Thursday, November 4, 2010

Writers Talk with Jacqueline T. Lynch

I'm very happy to introduce today's featured Writers Talk interviewee, Jacqueline T. Lynch.  Before getting into Ms Lynch's curriculum vitae, I want to say on a personal note that Jacqueline is one of the first cyber friends I made thru the Robert Frost's Banjo blog, & she has remained a steadfast supporter of the blog & my various ventures.  When I drove to New England this spring I even had the pleasure of meeting Jacqueline!

Jacqueline T. Lynch has published articles and short fiction in regional & national publications, including the anthology “60 Seconds to Shine: 161 Monologues from Literature” (Smith & Kraus, 2007),  North & South, Civil War Magazine, History Magazine & several plays with Eldridge Publishing, Brooklyn Publishers, & Dramatic Publishing Company, one of which has been translated into Dutch & produced in the Netherlands.    Her novel “Meet Me in Nuthatch” is now available as an ebook through & Smashwords.

She also writes three blogs:

Another Old Movie Blog: A blog on classic films.

New England Travels: A blog on historical and cultural sites in New England.

Tragedy and Comedy in New England: A blog on theatre in New England, past and present.


Please check out Chapter 1 of Jacqueline T. Lynch's novel, Meet Me in Nuthatch on the Writers Talk blog.  & so: here's Jacqueline!

When did you first realize your identity as a writer?

I was about 14 years old.  It was a Thursday.  No, wait, a Friday.  I don’t remember.  The realization came to me unexpectedly, because I can be kind of obtuse.  I always wrote from a very young age: stories, poems, notes on things that interested me.  But, for all that, I never intended to be a writer.  When I was a child, I wanted very much to be a zoologist.  I was a devotee of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and I loved its host, Marlin Perkins.  I think it was that dapper white mustache and the squared-off handkerchief in his breast pocket.   Sexy.  Then I saw myself as Jane Goodall, sitting on an African hillside at dawn in my khaki shorts and shirt, taking notes on chimpanzees.

It was the note-taking, the analysis that appealed (besides the whole animal thing).   I did it all the time.  I’m still a chronic jotter-down of things.  I actually wrote compositions on things that interested me as a child, just for fun, not for school.  It was how I explained things to myself, how I explored the world.

Then when I was 14 I graduated to the adult section of the city library from the children’s department, and started in on their shelf of Agatha Christie and Ellery Queen.  I got hooked on mysteries, and starting writing one myself, longhand on notebook paper.  I don’t think I ever finished it.  It was harder than I thought it would be.  But something clicked, something blew me away about the process of setting, and character, and dialogue, people doing and saying things that I could control, but could never say and do myself. 

I wanted to do that for the rest of my life. 

So here I sit, in my khaki shorts, typing a play script on a laptop, with one eye cast towards the male house sparrow sitting on my neighbor’s fence.   I have an urge to note it in a logbook.

Describe the creative process involved in any one piece you’ve written—this could be book, a story, a poem, an essay, etc.

One slapstick comedy I wrote called “Delusions of Grandeur” sprang purely from a comment I’d heard about a parent telling her teenager that the she had to be out of the house when she reached 18.   I suppose I could have found more serious and socially conscious message here, but instead, I found silliness.  Deadlines can be funny when they’re not scaring the socks off you.

Writing a play is probably like surfing or riding a roller coaster.  I say probably, because I neither surf nor ride roller coasters, but the excitement is immediate, the need for balance crucial, and you get right into the action.  There is no slow development as you get through a novel; you have to hit the ground running knowing everything about the characters and expressing it through their own voices, which must be unique and individual.  Every action on stage must be deliberate and for a specific reason.   It’s all the character as expressed through dialogue, the author gets no omniscient voice.  And because the play never really comes alive until the director and the actors get a hold of it, the writer becomes suddenly part of a team.   That’s the most thrilling of all.

Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process (this can be publishing in any form, from traditional book publishing to blogging, etc)

I’ve been a published and produced playwright for several years.   I’ve enjoyed working with my editors and publishers very much.  I would like to publish a novel, and by the time this piece is posted, I will have likely self-published as an e-book a humorous novel called “Meet Me in Nuthatch.”

The traditional publishing process is formal, a many-layered, highly structured game.  There are many advantages to having the support of editors (and obviously, the support of a marketing and publicity department).  My preference for publishing a novel would be through traditional publishing, but self publishing as it is gaining momentum today is intriguing.  I am interested, and would like to be part of, both processes.

Blogging is personal, and its immediate communication to the readership makes it appealing for the sense of freedom it gives.  I enjoy the immediacy of blogging and use it for a kind of writing practice.  It’s also an outlet for other interests.  I write three of them:
Another Old Movie Blog: A blog on classic films.
New England Travels: A blog on historical and cultural sites in New England.
Tragedy and Comedy in New England: A blog on theatre in New England, past and present.

How has being a writer affected your relationships?  
I don’t think it has.  Though I’ve enjoyed working and socializing with colleagues, most of the people closest to me are not writers.  Some of them are awfully good storytellers, though.

How would you describe the community of writers you belong to—if any?  This may be a “real” or “virtual” (in more than one sense) community. 

Since I don’t belong to a writer’s group, I suppose we go back to blogging here.  It’s a delightful community of diversity in experiences and interests.   I visit many blogs, though I regret there isn’t time to comment on all of them as often as I’d like.

What are your future goals in terms of writing?  

I just take life one manuscript at a time.

Bonus Question: If your writing were a musical instrument, what would it be? 

An oboe, I think.  It has a distinct, oddball sound, but one that can be very pleasing, and easily recognizable.   It seems like a minor chord, a less emphatic sound, not flashy or attention-getting, but it still manages to stand out from the rest of the orchestra just by doing its thing, a poignant mixture of somberness and silliness.

I might say a cello, too, for the low undercurrent of the minor chord aspect, but cellos have a greater timbre, and are much harder to take on a bus or subway.  My writing, conversely, does not have as much timbre as a cello, but I’m pleased to say it is much easier to bring with you on public transportation.


  1. Thanks for the spotlight, John, and for all you do to showcase writers, my deepest gratitude.

  2. Hi Jacqueline: You're so very welcome! Thank you for participating in this series & for all your support over the past few years!

  3. Great interview, congratulations!

  4. Hi Jamil: So glad you liked Jacqueline's interview--thanks for stopping by!

  5. I really enjoyed this interview and I had to laugh at Jacqueline's reference to "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" as I was a big fan too. I didn't want to be a writer either; I wanted to be a Naturalist. I was also a big Agatha Christie fan as a teen.

    I was surprised to learn that "Meet Me in Nuthatch" is comical because the book jacket looks rather ominous (that's just me though, I'm sure most people don't see it that way). Either way, I'm intrigued.


  6. Hi Kat: Thanks for stopping by to check out Jacqueline's interview!

  7. I think Kat's comment about the cover looking ominous is interesting. The cover cracks me up, but for purely personal reasons. I'd love to know if others feel it looks misleading or unappealing in any way. Or ominous.

  8. Hi Jacqueline: I didn't see it as ominous at all--my two cents!

  9. The instrument question is great and tends to lead to such fun answers as this one - I like the description of the oboe and the comparison to self!

    The cover of the book didn't look ominous to me, but neither did it strike me as comical. More like memoir-ish.

    And though I haven't checked out all the sites yet, I really like Another Old Movie Blog for its humor, quality of writing and analysis.

  10. Hi HKatz: I agree that Jacqueline's answer to the instrument question is a crack-up--two great instruments, too. I also am in complete agreement with your assessment of Another Old Move Blog.

  11. I have been in awe of Jacqueline's writing ability and analytical skills for some time, but now I am even more impressed than ever. Ms. White is now my new hero/bête noire, and I would really like to know how much coffee she drinks on a daily basis to get all that writing done!

    Btw, I appreciate your POV even more now,JW, even if it was Jim Fowler who made my heart skip a beat more than Marlin ever did, (though Mr. Perkins was exceptionally dapper for a man who spent his life in the back of a Land Rover tracking wild animals).

    Thanks so much for adding this feature to your always extremely enjoyable blog, John! I look forward to your next interview.

  12. Hi Moira: Thanks for stopping by, & for following--I'm also quite impressed by your blogs. Glad you like the Writers Talk feature--there will be new interviews posting both this Thursday & the following one. Hope you can stop by!


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