Although I began writing stories almost as soon as I learnt the alphabet and always wanted to be an author, it wasn’t until I went to live in Greece for a few years that I had the time (and literally nothing but the time) to write. I’d read and re-read everything I owned and there seemed nothing left to do but write my own stories. I was lucky enough to find a literary agent almost at once, but didn’t have anything published until several years later.
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I started writing romance, and all my stories contain some element of romance, but I’m one of those authors who can’t seem to work in the confines of a single genre. I love to bring humor, mystery, suspense, even supernatural elements into my stories, because I like to surprise readers and think they always deserve a little more than they expect.
Tell us about your current series.
All my stories are stand-alones and my latest is my first foray into the cozy mystery genre. Hannah was fortunate enough to inherit a sweet Victorian cottage from her grandmother, but her life is turned upside-down when this is burgled. She discovers some hidden love letters to her grandmother that send her on a quest of discovery, but she also meets two very different men, who both seem interested in her and life suddenly becomes quite complicated.
What is your favorite part of writing?
I think it’s that moment when a story seems to take on a reality of its own. Ideas you’d never considered crowd your head and you become as engrossed in your fictional world as you want your readers to be.
How has your experience with self-publishing been?
I love self-publishing and am a firm advocate of this method. Authors are on their own when they’re writing their stories and these become very personal to them; so why hand them over to someone else to ‘bring up’ after the hard work is done? Self-publishing allows the author to retain complete control and nurture their ‘babies’ in the way they want.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
They come from the most humdrum situations. One was a mere snippet from a dream and when I woke up the whole story seemed to play out in my head (In Loving Hate). Another happened when I was shopping for an elderly neighbor and exchanged no more than a sentence with an elderly gentleman buying tomatoes (Shopping for Love). Of course I changed the characters involved! Another came from an actual incident when my tyre blew on the motorway and I imagined a much more romantic scenario from this rather horrible experience (Wishful Thinking). My latest story (Cocktails and Lies) rushed into my head while chatting to an author friend over lunch about ideas for her story.
What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
I think we’re all aware of the negative connotations surrounding self-publishing. These relate almost entirely to lack of attention to detail on the part of the author. The best advice I can give is don’t rush to publish. Make sure you invest time and perhaps money in professional editing services for proofing and content. Acquire some reliable critique partners and be prepared to listen to their criticisms about your characters and plot—and act on them. Take pride in your work and make sure your final version is as perfect as you can make it.
Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?
Not at all. Sadly my muse is a contrary little madam who runs rings around me. She likes an element of romance but that’s not nearly enough for her. There has to be conflict, adventure, suspense, or even hints of the supernatural. I try to rein her in, because it’s difficult to market cross-genre books, but so far it’s a losing battle. All my books seems to cross genres.
What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I always knew I wanted to invent stories because of the enormous pleasure reading always gave me. I used to invent worlds and adventures almost before I could write, and from an early age, I planned to be journalist. That never happened, of course. I became a teacher instead and tried to instil a passion for reading in my students. When circumstances allowed me to give up teaching and take up writing, I felt my childhood dreams were on the brink of fulfilment at last.
Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization? Which one? Have they helped you with your writing? How?
Yes! Before the internet grew up into what it is today, and while I was still teaching, I belonged to a group called Brutal Writers. It was an amazing critique group (brutally honest, too) run by someone called Lori and I learned so much from it. We communicated via email (and internet connection was dial-up in those days)—and I felt the same thrill Meg Ryan felt every time I heard ‘You’ve got mail’! I doubt there are many writing organizations like that nowadays, but there are plenty of helpful groups around and I do belong to a few of them and recommend them to other authors.
Excerpt from Cocktails and Lies:
The shock when I arrived home to find my front door kicked in left me reeling, too stunned to move. Before I found the courage to enter the house, Jan appeared at my side, his face a picture of concern and sympathy.
“I’ve been watching for you. I spotted the damage from my balcony when I came home from work and called the police. They only left ten minutes ago. Let’s go inside and see what has happened.”
I began to shake violently. I’ve never been burgled before, but seen the effect on so many people in the course of my work. It leaves you feeling violated and scared. I doubted I could even cross my own threshold unaided. What would I find inside—or not find? I was still too shocked for tears, just cold, dumb incomprehension. Me… burgled! This is such a safe house, tucked away behind the big apartment block, minding its own little business, not encouraging anyone to trespass and break in. It’s not visible from the road and even sat navs can’t find it—I suffered endless difficulties with deliveries and have fallen out with several courier firms. I’ve stopped ordering from most online stores, because nothing ever arrives without endless emails or phone calls.
Who would rob me anyway, and why? Had I been targeted or did someone just happen upon the house? The questions rampaged my stunned brain as I peered into the house, reluctant to enter.
A former teacher, Lynette gave up her career in education a few years ago in order to focus on her writing and thus fulfil her childhood dream. She writes contemporary women’s fiction, usually involving romance, and often with suspense or a supernatural twist. She claims ‘Killing Jenna Crane’, a romantic thriller is her personal favorite to date.
Lynette currently lives in an early Victorian cottage (which inspired her latest story: ‘Cocktails and Lies’) in a picturesque Surrey village. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves exploring new recipe ideas from all over the globe. She also enjoys catching up with friends, visiting the theatre or cinema, and occasionally trying to tame her out-of-control garden and the family’s eccentric cat.