Interview with Lynnie Purcell

What got you into writing?
I first started writing in middle school. It was more for fun than anything - a way to keep myself entertained. I never really thought that it was something I would want to do forever or really thought of as a career. In my senior year, I had a creative writing teacher who really encouraged me to write and explore my abilities. My first half-book was written there. But still, it wasn't until years later that I realized how much I truly loved writing. It simply never occurred to me that writing could be something to make a living at. After struggling with different courses in college that never seemed to spark my interest, I finally came back to writing. It didn't take me long to realize that my spark was placed there. The rest is, as they say, history.
How did you get into e-book publishing?
I'm a bit of a rebel. It may sound strange to think of e-book publishing as rebellious, but it's my reason all the same.

The idea of publishing the traditional way appealed to me for about ten minutes. I've heard horror stories where people have sent about a million query letters only to have them all rejected, but that wasn't me. The idea of not being able to publish things my way made me itch. With e-book publishing I had control and the ability to reach my audience in an immediate way that appeals to me. This comes with a downside as well as an upside.

With e-book publishing you have a lot of opinions - people who are all convinced they know the truth, but there's not a whole lot of guidance. Websites often have conflicting information, and it really is true that your book might not sell like the next person's. You can feel a lot like a lost ship out a sea sometimes. It can also be brutal to get your one-of-a-kind, most awesome book ever, to the leader-boards. There's more competition than I expected, particularly in the YA genre. But it's worth the effort, tears, sweat, and time, if you stick with it and truly believe in the book you've written.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, though I was born 'over yonder,' in Tennessee.

I would say that the mountains and the feel of the south have definitely influenced my stories, particularly The Watchers and Craft. Most of my stories have some version of my environment in them, be it the mountains, the heat, the people, or simply the slow draw of time. While my stories tend to travel around the country, and often to different countries, I usually manage to sneak in something of growing up in the mountains.
What advice would you give writers just starting out in e-book publishing?
I would have to say the most important thing is a product that is 100 percent as awesome as you can make it. I made the mistake of getting impatient with a few of my first books. And people don't like when things are not tight. I didn't have money to buy a fancy line editor then, but I could have definitely made it better if I had been more patient. An editor, lots of revisions, and more than a little sweat later, I had a product worth putting out. Don't be afraid to take your time. I know that the world is in desperate need of your book, but they will like it better if it's not riddled with omitted words and spelling mistakes.

When the product is finished, I would say that spreading the word without being obnoxious is key. People don't want to read a book by someone who is bombarding their page or demanding to be read, because all they are thinking about is how annoying you are. It ruins their appetite for your book. Be polite, courteous, and don't be disappointed at hearing 'no.' You're going to hear a lot of no, but you can't let it discourage you. Stay the course!

For me, the trick was setting my first book The Watchers as free. I had already written the rest of the books in the series, and before I could blink, they were selling really well. If you only have one book up and no intention of writing sequels, doing sales and discounts might help encourage business. People don't want to pay seven dollars on a book from someone they've never heard of before. Selling cheaply to many is better than selling none at all!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, The Keeper, is coming out August 31st. I'm really excited about and all of the books I write about Clare and Daniel.

Clare was the first YA character I came up with three years ago. She was originally more like the typical girl in the genre, of crying and moping, then I decided how irritating that was for me. I wanted someone different, someone who broke the mold and could show people that being tough and girly was okay. I decided to go with a girl who could hold her own, who had a quick wit and a profound distaste for people who didn't fight for what they want in life. She's tough and funny, and she is a whole lot of fun to write. And it helps that her love interest, Daniel, is just as funny and smart. He doesn't go around trying to possess or control her. They are a team, and I find that profoundly important, particularly in view of the fact that they are constantly about to be killed or are faced with the task of trying to save the world.

So, I suppose that The Watchers Series and The Guardian Series has always been about breaking boundaries and trying to bring something new to the genre. I hope it's worked...and I hope people enjoy!
Who is your favorite Star Wars character?
Han Solo. Without doubt.

Some of my fans may notice that Clare is a fan of Star Wars. There is at least one reference to Star Wars in every book that has her name attached to it. She loves it because I tell her to. If you haven't seen the original movies, go! You can thank me later...
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords was one of the first outlets I found. It had guided me toward many of the ways I've found to get my books known to people. The most important of which was setting my first book as free. That was a big step in getting my name out there. Now, people search out the other books, and I couldn't have done it without such good advice. They also distribute to places that I would not have been able to reach on my own. It's helped sales tremendously, and I am very grateful that there is a publishing platform out there that eases the burden and confusion of publishing as much as possible.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is in creating new worlds. I love to be able to sit down and just let the worlds flow out of me. There are times when I've written a full book in a week and a half simply because my imagination was bursting with the ideas. There's something almost meditative about the process that I really enjoy. It's like I'm part of that world for a time.

I think my second joy - and this may sound corny but is 100 percent true - is connecting to people. I remember when I was little how I connected to David Eddings' writing in a profound way. His style really spoke to me, and it honestly helped me through some rough times growing up. He was like a voice of an uncle, or something similar, that allowed me to put my problems aside and delve into a world unlike any I had ever seen. I truly hope to do the same for others - to be able to inspire people to write, read, and maybe take their minds off their troubles for a while. I think that writing is about connecting to people, and I love it when I get emails or messages that tell me how much my words have meant to them.
What do your fans mean to you?
Well, I sort of answered this in the last question!

My fans are everything. I don't get authors who look at their fans as nothing more than a source of income. For me, the fans are a good part of the reason why I write. Their enjoyment and pleasure adds to mine. We can all geek out on how sexy Daniel is or share in our worry when Clare wakes up in the desert with no memory of her past. I love people who are passionate about things, and it's so fun and cool to me to know that I've created passion in others with my words. I wouldn't be here if not for them. I realize this every day and am profoundly honored and grateful.

I hope to continue doing this far into the future!
What are you working on next?
Right now, I am working on the third book of The Dreamer Chronicles.

Dreamer is my horror YA series, though it's got a lot of romance, action/adventure, and drama. It follows Julie Aim, who fights dream demons known as shades. She goes into people's nightmares to prevent the shades from taking them over and hurting that person and others. Julie is tough and gruff. She grew up on the streets and doesn't allow her emotions to run over very often. It's been a lot of fun pulling her emotions out of her and putting her through the wringer. The third book is going to test a lot of Julie's personal relationships and force her into new situations where she has no option but to look at herself in an honest way. I'm excited to be writing it - and I hope to have it out by Christmas at the latest.
Who are your favorite authors?
David Eddings is my favorite author, but I also really enjoy JK Rowling, Madeleine L'Engle, Jane Austen, and Poe.
Published 2013-08-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Sleepwalkers (Book 3: The Dreamer Chronicles)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Dreamer Chronicles, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 121,690. Language: American English. Published: March 12, 2014. Category: Fiction
Sleepwalking has become an epidemic in Sweetbriar, the search for Bernard has gotten closer to home, and Harry's life is threatened from an unknown attacker that once kidnapped Julie. Julie Aim has her hands full. With Sully's death still hanging over her head and fighting within her circle of friends, Julie is far from okay. Worse, she has to face the truth that one of her friends is on a traject
The Forsaken (Book 3: The Guardian Series)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Guardian, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 133,930. Language: American English. Published: January 4, 2014. Category: Fiction
The war with Odette has begun. Cities around the world have fallen and the world as we know it has ended. It is up to Clare to put things right again. Worse still is the threat of a darker evil that lingers over her as she searches for a way to end the war for good. Will she be enough? Can she stop Odette before it is too late? The Forsaken is book three in The Guardian Series
The Keeper (Book 2: The Guardian Series)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Guardian, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 126,190. Language: American English. Published: August 30, 2013. Category: Fiction
Clare has woken up in the desert with no memory of her past and no true direction, beyond the impulse to walk west. With no clue to the trouble circling her, Clare is headed right where Odette wants her. To add to her a problems, an angel keeps trying to kill her, a Watcher named Jasmine wants to control her, and her only clue to understanding the future is to find a city that does not exist.
Hex (Cursed Trilogy: Book 2)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: Cursed Trilogy, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 101,480. Language: American English. Published: July 14, 2013. Category: Fiction
Ellie and Thane are finally free, to search out new adventures. It isn't long before they encounter a traveling circus, which takes them in and provides a home when one is desperately needed. But it isn't long before strange craft starts circling and a woman is warning Ellie of a powerful curse that surrounds her family and threatens everything she worked to gain by leaving.
The Hunter (Book 1: The Guardian Series)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Guardian, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 114,370. Language: American English. Published: April 18, 2013. Category: Fiction
Something inhuman is haunting King's Cross; Clare's friends are being chased by unknown Watchers; an angel falls through Clare's roof; and, worse, Clare is plagued by visions of utter darkness. Clare and Daniel must face these dangers and more, as a threat unlike any they have faced circles the future. Clare and Daniel are back for more adventures in the first book of The Guardian Series.
Deadly Nightshade (Book 2: The Dreamer Chronicles)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Dreamer Chronicles, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 115,850. Language: American English. Published: February 1, 2013. Category: Fiction
Julie is abducted while at a Halloween party in town. Her captors want one thing: for her to go into the dream world and kill a powerful shade. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. And what they want is more complicated than the death of a single shade. Julie quickly finds herself in uncertain circumstances, where friends and enemies are not what they seem.
Grey Haven
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Dreamer Chronicles, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 107,020. Language: American English. Published: September 11, 2012. Category: Fiction
Julie Aim is a dreamer. At night she falls asleep with a mission: to kill evil spirits known as shades. For Julie, killing shades is not the difficult part. Staying alive is. A traitor is killing off dreamers, and her name is on his list. Now, it's up to Julie and her two best friends, Tommy and Carrie, to stop more deaths. But they may just be in far over their heads.
Craft
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: Cursed Trilogy, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 84,980. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2012. Category: Fiction
15-year-old Ellie Bumbalow has only ever known three things: magic, chores, and bullying from her sisters. She could not imagine a world outside of those things. That is, until she saves the life of a Cooper.She knew the Coopers and Bumbalows were in a magical blood feud as old as the two families. But when she helps the Cooper boy, she finds much more than enemy - she finds love.
The Last (Book 4: The Watchers Series)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Watchers, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 150,770. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2012. Category: Fiction
‘The Last’ is the fourth and final book of The Watchers Series. The war between Lorian and Darian has ended, but Clare’s fight has just begun. She is determined to stop Marcus. With Daniel and the rest of the Saints at her side, Clare searches for answers and starts the fight to bring Marcus down for good. But are they enough to stop the growing storm?
Shutting Doors
By Lynnie Purcell
Price: Free! Words: 73,860. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2012. Category: Fiction
Shutting Doors is about one woman's struggles after her husband commits suicide, leaving her penniless and broken. When her car breaks down on the highway to New York, she thinks it is a continuation of her bad luck. Instead, it is the chance of a lifetime - the chance to heal.
The Saints (Book 3: The Watchers Series)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Watchers, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 111,740. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2011. Category: Fiction
'The Saints' is the third installment of The Watchers Series. After the devastating conclusion of 'The Seekers,' Clare finds herself trapped in a prison. With no way out, uncertain if Daniel is alive or dead, she fights to stay sane and maintain her hope. Her only ally her dwindling hope, Clare fights for survival and searches for a way to end the war once and for all.
The Seekers (Book 2: The Watchers Series)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Watchers, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 105,140. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2011. Category: Fiction
The Seekers is the second installment of The Watchers Series. Clare, fully aware of the world of half angels, and still upset over the conclusion of The Watchers, sets out to find answers as to why she is hunted. Her destination is New Orleans. Daniel, Clare, and Clare's best friend, Alex, set out on the adventure of their lives, but can they survive the search for answers?
The Watchers (Book 1: The Watchers Series)
By Lynnie Purcell
Series: The Watchers, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 100,440. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2011. Category: Fiction
The Watchers is the first book in The Watchers Series. It focuses on 16-year-old Clare Michaels and her journey to her mom's home town of King's Cross. Long aware of her heritage - that she is the daughter of an angel - 'The Watchers' focuses on her first interaction with the world she has long hidden from. The world of half angels/half humans - the world of Watchers.