I’m pleased to welcome author Lynn Griffin to the blog today as she steps into my author spotlight to tell us about her debut novel, Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox, which will be published by Wild Rose Press on 21st July.
Thanks for joining me today Lynn. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I’ve been happily married for 45 years and fortunate enough to be surrounded by my family in rural Wiltshire. I love to write. All the time. I can’t help it. Whatever ever pops into my head I have to get the outline down before I forget. Sometimes it’s for children, and other times adults. I’ve always worked writing around the paid job. After all I needed to help keep bread on the table. Now I’m retired and find to my amazement I’ve a contract to publish my book – and it is being released on 21/7/21!
I read just about anything, though the only genre I’m not totally sold on is horror filled with tons of blood and guts. Sometimes I think it’s there just for the sake of it and, in my head, adds no value. No apologies.
I love of a good thriller, political or otherwise, intrigue, psychological twists and if a good romcom makes me laugh out loud then all the better. I also love all the big names like Steven King, genius, Ken Kesey, genius, Andrea Levy genius. I have a long list but that would take too much of your time!
I’m blogging, and more than happy to reply to anyone who has something to share or ask questions. Though unfortunately, being trolled the other day stopped me for a while. My sole purpose is to encourage budding writers, not trolls. I would also encourage everyone to never stop believing in the dream. If I can do it, so can you. (IS THIS TOO MUCH? TOO BORING?)
What inspired you to start writing?
It is said that your childhood shapes your life. I would add that it is the path you decide to take that will define you. So, I guess the answer to the question is, it is all down to history. Then there are the little devils doing a dance in my head. Asking me to give them the chance to get out and tell their story. They still do.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I’ve been writing for years, way before computers. The truth is I didn’t have the confidence to send anything out to publishers, agents, anyone. I guess I was too scared to get going, for fear of a professional reading it and die laughing at my attempt at writing. After all I didn’t want to be sued for manslaughter. However, at this juncture I was in Spain, and we were about to return home just as the big, bad, invisible wolf began to emerge (Covid). My latest novel was almost complete, and my husband had begun badgering me again, with ‘why bother writing if no-one else reads it.’ Fair point. Then a friend, said something that stuck. Please know this is not a direct quote, but in my head it was pretty much a – “get it out there it before you pop your clogs, mate!” I thought about it, for a quite a while, and wondered, did I really want my epitaph to read – woulda, coulda, shoulda? I grabbed a 2015 Writers Year handbook, scrolled from the back, and began doing the research. What I learned during that process, sending out submissions is just like doing an interview. I hate interviews! Dot the I’s Cross the T’s and make sure you read everything they ask you to do. Three months later something in my gut stirred. Bored with waiting for the obvious rejection: ‘no we don’t want you.’ or ‘if we don’t get back to you assume we’re not interested.’ I decided to beat them to it and send a short and simple email to sort it out. It went something like, ‘If you’re not interested please let me know, so that I may move on.’ Yup, as simple as that. Well, I couldn’t believe it. The President in Chief wrote back, very quickly, bearing in mind Eastern Time difference – with ‘Haven’t seen it. Can’t find it. Please send again.’ Who was I to argue with that? After all, I know my IT skills are rubbish. Within a very short time she wrote back – ‘have sent it to my editor.’ Yes, really. When The Wild Rose Press offered me the contract, I thought it was a scam. Seriously! I can’t thank them enough. What goes on from there would be another novel, so I’m sharing it on my blog
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox is my debut novel – #Romance#Historical Fiction#: A timeless story of love, hope, survival. London 1950’s, and everyone has a secret.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Good question. It was so hard! Normally I’m happy with all my titles, but there were discussions. Then more discussions. This was for real. I had to get it right. I bounced ideas around with my fellow writers, family, friends, the dog in the street, and finally at length with my editor. We both agreed on Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
Anyone who knows me wouldn’t think of me as shy or lacking confidence. But I am, and will have to push myself way outside my comfort zone. As the release date is 21/7/21, I’m doing a countdown via social media. Reaching out to anyone kind enough to listen. Like your good self. Plus, there are a couple of things I need to be sure of before I do anything rash. 1. Get copies of my book. 2. Wait for Boris to confirm we can progress with the new normal. Then I’d like to try and get creative, plan something different. For shy people. I’m working on it.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I have something on the go at the moment, which I can’t share, but I am in the middle of writing a Romcom, and the characters, between eating strawberries, are shouting at me… “get on with it then!” The trouble is I don’t want it to be seen as a very poor Romcom, so might end up billing it as something else. Maybe it’ll end up in the horror category!
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
I’ve just picked up Grandmothers by Salley Vickers and am over halfway. I’m one of the lucky and blessed. To have grandchildren I mean. I’d like to think I’m the original grab granny, sit down quietly and she’ll tell you a story sort. But I’m just a little bit potty, and my kids would agree. But somewhere hidden in Grandmothers I find little bits of me.
[Oooh, I do like Salley Vickers and I haven’t read this one.}
Why would I recommend it to a friend?
I think there is the truth behind her words that provokes thought.
What are you reading just now?
Apart from Grandmothers I’ve recently had a couple of other books on the go. Rachael Richey’s Breaking all the Rules, and Beth Merwood’s The Five Things. And Lisa Jewel’s The Family Upstairs.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
What a conundrum – I’d want to take a whole library and put it in my pocket please. But if I can’t, I guess it has to be Little Women.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
Andrea Levy’s Small Island, if it isn’t on film already.
[It was an excellent two part TV series a few years back starring Noemie Harris and Ruth Wilson]
Though as I write, I can see all my books in film. Now wouldn’t that be something.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
www.WifeInTheWest.com – My blog – the aim is to help encourage budding writers and shares my story.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Mahatma Gandhi. For his consummate wisdom and ability to make people think.
Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox – from the back of the book
When Harriet Laws loses her grandmother and her job, her happy life in London seems over. Alone, grief-stricken and penniless, she thinks wildly of ending it all. Fate steps in as Tom Fletcher saves her, gives her hope, and guides her to new employment. He takes her to dinner, and she finds him attractive. He’s older, but she doesn’t mind. Does he?
Tom, a quiet, hardworking man, is unsure of Harriet’s feelings, but he’s also very busy building his business interests. So it’s no wonder a suave, sophisticated fellow walks off with Harriet right under Tom’s nose.
What follows, no one could have predicted, as Harriet not only loses contact with all her friends but must again fight for her very life…will she ever see Tom again?
Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox will be published by Wild Rose Press on 21st July
You can order a copy here: Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox