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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Author Interview: Lyn Mangold

The Long and the Short of It is pleased to have Lyn Mangold with us. Lyn’s first book, Warrior Woman, was released in print this year. She shared with me that it actually came about because of a dream. “It was just one of those dreams that stick with you long after you wake up,” she said. “Initially, I was just going to record it in my journal, but after I started writing it, I realized it might make a good novel. Of course, it changed quite a bit from the original dream, but that is basically how Warrior Woman came to be. It’s a fantasy about a woman struggling not only to find herself, but also falling in love for the first time.”

She knew she wanted to be a writer one day when her seventh grade English teacher required the class to write in journals weekly. Lyn discovered that she really enjoyed writing. While at college, her creative writing professor encouraged her to submit her works to Progeny, the college literary magazine. She had a couple of satires, a short story, and a poem published in it and, eventually, became an associate editor.

Lyn is a woman after my own heart—she told me she would describe her writing desk as “comfortably cluttered” and she likes to have her favorite CDs on hand so she can listen to music as she works.

“It’s not a standard form of organization,” she admitted, “but it works for me. Most of the clutter comes from little scraps of paper with notes and plot points scribbled on them. Whenever I get an idea for the story that I’m working on, I grab a pen and jot it down before I forget it. I like to leave the notes on my desk so that I can see them and, consequently, think about them while I work.”

It’s no surprise Lyn’s first book was a fantasy, because she told me that’s one of her favorite genres to read. “Books about vampires are my favorites,” she told me. “I’ve just finished reading Undead and Uneasy by Mary Janice Davidson and Just One Bite by Kimberly Raye.”

At the time of our interview, however, she was reading in a far different genre: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

Lyn confessed to me that she’s very much a morning person. “I like sitting with a cup of coffee watching the news (or cartoons) as the sun rises,” she said. “That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy sleeping in occasionally, but I prefer not to sleep in too late. Otherwise I feel as if I’ve missed a huge part of the day.”

One question I enjoy asking authors, since they spend so much of their time typing, is if they have any strange handwriting habits.

“I tend to go back and forth between cursive and print when I’m writing,” Lyn shared. “I first noticed this when I was in college and taking notes all the time. Even within the same word I’ll switch. I might start writing in print, but I always end up in cursive. I suppose it’s because cursive writing has been ingrained in my brain ever since it was mandatory in the 2nd grade. Also, there are some capital letters that I just don’t like the way they look in cursive, such as T, G, Q, F, and X. I always write those capital letters in print, even if the rest of the sentence is in cursive.”

In person, Lyn is very quiet and shy. She told me, “In my experience, a lot of people tend to lump being shy and being a snob in the same category, which is not fair. I really just don’t talk much. I’m more of a watcher, though if I have something to say, I will. I just like to think about what I’m going to say before I say it.”

Lyn has two dogs that keep her busy and she told me a bit about them.

“Jelly Bean is a six year old Rat Terrier with way too much energy,” she said. “Snickers is the latest addition to the family. She is a one year old pug, and she’s still that curious puppy stage. Fortunately I have lots of bones and other toys to keep her occupied.”

On a more personal note, Lyn shared with me that movies have made her cry since she was a kid, and she doesn’t reserve her crying in movies for times when she’s home and alone. “When I was in high school,” she confessed, “I went and saw ‘The Patriot’ (the one with Mel Gibson). I was practically sobbing when Heath Ledger’s character lost his wife and then died himself. I guess I’m just one of those people who get emotionally involved with whatever they are watching/reading.” She also told me that no matter times how many times she’s seen it, “Braveheart” always makes her cry at the end.

When Lyn’s not writing, she can be found reading, baking, gardening, and playing the piano (as well as the occasional computer game).

You can keep up with Lyn on her MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/lynmangold.

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