When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think there was any definitive moment. I’ve just always written as far back as I remember. I used to write stories and make my own books and magazines when I was a child. I wanted to entertain people I suppose.
Who inspired you?
As well as being a writer, I was an avid reader too, devouring Enid Blyton books by the score as a child. I think reading her stories inspired me to write my own. There were lots of her books in the school library and I took out around three per week with titles like, ‘The Mystery of the Missing Necklace’, as well as lots of the Secret Seven and Famous Five Series of books. Enid Blyton inspired me to compose my own stories, but the person I knew in everyday life who inspired me with my writing, was an English teacher called, Mrs Robinson. She was a young, trendy sort of teacher. She seemed to like my stories and often read them out to the class. I think that was the first time I believed I could tell a good tale. I was around fourteen years old by then.
What was the first novel you had published?
The first novel that got published was, ‘It Happened One Summer’, which is a contemporary romance with a thread of suspense running through it. That was in 2006. I donated the royalties from that book and its follow up, ‘Return to Winter’, to a local cancer charity I worked for at the time as they needed to raise funds for a new building. Coincidentally, the book launch was held at a local castle which had previously been my school. The launch was held just yards away from the room where my teacher read my stories out to the class!
Tell me a little about your most recent novel, ‘The Sicilian’s Proposition’.
Well as the title suggests the book is set in Sicily. It’s a contemporary romance with some steamy scenes! The reader is transported from a grey London autumn to the warmth of Sicily and all it has to offer with its culture, food and values. It’s the story of a former playboy who is a self-made millionaire called, Dante Alphonso and a British journalist, Joanne Smith. Dante has trust issues with the media as he has been badly burned by bloodhound journalists in the past. Joanne intends writing a great feature article about the man she admires as he works tirelessly for a children’s charity he founded called, ‘The Children’s Hope and Dream Foundation’. He needs to get past his trust issues and she needs to not betray the fragile trust built up, but she has a secret she been keeping for years which threatens to get in the way of their relationship.
Some of the scenes are set in the family vineyard and on board Dante’s luxury yacht, as well as in the hotel he owns in London.
I have a Sicilian friend who was very helpful with any questions I had about the food, culture and lifestyle. I wanted the story to be as authentic as possible. I think it’s just as important to research for a contemporary story as it is for an historical one.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Almost anywhere and everywhere. Some have come from newspaper and magazine articles, others from snippets of conversations or ideas that just pop into my head, etc. A lot of my ideas come from asking myself the question, “What if?”
Which comes first the characters or the plot?
Usually I’ll get the seed of an idea for a plot and allow it to germinate for a couple of weeks. The characters, who feel real to me, follow not long afterwards. I get to see their faces in my mind and practically hear their voices talking to me.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m not a plotter as such, I’m more of a character driven author who allows the characters to tell their own story. I tend to have an idea how the book should begin and end and then work from A to B allowing the characters to take over!
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Yes, don’t just talk about it. Do it. Join a good supportive writing group in the community or online. Don’t be afraid to take criticism either, that’s how you develop as a writer. On the other hand, if you receive critiques of your work, take what you want from them. If you feel the person has a point and their comments ring true then take note maybe something needs amending, if you feel otherwise then don’t pay too much heed. That’s what I do and it’s always worked for me.
Lynette Rees is the author of several romance novels and one crime fiction novel [writing as Lyn Harman]. She’s had numerous articles published online and in national and international magazines. Some of her publishing credits include: Writers’ Forum magazine, Carillon [UK], Living Now [Australia], Ocean Magazine, Vibrant Life, Obadiah [US], Horizon Magazine, Suite 101 [Canada]. Her most recent published novel is, ‘Blue Skies’, an historical romance, set in 1890s Merthyr Tydfil. Currently, she’s working on a follow-up book called, ‘Red Poppies’, which as the name suggests is set around the First World War.
Lynette’s Purchase and Contact Links