Meet Lynne Shelby. In January 2015, she won the Accent Press & Woman Magazine Writing Competition, and her debut novel French Kissing is to be published by Accent Press on 20th August 2015. Lynne loves travelling, and places she visits inspire her. I wonder where it was this time …? Welcome, Lynne.
So, Lynne, spill the beans – or should I say les haricots? What inspired this novel?
Hi Jenny. French Kissing was originally inspired by an overheard telephone conversation. I was travelling back to London from Paris on the Eurostar with my family. A Frenchman sitting across the aisle spent the journey calling his English friends on his mobile, informing them that he, François, was on his way to England, and suggesting they meet up. Unfortunately none of them seemed to want to meet him. By the time we reached St Pancras, I was feeling very sorry for François, and I’d had the idea for a story in which a Frenchman coming to London is very much welcomed by an English girl. These characters eventually became Alexandre and Anna.
Oh that’s so sad! I feel sorry for him too! I hope Alexandre finds happiness, at least. So is real research important to you? And do you enjoy it?
Yes – I really enjoy doing research for my writing, particularly when it involves exploring a new place where I want to set a story. In French Kissing, my heroine Anna studied Art History, and I had several very enjoyable afternoons wandering around art galleries and deciding which paintings I should mention in the story.
What are you working on now, Lynne?
At the moment I’m working on the fifth (and hopefully the final) draft of a contemporary romance about a love triangle set in the world of showbusiness.
Sounds great! Where do you like to work? And do you listen to music while you write?
I’m lucky as I have a writing room (sometimes known as the spare bedroom!) with a view of the garden. I built my writing desk from a kit, and when it was made, I realised it was far too high for me to write at. The solution was for me to sit on a bar-stool! I never have the TV on when I write, but I do sometimes play music that suits the atmosphere of the scene I’m writing.
Do you enjoy reading?
Yes – I read anything from romantic novels, both contemporary and historical, to science fiction and fantasy – and paranormal romance which combines the two!
If you were to give any advice to other would-be novelists, what would it be?
My absolute top tip for authors is to write every day. Sometimes, what with the ‘day job’ or family commitments, it’s not possible to spend hours each day writing, but even if you manage just five minutes and a few sentences, your manuscript grows. Also, writing every day keeps the story you are telling and your characters vivid in your mind.
The other thing I really recommend is to enter writing competitions. I’ve always written longer fiction, but I found entering short story competitions really helped me to hone my craft – when you have a word-limit of 3,000 words, every one of those words has to be there for a reason.
That’s a good discipline, Lynne. Actually, I think every word in a novel has to be there for a good reason too! Good luck with French Kissing – I’m looking forward to reading it! Thanks for being my guest.
Lynne says: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, and my ambition was always to be a published author. I write contemporary romance, because that’s what I like reading the most. I love travelling and I’m inspired to write by the many wonderful foreign cities that I’ve visited and explored , with a camera and writer’s notebook in hand – Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice, New York, Copenhagen, Berlin and of course Paris, the city which inspired me to write French Kissing.
Anna Mitchel has been writing letters to her French penfriend, Alexandre Tourville, for fifteen years, but hasn’t seen him since an exchange trip when they were at school. When Alex, now a successful photographer, has the opportunity to work in London, Anna offers him a place to stay but is astounded that the small, geeky boy she remembers is now tall, broad-shouldered and gorgeous. He has also recently broken up with his long-term girlfriend.
Anna’s female friends are soon swooning over Alex’s Gallic charm, and Anna’s boyfriend Nick is becoming extremely jealous of their friendship.
When Alex has to return to Paris to oversee the hanging of his photographs in an exhibition, he invites Anna to accompany him so that he can show her the city he adores…
French Kissing is available on Amazon