We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynne Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynne, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
That the publishing process is a slow one! In addition to the writing and revising we do on our own, the editor who takes on the manuscript for publication will want more revisions, and there are rounds of edits to do later. And of course the publisher has many other books they’re working on at the same time. Even after a book is accepted for publication, it’ll be a year and a half to two years before that book hits the shelves. It helps to stay busy with other projects to avoid obsessing about publication news.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I write contemporary fiction for children, with characters who are 10-12 years old. Right now I’m most excited about finishing my next manuscript–it’s been so hard to focus this year! I’d expected to be writing “The End” months ago, but it’s finally getting there. I don’t think any writer has an easy path, and everyone I know has manuscripts that’ll never get published. Nothing is wasted, though; at the end of every draft, we’re better writers than we were when we started. With any skill, we grow and learn and improve by practicing it consistently. We also have to keep in mind that rejection is part of the journey. The only writers who never get rejected are ones who never submit anything. There’s so much in this business we can’t control, but one thing we can do is write the best story possible and continue working on our craft so the next story is even stronger. One important thing I’ve learned is that I do my best work if I avoid checking email and social media until after I’ve had at least a couple hours of focused writing time. I’m easily distracted, and if I’m online doing other things before I write, that’s where my brain is when I’m trying to work. It’s hard to resist the pull to check social media again or answer one more message, especially when I get to a point where I’m not sure what to write next.. When it’s time to write, I have to close browser tabs and put my phone aside, and I have the headphones in to listen to a rainstorm app. I hope that I’ll be known for writing about characters that show empathy and compassion in stories leave readers feeling more connected to the world and others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’ll have to assume it’s a normal year when we can go out and do things! If the visiting friend likes animals as much as I do, we’d have a day at the zoo for sure. I especially love the animal encounters they offer, which allow for up-close interactions with an animal and time to talk to their keepers. Empire Cafe in the Montrose area is a favorite place to meet friends for lunch. They have a good variety, so there’s something for everyone. Their cakes are amazing, too. The slices are huge so we get a slice or two for the group to share. There’s a huge patio with plenty of outdoor seating for when the weather is nice. I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the Broadway Across America shows at the Hobby Center, so I’d check to see if we could catch a show during that visit. And we’d need a day in Galveston–Moody Gardens followed by some beach time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My books wouldn’t exist without the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the connections I made to the writing community through the Houston SCBWI chapter. That’s where I found my critique groups and support from other creative people.
Sam Bond Photography