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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Author Q and A Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn


Ollie’s life is in crisis. Estranged from his father when he refuses to take over the family hotel, his artistic career is floundering, and his marriage is under strain. His wife, Jess, blames him, but is she as innocent as she appears?
Louise, Ollie’s sister, takes on the hotel in his absence, testing her emotional fragility to the limit. She knows her father considers her to be second best, and her husband is hostile to her new role.
As the action moves between London, Plymouth and Venice, the family implodes under the weight of past betrayals, leading to a nail-biting, fast-paced climax.
In another emotionally compelling novel from the award-winning Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, the complex ties that both bind us to family and drive us apart are laid bare. Can Ollie heal the fault-lines before it’s too late? Above all, can he salvage his relationship with his young daughter, Flo, before tragedy strikes?

Title: The Broken Road
Author: Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn
Published By: Ravelling Books
Date: 6th December 2015
Link: Uk: Amazon Us: Amazon

Q and A with Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn

Hi Lindsay welcome to our blog today.

What was the inspiration behind The Broken Road
I’m interested in writing about family dynamics, the ties that bind you closely to family, yet can also tear you apart. It seems to me the family has the potential to be a lovely, nurturing environment, but also a destructive force. Both my previous novels involved these tensions.

In ‘The Broken Road’, I wanted to explore the conflict between personal ambition and family duty and loyalty. What happens when an individual’s chosen path is at odds with family expectations? In today’s culture, we’re encouraged to think we can achieve whatever we want to, as long as we work hard enough. But I think the situation is more complicated, and our desires are sometimes thwarted by those who are closest to us. 

Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, I’ve written stories since I was a child. I wrote four novels – by hand! – when I was at home with young children, although they’re still tucked away in a drawer. The demands of work and family stopped me writing for a number of years, but when I was able to, I did an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University and I was hooked again! My first two novels have won awards, and it would be lovely to think the newly-published ‘The Broken Road’ might follow in their footsteps. Some of my short stories and flash fictions have also been successful in competitions and published in anthologies. 

What other jobs have you had?
I was an English lecturer in a further education college for a number of years. I enjoyed the teaching, but the external demands and burden of admin forced me out in the end. However, I still continue to teach creative writing part-time. When I was a student, I worked in a hospital laundry, a frozen food factory, as a Christmas post person, and a shop assistant.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
It was a real thrill to hold my first novel in my hands. It was in 2010 – pre-kindle days – and I loved staring at its cover and stroking its pages! It’s still my favourite cover.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?

I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block. People don’t mention artist’s block or composer’s block, so why should we writers claim this as if we’re some special species? I’ve certainly had lots of times when I haven’t wanted to write, or I’ve sat at the computer and nothing would come. The only answer for me is to keep turning up at the desk. I sometimes compare it to physical exercise with my students. If you’re training for the London Marathon this year, you can’t say ‘I don’t feel like running today’; you have to get out there and run, no matter how slow or how painful the process is. For me, the same is true of writing.

What motivates you to keep writing?

That’s a particularly relevant question for me at the moment. With ‘The Broken Road’ published in December 2015, I begin 2016 without a writing project already on the go. In my blog yesterday, I complained about not knowing what I wanted to write next, or even if I want to write anything. People have been very kind and suggested I need a break, need to chill for a while or do something else. When I read the comments – all much appreciated – a little voice inside reared up at the thought of not writing, even though I’d suggested that myself. Without writing, what would happen to my imagination? What goes on in people’s heads if they’re not creating characters, making up plots? It sounds melodramatic, but I think I write because I need to – whether I want to or not!

Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
I do sometimes feel sad when my characters are lonely or depressed. But writing that makes me smile because I made the things happen which cause my characters to be lonely or depressed! It’s an interesting circle of emotion.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

· Read
· Write
· Rewrite

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading The Farm by Tom Rob Smith. I’m not familiar with his work – apparently he wrote Child 44 which was hugely successful. It’s a psychological thriller, and I’m finding it compelling. It’s impossible to guess how it will turn out.

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
That’s an easy one. There’s a famous song by Rascal Flatts called ‘Bless the Broken Road’, and one of my ex-students sang it at my book launch. She has a beautiful voice. I loved having her sing it and would definitely use it for the soundtrack to the film.

Rascal Flatt’s version -

Holly Guest (my ex-student) -

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
I think I’d choose Ben Wishaw. I first came across him in a TV series called ‘The Hour’ a few years ago, but he’s in Suffragette and The Danish Girl, both films out recently. He’s the right sort of age for my character Ollie, who is tall, thin, dark-haired and edgy. I think he’d be perfect.

What is your next book about?
Ooh, that’s a tricky question! I’ve got an idea about a young Ethiopian woman who was brought out of Ethiopia when she was a child of eight and brought up in England by the white, middle-class family of the journalist who ‘rescued’ her. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but it’s a challenging project, and I’m not sure I’ve got the oomph to tackle it at the moment.

Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today and good luck with the book.
Thank you for inviting me on to your blog. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions, and I hope people who read ‘The Broken Road’ find it a good read.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn

After a career teaching English in further and higher education, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, now works as a writer and creative writing tutor. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Her first novel, UNRAVELLING, published in 2010, won Chapter One Promotions Book Award and The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Award for adult fiction and came second in the Rubery Book Award 2011. The judges said it is 'an enjoyable and captivating read', 'well written and intricate', and has 'a compelling narrative and strong dialogue'. Readers say 'I couldn't put it down.'
Lindsay's second novel, THE PIANO PLAYER'S SON, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2013 after winning their Novel Writing Award. A frequent comment from readers: 'I felt bereft when it finished.' Her third novel The Broken Road is out now.

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