Sweet Sixteener Janet B Taylor recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Lynn Lindquist about her debut YA contemporary thriller, SECRET OF THE SEVENS (June 8, 2015 from Flux Publishing).
About the Author:
Lynn Lindquist lives in a suburb of Chicago with two overly social sons and a mutt named Slugger who wisely hides under the bed most days. The hordes of teenagers that regularly frequent her house (think Panama City Beach during spring break) provide fodder for her young adult novels and growing anxiety disorder. Ever since her sons broke the Guinness Record for Largest-Rager-Thrown-While-a-Parent-Was-Out-for-the-Night, she enjoys spending her free time at home entertaining friends, cooking, reading, and writing. Thankfully, her favorite things in life are her sons, words, and kids, so she wouldn’t have it any other way.
About SECRET OF THE SEVENS:
Everyone at Singer, a boarding school for underprivileged kids, knows the urban legend of the Society of Seven. Decades ago, the original members of the secret guild for elite students murdered the school’s founder and then perished in the fire they lit to hide the evidence. Or so the story goes. Talan Michaels doesn’t care about Singer’s past. He’s too focused on his future and the fact that he’ll be homeless after he graduates in May. To take his mind off it, he accepts a mysterious invitation to join a group calling itself the Sevens. He expects pranks, parties, and perks. Instead, he finds himself neck-deep in a conspiracy involving secret passages and cryptic riddles about the school’s history. Even worse, he’s now tangled in web of lies someone will kill to keep hidden.
Okay, let the jealousy commence, ’cause … lucky me! I got a sneak-peek at this fantastic, thrilling debut! And I’ll tell you right now that you better get ready to stay up late, your nerves tingling as you gnaw your nails to the bone, wondering what in the heck is going to happen next!
And… author Lynn Lindquist, is such a sweetie. Meeting her, I was left wondering how in the world a nice person like her could possibly come up with such a twisty, dark plot. (But I’m so glad she did!)
Janet: SECRET OF THE SEVENS is your debut novel. Can you tell us how that came about? How did you meet your agent, and how did your submission process go?
Lynn: I first signed with my agent Katherine [Boyle of Veritas Literary Agency] for a young adult novel that never sold. It was between the eras of paranormals and dystopians, and contemporary stories were a tough sell at that time. While that novel was on submission, I started the Sevens. It took me two years to finish. Fortunately, Katherine was still interested in it. When she took it out on submission, Brian Farrey-Latz [acquiring editor at Flux] made an offer. Second time’s a charm?
Janet: What advice would you give other writers out there who are still struggling to get to publication?
Lynn: The same advice I give my kids in their various sports and personal endeavors—if you like something, keep at it! Babe Ruth said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” It’s especially true for writers because we quickly learn what rejection feels like (over and over and over, unfortunately). Trust me, the longer you keep at writing, the better you get (and hence more marketable). I had some early manuscripts I thought were amazing at the time, but now I’d pay blackmail to keep my critique partners from showing them to anyone.
Janet: How did you come up with the idea for SECRET OF THE SEVENS, and when did you know it was “the one?”
Lynn: Both of my sons are reluctant readers (I have a switched-at-birth theory on this). One day I asked them what it would take to get them interested in a book. They said, “Sex, guy humor, sports, and things blowing up. And throw in a secret society because they’re cool.” (Yes, they really did say this. What can I say? At least they’re a tax write-off). Well, to make a long story short, I came up with a pretty good story that fit most of those conditions. (You’ll have to read it to figure out which ones.)
How did I know it was “the one?” In my final draft, I saw all the character arcs and storylines merge into the perfect ending. I love books that do this. Little threads and incidentals woven through the earlier chapters all coming together like Kismet at the climax. Not even sure how I did it, to tell you the truth. But I knew I had something good when I was done.
Janet: Your main character, Talan, is a cool dude, who just wants to slide through school without making any waves. He certainly doesn’t want to get involved with the mysterious happenings. On the other hand, Laney is Miss Gung-Ho School Spirit. Who were you more like when you were in school? Would you have gotten involved in a dangerous mystery to save your school?
Lynn: I’m a bit of both. I was definitely not a cool dude, but I was like Talan in that I have a good sense of humor and never wanted to make waves. I’m a little more like Laney though, in that I’ve always been tender-hearted and a rule-follower. (More proof for my switched-at-birth theory with my sons). Would I have gotten involved in the Society of Seven to save my school? Definitely. Especially with Talan along for the ride.
Lightning Round Questions
Pantser or Plotter?
What was your favorite book when you were sixteen?
The Outsiders (sadly, there were really only a few young adult novels back then to choose from).
What three people (alive, fictional, or from history) would you invite to a dinner party?
Jesus, Mark Twain, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Robot revolution or zombie apocalypse?
Zombie apocalypse. Technology will already be the death of me.
About the Interviewer
Janet B Taylor lives in such a small town in Arkansas that if you happen to sneeze when you pass by, you’ll totally miss it. (Cause, you know, you can’t sneeze with your eyes open. For real–try it–it’s impossible)
Her debut novel, INTO THE DIM (HMH, Spring 2016), described as an ‘Outlander’ for teens, chronicles the tale of 16-year-old Hope, who must travel back in time to the brutal, medieval world of the 12th century to rescue her mom.
Janet is a reader/fangirl first and a writer second. She lives with her fantastic husband, two hilarious sons, and Dorda the diabetic dog who won’t win any beauty contests, but has a “nice personality”. Janet would think you’re the coolest thing since AC if you’d like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, or Tumblr, or visit her website. And if you felt like adding INTO THE DIM to Goodreads, she might come over to your house and do cart-wheels on your front lawn.