Interview with Lynne Cantwell

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Most people think of Indiana as being nothing but cornfields and the Indy 500. But I grew up in the woods, in a house about five blocks from Lake Michigan. I don't know that it's had a big influence on my writing to date. But I delved into it for background for one of the main characters of my upcoming series, "Land, Sea, Sky." Darrell is a Potawatomi Indian and hails from a little town not far from where I grew up. He has much of the same connection to the region's natural world as I do.
When did you first start writing?
I was in the second grade. The kid who sat in front of me in school brought in a book he had written, complete with illustrations. As I looked at it, I thought to myself, "I could do that." So I did. My first book was called "Susie and the Talking Doll" -- even at the age of seven, I was writing fantasy!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
After "Susie and the Talking Doll," it's a bit of a muddle. But somewhere in there, I wrote a mystery, which I can't remember the name of now. And I wrote a series of stories about a group of paper dolls I'd made.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My first novel, THE MAIDENS' WAR, was published by a small press. When I had SWANSONG ready to go, that press was not yet set up to upload books to KDP, and I felt very strongly that I needed to have my books on Amazon. So I self-published SWANSONG to both Amazon and Smashwords, and I had so much fun doing it that I've stayed indie.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love it when I get into the zone -- where everything's clicking and I don't notice the passage of time. I liken it to a runner's high, except I don't feel all sweaty afterward.

And too, I love connecting with fans. Feel free to stop by my Facebook page or my blog.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm just starting to work on the first book in the "Land, Sea, Sky" trilogy. This series is a follow-on to my five-book Pipe Woman Chronicles series. ANNEALED, the final book in the Pipe Woman Chronicles, culminated with Naomi Witherspoon mediating a power-sharing agreement between Jehovah and the pagan gods and goddesses. When CROSSWIND opens, it's ten years later, and the mortal powers-that-be are not going willingly into the new moral order. They gained a lot of money and prestige under the old system and they want to stay in power. So the gods have recruited certain humans to help these people see the error of their ways. I'm hoping CROSSWIND will be out by the holidays.
What are you working on next?
My next year is pretty much set with working on "Land, Sea, Sky". I'll have an anthology of the three short stories out at Christmastime, as well as the first book in the trilogy (the gods willing). Also for the holidays, I'll be releasing an omnibus volume of all five of the Pipe Woman Chronicles books.
What is your writing process?
I tend to write the first draft NaNoWriMo-style -- which is to say, I pretty much shut myself up like a hermit and write every evening and every weekend day for three or four weeks. Then I let it sit for a few weeks before I go in to do any editing. As a result of all my years as a journalist, I write pretty clean first drafts, so there's usually not a lot of heavy rewriting to be done. After that pass, I'll let the book sit for another couple of weeks, and then take one more crack at it before sending it to my editor. For a 60,000-word novel (the length of each of the Pipe Woman Chronicles books), the whole process, from beginning the first draft to publishing, takes three or four months.
How do you approach cover design?
I have some friends that know a lot more about graphic arts than I do, and one of them pointed me in the direction of Dreamstime, a royalty-free stock photo site. She found the cover art of SWANSONG for me (thanks again, Susan!) and it happened to be perfectly sized -- all she had to do was add the title font. Since then, I've bought stock photos and done my own covers in GIMP, which is a whole 'nother learning experience.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen R. Donaldson, the author of "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever," is my all-time favorite. I'm in happy fangrrl anticipation right now, as the final book in that series is due out this fall. I'm also a fan of Graham Joyce, who writes speculative fiction, and Kent Haruf, who writes contemporary fiction. As far as indie authors, Laurie Boris and Chris James immediately come to mind, as well as Melissa Bowersock and my other fellow minions at Indies Unlimited. It's great to be on a staff with so much talent -- even if they do pay us in gruel.
Published 2013-08-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Firebird's Snare: Book Two of the Pipe Woman's Legacy
Series: The Pipe Woman's Legacy Duology. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 56,510. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Sage Curtis is almost reconciled to the idea that she will have to use her Thunderbird powers to reverse climate change -- even though those powers haven't been very helpful so far. But the gods have said if humanity can't fix the climate, They will destroy the planet and start over. Sage must use both science and magic to save the Earth - and even that may not be enough.
Dragon's Web: Book 1 of the Pipe Woman's Legacy
Series: The Pipe Woman's Legacy Duology. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 59,110. Language: English. Published: May 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Can a god go crazy? Sage Curtis, reluctant Savior of the Earth, has been yanked around by the gods her whole life. She wants nothing more than to fix Earth's climate with science - not the magic she is capable of. But Veles, the god of the Slavic underworld, has other ideas. One thing is clear: to win, Sage will have to learn how to fly.
Seasons of the Fool
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 55,370. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
A Fool's journey begins with a single step... Julia Morton Michaud flees Chicago for her grandparents’ summer home in Michiana. She believes the cottage near Lake Michigan will be a refuge from her failing marriage. But her past keeps intruding. Then she discovers a labyrinth in the woods, and the truths she learns there could change her life – if only she will take them to heart.
Scorched Earth: Land, Sea, Sky Book 3
Series: Land, Sea, Sky, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 65,130. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Harvest's in... Ayalendo: a miracle grain that could end world hunger -- and Lucifer's end game. He plans to control the world's food supply, using hunger as leverage to gain enough followers to allow him to attain godhood. Once again, the gods are turning to Tess, Sue, and Darrell to foil the plot and defeat Lucifer, once and for all.
Undertow: Land, Sea, Sky Book 2
Series: Land, Sea, Sky, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,490. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Navy Lt. Darrell Warren thinks he's being sent to investigate a terrorist threat against a critical bridge-tunnel. Instead, his commander orders him to infiltrate the terrorists. And he must do it without his housemates - Sue's on vacation and Tess is chasing a hurricane. When all three end up in Virginia Beach on Labor Day, you can bet the gods want Darrell to succeed. But will that be enough?
Where Were You When: An Anthology (Land, Sea, Sky)
Series: Land, Sea, Sky, Prequel. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,590. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
On the day when all the pagan gods and goddesses returned to Earth, three of Them -- the Irish war goddess Morrigan, the Wiccan Earth goddess Gaia, and the Ojibwe culture hero Nanabush -- marked three humans to help them to protect the world They have created from those who profited during the days when Earth was ruled by greed and fear. These three stories tell how it all began.
Crosswind: Land, Sea, Sky Book 1
Series: Land, Sea, Sky, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 64,050. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods' return. As conflict has eased around the world, more money is being spent on humanitarian goals. But the former ruling class is about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring the old system back. In response, the gods have recruited three humans to help them fight back. But Tess, Darrell and Sue must find a way past their own flaws first.
Annealed: Book Five of the Pipe Woman Chronicles
Series: The Pipe Woman Chronicles, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,980. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
It's zero hour... In this fifth and final book of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, Naomi is in a race against the clock to balance the demands of her body, her family, and her friends – and she must do it while the whole world is watching.
Tapped: Book Three of the Pipe Woman Chronicles
Series: The Pipe Woman Chronicles, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,650. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Ah, winter in South Dakota… Naomi’s caught some kind of bug and Joseph is MIA. But she and Shannon get out of town, on a road trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They're looking for Naomi’s father, but they find more than they bargained for: a dream wolf, a mysterious walled compound that might or might not belong to Loki, and a lot of snow. Some vacation...
Gravid: Book Four of the Pipe Woman Chronicles
Series: The Pipe Woman Chronicles, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 63,380. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Denial is not just a river in Egypt… Naomi has any number of things she doesn’t want to think about: she's pregnant and due any day; Joseph's grandfather needs a new place to live, but he won't move; and a Mexican drug lord's thugs are in town, looking for Jack. But what Naomi's really dodging is a talk with her mother....
Fissured: Book Two of the Pipe Woman Chronicles
Series: The Pipe Woman Chronicles, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,660. Language: English. Published: August 18, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Naomi's life keeps getting more complicated. Just as she and Joseph begin to work out their relationship, they meet a candidate for Investigator -- but he's not much of a team player. Charlie's ranch might be endangered from some old friends. And a jaguar is stalking the banks of Cherry Creek.
Seized: Book One of the Pipe Woman Chronicles
Series: The Pipe Woman Chronicles, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 64,410. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
The winter solstice 2012 won't be the end of the world. It will be the beginning of the end....
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 88,690. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
2012 Global Ebook Award Finalist! Based on the Irish tale, "The Fate of the Children of Lir," *SwanSong* is the story of a jealous half-Tslyddi woman who curses her four Wolleni stepchildren to 900 years as swans. But the curse goes awry and the children are only partially transformed. The childrens' journey, as they learn to cope with their changed lives, is one of hardship, tragedy, and triumph.