I do love getting to know my favorite authors just a little bit better, don`t you? Today the lovely and talented Lynn Townsend is stopping by to gossip about her new release, favorite books, good days and bad days, and classic movie stars. So grab a fresh cuppa and get to know one great lady!
1-What`s your routine right after you get an idea for a story?
Funny you should ask, as I'm in the beginning of plotting out my next novel; Howling Bitch, the 2nd book in my Demoniac Codex series.
First thing, my handwriting is terrible, but I do a lot of my planning work by hand. There's something really satisfying about scribbling on paper.
So, first thing I do is start with my character; who are they, what do they look like? What are they particularly good at? Rivals? Goals? Favorite music? (if they have a favorite band or music that particularly fits them, I might spend a while getting very distracted with my extraordinarily large music collection, putting together a playlist.)
Of course, names... some of my best purchases, years ago, were some baby name books. I have one divided by “kinds of names”... chapters include Dynamic/Strong Names (Caleb / Paige), Surnames as First and Middle Names (Thackery / Darcy), Think-Twice Names (Adolf / Imogene) , and Earth, Flora and Fauna Names (Paris / Hazel). The other book divides names up by ethnic origin. Need names for your characters who come from Sweden? No problem! I do online lookups for surnames – the National Census page is great for that; you can even do searches based on part of the country you want your characters to come from.
Once I get the character established, I make note cards for each character. I include descriptions, birthday, family members... especially to make sure whatever physical characteristics and history that I mention IN the body of the story. I read a book once where the lead female character's eyes changed color three times. Not a mistake I wish to make.
And then I write out scenes; consider them 1 or 2 sentence sum ups about what action is going to happen. Obviously these don't always hold up as the characters plow along with whatever story line they're following, but the nice thing about note-cards as opposed to an outline; if a scene doesn't happen, or I change my mind, I can toss the note card and write up a new one. I can also shuffle scenes around as things get inserted or put off. By the time I'm finished with a novel, I usually have between 60 and 100 cards drawn up, color-coded, and held together with a big-ass alligator clip.
2-Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?
Bogart and Bacall.
3-Are there any genres that you haven`t written yet but would like to?
Of my published works, I've written: zombie romance, contemporary, Lovecraftian horror, steampunk, twisted fairy tales, urban supernatural and new adult. Stuff that's not been published yet; I have fantasy, western, and horror. I'd really like to do a straight up historical at some point, just because I love to read Julia Quinn, Anne Gracie, and Lisa Kleypas. I even have a plot outlined for a historical, I just haven't gotten 'round to it, yet.
4-Describe your perfect day.
She said a good day ain't got no pain / She said a bad day's when I lie in bed / and think of things that might have been – Paul Simon, Slip Sliding Away
As just about anyone with chronic pain will tell you, there's nothing quite so wonderful as sudden surcease. I have 8 pieces of titanium (yes, I can set off a metal detector...) holding my leg together, a relic from a car accident quite a while ago. And I live in a house with 2 flights of stairs.
So, first off, the perfect day has to have no pain... and coffee. Coffee is good.
Other than that, I'm fairly good. I've been really poor and I'm not now. I've been alone, and I'm not now. I have my writing and I've published quite a lot in the last two years.
Even days when I totally lose my shit over little things, I know how much worse I've had it. I try not to feel too ashamed of getting frustrated about the small stuff because I'm only human.
Honestly, tho, my life is pretty damn good.
(As a further note, I'm also bi-polar and on an upswing. Ask me again in another two weeks and I might say the perfect day is when I get to take a hacksaw to someone who's pissing me off.)
5-The zombie apocalypse has broken out and civilization is crumbling. You`re allowed to take five books to pass along for future generations. What five books do you put in your rucksack?
Childhood's End – Arthur C. Clarke.
This is one of those books that was life-changing for me. It's small, deceptively so. And I'm a quick reader. I finished it in less than two hours. And then I couldn't talk to anyone for the rest of the day anyway, while I was processing it.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
I know a lot of people don't like this book... yes, it's depressing. Yes, Catherine and Heathcliff are horrible people. I have fond memories of this book. My great-grandmother, MiMi, had cataracts toward the end of her life that formed blank spots in her central vision, which made it very difficult for her to read. So one summer, I read to her, most of the summer. One of the books we read was Wuthering Heights. We were sitting on the back porch at my grandparents' lake house, the sun was setting. I sat on the floor in front of her chair and I read the “I am Heathcliff...” speech to her. I could barely get the words out, I was crying so hard. And she had her hand on my shoulder. I finished reading the chapter, turned around, and she had tears in her eyes, too.
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Seriously, you even have to ask? This book is the most awesomest...
(Assuming that my bag doesn't hold the ENTIRE Liaden series, which is something like 17 novels now... but Steve Miller and Sharon Lee's space opera is one of my favorite things in the world... )
Watership Down – Richard Adams
Wonderful novel. I completely love it. About rabbits.
The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. LeGuin
This is another one of those WOW sci-fi novels... I listened to this one on tape (back when there were book-tapes... ) and I adore it. It's very thought provoking.
The funny thing about this list is a lot of my favorite books aren't on it.... I love Jane Austen... and pretty much anything that was part of a series is off, since it won't fit in the bag.
But I know what will happen in the zombie apocalypse. I will be delicious!
Blurb: Since the death of his sister, Dariel's been haunting her grave. Then he meets Zach. It's love at first sight -- unfortunately Zach is a ghost. An accidental possession results in Zach moving into Dariel's body, but before they can fully figure that out, they learn that there's more to Zach's death that the suicide it had seemed -- much more. With the help of the cemetery cat, Dariel and Zach will have to confront the diabolic Isaac Caine and return Zach's soul to its proper resting place.
Author Bio: Lynn Townsend is a geek, a dreamer and an inveterate punster. When not reading, writing, or editing, she can usually be found drinking coffee or killing video game villains. Lynn's interests include filk music, romance novels, octopuses, and movies with more FX than plot.