Friday, May 03, 2013

10 Questions With Lynn Viehl

I first discovered Lynn Viehl, not through her books, but through the world of art journaling, an art form that combines words and images to create an intensely personal form of expression. That led to her blog, Paperback Writer, which then led to discovering a versatile author who writes across several genres, and is generous with her expertise as well as loads of pretty things. Take a look at what Lynn is offering one lucky commenter today (click thumbnail to embiggen):

Nightbound Keepsake Box giveaway photo NightboundKeepsakeBoxgiveaway_zps6cfdf7c9.jpg

1) When did you know you were a writer?

I guess I first knew sometime around midnight on December 28th, 1974 (I was thirteen, and I'd just finished writing the last page of my first novel.)

2) What's the first thing you know for sure about a new story concept? Plot? Character? Something else?

Generally the characters come first to populate my knowledge base. Occasionally an idea shapes the story for me -- I once wrote a novel based solely on the words "carnival geek" -- but most of the time it's the characters.

3) What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you've ever heard?

The best was "Whatever you do, protect the work" from author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I have never once regretted following that advice.

I don't know exactly who is responsible for the worst, but it's that tiresome old adage of "Write what you know." Imagine how many fantastic books would never have been written if all writers followed that tiny-minded attitude. What rubbish.

4) How did the world of the Darkyn come to be?

I've always loved vampire fiction, and I began writing my own short stories back in 1998. The first one was a disaster because I tried following all the traditional vampire lore, which I find a little ridiculous. I trashed that story and decided to create my own mythology. It took another six years to fine-tune the Darkyn universe, but eventually I got there.

5) In one sentence, how would you define dark fantasy?

In fantasy the hero always defeats the monster; in dark fantasy sometimes the hero IS the monster.

6) The latest Lords of Darkyn novel, Nightbound (love that title, by the way,) features a supernatural stronghold disguised as a medieval theme park, a hero with secrets and a heroine with extraordinary theories. Can you give our readers a taste of why romance readers won't want to miss this one?

Glad you like the title, because it would be really hard to change now. I hope Nightbound will appeal to any reader who enjoys adventure, mystery and characters who cannot be classified as typical.

7) How does art journaling, or art in general, help or influence your writing?

Art is a great tool for a storyteller to use when you want to explore ideas beyond the boundaries of words. When I sketch a character or paint a setting, or even make a quilt in colors I've chosen as a story palette, I can better visualize those elements. The process of artwork also gives me time to think and make creative decisions that enrich the story when I do go back to the keyboard to write.

As for journaling -- something I've also been doing almost daily since 1974 -- it's a great way to work out ideas and chronicle the journey you take with every story.

8) What do you do when creatively blocked/empty/burned out?

I'm lucky in that I don't have to cope with writer's block or idea deficits, but I do frequently feel burned out, especially after I finish a novel. When that happens I try to recharge my batteries by getting some exercise and opening myself up to new sources of inspiration. That can be anything from taking a long walk and photographing nature to attending an art show and talking to the exhibitors while I admire their works. Sometimes just listening to a new CD while I clean the house from top to bottom helps, too.

9) If you could have an all expense paid trip to any time in history, where and when would you go? You may take one companion, real or fictional. How would you convince them to come with you?

If I could stay for a while, I'd go back to Galilee in 27 AD to see exactly what this carpenter from Bethlehem actually said and did during his ministry. I'd take Jorge Mario Bergoglio with me, and I don't think I'd need to say anything but "Let's go meet Jesus Christ in person" to get the new Pope to tag along.

If I couldn't stay, I'd like to visit an inn in Bavaria on April 20th, 1889, and take Simon Wiesenthal with me. I'd tell Simon that unless we do something the baby born there that day will grow up to murder 5.5 million Jews. I'm sure Simon would have some excellent ideas about how we might prevent that.

10) We've retrieved the parrot we hid in your office a while back, and now he won't stop saying "Toriana." Can you tell us more about that?

I thought I heard something chirping behind the filing cabinet. Toriana is the name of a Victorian-era America that exists in a universe parallel to our own, and in which I've set Disenchanted & Co., my new urban fantasy series. The first book, Her Ladyship's Curse, will debut in August, thanks to my publisher, Pocket Star, and my editor, Adam Wilson.

Thanks, Lynn, for stopping by. Readers, if you've been drooling over the gorgeous giveaway picture above, all you need to do is leave a comment below for a chance to win.

41 comments:

bt-kady said...

Lovely interview, ladies! I must admit it's been a while since I've read any of Lynn's books (probably since the early Darkyn books) but I'll have to go back and get caught up at some point!

Lynn Viehl said...

I'm lucky, Kady; Annn asked some great questions that gave me the chance to sound clever. :)

If you're interested in reading some free Darkyn e-books I have a good selection in the fiction section of my free reads library here (Incarnatio, Midnight Blues, Near Dawn and Rain Lashed are all set in the Darkyn universe.)

mk said...

Lynn, you're right, Typing with Wet Nails is a totally awesome blog name!

Anna Bowling said...

Thanks so much, MK. Glad you like the blog name.

Lynn Viehl said...

mk, it's so hard to come up with an original blog name (I opted for borrowing the title of a Beatles' tune about writers) so I think Anna is brilliant. And while I can't speak for other women writers, Typing with Wet Nails invokes a lot of wry images from my past. :)

petite said...

I was captivated with the interview and enjoyed learning about Lynn's writing, journaling and was fascinated with the response to question number 9, paragraph 2.

Alli Johnson said...

Love the interview questions, and of course, as always, I love Lynn's wit and wisdom. Great blog!

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I am a huge fan of Lynn's books.

Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

anderyn said...

Great interview. I loved reading your answers, Lynn. Thanks for being such a neat person and a true lady.

traveler said...

Your writing is a pleasure to enjoy. I am glad that you discovered your writing ability so early in life. What a fascinating interview which gave me insight into you as an individual and a writer.

Lanette said...

I love your writing especially how you have honed your writing skills so well. Everything comes with patience which I have to learn:-)This Now world has spoiled me.

SandyH said...

Can't wait for the new book. I am waiting for Amazon to ship by order. The new series sounds like it is going to be fun.

bn100 said...

Nice interview questions

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Lynn Viehl said...

I didn't have to think too hard about the answer for #9, petite, although I admit, I am a bit biased -- my grandmother was half-Jewish, and I spent my teens in a primarily Jewish neighborhood.

Lynn Viehl said...

Thanks for stopping by, Alli. :)

Lynn Viehl said...

I still owe Crystal for some book recs that were fabulous. :)

Lynn Viehl said...

Thanks, anderyn -- it's great to see you here. :)

Lynn Viehl said...

I think the best interviews are those like Anna's that allow you to show who you are via the answers (versus trying to tell everyone what to think of you.)

Lynn Viehl said...

One thing I've always tried to do is remain open and willing to learn, Lanette. I'm not afraid of hard work or investing time in my craft because I've seen how it pays off. I tend to be much more leery of magic fixes, quick solutions and gadgetry approaches to writing, which in today's atmosphere of immediacy that is probably a very old-fashioned and outdated attitude. But skipping the work and the time you need to improve your craft in favor of an instant career worries me a lot. I think writers aren't giving themselves enough time to evolve.

Lynn Viehl said...

I hope it doesn't disappoint, Sandy, and thank you for investing.

Lynn Viehl said...

Thanks, bn, and good luck with the giveaway. :)

Linda Hart said...

Somehow, I've never read any of Lynn's books. What an oversight! Thank you, Anna, for bringing Lynn to TWWN. I'll be looking into the back list.

Anna Bowling said...

Linda, and others who are new to Lynn's writing, the free reads section on Lynn's Paperback Writer blog is a great place to start:




http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/p/freebies.html

Jane said...

Where's this carnival geek book, Lynn?

Lynn Viehl said...

To chime in with what Anna said, Linda, the best place to test drive my fiction is my free reads library. You'll find a variety of short stories, novellas and novels in different genres, and they don't cost a dime. :)

Lynn Viehl said...

Jane, the carnival geek book is also in the free library -- the title is Night of the Chameleon -- and you can go to it directly by clicking here.

Erin Z. said...

Loved the interview! Can't wait to read Her Ladyship's Curse.

Erin Z. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kara Brooks said...

I am always on the lookout for a new paranormal romance author. Will definitely be visiting your website!!

Lynn Viehl said...

Thanks, Erin, and good luck with the giveaway. )

Lynn Viehl said...

I've got plenty of paranormal novels for you to choose from, Kara. :)

Kara Brooks said...

If your other books are as good as your Stardoc series, I'm sure to be hooked. With my favorite series, I sometimes cast actors/actresses to play the characters. Do you ever do that with your own books?

Robin Connelly said...

Love the humor in the interview. Especially the once-hidden parrot.

Anna Bowling said...

Thanks, Robin. One never knows where that parrot will get hidden next...

:shifty eyes:

Lynn Viehl said...

Kara wrote: With my favorite series, I sometimes cast actors/actresses to play the characters. Do you ever do that with your own books?

I sometimes use a real person as a body model for a character when I'm developing them, although I usually add some physical changes. I do have readers who make up dream casts for my books; one very creative soul posted a video of the same on YouTube here with a dream cast for characters from the original Darkyn series.

Lynn Viehl said...

I'm surrounded by so many birds here, Robin, that a parrot could probably move in and I wouldn't notice for months. :)

Lynn Viehl said...

I'm going to head off to bed now, so my thanks to Anna for having me as a guest, and all of you for stopping in to chat. Take care and good luck with the giveaway!

June M. said...

I love how creative you are (and I am somewhat jealous too, lol). I admire anyone who can stick with journaling. I have tried this so many times but after a week or so, I just loose steam. Maybe it is because I just don't have much to write about? Btw, I loved this interview. Great questions & answers :)
June
manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

digillette said...

What a great interview! Definitely looking forward to the final Lords of the Darkyn book!

Anne V. said...

I'm so glad you stuck with the Darkyn idea! I'd just stumbled onto my love of the genre back then and I couldn't find much in those pre-Twilight times. Yours were there and I'd already loved Stardoc enough that I skipped to the counter with If Angels Burn.

Lynn Viehl said...

June, I often have days when I can't think of anything to write in my journal. When that happens I do something fun, like drawing a Zentangle or adding a pretty photo I've taken along with a caption about where it was and what I was doing there. I do mini-collages with images I snip from magazines or add news articles from the paper I think are timely along with my thoughts about them. Other times I make lists of things I'm grateful for or write a haiku. The key is to make it fun versus a chore, I think.