Tuesday 26 July 2016

Writing a Debut Novel - Guest Post Lynda Stacey

What a treat to have another lovely guest on my blog. This week it's Lynda Stacey's turn. Lynda is a member of the RNA and her debut novel, 'House of Secrets' has recently been published by Choc Lit. I thought it would be nice to catch up with her to ask a few questions about this exciting time in her writing career.

What were you like at school? Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. I can't really ever remember not making up stories. I wrote as a child, and even asked my parents for a Lilliput Typewriter when I was 14. I made a big announcement that I was going to be an author and had every intention of doing just that. It only took me another 30 years, to actually get on with it.

Do you have a special time of day when you like to write?
I really like to write in a morning. I love to get up before the rest of the house (which means my husband) and I like to write while my mind is fresh and without influence of the rest of the day. I do however, due to working full time, end up writing in the evenings more often than not.

Did being in the RNA New Writers’ Scheme help you on your road to publication?
Most definitely, I'd advise everyone who ever decided that they'd like to write romance to join the RNA (Romantic Novelist Association) they have the best support system that I've ever known. The moment you join, you feel as though you've suddenly inherited around 250 siblings, all of whom want to cheer you on when things are going well and kick you up the backside when you need it. I'd honestly say that if I hadn't joined the NWS, I'd probably still be dreaming of becoming an author, and not doing anything about it. Also, the annual critique service is invaluable. It gives you the mind-set to write and submit… oh… and to wait for the response.

What about that Choc Lit and Wholestory Audiobooks Search for a Star competition? Can you tell my readers about the moment you heard you’d won?
I was at work when the email dropped in. It's a good job that my office is private, because I didn't know whether to scream, cry or laugh. Every single emotion went through me and I immediately rang my husband, who'd literally just left the office for the day. He was the first person that I had to tell and the day after, he took me shopping and bought me a half carat diamond ring, by way of celebration.

Your novel, House of Secrets, is set in a country house hotel. Is it based on a real hotel?
Yes. Wrea Head Hall is a real hotel, with real owners, staff and the most amazing rooms where you can stay. I'd happily and without reservation advise everyone to go and stay there. The food is amazing and because the hotel only has 22 rooms, you feel as though you've gone to your own country house for the weekend. The staff are fantastic and can't do enough for you.

Give us an insight into your main character. What do they do that will make the reader want to go on the journey with them?
Madeleine is a young single mother. She’s been widowed just prior to the birth of her daughter and has struggled to give Poppy the best start in life, and I honestly feel that a lot of women would relate to her. 

Did you meticulously plan your novel or are you a panster?
I'm very much a panster. I know where I want to begin and I know where I need things to end. But other than that, the characters come to life and they do the talking for me.

How much research did you have to do for it?
I had to do a lot of research into WW2, into rationing and how the young men were called up. I also looked into the men who didn't get called up, the men who worked in the mines, bringing us fuel. I also looked into how women lived in 1942. Emily Ennis was the daughter of a rich man and even though she was living in 1942, her life was protected by hierarchy. She didn't do what most women of that era did and I purposely wrote her as being a little more Victorian, because of all this.

What was the hardest part of writing it?
Rejection. You know it's coming from most avenues, but nothing prepares you for the first one. It's awful, you hate your writing, you hate all the hours you've devoted to it and of course, you're never going to write again. The writing process is like being on a giant rollercoaster without a track. One minute you’re up, the next you’re down.
It takes some doing, but… like all authors, I pick myself up and I start again.

Any advice for someone starting to write their first novel?

Keep writing and don't stop. Write every day and join the Romantic Novelist Association, they really are the best..!! x

Lynda, is a wife, step-mother and grandmother, she grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire.

Her own life story, along with varied career choices, helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

Link to Choc Lit

Link to Amazon





  1. Thanks for posting this interview, Wendy. It's always interesting to know how other writers got started.

  2. Congratulations to Lynda! Some great tips there :) Hope you are well, Wendy. Enjoy your week, and do let us know how those novel rewrites are going. All the best.

    1. Thanks for popping over, Nicola... and I'll certainly let you know.

  3. Lovely interview - I enjoyed reading more about the background to Lynda's success!

  4. Looking forward to reading your book very soon Linda and here's wishing you many sales!

  5. Thank you for a very interesting interview, Lynda and Wendy. I love hearing the story behind a writer's debut novel and the road to publication. :-)

    1. Thanks, Jan. I love hearing other authors' stories too.

  6. Well done on winning the search for a star competition. I also entered it, but glad to say that my story is now to be a pocket novel with My Weekly. I agree that we have to keep at it, and the RNA new writers competition was a great boost to me as well, giving me the confidence to keep going.