My guest today is, Lynne Shelby, author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance novels. Lynne has come along to ‘Patricia’s Pen’ to chat about her writing. Without further ado, let’s go over to Lynne.
The question I get asked more than any other as an author is: where do I get my ideas? There are all sorts of ways a writer can generate story ideas, such as rolling a dice to determine what their characters do next or looking at paintings or photos and asking a series of questions – who are the people in this picture, and what are they doing? – to kickstart their plot. I’ve also heard of writers who base their novels on news items – with the characters heavily disguised, of course. But for me, ideas are often sparked by something I see or hear quite by chance.
Some years ago, me and my family were travelling back from Paris on the Eurostar. There was a young Frenchman sitting across the aisle who spent the whole journey telephoning his English friends, telling them he, François, was coming to England, and suggesting they meet up, but unfortunately none of his friends wanted to meet him. By the time we got to St Pancras, I felt very sorry for poor François, but I had the idea for a story about a Frenchman who comes to London where he is very much welcomed by an English girl. This became my debut novel, French Kissing. Conversations overheard on trains, on buses or in restaurants are a great source of inspiration – I always carry a notebook to jot down any gems.
The plot of the first novel in my Theatreland series, came to me out of the blue when I was in a shop in London’s Piccadilly Circus and spotted a famous Hollywood actor travelling down an escalator – he was appearing in a West End show at the time – his progress marked by excited members of the public taking his photo on their phones. He appeared unperturbed – presumably he was used to fans and paparazzi recording his shopping expeditions for posterity – but it seemed to me that it must be very strange to be the focus of such unrelenting attention. From this incident came the plot of The One That I Want, about a girl who is suddenly thrust into the public eye when she dates an A-List film star.
I had the idea for my latest novel, The Summer of Taking Chances, while I was watching an amateur drama society perform in a small local theatre. The actors were very talented, and it occurred to me to wonder why they hadn’t chosen to pursue a professional acting career. What if one of them had wanted to go to drama school but something had prevented her…? By the time the curtain came down, I had the outline of a plot. A visit to a seaside village where I used to spend summer holidays as a child gave me the book’s location, and the characters that form the close-knit community that lives there.
I find that stories can be inspired by absolutely anything and at any time – usually when I least expect it.
Blurb for The Summer of Taking Chances
When Jake left the seaside village where they both grew up, he took Emma’s dreams with him. Now, ten years later, he’s back for the summer…
Does first love deserve a second chance?
About Lynne Shelby
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. She has done a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actor’s chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Reykjavik – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.
Links to social media and website
Links to buy Lynne Selby’s other novels