Literaturschock: Could you tell your German fans something about yourself? (family, hobbies and so on)

Lynn Flewelling: I grew up in a small town in Northern Maine, which is not unlike rural Germany in landscape, except that the mountains are smaller. I spent a great deal of time in the woods, camping, hiking, hunting and fishing. I was also a great reader and daydreamer. After college I married my high school sweetheart and we have been together for more than two decades now. The character of Micum Cavish is a tribute to him. We have two teenage sons and a houseful of animals. Writing is both trade and hobby for me; I also enjoy cross country skiing, cooking, music, and theater. I have fits of photography and recently took up the ukulele.

Literaturschock: What is a question you are never asked that you wish people would ask you?

Lynn Flewelling: I've been asked so many, I'm not sure if anything's been missed!

Literaturschock: What was the one event in your life that told you "I'm going to be a writer?"

Lynn Flewelling: When I was about 12, we had a young teacher who first taught me creative writing. She wrote some titles on the chalkboard and asked us to choose one and make up a story to go with it. I chose "Three Days in an Anthill". I'd had several antfarms and knew a fair bit about ants, so I had my hero in a chemical accident that reduced him to ant size and he lived with the ants. I got an A on the story, and discovered that I really enjoyed daydreaming on paper. The next one, I think, was "Conversation in a Dog Pound" in which s I cast all my teachers as dogs - not always in a good light either. That one sealed my fame, as it made the rounds of the teacher's lounge.

Literaturschock: What did you feel when your first book was published?

Lynn Flewelling: Elated! I always do, when I finish a book or see it in print for the first time. Writing is very hard work for me, with many frustrations. It's always wonderful to come to the end of a long project, and to see what public reaction is, though that can be scary, too.

Literaturschock: Where did you get your ideas about the Nightrunner Novels?

Lynn Flewelling: I'm not entirely sure, at this point. I got the first inkling of those characters nearly twenty years ago and so much as happened since then. They just sort of grew in my imagination, and drew inspiration from my life, imaginings, and from research.

Literaturschock: Which of your novels do you like most? Why?

Lynn Flewelling: I'm very pleased with all of them, but I think I like the new one, The Bone Doll's Twin, the best at the moment. It's the one most from my soul.

Literaturschock: Do you have a favorite character?

Lynn Flewelling: I love Seregil, the hero of the Nightrunner books; he's my wish fulfillment character. I also love Ki from "Bone Doll." He just came out of nowhere one day when I decided that Tobin needed a friend and he took on a vibrant life of his own. He's modeled somewhat on a boy who lived next door to us when I was very young. He was my first best friend. His family moved away when I was in second grade, and he was my first heartbreak, too. From the mail I've gotten, Ki is nearly everybody's favorite.

Literaturschock: Were you allowed to design the cover and title by yourself?

Lynn Flewelling: I choose my titles, and in the case of several, fought to keep them when told they were "too long." But most writers have no say in cover art. I certainly don't, except in the case of the Czech editons. The artist kept in touch with me, and in the case of the third Nightrunner book, even changed the cover entirely when I reacted negatively to his original idea.

Literaturschock: Are you in close contact with other authors and your fans?

Lynn Flewelling: Yes, I attend a few conventions each year, have lots of writer friends, and am active on several newsgroups devoted to my work. The one called "Flewelling" at YahooGroups is huge now, and is a great group of people from all over the world. They send me otter pictures and chocolate to keep me going.

Literaturschock: What are your current projects?

Lynn Flewelling: I'm currently working on the sequel to Bone Doll.

Literaturschock: Can you give us a little sneak preview of the next books?

Lynn Flewelling: Not at the moment. It's still in that state of flux where I change everything around all the time.

Literaturschock: What is the most difficult thing about writing? The easiest?

Lynn Flewelling: The most difficult is sitting down and getting started each day. The easiest is the revision process. That's my favorite part.

Literaturschock: Do you want to continue writing fantasy novels? Or do you plan to write about something else?

Lynn Flewelling: Both.

Literaturschock: Do you have any special methods to plan a new book (which)?

Lynn Flewelling: I buy a nice new notebook and scribble down ideas as they come to me. I don't outline much, but make copious notes and lots of maunderings. I also do a lot of research.

Literaturschock: How does your normal working day look like?

Lynn Flewelling: It depends. On bad days I procrastinate and blast out a few thousand words at the end of the day. On a good day, I sit down at midmorning and only stop when I get hungry. Time ceases and I'm amazed at what I find on the page at the end of the day.

Literaturschock: How long did it take you to write your first book?

Lynn Flewelling: Ten years, but I was teaching myself to write (and rewrite!) along the way, and working other jobs.

Literaturschock: How much of your own experiences do you share with your characters?

Lynn Flewelling: Quite a bit, though in highly disguised form. Many of the nightmares they have are my own. Family scenes with the Cavishes, the interactions between Kari and Micum, those are very much my family. I share some of Seregil's hangups, and Tobin's. I've been told I'm also like the wizards I create, which was quite a compliment. Some other characters are loosely based on friends of mine, or at least little bits of them, highly embellished. Places I've lived or traveled are worked in; Alec's homeland is quite like Northern Maine. Skala is based loosely on parts of Greece. And in The Bone Doll's Twin, Tobin's experiences as a child sometimes mirror my own memories, but again, highly embellished and scrambled into different forms.

Literaturschock: What were your experiences in finding a publisher?

Lynn Flewelling: I spent months seeking an agent. Once I had her, things went quite quickly.

Literaturschock: What were the differences in working on the sequel compared to working on the first book?

Lynn Flewelling: Well, you have the world set up, and the characters established, so that helps. The challenge is to have them grow and change in a logical fashion, and to not repeat plot tropes.

Literaturschock: Do you have a favorite writer or book?

Lynn Flewelling: Hundreds of both! I love Pat Barker's work, and much of Alice Walker's. Robertson Davies is a longtime favorite, as well as Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. The kids and I are reading Lord of the Rings together, and I'm rediscovering my fantasy roots. I love Ray Bradbury, and Ursula LeGuin, as well as Asimov's Robot books, and Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction. I also have a taste for the South American magical realists, Marquez and Allende. At the moment, I'm reading Simon's "Homicide: A Year on the Mean Streets," a non fiction book on which the hit TV show was based. For spiritual inspiration, I've found myself dipping into the Tao Te Ching, and the writings of the Buddha. I think the world would be a far more peaceful place if we could all grasp the concept of loving nonattachment.

Literaturschock: Thank you so much, Lynn! I really appreciate your taking the time to let me interview you.

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