It is my pleasure to feature debut author H.D. Lynn on today’s blog. H.D. Lynn is the author of GOD’S PLAY, a YA urban/contemporary fantasy.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m in my mid-twenties and living in Connecticut. I’m an avid reader and a fantasy genre nerd in general. My day job is a biology lab tech, and I enjoy getting outside and being active.
I wrote a picture book about horses when I was six. (Fear not—God’s Play is not a picture book about talking horses.) The first novel I wrote was about space samurai, and it’s all been downhill (uphill?) from there. Every time I’ve tried to leave writing, it’s found me in some form or another.
What is your book’s genre?
YA urban/contemporary fantasy
How would you describe your book in one sentence?
GOD’S PLAY is a YA urban fantasy blending Egyptian mythology, The Odyssey, and Supernatural style monster hunting that should appeal to you if you like action-filled stories and have a wry sense of humor.
Where do you write from?
My apartment in Connecticut, or I’ll stay late after work and write when the computer cluster is quiet. Sometimes I go to a favorite coffee shop, but I do like writing in quieter environments.
What led you to write this book?
I’ve always had this fascination with mythology, and I wanted to write a character who was a hero, but in the Ancient Greek sense of the word. The heroes in old epics weren’t chaste, innocent people. They devoted their lives to the gods or a calling, practiced stoicism, were gifted or unique, and were fiercely determined. Toby is all of those things, and William is his opposite—flakey, self-indulgent, and a smart-ass. It was those two coming together that was the driving force behind this novel. Toby can lift the magical protection shape-shifters use to disguise themselves as human. Because of his special skill, Toby suspects he may be a monster himself. His suspicions deepen when William, a jackal-headed shape-shifter, saves him from an ambush where Toby’s the only survivor. Toby must reconcile his hatred of shifters and the damning truth that one saved his life. It’ll take both of them to track down the monster who ordered the ambush.
How long did it take you to write this book?
3 weeks, several months of nothing, and then I finished the last 35,000 words in 3 days. That’s not…typical, although I’m usually fast and dirty when it comes to rough draft writing.
How did you find your publisher?
God’s Play got queried around, and while there were a fair amount of full requests from agents, none of them love loved it. I had more luck with publishers, and Curiosity Quills was the right home for the book. The team there is great and were invaluable in getting God’s Play to publication.
What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises during the publishing process?
It takes a long time to publish a book. It’s a glacial process, so don’t get impatient. That said, getting to meet and connect with other authors and the creative team at Curiosity Quills has been amazing. Everyone really wants my book to succeed, and that makes me feel good on the proverbial rainy day.
What did you do right that helped you break in and get your novel published?
I wrote a lot. It’s that simple, yet deceptively hard. There was none of this nonsense of trying to write like someone else, either, which helped me develop my own, organic voice. Those are the only two things no one else could’ve taught me. Like my grandpa said, you’ve gotta do it for yourself.
What would you do differently if you could do it again?
I’d be more patient with myself. That’s something that’s come with time. Being an author is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s true of science, hiking and, well, marathon running. Pacing myself so that my work output is sustainable over the long term is something I’m still working on. A little bit here, a little bit there, and bam! I’ve written three books this year, and it’s felt like less work than writing one book in a year because I’ve become more comfortable with my writing-work style.
What is your best piece of advice for writers trying to break in?
Be kind to yourself. The only way I hung in there was having people and things in my life I loved to keep me going. Also, don’t be afraid to step away from a project. You never know where creative tangents will take you or what will inspire you. I watched a documentary on Prohibition in America and got a crucial plot idea that helped tie one of my WIPs together.
What is something about you people may be surprised to know?
I don’t consider myself good at anything. The imposter syndrome’s strong with this one. Sure, I try, but there’s always someone better out there, so I do what I love and hope I get a little lucky.
What’s your favorite book that’s not your own?
I love so many books! That answer’s changed over time, too. In YA, I owe a lot to Garth Nix and Robin McKinely for showing teen me what fantasy literature could really be. I rented a lot of books from the library growing up because we didn’t have money to buy books, but Sabriel was one of the first books I remember owning, and I read it so many times. I was also a big fan of A Wrinkle in Time, which might be one of the greatest books in fantasy literature ever. I’m also a long time Potterhead. In more recent times, I’ve gotten onboard the Discworld fandom, too. What can I say, I’m a multi-fandom kind of girl.
Now that this book is published, what’s next for you?
The sequels, duh. I’m also working on an adult urban fantasy trilogy. I’m almost done drafting the third book, and it’s been a blast to write.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t asked?
You can find me and my books online here:
Amazon. Twitter. (I’m H.D. Lovecraft for Halloween.) Goodreads. Throw This Book at Me – a writing and book review blog.