Writing is a labor of love, they say, and yet, people don’t usually understand that. They tend to think that for people who identify as writers – and isn’t that a big can of worms – it’s as simple as sitting down and the words just come.
Sadly, it isn’t just so. Writing is work. Maybe that’s why so many people hesitate to use the term.
We had a chance to talk to our very own Lynnie Purcell, who is a writer, not just because she’s been writing books for a very long time (I’d love to make an age joke here, but she’d kill me), but because she thinks and breathes and sometimes lives the stories that she then manages to put into paper; about writing as a craft, how the decision to write came about for her, and why you should give The Dreamer Chronicles a try.
First thing you have to know about Lynnie is that she started young. “This is the power of really good teachers,” she told me, when I asked her the first thing she remembered writing. “I struggled in a lot of my classes, a mixture of ADHD, anxiety, and the material not being challenging to me, but in my senior year I took a creative writing class from this amazing lady who was kind, encouraging, and patient. She told us we could write anything we wanted for our end of year project, so I did.”
Of course, like most of us, she didn’t exactly go on to write a masterpiece first try. Don’t let anyone tell you that happens. “I started a book – an atrocious, clichéd, terrible book. But it was mine, and it was proof I could do it. I never finished it, but it was the spark for everything that followed, and I will always be grateful to her.”
Everything that followed is, well, a lot.
No, I’m not kidding. Lynnie has written a lot. Don’t believe us? Here’s a LIST.
When you’ve written so much, it’s because you enjoy it. So why does Lynnie do it ? “I just feel like I have things to say, and sometimes those things are angry, and sometimes those things are sad, and sometimes those things are happy. But I like to tell stories, have a mixture of hope, reality …and I feel like I couldn’t not do it.”
Considering that long-ass list, and how intimidating it is to look at a writer who has dabbled in plenty of genres, we asked Lynnie the one question we always ask of authors so prolific: Where in the world do we start?
The answer, of course, depends on what you like. “Well, I have a series about magic (‘Craft’), one about fallen angels (‘The Watchers’), one about Assassins (‘Revelation’), one that’s a dystopian sci-fi (‘Controllers’), and one that’s about a group of people that protect your nightmares from demons (‘Grey Haven’), so I think it would depend on what the person was in to, whether it’s more epic stories (with a side of sass) like The Watchers, more wholesome love stories with a side of magic like in Craft, darker, edgier stuff like Revelation or Controllers or sass mixed with action adventure and some light horror thrown in like with Grey Haven.”
The point here is she’s got a little bit of everything, in case you didn’t catch her drift. But authors always have something they enjoy working on more – or at least, a different one every week, and her “current favorite to write is Grey Haven because of the evolution the lead character, Julie, has gone through, and the way she’s learning that strength is sometimes found in weakness and that a hero doesn’t have to be perfect, they just have to try.”
Sign us up for all of that. For strong female characters (WHY AREN’T THERE ENOUGH OF THESE IN THE WORLD?), for character development (WHY DON’T ENOUGH WRITERS PAY ATTENTION TO THIS?) and especially for the idea that there’s no perfection in this world, there’s just being better than you were before, and trying.
But, for Lynnie, if she had to write one genre for the rest of her life, the answer is simple, and that should probably sorta tell you what kind of writer she truly is. “Fantasy. I mean, if you did fantasy you could write a fantasy world that was based on non-fiction, for example, and you could do whatever you wanted …you can write anything in fantasy, even reality.”
As for her favorite, favorite, or, because that’s like picking your favorite child, the one that’s always close to her heart: “I think I’ll always get warm, fuzzy feelings about The Watchers because it was the first time I wrote something and truly fell in love with the characters. It was almost like they were guiding the way instead of me trying to dictate the story because they were so vibrant and alive in my head, and to this day Clare remains my hero. I’m very sorry that I had to put her through so much, though. (A little sorry. Kinda. She could handle it, okay?) While I’ve gotten to be a better writer since then, this is where my story started, and I’m so grateful this tale of fallen angels and their kids popped into my head and got me started doing this thing I love so much.”
Lately, Lynnie has been working on Grey Haven, the first book in The Dreamer Chronicles, a series we, personally, would like to recommend. She, of course, would like to cheat by trying to pick more than one favorite, but she admits she likes it “because I’ve grown in to my writing, gotten more feminist, more willing to take chances, have put my characters into therapy and shown that you can be sassy, funny, serious, and still save the world.”
Plus, there’s your bad-ass female character, and something we admit we’re always weak for: found families. Like Lynnie herself tells us: “The most interesting thing to me was this evolution of Julie, my main character, trying to survive, taking on this dangerous cause of hunting down demons because it was better than dying on the streets, and then realizing that she could make a home with the people around her.”
We love characters that grow. Don’t you? “She messes up constantly, and she reacts out of fear, but what I love about her is that she learns her lessons, listens, and is trying her hardest, and I feel like trying is one of the most important things any of us can do, whether we’re trying to save the world, save ourselves, or make dinner.”
Especially in the world we live in today.
To end, we had to ask Lynnie one of those things you always ask, the kind that makes very prolific writer roll their eyes at you – favorite quote! And, Lynnie has the most unique answer to that question, but really, we can’t blame her for saying that, to this day, and probably forever, her favorite quote is: Written by Lynnie Purcell.
We like the ring of that.
You can find Lynnie on Twitter @LynniePurcell and on the podcast she runs with her pals: Stop and Fangirl. She enjoys inter-sectional entertainment, stories that transcend barriers, and finding new worlds to get lost in.
Grey Haven, the first book in The Dreamer Chronicles, can be found here, and here’s the description:
Julie Aim knows three things: life is never fair, rules are for people not clever enough to circumvent them, and she’s awesome at fighting shades (demons that possess people via their dreams).
When strange attacks begin happening around the school that trains her to fight shades, Grey Haven, Julie is pulled into a plot of betrayal, uncomfortable social encounters, and murder. It’s then up to her (re: her ability to circumvent the rules), and her friends to prevent a plot that could destroy the school forever.