Community Member

Lynne Taylor

Writer

Lynne has always been interested in writing for children and thoroughly enjoys entertaining them with her humorous tales of dragons, monsters and toys that wake up when nobody is about.


Currently she is busy working on the Toadflax books. The first of these is 'The Great Snail Race' in which the two main characters, Bog Bean and Mug Wort, skip school and go hunting for snails.

Unfortunately, disaster after disaster befalls them and after meeting the ever helpful village witch, Granny May Weed, they are turned into colourful snails. and, oh, how they wished they had gone to school!


The next one, 'Campion Goes Missing' is currently with the Illustrator so keep your eyes peeled for more fun and games with these colourful characters.

 

She is planning on releasing her other children's stories in the not too distant future so, again, keep your eyes open if you like fun and games as much as she does.

 

Lynne is currently a member of Chorley and District Writers' Circle and Horwich Writers' Cauldron and is grateful to the members of both these clubs for their continued and valued support and assistance.


If you would like to contact Lynne then you can always email her or look on her Facebook page:

email               -           childrensstories6@gmail.com

Facebook        -           children's stories


Interview between Lynne Taylor and SMP 13/06/2019


It's good to get this opportunity to speak to you properly about your work.  Perhaps you'd like to let us know how you got started with writing. Were you always a writer? Were you creative in other ways? Did a particular event push you to begin writing with more enthusiasm?

It's great to speak to you as well. How did I get started with writing you ask. Well, I've always loved reading and when I was in junior school I would often go with my mum and dad to one of their friends. Their children were younger than me and they seemed to adopt me as a big sister. They would find it fun to ask me to tell them a story about whatever difficult thing they could think of. This found me telling stories about pebbles, kettles, plants and a whole variety of odd and ends. These were made up on the spot and they loved them all. The only problem was that I made them up as I went along and then the next time I went they would ask for the story again. Needless to say I'd forgotten all about it and had to reinvent it. The fun they got from this encouraged me in my writing and things just grew from there.

Unfortunately, I have never been creative in other ways. As proof of this when I was at high school we had a life class in which we had to draw one of the pupils. When the teacher saw my picture his only comment was, 'Don't take up art. You've drawn a spider not a person!'


What about your upbringing? Were you encouraged to write?

Sadly, when I was a child my family expected me to leave school, get a job in either a shop or a factory for a couple of years and then get engaged. After another couple of years get married and then have children. This was how things were and what was expected by all the family. Women weren't supposed to waste their time learning anything other than how to read a recipe, work out how much change to expect at the supermarket and how to cook. Having ambition was frowned upon and Not Encouraged. An example was when the teachers told my parents that they expected me to pass for grammar school I was told in no uncertain manner that that was pointless as I was not going to university as university places were for boys so they could get good jobs and earn enough money to keep their wives and children. Needless to say I didn't argue, what was the point against the whole family, but I didn't agree.


Were you encouraged to read? Do you read a lot now?

Yes, I was encouraged to read, how else was I to read a recipe. Sorry about that bad joke. Both my parents worked and I loved sitting and quietly reading in my bedroom. As a matter of fact I still do. Every morning my husband brings me a cup of tea in bed and I lie there reading. Don't get any ideas of how loving he is, he's told me that he only does this because it keeps me out of his hair whilst he catches up with Ceefax or something on the telly. If I go down and look at it with him I end up having a rant about something, asking him to go back a page or two and generally spoiling his quiet time. I don't mind whatever reason he does it for. I just enjoy my quiet read every morning.


How do you feel about the statement that only avid readers will make good writers?

I must admit I believe this is true. Mind you it depends on what you read. If you read poorly written novels you will run the risk of producing poorly written novels.

If I'm to be totally honest with you I suspect that many of the classical writers wouldn't be published these days as readers have progressed a lot since they were written. Some of them contained a lot of descriptive passages that are not needed these days. Writers no longer need to spend great long paragraphs describing, for instance, what a kangaroo looks like as the modern reader knows. However, before television and the age of the internet, many people hadn't seen one and the author had to describe it to the reader.


Can you tell us about any work you've had published so far - where was it published? How did you find the whole experience? Would you do anything differently next time?

Several years ago I published two books on Amazon. Not sure that published is the right word to describe it. They were both experiments. The first one was when I attempted to write a novella. I managed it, after a fashion, and then wondered what to do with it. By this time I'd got a couple of novels written and about fifty short stories (both children's and adults) and they were just cluttering up my computer. Amazon had been around a couple of years so I thought I'd have a go a putting it on there just to see if I could do it. I finally managed to do it and this inspired me to put some of the short stories together and try and put them on. I finally managed to do this as well. I think over the last four years I've earned the princely sum of 75p! I am thinking of taking them off now and rewriting them as I am not happy about the standard of writing in them but as I am currently rewriting a novel I have written it is on the back burner for now.

The experience was a complete nightmare! As I've already told you I am not artistic so the cover was a problem. I found a web site called Fiver.com and got a fantastic cover for five pounds!! Yes, a whole five pounds. Nothing is to good for my writing. Anyway, then came the problem of getting on to the Amazon page. This small task took me three weeks to fathom out and I couldn't remember how I'd done it for the second book so went with one of their covers (okay, so I'm a chicken). Then the page layout altered on Amazon and that took me another week to sort out. By the time I'd got the first book on there I was a complete wreck and still wonder at my sanity for doing it again. And all for 75p!

Yes, there is something I'd do differently. Next time I will ensure the work is fit to be released and I will ask someone who knows what they are doing either to help me or, preferably, do it for me.


What about advice for other writers? 

The only advice I'd give is read, read and read. Go for it. Follow your dream. Enjoy your writing and remember you are doing it because you want to. There is no right way and no wrong way, there is only your way. All writers have their own way and it may not be your way but it doesn't matter. Every story is as individual as you are. And one more thing - Don't listen to advice.


Do your family and friends read your writing?

This is a hard one. Some do. My two young grandsons have read The Great Snail Race and all my friends' children have read it as well. I even had the cheek to as the English Teacher at the local primary school if she would cast her expert eye over it and let me know if the level of language was appropriate. I have never met this lady and felt really embarrassed by this but she agreed and even went to so far as to read to a class of nine year olds. The feedback was brilliant. They loved it, even though at that stage it hadn't been illustrated!

My adult novels have been read by very few people as I am not confident of the quality of my writing. Many years ago I had one professionally critiqued by Cornerstones and they came back with some really good points which I took on board and some really positive remarks the best of which, as far as I am concerned, was that it was a female James Bond with humour and the lady providing the critique said she really enjoyed reading it and looked forward to receiving it back. I made the necessary alterations but never sent it back as again I chickened out. Who knows, one day...


Five words that describe your personality

Outgoing, trustworthy, humorous, reliable and curious (well according to my husband when I asked him so not sure if anyone else would agree).


And how would you describe your writing?

As I've already hinted at, I write for fun primarily but I also think that when you are writing for children you must not talk down to them but give them a chance to think for themselves about things and form their own opinions. With this in mind when writing for children I try to show them how their behaviour affects others and help them learn.

I love funny or eccentric characters and these populate my writing whether for adults or children.


What's next for you? Are you in the process of writing something big?!

Next! Well, as I've already said I am in the process of rewriting a full length adult murder mystery. However, the second book in the Toadflax collection is currently with my illustrator, Penny Taylor, a third is in the pipeline with a fourth on the drawing board. Also I hope to get back to the first novel and reread and make any necessary changes.

Who knows what will happen in the future. Just watch this space.


Where and When do you write the best?  

Not sure I have written the best yet. Like most writers I am happiest writing when I'm alone and have no interruptions. Mind you with a dog, a rabbit, fish and an aviary not to mention a happy husband, a flotilla of friends either ringing or visiting things are rarely quiet for long.


Thanks so much, Lynne!

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