my school years I always enjoyed my English classes and being asked to write stories. I began to write for myself in my mid teens, and before long was earning money for magazine articles. That was great, but what I always wanted was to write a book. To actually have them published is a dream come true!

What was your very first story about?
My first attempt at book writing was a children’s fantasy tale (what a surprise!) The story involves a village blighted by an evil wizard and a quest to find the necessary ingredients for a spell to end the curse. Uhm, maybe I should blow off the cobwebs and think about a rewrite?

Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
Amazingly enough, no! Not that I can think of, anyway. If I have, it is buried so deep in my mind, even I can’t find it…

Did you experience anything you’ve written yourself?
It’s funny you should ask that, because I am currently working on a series of macabre Twist in the Tale short stories for an anthology. One of the stories for this is loosely based on a strange experience I had when I was 12 years old. And no, I’m not giving any more away about it!

Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?

There are so many, but if I have to choose a few they will be Terry Pratchett, Terry Brooks, JRR Tolkien and JK Rowling.

What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?

I was educated up to degree level, achieving an honours degree in psychology. Does that affect my writing? In a strange way it probably does. To develop characters you have to analyse people and situations, know what your characters would and would not do. I guess a starting point of psychology is a good enough place to begin the analysis!

How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
Most of my writing is straight from my mind, and involves no research whatsoever. That’s the beauty of fantasy. Anything goes! No one can say you are not right about a fantasy you create yourself. Where research is necessary (and of course it sometimes is) then I will spend as long as it takes to get it right.

Tell us about your featured book.
Gertie Gets it Right (eventually) is a children’s humorous fantasy novel aimed at the eight years of age to young teen market.
Gertie Grimthorpe comes from a long line of witches. Unfortunately, she hasn’t really got the hang of it. Being blonde haired, blue eyed and free of warts isn’t much of an advantage. Try as she might, Gertie’s spells fall flat. She manages to give her bat-headed umbrella the ability to talk, but then wishes she hadn’t when all he does is complain and insult people. Even finding an owl to be her Familiar doesn’t help. Then again, he is extremely shortsighted… Gertie is sent to The Academy to improve her spell casting skills. She soon has a best friend in the form of Bertha Bobbit, a big girl, with a matching appetite. Add to that a Moat Monster with a flatulence problem, the weirdest array of witch’s Familiars possible, and a warlock determined to ruin Gertie’s chances of success, and the story unfolds. Not to mention the demon...

Why did you write that?
That’s quite hard to answer, because it was simply a story that was inside me. I love to write humorous fantasy, and even if I’m not trying to be humorous, my writing has a habit of turning that way unless I keep a very tight reign on it. I began the story and it developed quickly. Before long the characters took over, and kept me going until they had reached their last page.

Is there anything special you would like your potential readers to know?

Though written for children, I receive many positive comments from adult readers. If, like me, you still have a childlike outlook on life and a silly sense of humour, give it a go!

Where is the one place you’ve traveled where you’ve felt most like you fit in?
No matter where I might travel, home is where I prefer to be, and where I know that I truly belong.

What activity or hobby, besides writing, do you find most enjoyable?

Actually, I love console gaming! I find fantasy role-playing games to be very therapeutic when I take a break from work and writing.

What was your favorite childhood toy?
There were so many, but I will probably have to choose my first teddy bear. We met on my second Christmas in this world, when she was sat staring out of my Christmas sack. I still have her, and wouldn’t part with her for the world!

What is your most valued personal possession in life? Who gave it to you?
This too is hard to pinpoint, but I will choose a Myth & Magic ornament with the title of Reflections. It is a wonderful dragon, looking into an ornate mirror made up of a lovely faceted blue crystal. My Mum bought it for me during 1997, and moved it away as a Christmas present. Sadly she died suddenly before that Christmas, so it almost felt like a present from beyond. I still think that if I do see my Mum again in this life, she will be reflected in that crystal…

If you lost the ability to see every color but one, which one would it be?
Blue, every time. It is such a beautiful colour. The sky, the sea, calmness, and my eyes!

What do you see as your greatest achievement?
Seeing two of my books published, Gertie Gets it Right (eventually), and Zac’s Destiny.

What, to you, is absolutely wrong?
Injustice, lack of gratitude, and hearing of old people who have lived through two World Wars being hurt or killed in their own homes.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never give up, and follow your dreams.

If you had to explain the concept of “love” to someone who’s never heard of it before, how would you?
Love has more facets that the most expensive diamond. It can bring the greatest joys, and the deepest sorrows. There are so many different kinds of love, but they all play such a huge part in our lives. A life devoid of love, would be a life not worth living.

You’ve decided to buy an exotic pet, what do you go for?

I’d go for a unicorn, but I guess I might have a little trouble finding one…

If you could learn one new thing instantly, what would it be?
Confidence. The one thing that holds me back in life is lack of confidence. I write confidently, but I don’t live the same way.

Finish this sentence. “I sometimes find it hard to…”
…Give the best of myself in public!

Who is your most favorite literary character?
Terry Pratchett’s witches, and JRR Tolkien’s Hobbits. Sorry if I cheated a bit by choosing more than one!

Who is your favorite character of your own creation?
Oh, how to choose. Possibly the dual characters of Cer and Ber who appear in the children’s fantasy I am currently writing, “Be Careful What You Wish For.” Sorry, can’t give any more away!

If you were ever to write an autobiography, what would its title be?
Something like ‘Chasing Rainbows’

What if it was a biography of your favorite person?
‘The Real God of Discworld’, of course about my hero Terry Pratchett.

Name three things about that person that influenced or inspired you.

The ease with which he seems to write, the brilliance of his humour, and the fact he appears to be a genuinely nice, down-to-earth man despite his fame.

Our very special thanks to Lynne for sharing her fantastic responses with us. Her work is available in both paperback and e-book format. Go check it out today, before the planet is covered with ice, it's too slippery to go anywhere, and you're stuck without anything to read.

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