Interview With Author Lynne Cantwell

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I’m Lynne Cantwell. I’ve written about two dozen fantasy novels, including thirteen books in the Pipe Woman Chronicles universe. I’m also on the staff at Indies Unlimited, a website that has tons of great advice for independent authors.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

I tend to use settings I’m familiar with. In the Land, Sea, Sky trilogy, the three main characters live in the rental townhouse in Alexandria, VA, where I raised my daughters. I have a standalone novel called Seasons of the Fool that’s set in the neighborhood in northern Indiana where I grew up. But the only one of my books that’s based on real life is my memoir, Mom’s House.

# How do you deal with creative block?

I’ve said in the past that I don’t get writer’s block. I spent a lot of years in radio news, where you often have fifteen minutes to write a five-minute newscast. There’s no time for writer’s block – you have to just sit down at the keyboard and pound it out. That discipline has followed me into fiction writing. But I tell you what: This past year has been rough. I usually write three books a year; last year I wrote one. It’s been hard to force myself to sit down at the computer and write.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

When it’s a series, I try to make the covers similar in some way. For the Pipe Woman Chronicles, every title was a single word ending in “d”. For my Transcendence trilogy, I used the same big orange moon on all three covers, always framing a woman’s silhouette, but a different pose for each book.

The best advice I can give about cover design is not to make the thing too busy. Don’t try to retell your whole story with a collage of images. And make the font size for your title and author name as big as will fit.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I don’t read them. Seriously. Reviews are there for readers to decide whether they might like the book. There’s no percentage for me, as the author, in reading whether people liked the book or hated it.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I don’t know whether you can call it an improvement, but I used to be very big on outlining the whole book and following the outline to the letter. I still outline, but my outlines are a lot sketchier. And I tend to write a second outline when I’m about 15,000 words from the end, to make sure everything comes together the way I want it to.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I’ve seen a lot of emphasis in certain online writing groups on “writing to market.” I’m not very good at that. I write books I’d like to read and I hope the results resonate with readers.

# What are your plans for future books?

I’m working on a story for Kindle Vella, a new feature that Amazon plans to launch pretty soon. My story is called The Atherton Vampire. It’s been kicking around in the back of my mind for a few years. The vampire in question is more like Barnabas Collins than Edward Cullen – no sparkles, sorry – and his love interest is a TV reporter who refuses to fall for him. Part of the story is told from a gargoyle’s point of view. I’m having a lot of fun writing it.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.

Hmm, let’s see. I’ve been to Bulgaria – that’s kind of quirky. Probably my favorite story from my days in radio news is the time Howard Dean, who was governor of Vermont at the time, called me from a humvee in an ice storm. And one more: I’ve been a fan of the Monkees since their TV show first aired in 1966. When I found out that they were cool again, nobody was more surprised than me!


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