Hello and happy Monday!
I'm back from my cross-country wandering and have a great interview for you today!
Today I have Lindsey Kinsella dropping in. Lindsey Kinsella, born 1991, is a Scottish writer and author of the science fiction novel "The Lazarus Taxa".
While a qualified and experienced naval architect and an avid classic car enthusiast, he always reserved space in his life for his deep fascination with paleontology. This drove his writing process as he aspired to write stories about the rich and complex history of life on Earth.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My ideas come from all over the place, but certainly paleontology was the driving inspiration for The Lazarus Taxa. I’ve always been fascinated by how we can use science to piece together a picture of the world tens or even hundreds of millions of years in the past. I especially love that this picture is always evolving as we learn more and wanted to bring this new knowledge to a wider audience.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I have a hectic schedule most of the time, so I simply write whenever I can which tends to be late at night. I now have a newborn son which means writing around bottle feeds and nappy changes too!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’d say that the standout quirk is my use of non-fiction within the story. I like to share some of the background science with the reader and often take short interludes and segways to nerd out a little. I wasn’t sure how readers would take to it, but the feedback has been positive so far!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
My other passion in life is cars. I am restoring my own classic MG B sports car and even run a side business organizing car shows. I’ve become quite handy with a spanner over the past decade or so, though I’m sure the neighbours don’t always appreciate the loud, rusty heaps which appear on my driveway!
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do and I love to hear from them. I might be biased, but I reckon I have the best community of readers out there! We mostly descend into chats about dinosaurs and natural history, or even discuss possible new directions for a sequel—and they really do have good ideas. I don’t even have to find my own memes anymore, my inbox is full of them!
I will also occasionally be told off by my readers for killing off a favourite character. I apologise for nothing!
Do you like to create books for adults?
I do, and The Lazarus Taxa is very much a book for grown ups. This does allow a certain amount of freedom. I don’t aim to write books with strong language or especially bloody violence, but it’s nice to know that such things are an option should the story call for it. It is difficult to write a realistic tale of dinosaurs without a single drop of blood!
Tht being said, as a father I would also like to write for a younger audience. My work in progress is, while not exactly a childen’s book, designed to be suitable for a younger audience too. I wanted to write something my own children could read.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Pet Sematary by Stephen King. I read this book before becoming a parent, I.m not sure I could get through it now. I heard that King originally didn’t want to release it as it felt to personal, but I’m glad he did. It’s not an easy read, but it’s powerful. Reading the main character descend into madness following the loss of his child is pretty harrowing, but captivating nonetheless.
Now, if Hollywood could just stop trying to make it into a movie, that would be great. They’ve had two chances to make it good, I think that’s plenty!
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Now this is an interesting question! I reckon an over inflated ego leads to over-confidence, which is most certainly harmful—especially for new writers. If you believe you’re good enough to release that first or second draft, or publish without an editor, I’d be willing to bet the final book won’t be of a high quality. It might sound strange, but I reckon a certain amount of self-doubt is essential.
That being said, a certain amount of confidence is also essential. Putting your writing out into the world is daunting and couldn’t be done with a complete lack of self belief. There’s a perfect balance in there somewhere.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I definitely try to be original wherever I can. I find that’s what personally draws me to a book, so I hope the same is true of my readers. If I was to retread old ground, I would make a point of subverting the reader’s expectation.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
I definitely prefer to read standalone books and so I try to keep my own stories self contained. I have so many concepts and intriguing ideas to explore—I don’t want to be trapped writing a single series for too long. I have other worlds I wish to create.
That being said, there is a balance to reach. Often there are elements of a story I feel could use a sequel (and there are some vocal readers demanding one!), so I have nothing against doing so, I’ll simply space them out. I plan to write one or two new stories between returning to continue an old series.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My editor, without a doubt. I can’t recommend Donna Marie West enough, she was a delight to work with and did an astounding job in transforming what was a relatively rough manuscript (being my first crack at a novel) into something I was really proud to release to the public.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My original inspiration for The Lazarus Taxa was palaeontology, so it would have to be a dinosaur of some kind! I think a brightly coloured, feathered raptor best captures my approach to writing—I like to bring something bold and new that, hopefully, the writer hasn’t seen before.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters, if anything?
Hang on, I’ve rehearsed this; “Any resemblance to real persons living or dead is purely coincidental.” Especially if the character in question is a villain or succumbed to a gruesome death.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
None, actually, which I gather is quite unusual for a writer. I have countless notes and concept ideas, but nothing more than a paragraph or two for anything outwith my current work in progress. I like to give the current project my full attention.
What’s the best way to market your books?
I certainly can’t say what the best way is, I can only say what seems to work for me. I’ve found that social media is an excellent tool, but only if used in the right way. Marketing has to feel like it’s not marketing. I like to post content related to reading, sci-fi, palaeontology—things I think my target audience will like, and slip in a mention of the book subtley. From there, I try to engage with my followers where possible and spark up a conversation. And never underestimate the power of a good meme!
What do you have coming next?
My next book is quite a drastic departure from The Lazarus Taxa, which is a fairly gritty, grounded, sci-fi thriller. My next novel is more of a bizarre fantasy novel with a dash of comedy and a more outlandish setting. I really wanted to stretch my writing muscles with my second book and be sure I didn’t write myself into a rut.
The Heart of Pangaea follows a young girl who creates a fantasy world within her subconscious. Upon discovering that her mother has terminal cancer, she delves into this imaginary world in a desperate search for a cure. As a dinosaur-obsessed child, her own fantasy takes the shape of the prehistoric kingdom “Pangaea”. There, she quickly discovers she has little control over the realm’s darker forces.
I took the approach of writing a story complex and emotionally invested enough to keep adult readers turning the pages, but removing the sometimes bloody violence of my previous work to enable younger readers to enjoy it too. I wanted to write something that would appeal to my existing readers, but that I could also hand to my kids in a few years.
FIND HIM HERE:
And now...an excerpt from The Lazarus Taxa!
Sid’s train of thought was cut abruptly short by the sound of disturbed rocks tumbling not far away in the darkness. Both he and Dian paused and kept completely silent as they tensely listened for the slightest of further noises. Sure enough, another knock, slightly louder this time, echoed through the cave and both torches quickly turned towards the source—or at least where they deemed the source to be.
Such was the disorientating nature of the scattered and rebounding sound waves within the cavern that Sid and Dian found themselves shining their torches in opposite directions. Regardless, neither of the searching lights found anything out of the ordinary.
“Probably just the echo,” said Dian.
Sid was uneasy with this. It sounded different from the previous noises. Somehow, it seemed more… real. The smell of the animal scent markings was faint, but it was still something he had been mindful of since entering the cave. He knew, with little doubt, that they weren’t alone inside the mountain. The question was whether the existing tenant was open to squatters. Dian, who seemed content with her “echo” hypothesis, took another photograph and this time the flash illuminated something in a distant corner. Something dark. Something… moving.