LifeOfWriters.com feel lucky to have had the opportunity to interview Lynne Shelby. She is the authors of French Kissing. She will let us know about her writing process, her typical writing day and her best advice for writers.
In 2015 you won the Accent Press & Woman Magazine Writing Competition with the book French Kissing. Congratulations. Can you tell about the writing process for this book? and what do you feel was the hardest part?
When I started writing ‘French Kissing,’ I knew a lot about my characters, and I knew the beginning and the ending of their story, but I had little idea of what was going to happen in between. I jotted down a vague outline of a plot, and then began writing, throwing my hero, Alexandre who lives in Paris, and my heroine, Anna who lives in London, together, and seeing what happened as they interacted. There seemed to be a moment when the characters I’d created took over and almost started telling their own story, making me realise that the story arc I’d thought I was writing didn’t work for the people my characters had become on the page, and I’d have to change it. A minor character in ‘French Kissing’ ended up in a romantic sub-plot, although I had no idea that this was going to happen when I first put her in the book – she was only supposed to be my heroine’s confidante. When I was about three-quarters of the way through my story, I read all of it again from the beginning, making notes as to which characters were introduced in each chapter, and the timescale over which the action took place. By then, I did have a clear idea of my plot’s twists and turns, and it was at this stage that I planned future chapters to keep the action on track. The hardest part of the writing process for me was editing that first draft, recognising that some passages of writing that I liked weren’t right for this story, usually because they didn’t advance the plot in any way, and that I had to delete them – or save them in another file, as a scene that is wrong for one story can work much better in another.
Describe a typical writing day? How many hours do you write?
I’d love to say that I got up at 6.00 am and wrote 2,000 words before breakfast, but in reality on a typical writing day, I sit down at my desk by about 9.30. Before I start writing, I read back over everything I wrote the day before to get back into the flow of my story, and then, ideally, I aim to write for about three hours, hopefully producing between 800 to 1,000 words - I have been known to keep writing and forget to have lunch if a story is going really well!
Do you like to write in a public place or always in the comfort of your home?
When my children were young, I wrote anywhere and everywhere: sitting in a car when I was waiting for them to come out of ballet lessons or on the kitchen worktop while I was cooking. When my eldest moved into her own flat, her bedroom became my writing room. It’s here that I prefer to write, sitting at my own desk, but if I’m travelling, I’m happy to write on a train or a plane or even a beach.
Do you have any routines? Using a special pen?
I don’t have any particular routines for writing, other than aiming to sit down at my desk and open my laptop by about 9.30 each morning. When I have a work in progress, I try to write every day, even if it’s only for a short time, because I find this helps to keep the story I want to tell fresh in my mind.
Is there a line, or paragraph, that you are particularly proud of from your book?
‘French Kissing’ tells the story of Anna, who is English and Alexandre, who is French, childhood penfriends who meet as adults, when their friendship could become something more. In this scene, which I particularly enjoyed writing, Anna is at an art exhibition in Paris, looking at a photograph of her taken by Alex, a professional photographer, to which he has given the title Anna Awakening:
I’d thought the photograph beautiful when Alex had first showed it to me on his laptop, but now, seeing the picture blown up and hung on the wall of an art gallery, I felt its impact anew. The play of light and shadow over the girl’s body – over my body – the expression on the girl’s face as she first caught sight of the rose, the emotions and narrative that the image conveyed, all of this combined to make an extraordinary visual image. I heard a male voice say, ‘The photograph obviously depicts a sensual awakening,’ and a female voice say, ‘No, it’s more than that, it’s a picture of a young girl awakening to all the possibilities of life and love.’ When Alex came to London, I thought, he woke me up. I was sleepwalking and I didn’t even realise it.
What is the best writing advice you have ever got?
The best writing advice I’ve ever got was to keep on writing, even if your first efforts aren’t all you want them to be, because you can edit a rough draft, but you can’t edit an empty page.
If you want to know more about Lynne Shelby have a look here.
By : Admin | Author Interview
2016-09-20 [ 03:51:49]