An Interview with Caitlin Lynagh, author of Anomaly
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other stories in the works, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
Anomaly (The Soul Prophecies) is my first novel so by default it is currently my favourite. However, writing the story for Anomaly drew on many personal experiences so I think it will always reserve a special place amongst my future works.
I both love and hate novels that don’t leave a discrete ending for the reader. Have you ever felt the need to write sequels?
Endings are so important! Anomaly is a standalone novel but will also hopefully be part of a series too. I am aiming to write all of my future works as standalone novels, unless I embark on an epic fantasy, but even then I will be spending a lot of time making sure and hoping that my endings leave readers satisfied.
There’s always another novel in the pipeline to write… Tell me about it! Does it have even have a working title?
I have dozens of novels in the pipeline thanks to my overactive imagination. Currently, I’m working on a prequel to Anomaly that will be part of the The Soul Prophecies series but will also be a standalone novel. There is no working title as of yet, but the story will focus on the Sophia Leto’s backstory, a mysterious yet prominent character from Anomaly.
Some advice other writers have given is that your first novel is best sitting in a drawer for a while, because then you feel stronger about chopping up ‘your baby’. Do you still have a copy of your first novel? Whether this was published or unpublished, I need to know!
Yes I still have a copy of the first novel I wrote, it is a fantasy novel about vampires, angels and mages, currently called ‘The Heartstone of Alena’. I haven’t published this novel but I am currently in the process of revisiting it and posting it up on Wattpad. Anomaly itself started off as a completely different story to the one I eventually ended up with. It took me three years to write it and I axed drafts completely and rewrote the entire story several times. My editor was amazed at how easily I could drop a 70,000 word draft and just start again, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist at times and I wanted Anomaly to be as good as it could possibly be.
Do you have a dedicated writing space? How does it meet your writing needs?
My writing space is currently my bedroom, which always seems to be messy. I have notebooks, bits of paper and books all over the place, it’s not ideal but I make it work. One day I hope to have a dedicated writing study, until then it’s writing more novels for me!
What is your writing process? Have you ever thought about changing it?
My writing process is sporadic to say the least, I don’t really stick to a set formula or plan. I write when I feel like it and fortunately that means I am able to write most days. Usually, my initial ideas come from daydreaming. I will often imagine scenes between characters in my head and let them play out as naturally as possible like my own personal movie theatre. I used to do this a lot as a kid as it used to help me to get to sleep. After that I try to come up with a basic outline and an ending for my novel before I start writing. I try and write something every day but I don’t give myself strict deadlines.
Other authors I have interviewed talk about having an outline – post-it notes in an office, or writing in paper journals. Is there something like that in your writing technique? Or is it all digital for you?
Not at all, I use both digital and traditional methods. My outline and endings tend to be hand written notes in notepads and on post-it notes. As I’m writing my novel I tend to jump back and forth between a notebook and my laptop, I will often write chapters or passages in my notebook first and then type them up as I go along. I find that sometimes my imagination just seems to flow better when I’m writing my story down by hand first.
How do you know when a novel or short story is finished? How do you know to step away and let the story speak for itself?
This is a hard question and I’m not really sure how to answer it. With Anomaly I didn’t have an ending in mind initially, and it took a really long time to come up with an ending that I was happy with. Eventually I just kept writing and rewriting until I was happy with what I had written. I do have an ending in mind for my current work-in-progress so I’m pretty confident I will know when to step away this time. I think with any novel or short story, you never really know if you are completely finished or not, you just have to write until you are happy with your story and let your readers be the judge, if it’s a really great story then your readers are always going to want more.
Do you have a preference for ebook or paperback format? This is for both your own reading and your novels.
Ebooks are fantastic because you can download and read books within seconds, plus they tend to be cheaper than paperbacks. However, when I read I do prefer paperbacks. I read a lot of books and sometimes my eyes feel strained staring at my kindle/iPhone screen for hours on end, paperbacks are much easier on the eyes. On saying that, I still buy and download lots of ebooks.
Social media is becoming a big thing. How does managing media outlets come into marketing your brand and your books?
Social media is huge but I’m not a social media buff and it can be very time consuming. I’m lucky because I have a close friend who is into online marketing who has been helping me promote myself as an Author and my novel. I have pretty much every social media outlet going, it takes a while to set them up and to gain your initial likes and followers, but after that it’s not too difficult to maintain them. I mainly focus on Twitter, Facebook, my website and my WordPress blog Thebookigloo, but I also have Tumblr, Pinterest and Deviantart which gives my novel Anomaly, more of a visual element.
You have answered other sets of interview questions, is there something you wish someone would have asked you? Or conversely, something you wish they hadn’t asked?
This is my third interview to date and as of yet I’ve not been asked anything that I wish I hadn’t been. However, I’m often asked about the science in my novel Anomaly, there has been a lot of interest in my ideas, particularly my descriptions of two timelines holding every cosmological possibility. It has generated discussions online and a blog post. The science is physics based but it is theoretical and mainly focussed on thought experiments as opposed to complicated facts and equations. Even though I did a lot of research, I still find the physics aspects complicated. My current work-in-progress will also build on the science ideas behind Anomaly.