Like many writers, Lynne King’s journey to being a published fantasy / science fiction author is a plot unto itself. It started with being born in the UK and writing a play about the Stone Age at age 12; reading Lewis Carroll and Terry Pratchett, traveling to France (where she lives now), and then blasting off into outer space and writing her debut novel.
Lynne was a French Studies major in college. Now she is learning – and using her knowledge – of the hard sciences for her science fiction writing. In the other part of our interview at The Reading Tub®, Lynne talks about astronomy, genetics, and space travel.
Here at the Family Bookshelf we’re chatting about the story and characters in her first book, Miss Templeton and Jasper. You can also get a sneak peak at some of her favorites as a child.
Writing Science Fiction / Fantasy for Kids: Meet Lynne King
RT: Bonjour, Lynne! Welcome to the Reading Tub! I have to say, Miss Templeton and Jasper kept me on my toes trying to keep up. How did you envision the reader enjoying your science fiction book. For example, did you write the book to be read in one sitting?
Lynne: I think that readers who enjoy my book will be those who like space and time travel, with fantasy thrown in. I was very much influenced by Terry Pratchett and he’s certainly somewhat zany.
I have had various thoughts about my book. I know that I thoroughly enjoyed writing it but perhaps it’s best just to read the book slowly and savor the different characters. The main characters – Chloe, Mistral, and Jasper – just appeared in my mind. Yet I also loved Archie, the murderous black hole; the space pirates; and the idea of time travel.
RT: Although Miss Templeton and Jasper is an action-packed time travel adventure, there are a few lighter moments, too. Is there a character in the book who makes you chuckle every time you think of them?
Lynne: I’m really taken with the little monk Grutz. He starts as quite a nasty individual but still he makes me laugh.
RT: Here is one of my all-time favorite questions. If you could introduce Chloe to a character in another book that you love, who would that be?
Lynne: It would have to be Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I think that Chloe would really have got on with Alice and her rather odd ideas.
RT: RT: If you could pick five books to turn a “reluctant reader” into a bookworm, what would you choose, and why?
Lynne: That’s a difficult one as there are so many books to choose from. Here are the five that spring to mind.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I was just taken with the book from the moment Alice sees the white rabbit wearing a waistcoat, looking at his watch and then disappearing into the rabbit hole with Alice in hot pursuit. The style of writing is just brilliant, the poems and the ideas. What an imagination the author had.
A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle. This is all about life in a cemetery but it is a special one seen through the eyes of Mr Rebeck, who has lived in a mausoleum for 19 years and a raven, who talks, has agreed to feed him as long as he stays there. There is also a romantic angle with Michael and Laura, two ghosts. The imagination here is just remarkable and yet the book is just so philosophical.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. It is an entrancing book about Karana, an Indian girl who mistakenly gets left behind on an island far off the California coast. Her courage was remarkable and demonstrates how she constantly lived in the hope that she would be rescued. It’s a book all about survival, the wonders of nature, and dolphins. It shows how she befriended a wild dog called Rontu. I think that Karana coped remarkably well on the whole.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I was introduced to this book by a young American student, who was extolling its remarkable virtues in a bookshop in Bayonne, France. I found it quite magical and I more or less did read it in one sitting as I couldn’t put the book down.
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. This is the first book in his Discworld Series. I had never come across this zany style of writing before, which led to my acquiring every book in the series. Terry Pratchett wrote this book in 1983. When I read the blurb I was hooked.
The Discworld is supported on the back of a giant turtle and travels through space. This particular story is based in Morpork and involves a rather inept wizard called Rincewind who meets Twoflower, a tourist; accompanied by his luggage that has hundreds of legs, and the adventure begins.
RT: Thanks for sharing such detail about these books. Your passion in talking about Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series shines through. It is easy to see how these stories not only turned you into a passionate reader, but also inspired your own writing.
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