I reviewed this wonderfully charming and unusual book at the end of May, but I haven’t been able to dislodge it from my mind. So I contacted author Lynda Renham to ask her how she came to write The Day Henry Died:
Sandy:I found this book somewhat unique. How did The Day Henry Died come about?
Lynda:Now, there’s a question. I had no plans to write a book as unusual as this. The idea came from a comment made by a neighbour. We were discussing my closest neighbour who had died. Although she was elderly, no one had been prepared for it. My neighbour happened to say something along the lines of ‘You never know, do you? One day you’re here and the next you’re reading your own obituary.’ I immediately wondered what it would be like if you woke up one morning and found yourself doing just that.
Sandy: What came to you first – the plot or the characters?
Lynda:With ‘The Day Henry Died’ the plot certainly came first and the characters grew out of that. The characters were already there somehow which sounds odd I know but it was like they had been waiting for the plot.
Sandy:Does it always work that way for you?
Lynda:Usually an idea forms and then the whole novel seems to unravel in a vague way in my head and then when I start writing, it all becomes clear.
Sandy: How well do you plan your books? Do you work out what you want to happen and then go about making it happen? Or do your characters sometimes take control?
Lynda:My characters always take control. There is no doubt about that. I usually know what I want to happen but often a character will appear that I hadn’t even considered and sometimes they can become a leading character in the story. An idea often changes in the writing. I never stick to an original idea if something better materialises in the process.
Sandy: Your characters are always very easy to relate to. Do you insert bits of yourself or people you know into them?
Lynda:I tend to write about people as I know them. I think there may be a fair amount of me in some of the characters. I like my characters to be relatable in some way, even the baddies.
Sandy: Do you, personally, believe in life after death? And how did your belief/nonbelief aid/hinder your writing of The Day Henry Died?
Lynda:I sit on the fence a bit regarding life after death. I think the book expressed differing opinions on that. Which is fairly realistic, I think. The writing of the novel gave me much to think about and I enjoyed exploring the concept of reality.
Sandy: What would you like the reader to take away from this book?
Lynda:That it is important to make the most of what you have. Not to sweat the small stuff. You can’t do any of this again. You are here the once, enjoy it and do everything you want to do.
Sandy: Are you currently working on another novel?
Lynda:Yes, I’m currently working on several in fact. I don’t know how that happened as it is sheer madness.
Sandy: What is your routine like when you are writing? Do you treat it as a job and head ‘off to the office’ at the same time every day, or do you just write when inspiration strikes you?
Lynda:It’s my job, although I am slowing down. I write from 10 in the morning until about 5. I’ve always had a writing routine and a writing place. I think routine is important even if you don’t feel like working.
Sandy: How do you feel when you have finished writing a book?
Lynda: Relieved and anxious. Relieved it’s finally done and anxious about how it will sell. When a book is slightly different to your usual style, I think the reader is unsure about reading it.
Sandy: What do you find hardest to write, dialogue or narrative? And how do you overcome this?
Lynda:I find narrative difficult. I’d like to be better at that. Dialogue is my strength, I think. I enjoy writing dialogue very much.
Sandy: Now, I haven’t read your very first book, (Croissants and Jam) , but if you were to write that book now, would it be different, and how?
Lynda:Oh yes. I would work much harder at it. I think I have learnt a lot since that book and though it was very popular, I would certainly improve on it if I wrote it now.
Thank you Lynda for taking the time to talk with me. I adored Henry, and his story, and I am eagerly awaiting your next book/s.
Here is the link to my review of The Day Henry Died
and, for a little variety also the link to Tina’s from NovelMeals wonderful review: https://novelmeals.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/the-day-henry-died-by-lynda-renham/
If you haven’t yet read this little gem, you don’t know what you are missing!