Today I got the chance to speak with Lynda Tavakoli, author of Attachment and Of Broken Things in the hope that I could find out a little more about her and her writing.
1. Welcome Lynda! I really appreciate you coming along to chat with us today. Perhaps you might like to start by telling our readers what got you into writing in the first place?
“I have to hold my hands up and admit that in my younger days I was never one for reading much; neither did I pay a great deal of attention to English literature or language at school. So I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer but some of what I digested during my education must have stuck. My first real piece of serious writing was actually an obituary I wrote about a friend of mine and this was followed by a series of human interest articles in the Belfast Telegraph. Eventually I became more interested in fiction, particularly the short story, and it all went from there.”
2. What sort of things motivate you and provide the inspiration for your stories? I was thinking in particular about your novel Of Broken Things. It’s a very vividly written book. What did you draw on to achieve that?
“My first novel ‘Attachment’ came totally out of my imagination although I was asked several times after it was published how I knew so much about narcissism! Honestly, I don’t actually know anyone quite as dysfunctional as one of the female characters in the book and I’m quite relieved about that. ‘Of Broken Things’ was completely different in that it was set in an environment that, although fictional, was based on a real place. The characters and their situations were only loosely based on stories that had been told to me from childhood and I allowed them to evolve in their own way through the writing. As far as inspiration goes it’s happening around me all the time – the people I know, strangers I don’t know, stories from the newspapers etc etc. You don’t have to look very far to be inspired; you just need to look.”
3. Your characters always seem so life like and unapologetically human. How do you accomplish this?
“Thank you – that’s kind. I suppose to make a character believable they’ve got to have flaws. Nobody I know is all good (or all bad either) and that’s what makes us human. Some of the characters in my stories seem almost damaged beyond repair but I try to give them the opportunity to redeem themselves eventually. I don’t believe that people can change overnight but they can change – it’s this process of metamorphosis that I enjoy painting on the page.”
4. What are some of your own personal literary favourites?
“Ah, the leading question! I’ve just finished reading ‘Stoner’ by John Williams, a revived classic, brilliantly written in just about every way. I found myself going back over the prose trying to learn from the use of language and the storytelling. Of course I would have to put ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ (Harper Lee) up there with ‘Damage’(Josephine Hart), ‘The Sea’ (John Banville)and any Thomas Hardy but my favourite book is, and probably always will be, ‘Star of the Sea’ by Joseph O’Connor. I love that book.”
5. The next question is very personal. Why do you write? What does it mean to you personally?
“Why do I write? Because there is some unfathomable urge within me to put pen to paper. Sometimes it lies dormant, like after my mum died and I found that I just couldn’t and didn’t want to write anything. Sometimes it emerges in the middle of the night and I have to scribble blindly on a notepad beside the bed. Also, I suppose, it allows me to reignite that gift we can so easily lose sight of from our childhoods – imagination. When writing journalistic pieces though, the writing process gives me the freedom to say in print what I’m not so good at verbally.”
6. Like most writers I’m sure you have goals and aspirations with regard to your writing. Are there any that you’d like to share with our readers today?
“I don’t really have any specific goals when it comes to my writing and I certainly don’t do it for the money! If someone likes something that I’ve written then I appreciate the fact that my work has touched another human being in a positive way. For anyone who aspires to become a writer then I’d tell them to enjoy the whole writing process as much as they can and remain true to themselves. Also listen to what your readers are telling you and learn by their critique for after all they are the ones supporting what you do.”
7. What are some of the best and the worst things to come from your writing? I.e. Reviews, opportunities.
“Well, of course you’re going to get mixed reviews no matter who you are or what you write about so it’s a good idea to toughen yourself up a bit. I don’t mind negative feedback as long as it’s constructive but I try to stay away from ignorant and vindictive people who only want to cause offence (the internet is a good example – it’s a wonderful thing but can be used in a terribly abusive way too). I can think of many, many great experiences I’ve had as a result of my writing, the best being that I’ve shared a stage with Joseph O’Connor, Colm Tobin and Andrew Motion during a live Sunday Miscellany at Listowel. I don’t think I’m ever going to beat the thrill of that.”
8. How do you feel about eBooks? They were kind of like Marmite when they first came out – people either loved them or hated them. Now I sense they’re creeping into that zone of acceptability for many. What are your thoughts? Do you own/use a kindle?
“I’m ashamed to admit that my husband bought me a kindle two years ago and it’s never been used. The truth is I like the feel and the smell of a book. When I’m at school teaching young children how to read and we open a brand new set of books I am immediately transported back to my own primary school days. But I realise that e -books have the advantage of being cheaper and more transportable than hard copies while also offering a huge library of tomes to choose from immediately. Take ‘Of Broken Things’ – as an e-book it costs a fraction of the cost of the hardback copy so I can fully understand why someone would chose the kindle version. One of the biggest advantages of having a kindle I imagine is to use on holiday especially with airline weight constraints on luggage.”
9. Have you any advice for folks just starting out as writers?
“Enjoy yourself. Have fun with different genres until you find one that you’re most comfortable with or best at. Don’t even think about writing for money – if you’re lucky enough to come up with a story that attracts the major publishers then great, feel grateful that your work is being appreciated and promoted. However there is great merit in writing for your own pleasure and if even one person pays you a compliment on your work then appreciate that too. Most of all though, read, read, read – there is no substitute for learning from those who have gone before. Perhaps it’s tired advice but I’ve found it to be true.”
10. What are your plans for the future? Are you working on any new projects? If so, we would love to hear about them.
“After a dearth in my writing over the last while I have returned to it with renewed enthusiasm. First of all and very gently, with poetry. Then I made a start on my third novel which has been waiting in the wings for quite some time. And recently I’ve written some short stories and had articles published in the press, so suddenly and rather unexpectedly there’s a lot going on. What can I say? Watch this space!”
We certainly will Lynda. Thank you so much for letting us see a little of the personality behind the novels and stories you write. Best of luck with that third novel 🙂
Lynda’s two novels, Attachment and Of Broken Things are available on Amazon. For ease of access you can find the links by clicking on the images below.
by: Lynda Tavakoli
publisher: AuthorHouse, published: 2007-07-10
sales rank: 9456919
price: $12.47 (new), $8.60 (used)
Discontented with her marriage and bored with her life, Beverley Adams renews contact with former boyfriend Mark through the popular internet website of ‘Friendships Reconnected’. What begins as an innocent flirtation via e-mail however, suddenly takes a more sinister turn when the emotionally unbalanced Beverley becomes increasingly obsessed with reviving their relationship. Having stealthily gained Mark’s trust, she employs a hacker to secrete a Trojan virus on his computer by means of an e-mail attachment. This act of deception allows her access to all of Mark’s personal computer files, including all his e-mail correspondence, entirely without his knowledge. Beverley’s beautiful twin sister, Jessica, is unwittingly caught up in the complicated web of lies and deceit that ensues, which ultimately has tragic consequences for both her and those around her. ‘Attachment’ is the story of one woman’s lust for revenge and the terrible price exacted on the victims of her egotism and delusions in the subterfuge world of twenty-first century technology.Do you know who is accessing information on your computer?
Of Broken Things
by: Lynda Tavakoli
publisher: David James Publishing, published: 2011-06-10
sales rank: 6903975
price: $9.70 (new), $7.43 (used)
Of Broken Things It is 1920’s Ireland and JOHN FLYNN is ten years old when his much longed for sister STELA is born at their isolated cottage. She is a beautiful child whom John sees as a gift sent to alleviate the harshness of his life with an alcoholic father REDMOND, who he has come to despise. Within a few weeks of Stela’s arrival John is unexpectedly left to look after his mother and sister during a snowstorm after Redmond fails to return from one of his many prolonged absences. Taking on adult responsibilities at such a young age has a profound effect on the young John and he is unable to forgive his father for abandoning the family during times of greatest need. CASSIE, John’s mother, takes solace in visits from a priest FATHER KEARNEY who often acts as intermediary between Cassie and Redmond when overwhelming problems, caused by Redmond’s antisocial behaviour, become apparent. Stela grows strong under the protection and deep love of her brother who teaches her about nature and uses her as a delighted audience for his make-believe stories. Stela develops normally until she approaches her third birthday when she withdraws from the world and only communicates meaningfully with her beloved brother. When tragedy strikes, a web of deceit within the community begins to unravel. ‘Of Broken Things’ is a beautifully written tale not only of tragedy, of fear and of mistrust, but also of love. It is a ‘must read’ novel from the author of ‘Attachment.’