Monday, July 9, 2007

Welcome Guest Blogger Frances Lynn



I didn’t realize FRANTIC would appeal to Young Adult readers when I wrote the first draft in the Seventies. In those days, the term ‘Young Adults’ didn’t exist. In fact, I’m surprised that my hippy historical novel about the nostalgic early Seventies is classified as a Young Adult novel. However, I can appreciate that late teens could relate to it, especially if their ancestors were involved in the ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ counter-culture of that time. A lot of ex-hippies are still mentally stuck in the Woodstock era, so that’s why their children and grandchildren were brought up on classical rock musical like The Beatles, the Stones, Jimmi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison for example. FRANTIC took me years to finish.

CRUSHED is definitely a Young Adult book. Although the twins in the book are fourteen, I didn’t sit down and consciously decide to write for 11-12 year olds. The book just came out like that. I’ve given a few library talks about CRUSHED and all the kids love it. Even though the book is about a pair of British twins who live with their eccentric parents in London, American readers love the book too. My readers, irrespective of which country they live in tell me they can identify with the characters. What surprise me most is that their parents love it too. They find it terribly funny. Maybe, that’s because I wrote the novel for myself.

I find Young Adult books extremely easy to write. They come out like dishwater! I love writing about teenagers. Even though today’s Young Adults are much more sophisticated and advanced than teens were in my day, I feel they still have the same interests and problems. In CRUSHED, the girls are interested in boys and have crushes on pin-ups. I hope that my readers will relate to the twins’ adventures, but I think one of the most important aspects of the books is a feeling of alienation. Door, the heroine of the book feels like an outsider and a misfit. She feels so different from the rest of her family; she imagines she’s from another planet. She is convinced she’s adopted. What doesn’t make her life easy is that Dee, her twin sister is pretty, talented and a dainty ballet dancer. Door feels like a big mess in comparison. She doesn’t realize she looks like a fashion model.

When I turned thirteen, I went through a personality change. Up until then, I was beautifully behaved but during my early teens, I rebelled a bit against my parents and for the first time in my life didn’t obey them 24/7. I went to an all girls’ boarding school, and started to realize that boys were a different species! Looking back, I didn’t realize at the time how difficult teenage life was. My outlook on life was changing. And, that’s what I do find interesting about Young Adult novels. Teenage life consists of change, and kids no longer take their parent’s advice as gospel.

I got the idea for writing CRUSHED due to a family I was friendly with. My girlfriend was artistic and was completely eccentric. She didn’t allow her daughters to watch TV, so they were very creative – always painting and drawing. They used to make earrings out of coat-hangers and sell them on a little stall outside their flat. I used that in the book. I watched her girls grow up, and when they were teens, I was like a fly on the wall. I knew their friends, saw what kind of clothes they all wore, what kind of music they liked and most important of all, what kind of boys they were interested in. This family inspired me to write CRUSHED, The mother was artistic, but they were pretty conventional - the father was a businessman, I suddenly thought I would like to write a novel about a dysfunctional family.

FRANTIC took me decades to finish, but I wrote CRUSHED incredibly quickly. It only took me a few months. When my POD publisher offered to publish it, he asked me to beg some of my famous artist friends to illustrate the book, but I offered to do the illustrations myself. I hadn’t seriously painted or drawn since leaving school, but to my surprise, my drawings came out easily. It was as if a force beyond my control was guiding my pen! My drawings might make Picasso turn in his grave, but at least they are original. Because I didn’t have to work at the drawings and found the book so easy to write, it was as if the whole book was meant to be!



Five phrases or words that describe you:

Writerholic.
Creative,
imaginative,
observant
And disciplined.

Five things that inspire me are:

Art: especially Matisse,
Books: especially the classics.
Music: opera, classical, rock, pop and jazz.
Good movies
and the theatre.


Five of my favorite authors are:

Evelyn Waugh,
Frances Hodgson Burnett,
Jane Austen,
Scott Fitzgerald.
J. R. R. Tolkien

Describe five of your heroes/heroines of your books in your eyes (or Five Facts you would like readers to know about your Hero and Heroine):


Door and Dee are the twins in CRUSHED. Door was born just before midnight on the last day of Taurus, the sign of the bull. Dee was born the following day on the first day of Gemini, the sign of the twins.
Door is the anti-hero! She is a drummer. She looks like a freak. She’s a six-foot tall slouching beanpole. Her wild mushroom brown hair sticks out like a tangled mess of barbed wire.
Dee is a ballet dancer. She’s a dainty creature whose glossy black hair cascades down her back like a rippling waterfall. She looks amazing whatever she wears.
Dee normally behaves like a little miss perfect, but she is a monster if she lost her cool.
Dee is very tidy. Door is untidy.
Door was paid £500 pound for a day’s modelling work.
Dee auditions for the London Children’s Ballet.
Door loves violet creams. Dee watches her figure.
Door dyes her hair red but it comes out red and mushroom striped – it resembles a deckchair.
Door has got a crush on Johnny Conker, a pop star.
Dee has got a crush on an American movie star.

Five reasons to read your books:

Easy to read,
funny,
well-written,
original,
interesting characters.

Frances Lynn

32 comments:

Frances Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frances Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kara said...

I just started CRUSHED - and haven't put it down. I am a lot older than late teens - but still enjoy the simple, imaginative references to all things teenage. I adore the name Johnny Conker - it makes me laugh every time it jumps from the page. I remember kissing posters and it seems so long ago - but Fran's writing really brings it back to life. In those days you really could bump into a star at the grocers - now you'd be pushed aside by paparrazzi! Fran's style is very fresh and captures the simplicity of an age when everything that really shouldn't matter - does. The innocence is all there. Her writing is so very expressive, very different and a little kooky - and i look forward to finishing it this week!
Great fun!

danetteb said...

Hi Frances,

I've got a couple questions for you

Do you plans to write a sequel to Crushed?

Is there another genre that you would like to write in?

Hugs, Danette

Frances Lynn said...

Hi Danette,
At first, It didn't enter my head to write a sequel, but as all the kids are all now begging me to write one, I think I might. As for writing in different genres, I've already started writing a book for late teens/grown-ups. It's about a reincarnation conspiracy, so it does have elements of fantasy in it.

Frances Lynn said...

PS. I forgot to say, I think your blog is great, really interesting!



x Frances

danetteb said...

I love fantasy and paranormals. A reincarnations sounds interesting,I look forward to reading the world you've created.*g*

Hugs, Danette

Frances Lynn said...

I like fantasy too, also paranormals: Carrie instantly springs to mind! Actually, I have several books in mind I want to write, including a science fiction one.
Frances x

danetteb said...

Thinking about Carrie.....I can read scary books, but when I watch scary movies I get nighmares. My mom used to watch scary movies and sream during the scary parts,so when I was little I'd hide under a pillow and it stuck with me. My youngest(3) loves scary movies,she always asks me why I'm holding a pillow....lol

Frances Lynn said...

I used to be a film critic and had to watch everything. I used to be able to watch movies objectively, as a critic. I used to adore horror, but now I confess I can't watch anything too over the top. I think hiding under a pillow is an excellent idea. Maybe I'll smuggle one into the cinema the next time a blood thirsty friend drags me to see the latest horror film. In the 'old days', a sign of a good horror movie was (in my opinion) how much suspense it had in it. "Night Of The Living Dead" is the only horror movie I've passed out in - screaming in the aisles at a midnight screening. Now, it's all graphic gore and the current vogue is porn tortue - not my idea of a fun night out!
Frances

danetteb said...

Lol...:D

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Frances Lynn said...

"Frantic" was recently re-issued with a new cover by Celia Birtwell. xx