Interview with Fiction Author, Lynne Cantwell

Today’s guest interview is with author, Lynne Cantwell, another writer whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through the magic of the web.   Lynne has authored the Pipe Woman Chronicles
First, a few words about Lynne:
Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and worked as a broadcast journalist for many years. She writes fantasy -- primarily urban fantasy -- with a basis in mythology, often with a Pagan bent. Lynne is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited. She has a journalism degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University, and a paralegal certificate.  She currently lives near Washington, DC.


SARETT:  What drew you to the material you write about in The Pipe Woman chronicles?
CANTWELL: One of my odder pursuits is the study of legends and myths. It started as a way to learn about my own genetic background -- I’m half Czech, and the other half is a mix of Irish, German, and Native American -- and to increase my knowledge of Neopaganism. But then the stories themselves began to pull me in, and I realized I wanted to write more about some of them. So I began to incorporate elements of  those mythologies into my fiction.
SARETT: What do you enjoy most when you are writing - story, dialogue, characters, research?  
CANTWELL: Of those choices, although I enjoy all of them, I would have to say writing dialogue is my favorite part. I love exploring the interplay of the characters through their conversations with one another.
SARETT: How do you begin to form your stories?  Do you draw your inspiration from your own actual life experiences or from other books?
CANTWELL: Actually, The Pipe Woman Chronicles began when I was looking for a NaNoWriMo project and decided to try writing an urban fantasy. I had been reading a number of books in the genre and thought it would be fun to write my own. I set the first book in Denver because I love it there, and I made the main character a lawyer because I work at a law firm and understand the culture. Then I brought in a bunch of Native American magic and let her figure out a way to cope with it. So the short answer is that I draw inspiration from everywhere -- which I think is true for most authors.
SARETT:  Tell us about your new book, SCORCHED EARTH?
CANTWELL: Scorched Earth is the third and final book in the Land, Sea, Sky trilogy. The plot revolves around Lucifer’s end game. For millennia, he has been trying to gain enough followers to ascend to godhood, and the gods have succeeded in keeping him out. Since the gods’ return to Earth, he has been encouraging the political, corporate and military leaders to plot against Them in order to stay in control. Unfortunately for him, the gods have positioned three humans to foil all those plots. So now he is turning to blunt force. He intends to get humanity dependent on a miracle grain called ayalendo for its primary food source, and then he will withhold the supply from all but his followers. Tess, Sue, and Darrell are called upon again to stop him.
SARETT: I know from reading your story in the forthcoming Summer Dreams  anthology that you, like me, are drawn to magical realism.  How did it feel to work in this genre?    
CANTWELL: I’ve been thinking of trying my hand at magic realism for a while now, and writing “The Door into Summer” allowed me to dip my toe into those waters. I enjoyed it very much and will very likely do it again -- maybe with my next novel.
SARETT:  My blog readers are always looking for new books.  Are there new fiction books that you’d recommend?   
CANTWELL: For readers of contemporary fiction, I can recommend just about anything Laurie Boris writes. I was particularly struck by her use of voice in Drawing Breath-- the two main characters are a teenaged girl and a young man suffering from cystic fibrosis, and she got the voices of each of them just right. For those who enjoy fantasy, I’ve just finished reading Shaman, Healer, Heretic, the first book a series by M. Terry Green. Green is an archaeologist in her day job, and her background shows -- she’s obviously done a fair amount of research into Native American and Central American shamanism.
SARETT:  Any new projects in the works that you’d like to share with blog readers?   
CANTWELL: Scorched Earth is the eighth book set in the Pipe Woman Chronicles universe. I have some tentative ideas for two more books in that universe, but I plan to put that project on the back burner and start work on something else -- either a new series I’m beginning to mull over, or that magic realism novel I talked about earlier. We’ll see.


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