Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Writer's Friend - Everyone Needs a Lynne

Two of my favourite things here today. My lovely friend, Lynne Hackles and a writing bargain.

First of all the bargain is her latest book, Handy Hints for Writers which is available as an ebook for just 99p for the next couple of weeks from Amazon UK and for $1.60 from Amazon

Lynne’s book is packed not just with hints and advice for writers, but with inspiration and encouragement which is just typical Lynne! If you’ve ever read her columns in the writing magazines or her previous books or been lucky enough to go to one of her talks, you’ll know just how brilliant she is at bringing out the writer in you.

If you saw her on Deal or No Deal a few years ago when she reached the point where she’d won 10p or £75,000, you’ll also know that she’s got guts and determination.

As well as offering her book at a bargain price, Lynne has kindly agreed to let me turn the tables and ask her some questions.

How would you describe yourself as a writer?

As a butterfly because I flit from one thing to another. I often wish I could have settled on just one genre and be a chick-lit author or crime writer or children’s writer. But that’s not me. Ask the LSO (Long Suffering One) what I’m like in the kitchen or the garden or when we’re decorating and he’ll tell you I flit from one job to another. He leaves me weeding in one corner of the flower bed and when he next looks I’m doing my Lady bit and dead-heading the roses. I’m a butterfly whatever I do.

I can identify with that, Lynne, but is there something you really enjoy writing more than anything else?

The honest answer may be that I love any writing when it comes easy and I’m in the zone.

Your writing space – it’s a question you’ve asked of a lot of writers, but now I’m asking you. Do you have a dedicated writing room and what’s in it?

We’ve just moved house and my writing room is the back bedroom which has stunning views over the Severn Valley. I can see Worcester Cathedral but try not to look too often. What’s it got in it? Tinned food, baking tins, lots of stuff that should be in the kitchen and is currently stored along one wall of my room waiting for the kitchen units to be ready. The builders left a few days ago and we’ve work to flit about doing before my room can be cleared.

It sounds wonderful (the view I mean)! Any lucky mascots/charms on your desk?

Assorted crystals. A stone which has Magic Happens written on it. A gold slipper made from wire which serves as a pen holder. My spell dish – a pretty green dish filled with crystals which has a candle in the middle and names of friends around the edges. These are the friends who need healing thoughts sent to them. I light the candle every day and send them all good wishes.

I think that is a lovely thing to do. I happen to know that being in your spell dish and your thoughts is a very special feeling! So, your writing day – do you have a set routine, or go with the flow?

A set routine definitely. I check emails, check Facebook (even though I almost never post anything), visit a few blogs, do an online crossword and finally I set my kitchen timer for 25 minutes and get down to some work. Then I have a cup of tea. Then I repeat the last two steps and keep repeating until lunchtime.

I know you are fortunate enough to have a wonderful LSO, but what one thing that he does/has done is the most precious to you?

Against all odds, he didn’t die when he had a massive heart attack and his kidneys and everything else were closing down. He said he knew I’d shout at him if he popped his clogs.

That's a lovely answer. Do you hire out your LSO for those writers not fortunate enough to have one?

I’m sure there are more than a few writers he wouldn’t mind being hired out to but I keep him busy.

Quite right too! Is there any form of writing that you haven’t tried, but want to?

There is something and I’m not going to talk about it as I’m about to try it.

Good luck with it, Lynne. I know that talking about things when they’re still in your head can kill them dead so I don’t blame you for keeping it under wraps! When did you start writing? Did anything prompt you or is it something you’ve always done.

When I was at Junior school I told my teacher I wanted to be the next Enid Blyton. I stopped writing at Grammar school when a bad teacher destroyed my confidence. I restarted when I had to spend a year in bed because of a bad back (like Katy Did).

It’s amazing how many of us have to get past bad teachers. I’m so glad you found it again, but not that you had to have a bad back to do it!
Did you have a “Lynne” when you started? Any one person that helped you at the very beginning?

A wonderful writer called R. T. Plumb (Roy) encouraged me when I joined a writer’s group. He’d written novels plus over 40 stories for Radio 4.

He really does sound wonderful.
What do you think is the biggest mistake would-be writers make?

They don’t learn about the business side and they don’t think market research is necessary. I’ve written everything I’ve learned in my new book, Handy Hints for Writers. That should help new writers and refresh (and amuse) more experienced ones.

And finally, I have to ask this: Is Noel Edmunds as nice as he appears?

He is such a professional and helps put the contestants on Deal or No Deal at ease. During an interval in my show we went outside for some fresh air and I told him about the LSO’s heart attacks. Noel immediately went back in to ask Colin (LSO) if he was all right. He told him to put up his hand if he felt ill and filming would stop so he could have a rest or a coffee. Then Noel told me I was enough to give Colin a heart attack! My car, a bright yellow little Ka is called Noelly after one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Sorry, I do ramble. The answer was YES.

Thank you so much, Lynne. And you don’t ramble at all! I’ve really enjoyed having you here.

Just a reminder. Handy Hints for Writers is available at the special price of 99p until the end of the month.

I strongly recommend reading any of Lynne’s books, but I’m going to leave the last word to someone who knows what she’s talking about and I think sums it up perfectly!

“Every writer needs a friend like Lynne Hackles. This book is the next best thing.” Jane Wenham-Jones.

I couldn’t agree more!


  1. What a lovely interview - and I completely identify with your butterfly tendencies, Lynne! The book sounds ideal and what a beautiful idea to send healing thoughts to friends.

    1. Lynne is so generous with her advice, Rosemary - and with her healing thoughts. She is a very special person :-) x

  2. I love this interview and what a fantastic book this is. Also, thank you for reminding me about What Katy Did. I was always rereading it when I was young, especially the chapter about her time in bed because I always thought it would be such a good opportunity to read and write constantly. xxx

    1. It's a great book, Joanna and What Katy Did was one of my favourites when I was a child :-) x

  3. As I said on Womagwriter's blog, Lynne's book is a goldmine of great tips -I read it on my canal boat holiday. Thanks for a very informative interview, Teresa and Lynne.

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I think every writer should have Lynne on their bookshelves :-) x

  4. I love reading about where other writers write. I love the idea of Lynne's spell dish. Great interview!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Paula. The spell dish is a lovely idea isn't it :-) x

  5. I flit too, especially when it comes to writing.

    1. Quite right too, Patsy! And butterflies always look happy don't they :-) x

  6. Fantastic interview Teresa and I agree wholeheartedly. Lynne is, indeed, a very special person.
    I'm off to get her Handy Hints for Writers right now. :o) xx

  7. Great interview, Teresa. I'm a bit of a butterfly too - don't think I could ever manage the self discipline of writing a full length novel. :)

    1. Thanks, Lydia. I know exactly what you mean :-) x

  8. Really enjoyed reading that interview, Teresa, and Lynne. And thanks for another useful book suggestion too. :-)

    1. Thanks, Carol - Lynne's books really speak to the writer within :-) x

  9. Every garden needs butterflies, and every writer needs a Lynne - I was very fortunate to find her online almost as soon as I started writing. Lovely interview, Teresa. Can thoroughly recommend the book