Lyndsay Faye

Contributor: 

Lyndsay Faye is the author of the highly acclaimed Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret. Faye’s latest novel, The Fatal Flame, is the final installment in her Timothy Wilde series.

Q: What is your typical day as an author like? 

A: I’ve been nocturnal since practically the day I was born (much to my mother’s dismay in the early 80s), and my husband is a craft cocktail bartender who gets home at three in the morning. So I get up around noon, we make something pretty for lunch together and watch The Daily Show, and when he leaves for his shift, I likewise work for the next 12 hours or so, give or take brushing the cats or a trip to the gym, or a walk to a park or cemetery to read. 

Q: How did you first get published?

A: Sherlock Holmes has been an obsession of mine since childhood, and I had the enormous hubris to sit down and write a pastiche called Dust and Shadow in which he solves the Jack the Ripper murders. When it was picked up by Simon and Schuster, I felt like I’d been struck by lightning.

Q: What is the secret to good writing?

A: Ignore advice that doesn’t work for you. For years, I thought the classic dictum “write what you know” meant I had to write thinly veiled memoir along the lines of Sylvia Plath.  Now I write 19th-century historical thrillers through the eyes of a male protagonist and I’m happy as a clam. Write what you truly love to read, and write it with your whole heart, and people will respond.

Q: What advice would you give people trying to get published?

A: Self-edit first, and self-edit sincerely and assiduously before you show your work to the people who will help you get it published. Cut 10 per cent, declare war on adverbs, read it aloud, ask your mum and your best friend and your cousin what they think. Your book is not perfect yet, and agents see mountains of unpolished material daily. Stand out by polishing your diamond in the rough before it lands in their inbox or on their desk.

Q: Which writers do you most admire and why?

A: I admire any writer, in any genre – be it general fiction, mystery, fantasy, fan fiction, sci-fi, the list goes on – who is willing to rip painful emotional truths out of themselves and put them on the page for everyone to see. You could be Jeannette Walls writing The Glass Castle (2005), which is a memoir, or you could be Vladimir Nabokov writing Lolita (1955), which is fiction. If you’re writing passionately and honestly, you have my applause.

To find out more about Lyndsayclick here.

To read Lyndsay's top writing tips, click here.

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