Exclusive Interview with
Lynne M. Spreen
When did you start writing?
I started writing seriously, when I got old and had the time. But like a lot of you, I started when I was a little kid.
What makes writing your passion?
An overwhelming urge to communicate certain life experiences with others.
How long have you been writing?
Such a cliche' -- all my life. But my first novel was published nine years ago.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Holy crap, I hope they like it.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I like strong, midlife women. Because that's what I am.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
That I get sucked into playing video games and snacking instead of writing? No, seriously, it's that everything in marketing changes so fast, you're like a dog chasing the last car in a race.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Structure. I look at the steps of story structure and it helps me answer the questions that tell me whether I'm blocked for lack of creativity, or because the story has no point.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I picture my life without it, and that scares me back to work.
New authors: don't be in a hurry. If it's something you aren't interested in doing for the rest of your life, stop now. Maybe come back to it later or find another hobby.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Honey, one day you're going to thank your dad for breaking that eardrum.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I don't read them. The "bad" ones don't bother me...unless it's clearly punitive. Like the minute We Did This Once Before came out--the MINUTE--I got an anonymous 1-star rating with no review/explanation. That hurt.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Absolute teary-eyed gratitude.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Man, when do I not?
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
The main characters, Karen and Kim, are very much drawn from my own life.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Initially, it's MORE important. Because a potential reader won't give it a second glance if the cover doesn't compel or is a turnoff.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love connecting in any way. IRL, chat, email, phone, IM, whatever.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
A little embarrassed, but glad to know they enjoyed it. That it meant something to them. I'm all about my stories being relatable. If I hit on something you've gone through, or fear, and I make you feel like, *thank you for understanding me,* that's the jackpot.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Oh, so many. I loved Kent Haruf's Plainsong and Eventide, etc. But more recently, Barbara O'Neal, Helen Hoang, Tessa Dare, Talia Hibbert, Matt Haig, Jenny Colgan, DL White, Nick Alexander, Jojo Moyes, Christina Lauren, & John Sandford, for starters.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Patterson, of course.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No, because what might bother or disappoint me about a certain book or scene might not be an issue for the majority of readers. After a certain level of quality, books are like art. They either move you or they don't, and that's intensely personal.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Christina Lauren, because that's a pen name for two great friends who do this together. What fun would THAT be!
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I really don't ever think about them. I guess I'm not famous enough for them to be a problem. Knock wood.
What would you say to your readers?
I'm so glad you feel the same way.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in SoCal with my husband. I have 3 kids, 6 grands, and a 96yo mother who still loves to gossip, and laugh/moan about current national events. I'm a tech nerd, addicted to Roblox zombie games. I started a writer's guild in my town and am compulsive about lists and schedules. I cry easily, especially at the end of REALLY good books.
What is your day job if you have one?
Writer. Before that, I was a public school district administrator.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Read, garden, video games, listen to/watch inspirational podcasts/videos. Like Simon Sinek on leadership, and The SPA Girls on the writing life.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
One, which I did in Nano 2019, while Mom was living with us, is about how hard caregiving is. I'll have to wait a few years to make that public!
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
A better understanding of the Constitution and form of government.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Financial security for all my loved ones and dear friends.
Health for those who suffer.
Covid vaccine for the rest of the world, stat.
What is your favorite music?
Whatever Anthony Bourdain used to feature on Parts Unknown.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I'm an approval hound.