I’m very pleased to be joined by Pauline Lynch today. Her debut novel, Armadillos, was published by Legend Press last year. It is available at all good bookshops or you can order a copy online here. Her next novel is due for publication later this year and you can read more about that below.
Welcome to the blog Pauline, thanks for taking part. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I was born and grew up in Glasgow until I left, aged 19, to go to drama school in London. I worked as an actor for many years and came back to Scotland ten years ago. I have two sons, aged 13 and 7, and live with them, my partner, and our cat, Gita, who is the noisiest girl in the world, in Biggar, South Lanarkshire.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve written stories almost as long as I’ve been able to read, so to begin with it must have been for the sheer joy of it. A handy fact for me to remember on my darkest editing days!
Tell me about your journey to publication
Alongside acting, I wrote lots of monologues, scenes, drama scripts….but showed them to no one. That was my twenties, basically. Then early in my thirties I seemed to develop an aptitude for actually finishing projects, but again they were very rough, though I did begin to show my work around which seemed to make it more ‘real.’ Once I’d stuck my neck out a bit, it was easy to find workshops and classes. I exhausted every option I could find but still didn’t give myself permission to call myself a writer. I agonised over the decision to take a creative writing Masters degree, it felt like a huge decision. By that point, my youngest son was still a baby but I was driven by the need to create, and to create well, and to do that I needed to immerse myself in reading and writing. We weren’t exactly flush, and I self-funded my Masters, so I was motivated to make the best of it. Whilst there, an extract of my first novel, Armadillos, won the Sceptre Prize. That attracted my agent, Donald Winchester at Watson, Little, and together we worked on the book for several months before submitting, at which point I sat back and waited. When I received the email a few months later telling me Lauren Parsons at Legend Press wanted to publish, I was so stunned I couldn’t speak. Eventually I got myself together enough to show my partner the email and it was his jubilation that finally made it real for me.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
WILDEST OF ALL looks at what happens to a family when its linchpin dies. Three generations of women are driven apart by what should unite them.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Wildest is a complex word that can be used in positive and negative contexts. My three protagonists each have an element of wildness in them. Sissy, the youngest, could be considered to be the most obviously wild, but as the story progresses we see things aren’t always as they first appear. The title came to me very easily in this case, whereas Armadillos took months to present itself.
How do you celebrate publication day?
With Armadillos, I happened to be in London on publication day so I had a lovely lunch with my agent and publisher, having been interviewed by none other than Jenny Murray (who spotted the fear in me and was warm and lovely and put me at ease) on Woman’s Hour that morning. It was quite the giddy affair though the planning of it was somewhat beyond my control. If I hadn’t been busy I expect I would have been hiding beneath my duvet in abject terror. It’s highly possible that’s how I’ll spend my next publication day – 1st September.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I’m in the final throes of editing WILDEST OF ALL but an idea for my next book has happily implanted itself and is gestating away already. It’s such a relief to feel that thrill, to know there will be a next one.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
My reading has been really patchy of late as I’ve been bringing Wildest together. Let’s go with The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. Not only does she compose brilliantly constructed sentences, but she unfurls her characters and story to epic levels. No wonder there’s such long gaps between her books.
What are you reading just now?
I’ve just started Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must Be The Place – I’ve been asked by my local bookshop, Atkinson-Pryce of Biggar, to interview her when she comes to our little town on her book tour in June. I love all of Maggie’s books and I’m so looking forward to meeting her.
[Oh how fabulous! I’ve heard her speak a few times at book festivals and she’s fascinating]
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Wah! This is an evil question. I might say Jeanette Winterson’s The Powerbook. It’s such a multi-layered piece of writing, and so imaginative and transportive, I find something new in it every time I dip in.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
Armadillos. Me. (well, you did ask!)
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I love to connect with new people on Twitter. Find me @lynchpinpauline
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Are you kidding? Have you seen what authors do to their characters??? I’m perfectly happy on the outside of the cover, thank you!