I am delighted to welcome Hywela Lyn to the blog today to chat about all things romance.
Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.
Thank you so much for having me here, Julie. I write Science Fiction and Fantasy Romance – the Science Fiction has a strong fantasy element – and I also write straight Fantasy. If you wonder how Science Fiction can be ‘romance’, well my characters, whether they come from Earth or a distant planet, are still very human and fall in love, just like you or me. I also I find space itself intensely romantic, who could not look up at all those stars in the night sky and not be enthralled by their beauty? I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of space and space exploration, although I started out writing romantic historical Westerns, but there was no market in the UK for them at the time, so I turned to Science Fiction/Fantasy. After all the two genres have several similarities – brave men and women, exploring unknown territory and facing many dangers while they work together and fall in love, with starships instead of horses, and sometimes-hostile aliens instead of native American Indians.
I have three ‘standalone’ novels published as a trilogy with the American publishing house, the Wild Rose Press. I also have a fantasy novella, merging elements Welsh and Greek and Arthurian legends, which was originally published by The Wild Rose Press as an anthology with other authors, but when I got my rights back I made a few changes and self-published it. The last few years, especially 2020, have been difficult and I’ve had to put my writing on hold for a time, but I do have a partly finished fantasy romance set in Wales, which I’m hoping to submit to TWRP next year.
I’ve always been a ‘romantic’. I soon realised nearly everything I wrote turned into a love story. Romance novels have to have a happy ending, so the reader can breathe a happy sigh of contentment as they read the last page. Romance makes one feel good, loving someone who loves you back is the best feeling in the world. As the saying goes ‘what’s not to love’ (about romance)?
What inspires your stories?
My inspiration usually starts with a character, who gradually tells me their story. Sometimes it’s something I see, like a beautiful view, or unusual weather, and sometimes a piece of music will wake up my muse and start giving me ideas.
Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?
Too many to list really, but one I really enjoy, although her books aren’t my own genre, is Rosemary Gemmell, whose books are usually historical, and set in her native Scotland. Her characters are very easy to relate to, and her settings vividly drawn. I also enjoy books by an American romance author, Pamela Thibodeaux, who writes contemporary inspirational stories ‘with an edge’, as she puts it herself. Although her stories all have a subtle Christian message, they are not at all ‘preachy’.
If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?
Oh that’s a bit difficult, but I think I’d go back to Rosemary Gemmell and her book Highcrag.
The heroine’s task is to catalogue the books in an old house for the owner, and a strong attraction develops between them. There are strong hints of the supernatural, and for me the book had the same sort of atmosphere as Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’.
When Cate Stewart’s life falls apart, a job cataloguing the vast library at Highcrag on the Scottish east coast sounds perfect. Especially since she has a personal interest in researching the notorious Scottish witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
But the house has a dark past that seems to affect the present. And an owner, Lyall Kinnaird, who unexpectedly stirs Cate’s damaged heart.
As the Celtic festival of Samhain approaches, when the veil between the living and dead is thinnest, who can Cate trust?
Which romantic hero would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?
I shouldn’t confess this really, but I totally fell in love with the hero of my first and third book, Kerry Marchant. A romantic weekend on a paradise planet would be lovely, but I think I’d better get nearer home and say John Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘North and South’. We could spend time having picnics by the river, with long, meaningful chats, or riding our horses by said river, holding hands, of course.
What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?
The feeling of belonging to a community of fellow writers, and the support and help one gets from being a member. I’ve made many friends and learnt a lot from them, and even though I haven’t been able to attend as many conferences and events as I would have liked, it’s so easy to keep in touch with other members on-line and through the magazine ‘Romance Matters.’ Everyone is so friendly and helpful, it’s an amazing organisation and I’m so proud to belong.
What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?
A piece of advice I was given by the late Anne McCaffrey and always followed, was ‘write what you would like to read. After all if you don’t like what you write, why would anyone else? Also I would add, read, not only your own genre or genres, but ones that are slightly out of your comfort zone. It’s surprising what you can learn from other writers’ works. (Sorry, I know that was two.)
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book, Beloved Enemy is Book Three of the Destiny Trilogy. (RoNA Finalist 2017)
My first book Starquest was originally a short story and I never realized how difficult it would be to say goodbye to the characters, and so it became a trilogy. Beloved Enemy tells Kerry Marchant’s story. He appears in the first book but things did not turn out well for him. I hope I’ve made amends in this book, in which he meets his match, in more ways than one, with the feisty Cat Kincaid. You can buy a copy of the book here.
Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge.
Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret, and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red-haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart.
Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?
About the Author
Hywela Lyn lives in a small village in England, although her heart remains in her native rural Wales, which inspired so much of her writing.
Although most her writing tends to be futuristic, the worlds she creates are usually untainted by crowded cities and technology, embracing the beauty and wildness of nature. Her characters often have to fight the elements and the terrain itself. Her heroes are strong and courageous, but chivalrous and honourable – and of course, handsome and hunky. Her heroines are also strong and courageous, but retain their femininity and charm. However difficult the journey, love will always win in the end.
She is a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association (UK) and Chiltern Writers, her local writing group.
A keen animal lover, she is pet parent to a rescued terrier, Choccy, who manages to twist her round his little paw. When she is not writing, she can usually be found enjoying the outdoors with her dog – or just eating chocolate!
Connect with Hywela:
Facebook Page: Hywela Lyn Author