Paul’s Fantasy Writings has the privilege of an interview with author Lyndsey Gallagher today. The Seven Year Itch is her wonderful romance novel, and after getting in touch with her Lyndsey answered my questions with the same generosity of spirit that is prevalent in her novel.
Where do you come from and has your city/town/village influenced your writings so far?
I was born in Manchester but spent most of my childhood on the Isle of Wight, before going to college in Edinburgh. I like to base my fictional stories on real places that I know, so I can physically visualise my characters there. It means my descriptions are accurate without doing a lot of research, and I get to revisit the places that I love.
This blogger: Actually, that’s a great way of doing research. Experiential research is always the best. (*chuckles*.)
Tell us a little about how The Seven Year Itch first started. Did an image come to your mind, or was it a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?
The Seven Year Itch is quite a personal story to me. I got the idea from where I met my husband. (I was actually on a hen that weekend.) Although most of the book is fiction, there is a line of truth to some parts. The book literally burst out of me. I had never written anything before, but I couldn’t sleep as I was thinking about this story; it was just in me. I always wanted to write a book, I’m an avid reader, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before I put pen to paper.
Your novel is a romantic story. Do you think writers could write such a story if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I think everyone has at least one book in them as everyone has a story in this life. But I think to write romance you need to massively love the subject (excuse the pun), and you need to have an acute sense of empathy, to be able to feel the emotions of all of your characters.
This blogger: Yes, that is definitely true. Imagine a romance novel where the author has no empathy? The story would almost be devoid of love, which feels oxymoronic.
The Seven Year Itch is set in the Isle of Wight and the west of Ireland. Do either (or both) of these locations have special places in your heart?
They both do. One is where I grew up, the other is where I now raise my own children.
This blogger: That is truly special and not something one reads often either. This is truly unique.
In one of my blog pieces, I discuss how to approach writing a novel, but it is mainly targeted towards those who want to write fantasy novels. What advice would you give someone on how to approach writing a romantic novel?
Just write it. Everything can be edited. Although, with my next book, I am definitely going to have a rough plan for each chapter as is saves a lot of work on editing and rearranging the text.
This blogger: ‘Just write it’ – that’s the best advice of all! Planning the plot is also a good idea and worth the time. Hopefully, that will save you a lot of time and emotional energy down the line for your next book.
Which of your characters is most like you?
My protagonist, Lucy. As it happens, she is a Dental Hygienist, like me, and she is a strong character.
Have any of the characters in The Seven Year Itch been influenced by historical or fictional (including movie) figures?
No. I used a lot of my friends’ characteristics for my favourite characters though!
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
Pay a proper editor and do your research. There are a couple of grammatical errors in my first book that bug the life out of me that I didn’t notice at the time (due to a lack of experience).
This blogger: Making mistakes and getting annoyed are part of the writing journey. So long as we learn from the mistakes, we’ll be all right. So long as we learn from them, of course. (*smiles wryly*.)
What time do you usually start writing and what do you find the hardest part about the writing process?
I write when I get my children to bed or when they nap at lunch time. I find it hard that I have to keep picking up and putting down the story; that I can’t just sit for seven straight hours like a normal day job and get on with it. Having said that, being a mother is the most rewarding (and challenging) job in the world and I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world.
This blogger: That’s really wonderful. I sure hope your kids (one day) appreciate that.
How has writing changed you?
It gives me time to process my thoughts, to reflect. A lot of what my characters do or say comes from situations I have encountered myself. I suppose writing is like therapy to me. It helps me analyse certain scenarios and run through why people might behave in certain ways. I prefer to write in the first person. So, for the duration of the book I get to see through a different perspective. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t, but it offers a different perspective.
Moreover, writing gives me an outlet. Even while I’m tied to the house while the babies are sleeping, I get to travel to wherever I feel like going that night.
This blogger: That is very true about writing, on both the outlet and travelling fronts. It is wonderful to be to close your eyes and envision yourself somewhere else.
What’s the worst writing advice anyone has ever given you?
I haven’t actually received a lot of advice… Maybe I should look for some?!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a Dental Hygienist part time, I go to the gym three times a week (most of the time I even enjoy it!), oh and I read a lot. With my husband, I like to drink wine on a Friday night and go for a walk on the beach. I live by the sea and love being outdoors, so that’s perfect combination really. Also, I am extremely lucky to have some fantastic friends and a wonderful family, all of whom I love spending time with.
This blogger: You seem like a very active person and a delight to be around. No doubt, your family and friends enjoy spending time with you as well.
End of Interview
That ends our interview with author Lyndsey Gallagher. I would like to thank her for her time and to say that it has been a joy getting to know her. I wish her all the best going forward with her future writings, her family and other ventures.
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