It’s our second visit of the week with prolific writer Lynne Connolly. Today Lynne talks to us about her latest novel, Lightning Unbound. As we’d already done the introductions on Monday, we’ll hand straight over to Lynne …
Recently the first book in a new series was released. Lightning Unbound and the series, Even Gods Fall In Love has been close to my heart for years. To most people it sounds off the wall, but to me and one other person who saw where I was going with it, it was an exciting new project. When people ask, “Where do you get your ideas?” explaining the rationale, or lack of it, behind the series is a great example of how and where the creative process happens.
See what you think. Thirty years before the start of the first book, the Olympian gods were all but wiped out by the Titans. The Titans want to rule the earth, the Olympians want the earth to rule itself. The twist? It all happens in an accurate rendition of Georgian Britain.
See? I told you that it sounded crazy.
But it works, and how! Once I started writing the series, everything fell into place. The aristocracy of London were treated as gods by many, and once I read that off-the-cuff comment in a non-fiction account of the period, I was off and running. So what if the gods weren’t immortal, but their attributes were? So their elimination meant they were born again in different bodies? A bit like the way the Tibetans choose the next Dalai Lama (my ideas know no boundaries! They believe the essence goes into a new body, and they just have to find him.
In Lightning Unbound, Jupiter thinks he’s the son of a duke with a fatal disease. But the fact that his blood runs clear isn’t evidence of the disease, it’s proof that he’s an Olympian, because he has ichor and not red blood. When he finds a mortal woman trying to take care of her brother, he steps in and goes all knight errant on her. But he doesn’t want to pass on the disease, so he can’t marry her, or make love to her. Or can he? I’ll give you a clue – this is a romance.
I usually get inspiration from my surroundings, from snippets of news or place I visit. Take my recent visit to New Orleans. I already have a story forming in my mind, something with Cajuns and alligators in it. But Lightning Unbound? I have no idea where that came from. Perhaps it’s all real and I just picked something up, an overheard comment or a vibe deep in my soul. But really, my inspiration comes from all over the place. An overheard snippet, reading a text book, a bit of history or even a news item will spark off the question that is most important to a writer.
The question? “What if…?” That’s the one. It’s the exciting time when you marry two unlikely ideas, or you add one and one and get an infinite variety of answers. Which is probably why many writers don’t make good mathematicians! The kind of lateral thinking that goes, “Oh, that’s interesting…” and then something starts to work. Never say never, and during the creative process, never say “No.” Go with it until you either hit a brick wall, or, like Dorothy, you find yourself in a new world of colour and possibilities.
There’s also the author’s motto that goes along with the question. “I can use that.” Keep a notebook, mental, paper or electronic. It really doesn’t matter as long as it works for you. I’ve been known to jot ideas on my wrist with the nearest pen, too scared that I’ll forget it before I get home!
The other person involved in this project is my editor, Amy Sherwood of Samhain Publishing, who saw the concept along with me. I’ve already written the second book, about the god/ marquis Bacchus, and the third has been accepted. Amy is an aider and abetter, someone who loves myths and history as much as I do and can see the potential in blending the two.
Which gods would you like to see turned into eighteenth century aristocrats? And why?
Lightning Unbound is available from Samhain Publishing here. You can read an excerpt on Lynne’s website and buy it at Amazon here and all other good outlets. It’s currently out in eformat, and will be available in print shortly.
That brings us to the end of our US-themed week. Thank you to Rhoda Baxter and Lynne Connolly for their time and their valuable advice. We wish you both every success with your new novels (and back catalogues, of course). Wishing all our readers in the US or with links to the US a Happy 4th of July tomorrow with lots of fireworks and festivities!
Julie & Alys