My guest today is Lynn Flewelling!!! (I want to put about fifteen exclamation points after her name, but I’ll stop at three). For those who don’t know, I hold Lynn responsible for my slide from fantasy into m/m (thanks Lynn!). I had the great pleasure of meeting her last year when I attended her Writing on the Waves workshop (more on that later) and then hanging with her again at YaoiCon this year. She’s giving away a signed paperback today too, so stick around!
Well, I’m Lynn Flewelling, author of the Nightrunner and Tamír fantasy series, and most recently, Glimpses: A collection of Nightrunner short fiction (with real m/m and m/f content, rather than my usual, mainstream fade to black/morning after). I have a lot of crossover with your market, as the two heroes of the Nightrunner Series are gay, and eventually a couple. And as I said, I step over the line into your realm a bit in Glimpses.
I’m a native Mainer and always will be, but have currently come to rest in southern California and am really loving it, especially when I see what the weather back east is up to. I’m married to the sweetest guy in the world, have two grown sons, and assorted animals. I write full time, and occasionally teach writing workshops, including the upcoming Writing on the Waves II in October, but more about that later.
What do you think is the best thing about being a writer? What do you think is the worst thing about it?
The best thing, and most unexpected, hearing from readers that my books have helped them in some way.
The worst thing? The seclusion and isolation. I’ve lived other places and had writer friends to shoot the bull with, people who understand what I do. Have you ever been at a party made up of nonwriters and when someone askss you what you do, and you reply “writer” or “author,” they either apologize for not having good writing skills, say they might write a book some day, or are overly impressed (or unimpressed), and then the conversation dies? Although I like writing much better than other jobs I’ve had, and there have been many and varied, I miss the office environment, with co workers to talk to every day. Guess that’s why I blog and Twitter, just to keep in touch with the outside world.
What was the best gift you received for Christmas (assuming you celebrate Christmas, and if not we can obviously delete that question)?
I do still celebrate Christmas, even though I’m a Buddhist now. It’s part of my cultural heritage and I really appreciate the teachings of Jesus, so much like the Buddha’s. So his birthday is a happy occasion in our house.
My favorite gift? Hmmm. My husband and sons gave me some beautiful silver and tanzanite jewelry, and Doug gave me a bright red Le Creuset Dutch oven. (I love to cook!)
What’s your favorite holiday?
I’d have to say Christmas, not because of the gifts, but the warm family and friend interactions. My boys still come home for Christmas, and we host a big party for my husband’s university department, exchange silly gifts with friends and family, give to various charities. I love the corny music and decorations. Our tree, though fake these days in dry SoCal, is entirely decked with ornaments that have some personal significance, like a scrapbook of our lives together. It’s always been a very happy time in my life—no dysfunctional dinners or family spats.
I believe you’re a practicing Buddhist? What kind of influence has that had on your writing (if any)?
So far it hasn’t had a great effect, although I do feel slightly guilty sometimes when I write fight scenes. The Nightrunner world is deeply ingrained after all these years of working in it and has its own rules that have become habitual. I feel it more in daily life—how I communicate with people, what I take into my body and mind, and how I problem solve.
What’s your favorite food?
Fresh raspberries I’ve picked myself.
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate orange, hard to come by out here.
(I’m SO looking for Chocolate Orange ice cream next time I’m at the store. That sounds fabulous!! But back to the interview). Turkey, ham or roast beef?
Dogs or cats?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning, tea the rest of the day.
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up the sixth Nightrunner book, Casket of Souls and planning the next one.
Actually, yes. As soon as I finish CoS, I have plans for a contemporary m/m mystery/romance set in Maine. I’ve only started reading that sort of thing in the last year, and there are some really good writers out there, including you, of course. 🙂 Other favorites include Charlie Cochrane, Andrew Grey, and Josh Lanyon. I’m already in love with my main character, Nathan Greene. Working on that, and stories for Glimpses II will be my reward for finishing CoS. More m/m content coming there, too. I’m also in the process of developing a non-Nightrunner fantasy series which should include some, though it’s for a mainstream market, so I may have to tone it down.
Name three books that influenced you.
Only three? Lord of the Rings, the Sherlock Holmes canon, and Roget’s Thesaurus.
What’s your favorite movie?
Some Like It Hot, with Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe.
Favorite TV show?
Criminal Minds, at the moment. I so want to adopt Reid!
Name one irrational phobia you have.
Darkness. I think it may be a form of claustrophobia. So long as there’s so much as a pin prick of light I’m OK, but I freak out in total darkness— controlled panic, shortness of breath, crawly feeling up the spine.
Where did you go for your all-time favorite vacation?
Tahiti with my family a few years back. We had a thoroughly good time roughing it on Moorea, well lubricated with sunshine, fresh food, and the local rum. My favorite memory is standing with my feet in Cook’s Bay on New Year’s eve, watching the full moon rise over the peaks.
Where would you go for your next vacation if money and time were no issue?
I’d have to decide between extended stays in New Orleans and Greece, two of my favorite places on the planet, or realizing the dream Doug and I have of a Tuscan villa large enough to host scads of friends.
If you could solve one historical unsolved mystery or crime, which one would it be?
It’s pretty hackneyed, but I’d love to discover who Jack the Ripper really was. I have this weird fascination with serial killers. I even featured one in a Nightrunner short story, “Raven’s Cut” in the Assassin Fantastic anthology a few years back.
I’m horribly disappointed that I’ll miss your cruise this year (overlaps with GayRomLit Retreat in New Orleans), but the cruise last year was absolutely amazing! Tell everybody what they have to look forward to!
I’m horribly disappointed you won’t be there, after all the fun we had last year and at Yaoicon! Although if I didn’t have the cruise scheduled, I’d be temped to join you in New Orleans!
The Writing on the Waves cruise workshops are designed to balance some serious learning and guidance with lots of relaxation and fun. Last year, the first time I did it, we sailed with Royal Caribbean to the Caribbean in May—balmy air, beautiful islands, incredible food and staterooms, not to mention the various excursions available at each stop. We have classes on the mornings of the days we are at sea, with an afternoon salon to share our work. In port days are for exploring and getting inspired by new places.
Planning that first cruise, I was very focused on the workshop structure and content. I really had no idea how involved I’d be socially with the students, and how much fun that would be! We ate dinner together each night, which let people really get to know each other, and soon everybody was hanging out together, going on excursions, singing karaoke, and whatnot. Marie, I’ll let you explain Midnight Black Tie Drunken Shuffleboard.
Well, see how pretty how we all look in the photo above? Right after it was taken, we decided it was way too early to call it a night (even though it must have been after 11:00). So we grabbed some drinks and went out on deck (still in our formalwear) for a game of shuffleboard. None of us actually knew the rules, but I honestly think it’s more fun that way.
This year we have a different time frame and a different destination: we’ll be cruising with RC from Boston to Nova Scotia in October, with stops along the way including Bar Harbor, Maine, where I will lead a special excursion to Schoodic Point in beautiful Acadia National Park, a section of the park most tourists don’t know about. The reason for this is that this is the location of the “sea temple” from Stalking Darkness. I was stuck for the ending of that book, and one weekend we took the kids down there, as we often did and happened to be there right at the right moment of the tide to see this neat depression in the ledges. Hopefully we’ll be able to see it when we visit.
I’m also offering a limited number of private critique sessions for those who have novels in progress. You can find out more information at my website.
I chose October for several reasons: Glimpses II will hopefully be coming out that month, so we can have a launch party, as we did for White Road last time; it’s the fifteenth anniversary of the publication of Luck in the Shadows, the first book in the NR series, and my first book sale; and it’s my birthday, so you all get to party with me. No clapping and singing, though, please!
Hope to have some of you sail with us!
Thanks for having me, Marie!
Thank you for being here!
Lynn is also giving away a book today. Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of any book from Lynn’s backlist!!