Lynsey May is an Edinburgh based writer and is simply smashing. She’s a familiar face at Illicit Ink and was awarded a New Writers Award last year. She’ll be one of our performers at Illicit Ink Underground: Toy Stories on 1st of December, so we figured this would be as good a time as any to sit down and have a chat.
1. Right! First off let’s do the basics – who are you, what are you, where are you and how are you?
I’m Lynsey, I hope I qualify as a person, I’m wrapped up at home trying to make myself work and I’m just peachy, thanks for asking.
2. Oh, and why are you?
This question should come with some kind of warning. Why am I? Why am I? Why am I the am that I am? Because no one told me I couldn’t be.
3. Can you remember the first thing you wrote?
I can’t remember the very first thing, but I do remember my first real written project. I made myself a folder out of a big bit of brown cardboard and wrote something like ‘Undelivered Post’ on the front. I then wrote a selection of letters including at least one missed romantic connection and one never received acceptance letter for a novel. There were also several Christmas cards, I think. I’m pretty sure it was inspired by the child-sized Postman Pat van that lived at my grandma’s house.
4. You work as a copywriter. Do you think all that corporate writing affects your fiction?
It must do, to some extent. I started at an agency straight after graduating and, to be honest, I think writing a large amount of copy actually contributed to boosting my confidence a little. It also helped me increase my typing speed and (marginally) improved my atrocious spelling. On the downside, I do often worry that it has a negative impact too – especially now that I freelance and a huge amount of my time is spent writing copy. It’s very easy to slip into a corporate or faux editorial style and I very much hope that doesn’t unintentionally make it into any of my stories.
5. What do you think you get out of performing stories that you don’t get from just reading them?
As a reader, I love it for the instant feedback (more so when it’s not bad!), and the buzz of doing something you’re a bit scared of. As a listener, I much prefer it when I hear stories that have been written to be read aloud or stories where the performer knows how to add a little extra something – be it a silly voice or an extra beat of silence during a tense moment.
6. What do you think of the Edinburgh literary scene? What would you change if you could?
I really like the scene we have going here. It’s so much friendlier than I thought it would be and I wish I’d realised and joined in a little sooner. I’d love for there to be a few more great venues. The ones we have do a good job, but I reckon there are too few suitable, atmospheric and affordable venues for musicians and performers – especially in a place like Edinburgh.
7. What’re you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a novel – it’s called The Miraculous Return of Flora Whyte and is the story of a small coastal town reeling at the possibility that Flora is their own teenaged saint – and my head is still pretty much mince. Am hoping to claw back some sanity and get stuck into something new very soon.
8. Finally, what’s your favourite toy?
I don’t have my favourite toy any more as it went through the hands of both of my little brothers and finally disintegrated. But it was a big, pink flumpy thing called a Puffalump. It was great.
Come and see Lynsey perform at Toy Stories at the Bongo Club on 1st of December! And be sure to check out her eye-gougingly pretty website and follow her on Twitter. Seriously. It’s the least you could do.