It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Interview w/Song of the Muses author, Hywela Lyn

Today I would like to introduce everyone to another author contributing to the "Song of the Muses," anthology from the Wild Rose Press, Hywela Lyn.

Welcome Hywela!
Your story, Dancing with Fate, is Terpischore's story and the final story in book two of the Anthology. I am going to post your stories blurb and then we'll get started with your interview.
Terpsichore's task --- to restore a love of dancing, to the Celts of Wales -- seems simple. However, all is not as it seems. Danger follows. Legends are threatened; and she had not meant to lose her heart ,or have to save the man she loves by dancing with Fate.
C of C- How long have you been writing
HL- Since I was about fourteen – a long time ago. I wrote a really bad 60.000 word Western by hand. There was a long gap while I did other things, mainly involving horses and long distance horseback riding in the Welsh mountains, although I still wrote on and off. Then, a few years ago I took a month off work to look after my sister’s smallholding while she was abroad, and dug out an old MS of mine which had been gathering dust for several years - an early draft of ‘Starquest’, my first futuristic novel. I loved it when I wrote it and the characters were always with me. I’d just never got around to doing anything with it. I completely revised it and submitted it to The Wild Rose Press and re-discovered my love of writing.

C of C- Are you a plotter or a pantser?
HL- A pantster really – I always have a rough outline for guidance, but mostly it’s writing by the seat of my pants.

C of C- What is your favorite part of the writing process?
HL- Writing ‘The End’ and then starting self editing. Seriously though I’m always a bit sad when I have to say goodbye to my characters, although, in my mind there’s always more going on with them.
I enjoy working out a difficult scene and seeing where it takes me, sometimes to a place I hadn’t expected. I love to imagine myself as my lead character and try to get inside her skin.
C of C- Amen to that!

C of C- Where do you find your inspiration?
HL- Sometimes the characters come to me, demanding a story. Sometimes a picture, or a piece of music, or something I see in the countryside will start a story germinating.

C of C- Do you write in short stretches or for long periods of time?
HL- Usually long stretches. If a scene or story is flowing well I hate to have to stop and do something else.

C of C- Do you write in silence or listen to music?
HL- I love listening to ‘mood’ music, which can be anything from classical to folk music. If I’m really engrossed though, often my cd will finish and I won’t even notice, so then I’m writing in silence. I find music helps to get me started though.
C of C- I agree, Hywela. I have certain songs that can pull different emotions from me. Its actually kind of amazing.

C of C- Do you eat or drink while writing?
HL- I find chocolate is a great source of inspiration. It’s also a good reward for achieving a set number of words, finishing a chapter, etc. I sometimes eat fruit or sip fruit juice or tea, but It’s easier to type when my hands are free - chocolate is easier.
C of C- Ah, yes chocolate! Finally someone who admits it!!!

C of C- Do you research your story before you write it, or as you go?
HL- If a story needs research I always do this first – often it can help in the actual plotting, and avoids having to go back and correct something. I usually find I still need to research things as I’m writing, though. If I’m not sure of something I’ll always look it up.

C of C- What have you learned through research that you’ll remember for the rest of your life?
HL- History and myths contradict each other. Always check more than one source of information and use the one that fits your story best. Also, history has a tendency to repeat itself, and there are parallels in most societies.
C of C- I never thought of it that way, but its very true, and thats also a great piece of advice!
C of C- How do you decorate your writing space?
HL- I have pictures of scenery and my horses on the walls, and some soft toys on the book shelves. I try not to have too much on my desk as I need that for books, pens, screen wipes etc.

C of C- Are you a neat/organized writer or is your office and/or space a complete mess with sticky notes everywhere?
HL-I tend to accumulate reference books, dictionaries, notes and cds on my workspace. Every now and then I have a tidy up but it doesn’t last for long. I can’t work in complete clutter but I like to have things I’m likely to use close to hand.

C of C- Does all your writing take place on a computer or do you ever write on pen and paper?
HL- Everything I write is done on the computer these days – I find if I try to write by hand it slows me down and I’m concentrating more on my handwriting than the words. I even type out my rough notes and file them on-line. I do have lots of back ups though – flash drives, cds and a zip drive.
C of C- Thank God for flash drives!!

C of C-What is your favorite time period? And why?
HL- The distant past – or the distant future. For some reason I don’t feel I belong in the present.
C of C- I feel the same way. Strange, eh?

C of C- Do you feel a draw to the people and time period you write about.
HL- Absolutely. I become very fond of them and often play out scenes in my mind with myself as the central character.

C of C- What character did you most enjoy writing?
HL- Jess. The heroine of ‘Starquest’. I still imagine her in varying situations and weave different stories about her. She also appears in the sequel, although another character is the lead in this. Myrddin the hero of ‘Dancing With Fate’ my story for the Wild Rose Press anthology , ‘Song Of The Muses,’ is a favorite of mine as well. Based on a well known mythical figure the more I researched him the more I grew to love him.

C of C- Readers are always curious to know about authors lives. What is the worst job (non-writing related) you’ve ever held?
HL- Working in a government office. It was regimented, boring and laborious – the only good thing about it was that most of the people I worked with were really nice.

C of C- What is one thing you think your readers would be interested to know about you?
HL- They might be surprised to learn that I’m quite a ‘spiritual’ person. I don’t attend Church regularly or anything, because I feel that God or whatever you like to call Him, is everywhere, especially in the mountains and the wild places. I feel a great affinity to the Native Americans whose religious beliefs were tied in with nature, and who therefore treated the Earth with love and respect and never took more than they gave back to it.

C of C- Are you reclusive or do you like being with other writers?
HL- I love being with other writers but most of the time I write alone since I reside in a small village and don’t live close enough to any writers groups. I belong to lots of on-line groups and loops though and have made some wonderful friends over the internet. Most of them I have never met, and most are in the US.. My first proper crit partner, though, who helped me work out the kinks in ‘Starquest’ lives in Scotland and I met him and his wife when I visited Scotland for a short holiday. I don’t know what I’d do without the internet, I have learnt so much from it and made so many friends.
C of C- I know what you mean Hywela, without my internet friends I would be LOST!!!

C of C- Do you find love scenes easy or hard to write?
HL- I love writing love scenes but don’t go in for anything too explicit. I believe love scenes should, above all, be very romantic.
C of C- I totally agree!

C of C- Do you ever act out your scenes?
HL- All the time. Especially when I’m trying to go to sleep at night.
C of C- lol! Only another writer can truly understand that!!! :O)

C of C- How long do you wait once a story is finished to revise it?
HL- Not long enough. Although one is supposed to put a story away for several weeks, I’m impatient to get back to work on it. The revision is where I take time to expand on my favorite scenes and cut out some of the rubbish. I’m lucky if I can last a week. I revise and revise and am never really satisfied – and I still miss things and don’t recognize the waffle!
C of C- I wish some of your impatience would rub off on me!! sigh*

C of C- Is it necessary to have a Critique/Writing partner?
HL- I couldn’t manage without one. It’s almost impossible to spot one’s own errors, however many times one goes over ones work, one is too close to spot everything. Reading and reviewing a partner’s work also gives one an insight into where one is going wrong oneself and helps alert one to the pitfalls. A crit partner who is able to give clear and concise advice and reasons for their suggestions, without hurting your feelings or destroying your confidence, is worth their weight in gold.
C of C- I couldn't agree more!

C of C-Do you allow family and friends to read your stories?
HL- Since most of my family is in Wales and I now live in England, my family is limited to my husband, and although he is supportive, he doesn’t really read much of my writing. I will occasionally ask a friend to read something, but I find my on-line friends and critique partners are more honest and will tell me if something isn’t working, whereas family and friends might just think they have to be encouraging.

C of C- Authors make writing look so easy. Is it harder than most people imagine it to be?
HL- Yes. For me, anyway. It’s one thing to write a good story, it’s another to be sure the grammar, punctuation and everything else is correct. Then you have to ensure there are no plot holes, that all the loose threads have been tied, that the characters speak with their own voices, that they act consistently, that you’re not ‘head hopping’. There are a lot of rules to follow these days, and there are often contradictions. On top of all that, there’s the dreaded writer’s block where you hit a snag and it seems to take forever to write your way out of it. I believe it is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things one can do, though.
C of C- So true, most readers don't really know what goes into writing a good, "industry acceptable story."

C of C- When you write a new story are you apprehensive about allowing others to critique it?
HL- No, I’m anxious to have a second opinion as to whether it’s worth the hard work of revision, or whether I should just shelve it and start again! It sometimes hurts to have your work criticized and torn to pieces, but if it’s done in a constructive manner and makes the book better, then it’s necessary and worth it.

C of C- What advice would you give to a new aspiring writer?
HL- The advice I was given myself a long time ago by Anne McCaffrey when I wrote to her and told her I wanted to write. She wrote back and said: ‘Write what you would like to read.’ It’s not failed me yet. I’d also say develop a thick skin and be prepared to take criticism from people who are genuinely trying to help you with your writing. It’s your story though so be prepared to also stick to your guns.
C of C- Excellent advice!!! .
Thanks so much for being here with me today, Hywela. I've enjoyed getting to know you, and I wish you the best of luck in all your future endevours!!!!!
For more information on Hywela Lyn please go to:
For more information on Terpischore's story and the rest of the muse anthology, browse the Wild Rose Press.


Sky Purington said...

Wonderful interview Lyn!!!!


Kathleen said...

Great interview. Glad to see another author is inspired by chocolate. I'd be interested in knowing proportionally how much of your time is spent on research.

Hywela Lyn said...

Thanks Sky,so glad you dropped by.

Kathleen - it's veery difficult to give an accurate answer, it really depends a lot on the story. For 'Dancing with Fate' I had to lots of research to do - Ancient Greece and Ancient Wales. I knew little about Greek mythology other than the basics, although having been born and lived most of my life in Wales I was steeped in Welsh mythology - but there again there are so many legends and variations. I'd say I spent at least a week reading and researching and then looked things up as I was writing and new things occurred to me. I probably spent about a quarter of my time researching via books and the internet - and didn't use all of what I learnt by any means, but it was fascinating and all the information helped to add to the background and atmosphere as I wrote. I think it's the same with everything - you access a lot of information and although not all of it is used, it's never wasted.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Thanks Sky, and Kathleen for dropping by! We appreciate it!

Andrea :O)

Chicks of Characterization said...

How true, Hyewla, knowledge and research is NEVER wasted! Along the researching journey another story idea can be sparked!

Michele Hart said...

Hello, Sister Muse!

Your interview was wonderful fun to read!

Dance as though no one's watching!


Chicks of Characterization said...

Awh, another muse has entered our realm, waving at you Thalia- Hey you, "No funny stuff!" Wink :O)

Andrea :O)

Sandy said...


You gave a great interview and the chicks asked great questions.

One of your on-line friends,

Chicks of Characterization said...

Thank you Sandy! I appreciate the kind words!!!


Hywela Lyn said...

Thank you so much everyone who was kind enough to leave a comment - much appreciated. And special thanks to Andrea for some really interesting questions - I enjoyed being interviewed by you very much.

Hywela Lyn

Chicks of Characterization said...

Thank you, Lyn for allowing me the time away from your writing to do it! I appreciate it!! :O)


Miss Mae said...

A great interview by a wonderful author. I will have to say that Hywela Lyn is one of the best descriptive writers I know! She can certainly take you into her "worlds" and make them very believable. It's nice to know they're all inspired by "chocolate"...LOL..

Miss Mae

Alisha said...

Great interview, Lyn! I look forward to reading Starquest as much as your muse story! Great interview! Are there any writers out there that don't adore chocolate? LOL!

P.S. I loved your answer for what people don't know about you. We share a kinship in similar beliefs.

Hywela Lyn said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comments Miss Mae - you make me blush, but in a nice way! :)

Hywela Lyn said...

Oh MM, sorry I forgot to say I'm really happy so many other writers seem to be inspired by chocolate, too.Makes me feel less guilty for eating so much of it - but of course it is very good for one! :)

Hywela Lyn said...

Thanks you so much for stopping by and commenting Alisha. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview - and nice to know we have yet another thing in common, sister muse.

Hywela Lyn said...

Thanks you so much for stopping by and commenting Alisha. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview - and nice to know we have yet another thing in common, sister muse.

Shannon Robinson said...

Great interview ladies! I enjoyed learning about you and your upcoming story, Hywela! Congrats on the release!

Anonymous said...

I love the plot of your book, Hywela!


Chicks of Characterization said...

Hey Shannon and Holly thanks so much for stopping by! :O)


Nicole North said...

Fantastic interview, ladies!! I enjoyed reading it!

Nicole North said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hywela Lyn said...

Nicole, Holly and Shannon, I'd like to add my thanks to those of Andrea for stopping by and commenting.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hey Nicole, thanks so much for dropping by!!


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