Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. Today, Lynne has written several fantasy novels. Her YA novel, “SwanSong,” was a finalist for a Global Ebook Award in 2012. She is a contributing author for Indies Unlimited and writes a monthly column for The Indie Exchange. Lynne’s vast overeducation includes a journalism degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University, and a paralegal certificate. She currently lives near Washington, DC.
Listen to Lynne discuss NaNoWriMo here.
What inspires you to write?
I don’t know that it’s inspiration. It’s more that I don’t have a choice. These characters bang around inside my head and start making me crazy until I let them out on (virtual) paper.
Tell us about your writing process
I’m a plotter, mostly. For each of the Pipe Woman Chronicles books, I’ve been starting out with a Word document that’s partly outline and partly stream-of-consciousness musing about where the book needs to go. Then I realized I was losing track of details from book to book, so I created a file in MS One Note for the series. Now I have a page for each book, with a chart with details about the new characters and other musings, and a page for the story arc and timeline for the series as a whole. But that said, if I get into writing and the characters don’t want to be forced into the hole I’ve drilled for them, I let them have their way — as long as the book ends up where I want it to, so that the story arc of the series stays on track. It might sound horribly regimented to a pantser, but so far it seems to be working. (“So far” — famous last words!)
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
For the Pipe Woman Chronicles, before I started writing “Seized,” I sort of wrote character interviews — just a chat, really — with the two main characters, Naomi and Joseph. I wanted to get inside their heads a little bit, and see how they would fit into the world I was planning to build for them. Since then, we’ve had no direct contact — except for a Fourth-Wall Friday post I wrote for the Cabin Goddess a while back, which was a lot of fun.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
“The Maidens’ War” was published by Calderwood Books. I’d met the owner years before, on a message board for fans of fantasy author Stephen R. Donaldson. Some of us on the board got together and published a total of three anthologies of our own work, and Joy volunteered to edit them. I was lucky enough to get a story accepted into each of the anthologies. Later, when Joy started her publishing company, she asked me if she could re-publish two of those stories, and I said sure. Then when I finished writing “The Maidens’ War,” I sent it to her and she published that, too.
When I was ready to publish “SwanSong,” Calderwood Books was not yet using Amazon, and I knew I needed to have my work there. So that’s when I decided to go the self-publishing route. And that’s what I’ve stuck with. I’m enjoying doing it all, and I’ve learned an awful lot.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
You know, I’m not sure. I think we will always have brick-and-mortar bookstores in some form or fashion, but it’s clear that the heyday of the big-box chain bookstore is just about over. I also don’t think dead-tree book publishing is going away any time soon. We’ll always have paper books, just as you can still buy a vinyl LP or a CD. Hard copy is just better suited to some things. For instance, I do a lot of knitting and it would drive me crazy not to have a hard copy of the pattern I’m working on. And let’s not even talk about the chances of dropping your e-reader in the bathtub! But the business is definitely changing, and it sure looks to me like the Big Six will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future.
What do you use?
What genres do you write:: fantasy, urban fantasy
What formats are your books in: Both eBook and Print