Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. Lynne’s education includes a journalism degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University, and a paralegal certificate. She lives near Washington, DC.
Lynne says her greatest strength as a writer is in writing first drafts. “Most of my broadcast journalism experience was in radio. When you have ten minutes to write a five-minute newscast, you just don’t have time for a lot of revision. Also, radio news departments are typically so small that you don’t have an editor – nobody else looks over your copy before you read it on the air. So you learn to write clean copy. It may not be deathless prose, but it will get you through your newscast without generating outraged calls from your listeners. Usually.”
Revising is the area of work Lynne would most like to improve. “When I first started writing fiction again, I was terrible at revising. I’m getting better at it, but sometimes still I’ll dither over whether to touch my original (alleged) deathless prose. It’s almost worse now that I have a great editor, because I’m tempted to send my work to her and say, ‘Tell me what needs to be fixed,’ instead of mulling it over myself.”
Lynne is a longtime member of a message board for fans of fantasy author Stephen R. Donaldson, and some of her regular readers were friends from that site first. ” I’ve also got the usual suspects: a blog, a Facebook fan page and a Goodreads page, and I tweet when I remember to. Lately, I’ve discovered I have some talent at writing guest blog posts, and so I do those whenever I can.”
She is a member of the Indie Exchange’s Facebook page, which she says features a lot of great interaction with bloggers and other indies. “I’ve picked up a number of opportunities for guest blog posts there. I also stumbled across this great place called Indies Unlimited, where I’ve picked up a number of tips for promoting my work (and picked up a bunch of likes from various like fests!).”
Her impression overall of the indie author movement? “I think it’s fabulous. The Big 6 (are there still 6?) shot themselves in the foot when they began ignoring the development of their midlists to chase after celebrities whose books would supposedly guarantee them blockbuster sales. I love it that Amazon and Smashwords have picked up the slack by offering potential midlist authors the ability to publish their own work and make a little bit (or a lot) of profit for themselves.”
Lynne adds that she is worried for the reputation of the indie movement as a result of authors who think they don’t need an editor. “We indies need to be extra-vigilant about our work. It needs to be better than books published by mainstream houses – not just as good, but better. That’s the only way we’ll be able to defeat the misperception that ‘indie book’ equals dreck. I read somewhere recently (maybe here at IU?) a proposal that the indie community develop a sort of seal of approval for books that are done well. It’s not a bad idea, and I would love to be involved in its development.”
Her advice to aspiring writers is to keep writing and to assure the end product is the best it can possibly be. “Find beta readers who will give you an honest opinion and who won’t tell you your work is fabulous when it’s got problems. And don’t waste your time by trying to go the old-fashioned publishing route. Just go indie.”
Naomi has a pretty sweet life. Respected as a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. And her handsome boyfriend Brock has just proposed to her. But a white buffalo calf is bowing to her in her dreams. And who is the Native American man who has been following her around?
Naomi doesn’t know it, but things are about to change….