Welcome to the blog, Lynne! Could you tell us a little bit about your novel?
Thank you for the opportunity, Rachel. I am delighted to be here and look forward to keeping up with your Freelance and Fiction Blog. To give you a quick synopsis of my novel:
Kristen Todd Harrison is the main character of my novel. As the 21-year-old heiress to the largest fortune in Australia, her charmed life appeared to be mapped out. She was to succeed her mother as the leader of the social set and doyen of every charity in town. But she chose to rebel, and a twelve-day love affair with an African American marine on leave from Vietnam in 1965 changed her life forever. Kristen encounters a hail of prejudice and rejection, following the death of her lover and the birth of their mixed race child. Several wrong choices involve her in a shadowy criminal world which threatens her very survival. Fear and guilt force her to flee to protect her daughter. This is an intricately drawn novel spanning 16 years and mixes romance, mystery with a twist, and a revealing social history of the 60’s and 70’s.
What led you to write this book?
I have always been a writer since a young child. This idea germinated when, as a young woman working in Sydney, I was aware of the US soldiers, sailors, and airmen who took R&R on our shores during the Vietnam War. I wondered about the families they had left back in America. It was no more than an idea for many years until I decided to transform it into a book a few years ago.
How do you balance suspense and romance?
Perhaps it is for readers to say whether this is a balance. I hadn’t really thought about it as life is a complicated enmeshing of love, romance, anger, hurt, fear, dread, and sometimes suspense. So why couldn’t they be balanced together as one ‘lives’ alongside a main character facing these problems?
You grew up in Australia. How does the setting affect your novel? What special Aussie traits show through in your characters?
I grew up on a farm in the country, but lived my adult life in the city, so I think a lot of my characters and locations I draw from life experience. Australians are generally a friendly, casual, no nonsense, easy going people who tell it like it is, and would go out of their way to help a mate. “Give you the shirt off their back,” is a term often used. I think a few of my characters have depicted that “aussieness,” particularly evident in the trusting country folk.
What is your best advice on writing?
If I have any advice, it is to keep writing. Write every day, and keep doing it until it becomes second nature. I was lucky enough at 11 years of age to write to Willard Motley, author of “Knock on Any Door”. To my thrill and surprise, he answered and we continued a friendship until his death many years later. He became my mentor and advisor on all things writing and this was one of his messages. To be a writer he said you have to have “the persistency of a mosquito, the patience of an elephant, the thick hide of a rhinoceros, and the cunning of a fox, and above all a belief in your own ability, that will never let you give up.”
These are certainly wise words and needed if one is to persist with a professional career in writing and publication.
To tell you a bit about myself. I grew up in the country, on a farm, where hard work was the norm. I had years of boarding school, followed by a career as a professional fund raiser for Major Charities. I owned several businesses, including a children’s wear boutique, coffee lounges, and taverns. I am married to a city boy and have two children. I still live in Sydney on the Harbour. I am in the throes of writing a ‘how to’ book on fundraising, based on many years of experience. My next novel doesn’t have a name, yet, but so far is shaping up to be an amusing story about a cookie detective.
It has been suggested that I write a sequel to In Small Measures, but that is still in the thinking process. You can be sure I will be writing something!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Lynne!
Thank you Rachel! I do hope your Freelance and Fiction blog is a great success.
Lynne Burke can be found here. You can also reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Small Measures is available at Outskirts Press. It is also available through Book Depository in UK and through Barnes and Noble and Baker and Taylor.
Lynne says she will probably venture into Facebook and Twitter, but these take so much of her precious time that could be spent writing.
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