Monday, June 23, 2014

Interview with Lynne Stringer

Today, it's my pleasure to introduce Lynne Stringer, the Australian author of an intriguing fantasy trilogy. The first of her trilogy, 'The Heir' has recently been awarded the literary classics seal of approval (see here). I asked Lynne the following questions.

1) The genre you write is enjoying lots of popularity – young adult fantasy series which may especially appeal to teenage girls and young women. What, in your opinion, sets your Verindon series apart?

The Verindon trilogy shares common elements with other stories in this genre, with themes such as forbidden love mixed in with sci-fi/fantasy and people who aren’t what they seem on the surface. I think every author faces the task of making their take on what are usually established elements and making them his or her own.
I think the nature of one particular group of people in my story gives it an edge that isn’t like anything I’ve seen in this scenario (I can’t go into specifics – spoilers!) and I have put plot twists in all three books to keep the audience guessing. The trilogy does seem to have a broad appeal; I have teenage fans and also some grandparents who are fans, so its reach is multigenerational. Hopefully that means I’ve done something right.

2) The three books in your trilogy were published reasonably close together. Did you have the entire plot determined in your head before you started work on the first? Or did some developments in ‘The Crown’ and ‘The Reign’ surprise you, even after the publication of ‘The Heir’?

I had the major plot development – the relationship between the two leads – sorted out before I sat down to write The Heir. However, other elements took me by surprise. While much of The Heir was worked out in my head before I wrote it, a great deal of The Crown was written off the cuff. The second half of The Reign was also a late development, to such an extent that I didn’t realise one particular character was going to die until I was writing that scene.

3) What was your inspiration for the trilogy?

My husband thinks cheesy pick-up lines are funny, not that he ever uses them on anybody. (Lucky for him!) One day when we were driving to the Sunshine Coast for a holiday, he was trying to make me laugh by telling me his favourites. I was trying to think of some too, but I’m not good at that kind of thing. The only one I could think of was the line where the guy says to the girl, ‘you are the only reason I was put on this planet’. As I thought about that, I started to think about what it might mean if someone said that to a girl and meant it literally. He really was only on that planet because of her. Before I knew what was happening, the story was swirling around in my head and I spent most of our holiday thinking about it.

(That's such a romantic inspiration. I love it.)

4) There have been many discussions about the benefits of using writing tools and programs such as Scrivener. Did you keep your stories filed tidily with the aid of something like this, or do you tend to store it all in your head or notebooks?

No, I don’t even like writing outlines! I usually create the majority of it in my head, at least as far as major plot developments go. Some of the minor stuff takes me by surprise, but I always know exactly who my characters are and what motivates them before I start writing. 

(Glad to hear I'm not the only one.)

5) Have you based the appearances or personalities of any of your characters on anybody living? Do you keep images of what you believe they look like?

Dan, the male protagonist, is entirely a work of fiction, but Sarah, the female protagonist, is based on myself. When I originally thought of the idea I enjoyed imagining how I would behave in that circumstance. This may be a major reason why I wrote the books in first person from Sarah’s point of view.

6) Your main character, Sarah, is introduced to readers as a fairly reserved person, even though her mind is always racing. It’s great to see characters like her, especially as introverts are getting more positive and empathetic exposure in the media than ever before. Is her personality one you can relate to personally? What strengths do you think introverts bring to the world?

Yes, she’s pretty much me, although I think she’s braver than me. She’s also been through a lot more trauma than I have, and still comes out strong in spite of that. I think it’s important that people see introverts in that light; as people who are brave, although perhaps not always in the conventional way we see bravery.

(I completely agree. She's an excellent heroine.)

7) Finally, I believe you are a prolific reader. How has reading impacted your life?

It has had a profound impact on my life. I’m a writer and my father is also a writer. My brother writes a little too. So where did this talent come from? Obviously, somewhere in my father’s line. However, his parents, who lived in England, were from a poor socio-economic background. They didn’t have the opportunities that I had or that my family now has. In fact, a little further back, we know for a fact that some of my ancestors were illiterate. More than likely, my talent for writing comes from one of them, and I mourn for the stories that they probably told, but I will never get to hear, because they spent their lives digging holes to earn enough to feed the little ones waiting at home and never learned to read and write.
Learning to read and write is of utmost importance. Not only does it allow communication and learning on a higher level, it also allows these stories to be captured so that future generations can enjoy them. It’s wonderful to think that, the more people learn to read and write, the less likely we are to lose their stories.  

(Several of my British ancestors from the 1800s were illiterate too. It's good to be reminded not to take the privilege of being able to read a good book for granted.)

Lynne is offering a free copy of 'The Heir' to one commenter, who will be chosen randomly.

Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning with short stories in her primary school days. She began writing professionally as a journalist and was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels. Lynne currently works as a professional editor and proofreader. She lives in Australia with her husband and young son.
The Heir available from Amazon
 The Crown (Verindon Trilogy) available from Amazon
The Reign available from Amazon


  1. Thanks for the interview Paula. It sounds like an interesting plot Lynne and very brave of you to confess that the heroine is based on you! YA fantasy is certainly popular and it's great to see more Christian authors contributing to the genre. I hope the series does really well.

    1. I agree, Nola. It's a genre which is enjoying a lot of popularity, and for good reason.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all three of your books Lynne. Certainly were some great surprises along the way and a great ending too. Looking forward to reading your future books. And thanks Paula for some interesting interview questions. (PS I already have a couple of copies of the Heir - so happy to leave the draw to others.)

    1. Hi Jeanette, yes, it makes me wonder what she's working on next :)

  3. Hi Lynn, congratulations on your award; you must be so proud of your achievement. I hope you are able to grow your base of readers to enjoy what sounds like a fascinating series.

    1. Hi Susanne,
      It's great that on the heels of receiving this honour, she already has the next two books ready and readers don't have to wait.

  4. Thanks Lynne and Paula for an absorbing interview. Enjoyed all three of the Verindon trilogy Lynne and I'm one of the grandparent fans. You write so well I couldn't help but enjoy what I was reading even though I'm not a huge sci-fi fan. Well done! (I, too, am happy to leave the draw to others.)

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thanks for dropping by. Yes, it was fun to read what Lynne revealed about her process.

  5. ;I have just started reading the third book and I enjoyed the first two very much. Looking forward to more stories in the future. Liz Shelton

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I'm sure you'll enjoy the third just as much as the first and second. I wish I'd asked Lynne if she's working on anything new now.

  6. Thanks to both of you for this interview. I really enjoyed hearing how the series was generate. It never ceases to amaze me how the creative juices can be stimulated.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I agree, it's a lot of fun to see what causes that spark. And it's always bound to be something different for each of us.

  7. I've never heard of this series before, but it sounds like something I would love to read.

  8. The winner, chosen by, is remaininhislove. Congratulations. Lynne will be in contact soon.