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Interview With Louise Lyndon
Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Louise: Write. Then write some more. Do not stop after the first rejection – remember, they are rejecting your story, not you as a writer. Enter competitions for feedback. Choose a competition with an editor of a publisher you’re interested in submitting work to. Don’t bombard yourself with reading ‘how to write’ books. I have one or two – and to be honest, I have only read one of them. But just keep writing. This is the only way you’re going to improve on your craft.
Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Louise: For me, characters. Rather, they come to me in a snippet of a scene. I’ll play that scene over and over in my head and then I’ll write it. Now, that scene is just a random scene. Usually I know nothing else other than that scene. Then I start to think about the characters in the scene. Who are they? Where did they come from? What are they doing there? It builds from there.
Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Louise: Oh, I’m a panster. I mentioned earlier that I’ll have a random scene pop into my head and then build the characters from there that is how I build the plot. I’ll ask myself, what happened in the scene prior to this one to get them to this point? I do a lot of my writing working backward.
Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Louise: My newest release, Of Love and Vengeance, is about a few things really. Firstly, it’s about prejudices, mainly about how we can tar an entire group by either misconceptions or by the behavior of a few. Both the hero and heroine are guilty of doing this, so we get to see how they deal with this. It’s also about acceptance, not just of each other, but of yourself as well. Laila, the heroine has a birthmark that covers one side of her face, and she really struggles with loving herself because of it. So we also see how she learns to love herself.
Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Louise: I always wanted to be an audio engineer. You know, one of those people who sets up all the audio equipment at concerts and in recording studies. When I was seventeen I took a course in audio engineering, because from as long as I could remember that was what I wanted to do. I got my qualifications and then realized that perhaps it wasn’t what I wanted to be after all!
Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
Louise: I love doing obstacle races like Spartan, and Tough Mudder. To look at me you wouldn’t think so. I refer to myself as a Rueben’s woman (curvy and plump!) and I do not look as if I am into exercise. I always like to put on make-up and straighten my hair (I love my InStyler), I’m a bit of a girly girl. So, the last place you’d expect to find me is shoulder deep in stinky, sticky mud, crawling under barbed wire, hoisting myself up a rope, and climbing over 12 foot walls. My sister doesn’t believe it and she’s seen the photos!
Susana: What would we find under your bed?
Louise: I’m afraid to look to be honest! But, the last time I did work up the courage to look I found an old pair of ASICS trainers I no longer wear, and empty shoe box, which I should have put the old trainers in, and a recipe book for my nutribullet.
Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Louise: I have two. 1/ Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. 2/ Bang on enough doors and one is bound to open.
Susana: Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?
Louise: My “call” came in the form of an email. I remember it clearly. It was May 17, 7.59am (I remember the time exactly because I was on my way into the office and I checked the time on my phone) and before heading into the building where I work I quickly checked my emails. There was an email from The Wild Rose Press, and I thought it was going to be a rejection. I stopped reading after the first sentence… I have finished reviewing the manuscript, Of Love and Vengeance. I’d like to offer you a contract. I must had re-read that sentence at least ten times. Then I called my sister, who thought someone must have died because why else would I be ringing her so early!
Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?
Louise: Anything electrical! But mainly my microwave, Instyler, and laptop. Not necessarily in that order.
About Of Love and Vengeance
Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephew’s survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves. But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?
A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?
Aymon caught a flicker of movement from a window on the second story. “I think we’re about to meet the welcome party.” An arrow zoomed toward him and landed on the pommel of his saddle. A half an inch closer and he would no longer be able to sire children. As if in demonstration of his ability with the bow and arrow, the shooter fired again. This time directed toward Hugh. The second arrow too came within a half an inch of his friend’s manhood.
“You want me to show you how good an aim I really am?” a woman’s voice echoed out across the yard.
“Bloody hell,” Hugh half cursed, half laughed. “Where does a woman learn to shoot like that?”
Aymon was shocked and admittedly a little impressed a woman had such remarkable shooting skills. He could use such a sharp shooter on his side in battle. After all, it was better to have someone so skilled firing for you than at you.
Aymon raised his black leather gloved hand in surrender. “No. I’m firmly attached to my balls, thank you very much.”
“Who are you?” the shooter demanded. “And what do you want? There is nothing of value here for you to steal. Be on your way, man, and leave me in peace.”
“Some would say a female is of value,” Aymon drawled sardonically.
A second arrow lodged firmly on the pommel between his legs.
“I do not give third chances. I’ll give you to the count of three to leave. Or else you will find an arrow straight through your heart.”
Aymon’s warhorse whinnied, and he fought to control the beast whose temperament was as black as his coat. “Put down your weapon!”
“We mean you no harm!”
“I am Lord Aymon, and this is Lord Hugh. I’ve come to claim what is rightfully mine.”
The two men looked at one another unsure what to do. “Should we storm the building and lay claim to what is yours?”
Aymon shook his head. He dismounted but never took his eyes from the door to the manor.
“She will soon make her appearance.”
Hugh, too, dismounted. “How can you be so sure?”
Aymon looked at his friend. “We do not have arrows through our hearts.”
About the Author
Louise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.
She has been writing the moment she picked up a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s first Outlander novel twenty something years ago. She thought to herself, ‘this is what I want to do’ – not travel back in time, but become a novelist! She has always had snippets of dialogue and scenes floating around in her head with characters screaming at her to bring them to life.
In 2013, Louise won first prize in the Crested Butte Sandy Writing contest – Historical category for her story, The Promise, which is now called, Of Love and Vengeance.
When not writing, she can be found covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls – under the guise of competing in Spartan races all over Australia.