Meet Author Felicity Lennie
Despite the amount of miles, hours, seconds apart we are, a bond was immediately formed from the moment we virtually met via Twitter over two years ago. Exchanging words of encouragement, uplifting, hope and support; my next Spotlight feature is a very special one. We take a look at the wonderful works of Author Felicity Lennie.
I am the writer, Felicity Lennie and I live on the Atlantic Coast of North Devon in England where my family have lived for generations through history apart from a Danish Viking who settled here. Through him we have an unusual surname and a love of storytelling, and adventure. As a child I often took part in a family game of story-telling in a round, pointing at someone else mid-sentence to carry on the flow. My teacher at school supported my ambition to be a novelist but insisted ‘you have to go out into the world and live before you can write well.’ I followed her advice and became so distracted by ‘living’ I forgot about writing until ‘Life’ gave me a ‘pause’. A young dying friend told me ‘do it now …. You don’t know what is round the corner’ so I started my first novel at the bedside of my father who was also diagnosed terminal. They both died before ‘When All Lies Die’ was finished so I dedicated it to them. I love complicated plots and complicated characters with lots of twists and surprises so I am thrilled with the way the book turned out. I just regret neither my friend nor my dad read it. To my delight, it was accepted for publishing straightaway but the next day I went into hospital for a routine operation which showed I had cancer too. This was a second ‘pause’ in my Life and I knew Time was ticking away so worked harder at my writing.
For over a year I was having treatment and complications but found I could amuse other patients with my short stories and poems as well as continuing my next novel, ‘Backwater’, which I think is the darkest and most cathartic of my novels. It was written when I was in a very dark place mentally. Perhaps the derelict dying house was how I saw myself and the main character’s struggles to stay alive in it were my struggles to stay alive in my fast-dying body. At this time I was as thin as a skeleton from treatment, physically weak and as light as a feather. Despite my physical appearance though, I was stubborn, strong-willed and getting increasingly tougher mentally. ‘Backwater’ is listed as a crime thriller but by nature of its storyline, I think it is more Horror. A friend read it. She shuddered and agreed, saying she had started it in the evening but read through the night as she could not tear her eyes off the pages so I guess it was a page-turner as she only ever reads non-fiction.
She suggested I might want to try a comedy novel to lighten the mood so ‘White Sheep’ followed. I had just finished doing my Family History and looking through my ancestors, an idea suggested itself which grew outrageously into the very dark Comedy Horror I wrote. When I am down-in-the-dumps I tend to read it as it makes me laugh out loud but I do have a very dark sense of humour thanks to cancer. It seems to go with the territory.
Comedy was tough so I thought I’d try Science-Fiction next and where ‘White Sheep’ was slow being created, this novel ‘Inquilus’ flew off my fingers at break-neck speed. A young friend had just died who was probably the number-one fan of Kevin Costner and I used to tease her all the time about it. I told her jokingly that I would write a storyline with a character in it that would be perfect for him as an actor to play … the perfect role if you like. When she died, I decided to keep my promise and dedicate the book to her. The novel is up for an award at the moment. It is unlikely that Kevin Costner will ever get to play the role especially created for him but I feel happy knowing that I kept a promise to someone who was probably the closest and dearest friend I have ever had.
‘Libra Liberati’ was written for another very sick friend. I sent her a chapter a month to keep her amused while extremely ill and made it a very twisty plot full of surprises to keep her guessing and distract her from the pain. She used to pester me to send the next chapter early for her to read.
Someone challenged me to write a more ‘Adult’ book and so ‘Faking’ was born. I found it more difficult to write because it dealt with very complex issues but nevertheless I am proud of the result. Again it has a very complicated storyline with very complicated characters who I hope reflect real life and its challenges.
The more gentle drama, ‘Edison Landrake’ is set in Cornwall and a detective is asked to establish whether a crime has actually been committed so it is very different. What makes it even more unusual is that two of the detecting team are terminally ill which I like because I want people to understand that being terminal doesn’t mean that you can no longer have adventures or contribute to life. If anything, the terminally-ill detective duo observe more sharply and register subtle nuances in characters round them, have greater empathy with characters drawing secrets out into the open and are more reckless in taking risks. In many ways these two characters most reflect me. Again I am very proud of this book and its messages.
I always promised that if any of my books were published I would write a novel with a strong religious message. I opened my Bible randomly and it fell open at Job which isn’t one of my favourite books of the Bible but I took my cue. If any book is important to me personally it is ‘Desire Not the Night’. It is a book of strident disharmony that is harmoniously balanced in story structure. I set it against the raging of a dark, terrifying storm and the beautiful peaceful backdrop of the magnificent Cathedral in Wells where I lived for a while. I am very proud of this book and have already been told that its message is a very powerful one.
My husband persuaded me to make it into a Trilogy as he felt there was more to come in the story. It gave me the chance to involve some of the characters from other books I had written in a final explosive showdown of action.
I also have written four books of poetry. My last book is a collection of all my short stories and poems under the title, ‘Tales from the Passing Place’. It is my final work and now I am retired.
Here is a link to my official website http://www.felicity-lennie.com/
Here is a link to my official Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FelicityELennie
Thank you Felicity for sharing your world with us and thank you for continuing to be so supportive through my journey. You are AWESOME!