Sunday 21 October 2012


1.       What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now? I’m Lyn Alexander, born in Canada, travelled half the world, now live in Canada. Retired after 33 years as an independent veterinarian

2.      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? Always WAS a writer, but had to work for a living to support the writing habit.

3.      Did it take a long time to get your first book published? No. in 1964 I sent a first manuscript to a New York agent who sold it to Doubleday in a week. I got a cheque within the month. I thought it was just that easy. HA!

4.      Do you work another job as well as your writing work? Retired now.

5.      What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say? The Versailles Legacy:  As he watches the rise of Hitler, Erich von Schellendorf must decide whether he will continue serving as an officer of the German Army, or return to his birthplace in England. (oops – 31 words – take it or leave it)

6.      Who is your publisher? or do you self publish? Storyteller Publishing, bless their little hearts.

7.      Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher? Nope. I just keep on truckin’.

8.     What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? The rest of the Schellendorf series. And I’ve got a nice draft of a historical romance to be finished sometime soon.

9.      Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series? Yes, the first of the Schellendorf series – four novels that cover the years from 1912 to 1946.

10.  What genre would you place your books into? Historical novels.

11.   What made you decide to write that genre of book? I just can’t get interested in drugs, free love, cell phones, and walks on the moon.

12.  Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite? Always the Work in Progress, because it has the potential of being better than the last.

13.  Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite? Erich von Schellendorf is a tragic hero who ultimately lands on even ground after two world wars and a trial at Nuremberg.

14.  Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration? My inspiration has been the people I’ve met along the way. My ideas come out of my own experiences in life and, of course, history.

15.   Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair? Every morning I sit down at my desk in front of the computer and turn on the classical music channel.

16.  Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know? I WISH

17.   Do you "gift" books to readers to do reviews? Sorry – is ‘gift’ a verb? No, happily my publisher does that. 

18.  Do you read all the reviews of your book/books? I try not to. Lately a reviewer complained that I had used the same distinctive phrase twice in two consecutive chapters. I did a search, and found it only once in the 110,000 words. I wish they would read a little more carefully.

19.  Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books? No, it’s just fuel for their fire. Writers are open targets.

20.  How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books? I usually design the cover. The publisher has the last word.

21.  Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title? The title comes out of the irony of the basic story line.

22. How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books? The place names come out of the historical settings. The characters’ names usually come from an index of any research book on the subject I may be using at the moment, mix-and-match.

23. Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along? ? The characters unfold organically as I write.

24. Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story? I always have a general starting point, and pin down the exact opener later. I always know the general ending. What happens along the way depends (a) on the underpinning of history and (b) the interplay of the characters.

25.  What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller? characters characters characters.

26. Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"? Absolutely. Often. I place my butt in the chair and write one damned word at a time until I have a sentence. Later when I read the ms back I never recognise where I was blocked, it all ends up in the same ‘style’.

27.  What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby? Oh sure. Dogs. Wood sculpture. I’ve won awards for my wood sculptures of animals. Golf. (I’m a duffer)

28. Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you? Everything. Transposed, disguised.

29. Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..") Always, but well concealed, so the reader gets what he wants out of it. For example, in the Schellendorf series – we are all the same people, friend and foe, with the same desires in life. For example, we all must live by a code of honour. That sort of stuff.

30. Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing? Hemingway. I read him while he was still alive, folks!

31.  Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback? Paperback. For the shelf space. eBook? I need paper in my hand. I need to flip pages, find the index, locate the information I want.

32. What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once? All Quiet on the Western Front”, aka “Im Westen nichts Neues”. I’ve read it several times in both languages.

33. What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback) Right now I’m writing, so I don’t read fiction. I read books about writing, and of course, research. Never e-book.

34. Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books? No

35.  Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing? No. TV prevents kids from developing an active imagination, it’s all passive these days. They don’t know what to do with their free time. Sad result of the electronic age.

36. Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life? All through school I read three books a week: the public library was on my way home, and three was the maximum allowed out at a time.

37.  Did you have a favourite author as a child? Ernest Thompson Seton

38. Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?  Smokey the Cowhorse” by Will James. In later life it came as a shock to learn that he was not a cowboy!!

39. Do you have a favourite genre of book? Strangely, at the moment, some of the Scandinavian police-procedural's I find a good read.

40. Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish? “The Help”: “Atonement”: “The Hunger Games” (those top-of-the-charts choices will probably burn your buttons). “Europe Central”, a very self-conscious 800-page literary blockbuster that opens with a telephone switchboard as a character. Gad.

41.  Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be? Just to refine them. The stories are there.

42. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Read Read Read. Write Write Write.

43. Do you or would you ever use a pen name? No. I’m proud of what I do. ‘Lyn’ is a nickname, separates me from my professional name, R.A. Alexander, DVM

44. If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with? Erich Maria Remarque. Maybe Hemingway before he got to be such a ****. (Scuse me)

Where can readers follow you?

Your Web site?

And any other information you wish to supply?
The military component of some of my novels comes out of 15 years spent in the ranks and as a commissioned officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, 1951 - 1966

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