Before I hand over to Lynn, I'd like to say how nice it is to have her here! Also, if you want to see more about Thin Air, go to any of these links:
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Now I've said all that, I'll hand over to Lynn, with her 10 Little-Know Facts...
When did you first realise that you wanted to be an author?
I started writing and illustrating my own books as soon as I was able to string written words into sentences. I actually have a number of my early literary efforts. My first book, written when I was about six or seven, was titled “The Fairy of the Sea”. I also wrote a book when I was a little older called “The Prism of True” about a little girl who looks through a prism and when she takes it away, discovers herself in a magical world. They’re pretty hilarious! I wrote poetry and short stories throughout my school years and majored in English as an undergraduate at NYU. I guess you could say writing’s been a lifelong interest, but I only started making money at it when I became a freelance children’s book writer.
The world you created, the mythology used, was just incredible and completely new to me. There were so many wonderful new creatures. Can you give us a couple of examples of which were inspired by folklore and which you came up with yourself?
The four classifications of elemental beings—sylphs, undines, gnomes, and salamanders—are based on an existing mythology dating back to the fifteenth century. The general look of sylphs (and sylphids) remains pretty close to the source material, as does the physical description of gnomes, undines, and salamanders. The rulers of each realm—Gob, Paralda, and Djin—are documented as well. I’m pretty sure the idea of an elemental becoming human through Gob’s magic is my own invention, however. Gob, the gnome king (and source of the word “goblin”) does hold dominion over earth and flesh, but he isn’t bestowed with any special transmutational powers in the literature as far as I know.
I loved all of the characters you created, but do you have a favourite and why?
I feel particularly close to Alice. No big surprise; she is the main character. But I think she embodies many of the qualities—and conflicts—that teenagers of every generation experience. She’s mature (one thousand years mature!) on one level, and incredibly naive and childlike on another. She desperately wants to fit in and be accepted, but she’s unsure how society works and is often terrified of making a mistake. And she doesn’t fully understand herself, or her powers. Aren’t teenagers a lot like that? Mature one moment, childish the next. Pining for acceptance while struggling to embrace adulthood. Alice is very much caught between two worlds, and I think that sums up the adolescent experience beautifully.
If you could be any elemental from your world, which would you be? An air spirit, earth, water…?
Definitely an air spirit. They’re beautiful and they can fly! How cool is that?
I’m not sure how to answer that one, since I like different books for different reasons. I guess I’d have to say “Charlotte’s Web” if I was forced to choose. As a child, I re-read it so many times I could recite the first chapter by heart. And I cried my eyes out every time I came to the part where Charlotte dies.
Do you have any strange writing habits? Do you need a song, a special pen…?
I write on my laptop in a room tucked away in the corner of my house, away from distractions. I prefer silence, although I can write with music or even the TV on, if I’m really caught up in a scene. Generally, two of our pets keep me company—Dudley, our black Lab, and Layla, who’s a 4.5 pound teacup Chihuahua. She curls up and sleeps beside me.
What are you planning on doing next? Do you see many more books in this series or do you think you’ll move away from this topic and onto a new world?
I’m working on the next book in the Thin Air saga—“Friendly Fire”. The first chapter is published as a teaser at the back of “Thin Air”. I’ve always envisioned the series as consisting of four books—one for each element. The future of the series obviously depends on how well “Thin Air” and “Friendly Fire” are received. I’m also working on another series—a trilogy involving witchcraft and time travel. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first draft of the first book in that series. However, I set it aside to write “Friendly Fire” when I decided to self-publish “Thin Air.”
Can you give the readers a quick description of Thin Air before you go? A feel of the story, the world, the beings…
Imagine “The Little Mermaid” set in contemporary society, featuring an air spirit rather than a mermaid in the title role, and lots of tattoos and piercings. Now cross that with some spicy love scenes, a touch a gritty realism, and a Greenwich Village setting, and you’ll get a feel for “Thin Air”. I like to characterize it as a modern-day fairytale for young adults ages 15 and up with just enough whimsy to make it magical, and just enough realism to make it relevant.
Well, it's been a pleasure to have you, Lynn, and I'll most certainly be looking forward to Friendly Fire!
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