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by Lynne Cantwell
The winter solstice 2012 won't be the end of the world. It will be the beginning of the end....
Naomi has a pretty sweet life. Respected as a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. And her handsome boyfriend Brock has just proposed to her. But a white buffalo calf is bowing to her in her dreams. And who is the Native American man who has been following her around?
Naomi doesn’t know it, but things are about to change....
1. What or who inspired you to start writing?
When I was in second grade, the boy who sat in front of me brought in a story he had written and illustrated. I looked at it and thought, “I could do that.” So I did. Mine was called Susie and the Talking Doll. It was, of course, a fantasy.
2. How did you come up with ideas for your books?
I started reading a couple of urban fantasy series and thought it would be fun to try writing my own. I decided to set it in Denver, and from there, things just started clicking.
3. What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
It appears to me that most urban fantasies are written in first person. The protagonist is female, sometimes with a gritty day job, almost always with some sort of paranormal power or ability. The setting is modern day, although not every scene takes place in a city. And there’s usually a romance. I think Seized hits all of those conventions, except perhaps Naomi’s day job – although I could even argue for that, depending on how you feel about lawyers!
4. What expertise did you bring to your writing?
In terms of Seized, I have a paralegal certificate and have worked in a law firm for more than ten years. Also, I lived in Denver while I was in paralegal school and have been back several times since then. In general, I have a journalism degree and spent twenty years working as a broadcast journalist, where I learned to “write tight.”
5. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
I love Colorado. I absolutely freaking love it there. One of these days, I fully intend to move back. (I hope they’ll have me after I’ve finished writing this series….)
6. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
Right now, I’m working on the first draft of Fissured, the second book in The Pipe Woman Chronicles. I expect it will be out sometime in September. I think the whole series will be four or five books long and I’m hoping to publish two a year, so I’ve got my work cut out for me for the next little while.
7. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would totally be Naomi. I want her condo! Although I’d probably be more suited to Shannon’s role as loyal sidekick.
8. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I don’t, although I have a master’s degree in fiction writing and had to take several workshop classes for the degree. I have a few beta readers who keep me from doing anything too stupid (she said, fingers crossed).
9. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
I didn’t actually submit anything. I met Joy Calderwood on a message board for fans of Stephen R. Donaldson (kevinswatch.ihugny.com). Some of the folks there pulled together three anthologies of our own work, with a selection team and everything. Joy volunteered to edit the anthologies, and I was lucky enough to have a story selected for inclusion in each one. When Joy started Calderwood Books, she asked me for permission to republish two of my anthology submissions, and I said, “Sure, why not?” Then when I finished writing The Maidens’ War, I offered it to her and she published it.
10. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
The worst advice out there right now is that authors shouldn’t even consider self-publishing. The people handing out that advice are usually invested somehow in the old paradigm – as a publisher, an agent or a traditionally-published author – and they want to see the status quo maintained.
11. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I’m a planner, at least to some degree. I work from a rough outline that includes a timeline for when major events should happen, but it’s flexible.
12. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
I do a lot of knitting, and in my second book, SwanSong, Neeve not only learned to knit, but she actually started a business knitting Fair Isle sweaters. In Fissured, Naomi is going to learn to knit, but I don’t think it’s going to end up being her thing.
13. Do you have an all time favorite book?
My all-time favorite author is Stephen R. Donaldson, and his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, is still my favorite series. When I was a kid, my favorite book was Little Women until I read Jane Eyre, and then that was my favorite book until I read the Covenant books in my twenties.
14. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
Sure! Fissured, as I said above, is book two of The Pipe Women Chronicles. In this book, Naomi and Joseph learn the identity of the Investigator, who pretty much threatens to disrupt everything.
15. Do you have any family traditions or recipes you might like to share?
My mother’s side of the family is Czech (which is why The Maidens’ War is based, in part, on a Czech legend). My mom never made Czech blueberry soup, but I found the recipe online and my kids love it.
3 cups blueberries
4 cups water
A pinch of salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. sour cream
3 tbsp. flour
Boil 2 cups of blueberries in the water until softened. Stir in the salt, cinnamon and sugar. Remove from heat.
Whip the flour into the sour cream, then whip both into the hot liquid. When well blended, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and stir until thickened.
Remove from heat, stir in another 1/2 cup of the blueberries, and chill. When ready to serve, garnish with the last 1/2 cup of blueberries. Serves 4 to 6.
16. What is your favorite reality show?
Sorry, I don’t watch TV. The last show I Netflixed was “Battlestar Galactica”, which was awesome.
17. Who is your favorite actor and actress?
My movie tastes are kind of stuck in the ‘80s – my favorite actor is still Harrison Ford. I think I’m one of probably three people who thought “Cowboys vs. Aliens” was great. (Well, Daniel Craig taking off his shirt held some appeal, too….) I don’t know that I have a favorite actress. Meryl Streep is always excellent, and I thought Helen Mirren was terrific in “The Queen”.
18. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
At one point in Seized, Naomi becomes overwhelmed with the enormity of the task before her. She has a goddess-given power she never asked for; the same goddess is expecting her to negotiate a deal with God; and in the meantime, she just broke up with her fiancé, and she wants to keep Joseph’s grandfather from losing his home and business to an unscrupulous developer. That’s probably the bleakest moment in the book.
19. If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?
No clue, sorry. I’m always lousy at this game.
20. Anything else you might want to add?
Nope, I think you’ve covered it. Thanks for having me! I’ve enjoyed it.
Working my ginger Nissan Cube free of LoDo at last, I pulled up behind a car that was sitting at a stop sign...and sitting...and sitting. No traffic was coming in either direction that I could see, and my earlier ebullient mood was evaporating by the second. Finally, in frustration, I cried out, “Just go, already!”
The car ahead leaped into the intersection. A horn blared as another car shot into my range of vision from the left, narrowly missing the first car. As the driver on the cross street flew by, still honking, the other driver rocked to a halt on the other side of the intersection and just sat there.
I realized my hand was covering my mouth. I pulled it away with an effort and sat for a moment, glancing between the flaring brake lights across the road and my hands trembling on the steering wheel. Finally, the other car’s brake lights went out and he, or she, drove away. Slowly and carefully, I did the same.
Shannon met me at the door, her grin dissolving into a look of concern…. “What happened?”
I told her. About the other driver, and about the settlements.
As I talked, my brain began clicking things into place. It wasn’t just that I was getting really good at my job – it was too easy. People were far too suggestible around me. The client had told Perry that I had a magic touch. That he couldn’t help agreeing with everything I said.
I could tell someone to get out of my way at an intersection, even if it put that person in danger.
“Something weird is going on,” I finished, rather lamely.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book illustrated by the author about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. Her third novel and her first urban fantasy, Seized: Book One of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, was released in March.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Cantwell/e/B005JTP5NE/
Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lynnecantwell
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