Lynn Viehl, awesome author of the Darkyn and Kyndred series, has graciously consented to answer my questions regarding Shadowlight and...other stuff. Read on to find out more!
Silver: Lynn, thank you for being here and being so generous with your time and answers. You have such a long and successful writing career, with books written in various genre. For the sake of new-to-you readers, can you tell us a few things about yourself? Where would you suggest we start reading your books?
Lynn: Other than the fact that I’m hopelessly ordinary, I live in country with my guy, our two teenagers, two rescued cats, and a Sheltie pup. New-to-me readers might first want to try one of my free e-books posted on Scribd.com (http://www.scribd.com/people/documents/179767-lynn). I have original novels, novellas, anthologies and short stories in a variety of genres posted there, and all of them are free for anyone to read online, download in .txt or .pdf format, and/or print out.
Silver: That's great! I've been to there, and you certainly have a lot of free stuff to delight a reader's heart. Do you have a favorite genre that you love to explore and write? Why does this genre appeal to you?
Lynn: I try not to play genre favorites because they’re like little girls and get jealous of each other, but the world-building involved in dark fantasy and SF make them the easiest and most interesting for me to write. Don’t tell my romances that.
Silver: My mouth's firmly zipped. :) Now, how long does it take you to write a book, from conceptualization to submission, including research? You can take for example, Shadowlight.
Lynn: It varies, but the average time is between four to six months per novel. I write several novels simultaneously so I’m often working on two or three books at the same time. Shadowlight took about eight months, a bit longer than usual because I took a trip to Savannah to map out some of the settings and conduct some interviews with real-life experts for certain parts of the story.
Silver: Wow, the perks of writing! How did your idea for Shadowlight evolve?
Lynn: After my publisher told me to stop writing my Darkyn novels and put together a new series concept for them, I asked if I could use a portion of the Darkyn universe revealed in the last novel as a jumping-off point. I felt it was important to deliver something that my Darkyn readership would enjoy, and as the original series did very well it seemed sensible to put together a spin-off.
Silver: Another researh question incoming! What is the research that went into this story?
Lynn: I’ve already mentioned the research trip I made to Savannah. I also mapped out the concept with help from some friends in the medical science community, and did quite a bit of reading up on genetic science and the practices of biotech corporations. I interviewed a number of experts and real-life counterparts for the characters, including adults who were adopted as children. I also discovered exactly how to disappear, establish a new identity and handle other things related to the Kyndred characterizations.
Silver: *Very* interesting. I'm astounded by the medical terms you used in the story, and they certainly lend an authenticity to the story. Are you a doctor in your other life? *grin*
Lynn: No, but I play one in my science fiction series. :)
Silver: What do you like about Jessa Bellamy?
Lynn: Because of the differences in our backgrounds and our personalities, Jessa’s character was a real writing challenge for me. I love that kind of character because it allows me to step outside myself and my comfort zone, which I think is important at this stage in my career to help me avoid repetition in my characterizations.
Silver: What makes her the perfect heroine for this novel?
Lynn: For this book I needed a character that embodied both the spirit and the mythology that inspired the Kyndred universe, and I think Jessa did the job.
Silver: She certainly did! You've mentioned that you have a hard time writing love scenes. Did you have the same problem in Shadowlight? How did you overcome it?
Lynn: Often there is a great deal of clamor for writers to deliver physical and emotional intimacy early on in the book as well as the obligatory HEA. I’d rather let intimacy happen naturally as the characters’ relationship develops versus forcing it, and I don’t believe in HEA endings because they’re rarely realistic. As a result I always get a lot of revision requests in those departments. I’ve been experimenting with some new approaches to the problems, and in Shadowlight I think I came up with some interesting compromises, but still, it’s an ongoing, frustrating situation.
Silver: Oooh, I know what you mean. I simply love the massage! LOL What else do you have in store for your fans?
Lynn: Right now I’m finishing up a free e-book that has a parallel story to Shadowlight, which I’ll be giving away online at the end of September, and in late October I’ll have another free e-book which will be Darkyn High Lord Richard Tremayne’s story. I’m also writing the last novel in my SF series and putting together some proposals for two new dark fantasy/paranormal novels. Depending on how the new series performs, my publisher may ask me for more Darkyn novels to publish in print, but I’m not sure I want to go back after they had me wrap up that series. I may write a couple of Darkyn standalones as a compromise; it really depends on what they want to see and what I’m willing to write.
Silver: Wow, that's a lot! I'm sure your fans will be happy to know that. I can attest to it! LOL As an author, I'm sure you also love to read! What are your guilty pleasure books?
Lynn: Poetry collections and nonfiction history books, mainly because I have no real professional reason to buy and read them. I also enjoy reading working memoirs by doctors, surgeons and other people in the medical field, which will become a guilty pleasure as soon as my SF series ends.
Silver: If you are to be stranded on an island for a year and you can only take one book, what would this be? Why?
Lynn: Only one book? What if it caught on fire, or got swept out to sea? What if a giant turtle decided to eat it? Ha. If there isn’t a giant manual out there titled “How to survive on an island with no books” then I’d probably want e.e. cummings Complete Poems 1904-1962, edited by George J. Firmage, ISBN# 0871401525. I never get tired of reading e.e.’s poetry.
Silver: What is one advice you would give to writers who are trying to break into publishing?
Lynn: Be persistent, patient, and write daily or as often as possible. It took me ten years and over a thousand rejections before I received my first offer. Also, if you have a manuscript you can’t sell that you consider to be the book of your heart, take it out in the backyard and burn it.
Silver: Ouch. Well, then, to aid would-be-authors, what is one must-have reference book that an author should have?
Lynn: All these one-book-only questions are killing me here.
Silver: I just love torturing authors. *evil laugh*
Lynn: The most complete writing instruction/reference book that I recommend most often is Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School by Gotham Writers' Workshop, edited by Alexander Steele, ISBN#9781582343303.
Silver: Any last words for everyone?
Lynn: Please keep reading, and tell others about any books you enjoy. It’s a great way to keep your favorite writers employed, and absolutely the best advertising money can’t buy.
Thank you, Lynn, for this wonderful interview, and for the chance to review Shadowlight. Read my review!