Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Lynda Williams

Hey folks, it's Blog Ring of Power time! It's time to learn about the Writer's Life.
Our victim... um guest today is Lynda Williams. Don't forget to check out the rest of the interview spread out through BRoP's other four hosts.

Part 1 with TW
Part 2 oh wait, that's me
Part 3 with Sandra
Part 4 with Dean
Part 5 with Terri

Lynda Williams is the author of the ten-novel Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and the editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). She hosts the Writer’s Craft on the Clarion Blog with David Lott. On Reality Skimming (, she works with David Juniper, Tegan Lott and Michelle Carraway to celebrate the Okal Rel Universe in particular and the joy of writing and reading in general. See for how to take part on Reality Skimming to promote your work or share your love of words and ideas.

Now without any more delay, I give you The Writer's Life with Lynda Williams.

BRoP: What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc.
Lynda: I began to write with pen and paper, migrated to a typewriter in my teens and have worked on a Word Processor, on a computer, for most of my adult life. At each phase, I believed the mechanics of how I composed words was intrinsic to my creative flow but somehow I adapted fine and kept writing. Most of my Saga was written in my den, in Prince George, in the evenings or sometimes early mornings before I went to work. The coffee shop I used to hang out at to write, in Prince George, is called Books & Company. I did a big chunk of work there in 2008-9. When I moved to the lower mainland of B.C. in 2011, I lived with my sister in New Westminster and frequented the Starbucks at the bottom of 10th Avenue on weekends. My brother-in-law calls it my Starbucks, now, when we arrange to meet there for a social visit.

BRoP: How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?

Lynda: I imagine it is a bit like a man trying to maintain a mistress while he has a family and wife at home, with a fulltime job required to maintain them all. Balance doesn’t always come easy. But the writing has always felt necessary to me, so the rest of my life just had to come to terms with it. Now I am getting near the end of the ten-novel saga I’ve been playing at and in for over thirty years, I spend less time actually writing. But it takes just as much time to work on promotion and editing the Okal Rel Legacies series of stories set in my world.

BRoP: When do you write?

Lynda: These days, I work in the mornings for an hour before work. It has varied greatly in the past. I used to spend a lot of time in writing in cafes on weekends, or else I’d be seized by a scene in the middle of the day and couldn’t go to bed that day until I wrote it down. When the majority of the saga was still in incubation, I would often write after a long conversation with my friend and co-author for Part 4: Throne Price, Alison Sinclair. During the happy period in Prince George when my family and some special friends would tune in weekly for the next installment in the saga as I pumped it out, I would be inspired to write after reading aloud to them. 

BRoP: How much time per day do you spend on your writing?

Lynda: Depends on the day. I will marathon twelve hours on a Saturday when I’m caught up in a book or working through edits. But usually I am lucky if I get in an hour in the morning doing e-mail and blogging. New material and substantial edits work best if I can get at least four hours in block to work on them.

BRoP: What has been the most surprising reaction to something you’ve written?

Lynda: Discovering Di Mon and Ranar’s relationship was interesting to young women. I created Di Mon’s character long before I decided to make him gay. At some level, I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me but I’m very pleased with the resulting tensions. I hadn’t expected it to be a “turn on” for young women but I’m sure Ranar could explain it, anthropologically. I was also surprised to discover some readers loved Amel and disliked Horth or visa versa. I’d always found both of them compelling and some readers do, too. But there is definitely a “team Amel” and “team Horth” dynamic. And I never could get Horth and Amel to like each other, although they do manage to work up some mutual respect in select areas.   

BRoP: What is the strongest criticism you’ve ever received as an author? The best compliment?

Lynda: A reader who doesn’t have to turn the page is the strongest criticism. I also hate discovering typos or verbal mannerisms I’ve outgrown and want to fix but can’t until the next edition. A reader who stays up all night to finish a book is the greatest compliment. A close second, for me, is when a writer enjoys my work enough to pitch a story to me for an anthology of novella, which is the origin of the Okal Rel Legacies series.

BRoP: Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support?

Lynda: My publisher, Brian Hades; editor Richard Janzen; cover artist Michelle Milburn; contributing artist Richard Bartrop; Jennifer DiMarco of Windstorm Creative and Cecilia Tan of Circlet Press; David Juniper and Michelle Carraway for acting as the hosts and the many contributors to Reality Skimming; author Krysia Anderson who introduced Victoria D’Ottawa to the Okal Rel universe; Craig Bowlsby for his consulting expertise in fencing and writing Horth’s story in Killing Reach; Hal Friesen for inventing Nestor;  scifi con organizer Bobbie DuFault for being a fan and supporter;  John Preet for always being in my corner; David Glenn Anderson of  RFF; Kathy Plett for supporting book launches with buttons and booklets;  and all the special friends, down the years, who have charged my rel-batteries from my childhood friend, Kathy Perrault to co-author Alison Sinclair and the special friends like Mel and Catherine who hung out at the house in P.G.; my English department friends at UNBC, Dee Horne and Robert Budde; comp sci colleague David Casperson; Neil Lettinga for advising me on how to create an authentic religious reformer. All the people who talk to me about my work, review my books and ask questions! And always and always my wonderful family. I know I wasn’t supposed to mention them, sorry, but go to youtube and search for “okal rel” and you’ll see an example of why it is impossible to ever stop saying thanks. In addition to my immediate family, I’ve much to be grateful for in the support of friends like Elizabeth Woods and Nathalie Mallet. The pride my Aunt Lil took in me being a published writer is especially meaningful to me, this week, because I’ve just learned she passed away in her sleep at 96. I hope I manage to live half as full a life and exit as gracefully.

BRoP: How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?

Lynda: I suspect many writers, myself included, carry around an ideal in their heads of being begged for more stories by an adoring public and embraced as an icon by publishers eager to secure our talents. The reality is more “no” than “yes” for most of us, most of the time. I’ve had my ups and downs. I try to remember I’m the same person whether I’m being asked to contribute to something or rejected for trying. When I became semi-pro (by which I mean that although I am published and make money I still work to make a living and write as a vocation not a means of support) I became discouraged by what I termed “pro-speak”. The pros love to talk about “slush piles” and the terrible odds stacked up against any aspiring authors. At the time, big changes were starting to shake up the world of publishing and fear made people particularly nasty, IMHO. Reading between the lines, I kept hearing: “I am a real writer and anyone who is less professional than I am – by which I mean make money at it kids – is just a pathetic wannabe who should crawl under his/her bed in shame, oh, but first of all buy my book and take a flashlight so you can read it and admire the great, successful me!” Now in all fairness, pro-writers have it much harder than those of us who make our money in other ways and can’t afford to be shrinking violets about promoting themselves. But the mean-spirited egotism of “pro-speak” depressed me until I got my head squared away by writing a story about a Reetion pilot so intimidated by running into highborn Sevolites, in the cockpit, that she wanted to turn tail and slink home until Ann of Rire convinces her she must fly for her own reasons. This story, “Going Back Out”, and the associated maxim “Fly for your own reasons!” became my reminder to myself and my recommendation to kindred spirits struggling to maintain their purpose, as writers, in the hurricane of advice, shaming and rejection we are all subject to in the struggle to find our voice and share it with the world. The gist of the message is: who cares if someone else flies harder if they aren’t serving your ends. If you believe in those ends, you can’t give up, because to do so is to betray what you believe. This is why I always encourage other writers and feature them as writers on Reality Skimming regardless of what stage they are at in their career or their plans for pursuing publication. Exploring and questing to explain the world is a writer’s job and we each do it as our gifts of talent, time and opportunity allow. 

Contact Information:
Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:

Goodreads author page:

Twitter:  @okalrelsrv


What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?

·         Trade paperback (the Saga)
·         Print on demand (Legacies)
·         Kindle (all)

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