Featured Interview With Author Lynne Howard
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada where I continue to reside today with my husband, our three children (currently ages 24, 23 and 15) and two dogs. I began my career as a lawyer but after a few years, I realized that I wanted to do something different in my professional life. With the encouragement of my husband, I returned to school and became a teacher. I have been teaching Grades 11 and 12 Law, along with other Social Science courses for over 20 years at a private high school. I have also taught part-time at a local university, and have written non-fiction materials for law teachers and students. I believe strongly in the value of being an active citizen and contributing to my community so in addition to the extra-curricular activities that I participate in at my school, I also do volunteer work at a local organization which provides horseback riding therapy to individuals with disabilities. Somehow, I manage to find time to write novels in my "spare time". I am so grateful to my family for supporting me in everything that I do and giving me the time I need to write.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I have been an avid reader since early childhood. I have fond memories of my parents reading to me, and my husband and I continued this tradition with our own children. When I go on vacation, my husband always jokes that we need a separate suitcase just for the books I want to bring! I will read a book a day when I'm on vacation and I still prefer holding an actual book in my hands rather than using an e-reader. I began writing short stories and poetry in grade school but I didn't actually try writing a novel until I began writing the Dylan Dover series in 2019. I love all genres of books but fantasy has always been one of my favorites and I think it was my obsession with books like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter that inspired me to write my own fantasy series.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I love all genres of books, fiction and non-fiction. While fantasy is my favorite because I am fascinated with the idea of magic, I would say that historical fiction is a close second. But I also enjoy contemporary fiction, and biographies, and who doesn't enjoy a good mystery? I suppose that reading to me is kind of like ice cream – I love all of the flavors, it just depends on what I feel like on a particular day! I have many favorite authors, but here are a few: Rick Riordan (the Percy Jackson series is so inspiring to my own writing. I have been heavily influenced by the Greek mythology that is at the core of his books); JoJo Moyes (especially Me Before You – I couldn't stop crying for several hours once I read the final page); Anita Diamant (The Red Tent is a book that I have read at least a hundred times and I could read it a thousand times more and still want to read it again); and J.K. Rowling (while I do not agree with her personal views, I think the Harry Potter series is absolutely amazing and I can only dream that readers will connect with my characters in a similar way to how the world has embraced Harry, Ron and Hermione).
I think that the person who inspires me the most in my writing is my own 15 year old son, Dylan. I like to tell people that Dylan Dover the character is identical to my own son, except of course for the fact that my son has no magical powers! It is my son's voice in my head when I write the character and many of the experiences that my son has gone through, I use in the books, with his permission, of course! For example, in book 5, the character of Dylan has a mental health crises. When I was writing book 5, we were living in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and my son was suffering, like so many young people, from the impacts of social isolation. My son was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder during that time, and now he is very open about sharing his experiences with others to try to dispel the stigmas associated with mental health issues. Dylan has been instrumental in helping me write these novels. He has great ideas and is never shy to tell me when I need to rewrite something that he doesn't like. I created this series originally because Dylan had run out of books to read. Like me, he is an avid reader who loves the fantasy genre. This series is truly inspired by him.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Dylan Dover: Into The Vortex is the first in a series of six books. All six have been written, and now I am hoping that a publisher will pick up books 2-6. In the first three books, the main characters are 12 and 13 years old, and then for the next three books, I age the characters. The series ends with the main characters now in their late teens, and the epilogue provides closure by giving readers a glimpse into their lives as adults.
In book one, Dylan Dover: Into The Vortex, readers are introduced to Dylan who believed he was an ordinary 12 year old but that belief was shattered when he was inadvertently transported to a new dimension, a world of immortal beings, through a vortex which connects the two worlds. This immortal dimension is populated by immortal beings of all kinds – warlocks, witches, wizards, vampires, shapeshifters, elves, fairies, ogres, etc. There Dylan learns his true identity as a warlock and together with his one known brother (there are two missing siblings) and newly made wizard friend, they begin to unravel clues about an ancient, secret prophecy that seems to involve Dylan and his siblings.
Greek mythology is an important element in the Dylan Dover series. The role that Greek gods will play in the novels is alluded to in book one. In fact, if you look carefully at the cover, you will see the star constellation of Orion's Belt in the letter "Y" of Dylan's name. But it isn't until book 2, called Dylan Dover: Orion's Quest, that the Greek gods become truly essential to the story. Orion, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, among other legendary Greek gods are intricately woven into the plot lines for books 2 – 6.
The Dylan Dover books weave together elements of fantasy with relatable themes that all readers will connect with, including friendships, family, identity, and facing adversity.
As a teacher, I am always thinking about how to develop literary skills in readers and I am very cognizant of building both reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in my writing. I have created Guided Reading Questions to assist family members / educators and anyone reading along with a child to help develop these skills. These questions are free and available on my website.
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