Author Interview: Lynne Stringer

I know Author Lynne Stringer as a fellow Knight of the  SciFi Roundtable, an active writer’s group on Facebook.  She writes YA sci-fi and contemporary drama.  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Hi, my name is Lynne Stringer, and I love writing! I especially love writing science fiction with a young adult focus. I enjoy creating new worlds and exploring new characters.

When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote my first book when I was about eight. It was called Goldie the Pony and was written in felt tip. It wasn’t very good, but I kept at it. I loved it when they asked us to write a story in English at school. It was my favourite thing to do. That hasn’t changed.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Not until I wrote my first full-length manuscript when I was in my twenties. It helped that I started to work as a journalist for a small magazine around this time. It made me feel legitimate.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The Verindon Alliance takes place in the same world as the trilogy I released in 2013/14. Verindon is a planet where, during the time the trilogy takes place, they have more advanced technology than we have. There are two distinct humanoid species on this planet—the Vendel and the Verindal.

During the time of the trilogy, they live in peace, although there are some tensions and problems beneath the surface. However, The Verindon Alliance is set about a thousand years earlier, at a time when Verindon didn’t have much greater technology than we have today. It was also a time when the Vendel and the Verindal were still at war, so that’s part of the conflict in this novel.

What inspired you to write this book?

The events featured in The Verindon Alliance are referred to in my trilogy. I had loosely sketched out what happened but wanted to see if I could write it out completely.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t like writing outlines, although I have an outline in my head. I usually sit at the keyboard and see where my characters take me.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

With help from my publisher. I suck at titles. We work together to try and come up with the best ones we can.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Racism is something that features in every novel I’ve set on Verindon, as it’s a huge issue there. One thing I featured this time more than I did in the trilogy was implicit bias—how the bias that a person’s been raised with, that has become a major part of their development, is so hard to overcome. It’s a major theme in the novel. The Vendel and the Verindal have to work together. If they don’t …

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, it’s all from my imagination.

What authors have most influenced your life?  What about them do you find inspiring?

I’ve loved a lot of the classics. The Brontës are authors I’ve long adored. They wrote a lot of vivid, emotive books. There were no aliens in their stories, but they still spoke to me. In the science fiction world, I like Timothy Zahn and Vonda McIntyre.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? 

Probably Charlotte Brontë. I would love to talk to her for hours about Jane Eyre.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My publisher has some talented people they use to design their covers. Shame on me—I don’t know their names!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be in a hurry to get published. You need to take your time and get it as right as you can the first time. Read a lot, write a lot, listen to advice. Find a good professional editor (this is not an optional extra; it’s essential). Always take stock every step of the way before you make a decision.

The Verindon Alliance Book CoverLynne Stringer
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Publisher: Rhiza Edge

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

It is time for another top ten writing articles here on No Wasted Ink.  This time I have a varied selection of general writing tips, better focus in writing, a great article about marketing your books, and if you’ll forgive my self-interest, a beat sheet write up on Persuasion by one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen.  Enjoy! 

The Heart of the Story: A Conversation with Scott H. Andrews

Try This to Find an Extra 30 Minutes to Write, Even on Your Busiest Days

How Seeds of Dystopia in the Present Make a Novel Set in the Future

Once a Bookseller, Always a Bookseller

Persuasion by Jane Austen Novel Beat Sheet

Tangled Threads or Perfect Weave: Writing a Many-Stranded Story

How to Change Your Kindle Keywords, by Dave Chesson

What Words Can Do

Where Novelists Get Stuck: 3 Common Issues with Early Drafts

9 Tips to Increase Concentration Levels

World Building by Bill McCormick

World Building
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Before we get into the meat of the subject I’m assuming you’ve read Strunk and White and learned grammar and studied Steven King’s On Writing and learned how to craft content. If not those specific tomes then I’ll presuppose you’ve read, and devoured, similar. It all comes down to this, world building isn’t where you start your journey as a writer. You need to have the basics well in place before you throw yourself off this mountain.

When you create the world your characters are going to live in it can be something simple, like Toledo, Ohio, or something amazing like the gas clouds of Orbius Prime. No matter which, you’ll need ground rules to get started.

  1. Let’s say you picked Toledo; you’ll need to mention the Mud Hens, the city’s devotion to sausages, the national museum of the great lakes, lunch at Grumpy’s and so on.
  2.  If you picked the gas clouds of Orbius Prime, then you need to let readers know about how light refracts in the gasses, what does , and does not, work as a means of propulsion, whether or not the beings living there are corporeal, and how communication is achieved. I would assume varying shades of illumination would work best, but you have options.

In other words, it’s not just a name you toss out it’s a place you bring to life. When the reader closes the book they should feel like they were there. Maybe even bought some souvenirs.

I have found that detailing the world I’ll be creating first, and then adding characters works best. I didn’t do that for my first novel and ended up having to go back and do so since there were glaring inconsistencies in locations and tone. I, literally, had a desiccated desert near a lake.

Before you ask, yes, that was a huge pain in the ass.

So, to save yourself the irritation, lay things out in a simple graph.

  1. Where: Name your place and then detail, at least, ten things which make this place unique.
  2. When: Based on a current reader’s perspective, is this something that happened before or after their existence. If it’s current, try and avoid pop culture references. Since they won’t be current when your book comes out they immediately place the story in the reader’s past.
  3. Tech: It’s well known that any tech sufficiently advanced enough would appear to be magic to a less developed society. The same holds true in writing. If you introduce the “multi phased Frombulator” you have to be clear as to what it does, why it exists, and be able to give a rudimentary idea of how it works. You need not get into the physics of the thing, unless you feel it’s required, but you do have to be able to make readers believe it could exist. Contrariwise, if you’re setting is medieval Europe, you can’t give the princess a Buick to make her life easier. The tech you add has to fit the rest of your universe.
  4. Consistency: Despite popular tropes, it is not the hobgoblin of little minds. Foolish consistency is. Now, whether you’re creating a magical fairy kingdom, interplanetary battles featuring alien warlords, or a whimsical a rom/com starring Satan, you need to set out the rules that guide your universe. And those rules need to apply to every character, and in every event. Remember, it’s not the suggestion of physics, those are laws for a reason. If your characters can violate them, you need a believable reason. This is less true in comic books where characters can fly unaided. Yet, even then, the rest of the universe follows basic physics leaving the flying people as outliers.

One easy out from all this, that lazy writers like to use, is to create a universe of gods. Since their characters are all gods they can do whatever they want. Unless you have multiple iterations of Yahweh, that won’t fly. And if you do, where’s the conflict? Even Satan doesn’t directly challenge God. In fact, in many interpretations, he’s fulfilling a function required by God. So, you’re back to needing some rules, and characters to live within them.

Another thing to look out for is accidentally creating multiple generations of morons. A wildly popular series of books, and a related TV show, have characters who, according to numerous plot points, have been at war, and fighting dragons, for eight thousand years. In that time the only weapons they have come up with are variants of a pointy stick. Some large, some small, some metal, some wood, but, at the end of the day, they’re all just pointy sticks. You would think that, given the fact there were constant airborne threats, someone might have given artificial flight a try. All of the needed materials are right there. And the inspiration is literally eating their livestock.

However, there was also an abundance of naked boobs, so that made up for a lot.

World building can be, and is to me, fun. There are lots of guides you can use to help they’re just not marketed as such. Books on mythologies will help you create believable powerful beings. Dungeons and Dragons is a great guide for your magical realm. NASA.gov has tons of free research online that will help you build realistic alien homes. And, if you want to bend some brains, don’t neglect the various conspiracy sites.

Once you have your feet firmly on the ground, let your imagination loose and see what it brings home.


Author Bill McCormackBILL McCORMICK is a critically acclaimed author of several novels, graphic novels, comic book series, and has appeared in numerous anthologies. He began writing professionally in 1986 for the Chicago Rocker Magazine in conjunction with his radio show on Z-95 (ABC-FM) and went on to write for several other magazines and blogs. He currently writes a twisted news & science blog at WorldNewsCenter.org. That provides source material for his weekly appearance on The Big Wakeup Call on WBIG 1280 AM (FOX! Sports). You can find out more about him at BillMcSciFi.com.

Splice by Bill McCormack

Author Interview: Theresa Halvorsen

Author Theresa Halvorsen describes herself as an overly-caffeinated author of nonfiction and speculative fiction works. She lives in San Diego and is a podcaster for Semi-Sages of the Pages. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Theresa HalversenHi everyone! My name is Theresa Halvorsen and I’m the author of Warehouse Dreams and the Dad’s Playbook to Labor and Birth. In addition to my day job in healthcare, I’m also a podcaster for Semi-Sages of the Pages. Semi-Sages of the Pages is a podcast for writers, from four female speculative fiction writers who are just starting out in our writing journeys. I’m usually over caffeinated, and enjoy big glasses of wine in the evenings. A mother, a wife and a pet-parent, I live in Southern California, in Temecula wine country. I enjoy all things geeky and have attended comic-con for many years, 2020 would’ve been my tenth year. I can quote Princess Bride, Star Wars and Firefly like there’s no tomorrow (and heck, it’s 2020, there might not be a tomorrow). Finally, I enjoy reading spec fiction, helping other writers, and playing complex board games with my friends and family.

When and why did you begin writing?

I can’t remember not writing, or at least not making up stories in my head. My first story, when I was about six, was about a princess whose plane crashed. Luckily, she could talk to animals and after a few scary moments, she made it out of a forest alive. As you can tell, I watched a lot of Disney. About two years ago, I made a commitment to myself that if I wanted to be a writer, wanted to make a living at it, then I had to truly try. I couldn’t wait for “some day”. And so I now plan out my writing time and projects. I’ve had to give up a lot of my free-time but I’m much happier than I’ve been in a very long time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I believe if you write, you can call yourself a writer. But if people ask me what I do, I rarely say writer. This is an interesting conundrum I probably should reflect on.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Warehouse Dreams, which came out in July 2020, is a unique story about the faculty at a school for telepaths and psychokinetics. It follows Kendle, an admin assistant, holding the underfunded school together with her blood, sweat and tears. A flawed character, she will do anything, including risk getting fired from the job she adores, to protect her students from a world that doesn’t want them. The addition of a new telepathy teacher doesn’t make this year any easier for Kendle either. A soft sci-fi romance, the reviews have been phenomenal.

What inspired you to write this book?

Warehouse Dreams definitely has echoes of real societal problems within. When I was writing it, I looked around at many of the things we’re dealing with, put a sci-fi spin on it, and tucked it into the story.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am a very direct and dialogue heavy writer. I always start with the dialogue and my beta readers always comment on how strong and unique my dialogue is. I have to go back and build in the little details that so many other writers start with. I write in the first person because I enjoy digging deeply into a character’s thoughts and emotions. I also love the challenge behind first person; I, as the author, know what my other characters are thinking and feeling, but my main character doesn’t, so I have to figure out how to share that. If you get a chance to read Warehouse Dreams, the fundraising scene is a perfect example of this. There’s a lot of subtexts going on in that scene, that Kendle really doesn’t pick up on because she’s too caught up in her own drama. To me, first person point of view is very real, because our lives are all in first person.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Oh goodness, I’m terrible with titles. Warehouse Dreams is set at a school built into a series of abandoned Warehouses, hence the Warehouse part. And without giving away a spoiler, I’ll say that dreams play an important part of the story.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Oh wow, Warehouse Dreams has a lot of messages. Primarily it’s asking the question of what happens when society determines it doesn’t want to deal with and are ultimately afraid of certain members of that society. In addition, there’s themes around the ethics of genetic manipulation of our children, but only for the rich. The sequel explores the second theme more.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

That’s a good question–Kendle does have some challenges with anxiety and I drew on some of my own experiences with anxiety when writing. And while I hate to admit it, I’m not actually a telepath or psychokinetic, though sometimes it would be nice to be one.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I have a great deal of affection for Stephen King; I loved his book On Writing and often quote it to other writers. For me personally, I agree with Stephen King’s thoughts on the necessity of writing every day and reading a lot. I also find my style of writing is similar to Jodi Taylor’s and try to inject the humor, sarcasm and character building that she does so well into my stories.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I’m lucky to be published with a small press publisher, S&H Publishing, who used their own graphic designer. However, this cover went through a few drafts. I wanted the background to be dark, because Warehouse Dreams is a dark story. I wanted the Warehouse to be a part of the cover, but I also wanted the hummingbird on the cover. Throughout Warehouse Dreams, the hummingbird is a theme and a moment of hope when the future is often very bleak and heavy for my characters.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you write, you are a writer. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Read a lot. Read things you wouldn’t normally read and then pull the stories apart to find out what you like and don’t like about them.
It’s ok if your first, tenth or fiftieth drafts suck. Just keep switching out words until you’re happy. And it will take a lot of switching until you are, most of the time. That’s normal.

Learn what to take and what to leave behind when receiving constructive feedback. And yes, you do need constructive feedback on your writing for it to get better.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Ummmm…buy Warehouse Dreams? Listen to my podcast, Semi-Sages of the Pages? Connect with me on social media–I love talking books and writing to anyone who will listen to me and I LOVE meeting other people.

Warehouse Dreams Book CoverTheresa Halvorsen
Temecula, CA

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Publisher: S&H Publishing

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links. These are a top ten of articles about the craft of writing or of interest to science fiction and fantasy readers and writers. Forgive my blue mood, but there has been far too many losses in our speculative community as of late. I want to highlight both Chadwick Boseman’s and Terry Goodkind’s passings in particular. Many bright lights are diminished, but not forgotten.

“The Moon’s a Balloon”: Hot Air Balloons and Airships in Speculative Fiction

How To Read

7 Ways to Build a Community Around Your Blog

On Writing Fanfiction

Terry Goodkind (1948-2020)

Writing Horses: Why Bother to Get It Right?

How to Pitch Your Story

Rest in Peace, Chadwick Boseman

Writing Chapter Books for Young Readers

Get Inspired with Observational Writing

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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