First we asked Lynne our favorite beginning question—how did she got started writing? Lynne explained that she doesn’t fully enjoy the writing process, and while she has written poetry before and children’s books, her recent memoir Listen to Me: How my Down Syndrome Brother Saved my Life was her first attempt at something longer, and was driven by a desire to ensure her brother would not be forgotten.
Lynne had quite an emotional journey writing this book, and started writing out the memories when her brother was terminally ill in hospital. The story that Lynne shared in writing the memoir was juggled between phonecalls between doctors and her family, and was balanced with planning care for her brother and, eventually, a funeral. While she spoke to us about this, she also explained that it soon became apparent to her that she could not ‘plot’ this book in the traditional manner. She first got the memories onto paper, noting that memories don’t come in order! She then tried to work these memories into a logical flow.
We asked Lynne how she managed to select memories to have in the memoir. Though Lynne cherishes all her memories, she could not possibly include them in the memoir. So, she selected ones that served the best purpose, and showed life with her Down syndrome brother as authentically and truthfully as possible—the ups and the downs. Her main goal was to get her word—his word out there so people can gain a greater appreciation and understanding of what life is like living with someone with Down Syndrome. Lynne was very conscious that she didn’t want it to read like a diary.
We also asked Lynne about the editing and publishing process, and how she found this. Lynne chose to have a proofreader go over her work, and outsourced both editing and publishing to others, but still maintained control. While she was respectful of her editor when it came to technical aspects, she also negotiated things that were important to her. She spoke highly of her editor, explaining that her editor made suggestions to improve the book rather than laying out strict rules. And, by asking Lynne rather than telling her what to do, Lynne was more open and willing to make small changes. Her publishing team were also instrumental in helping in her journey as an indie author. They aided her in cover design, formatting and submitting her work to different platforms.
Listen to Me: How my Down Syndrome Brother Saved my Life is available in a number of places, including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple, though Amazon is the best way to get a copy of the paperback edition for direct consumers. If you would like to get a hold of Lynne, the best place to connect with her is through her Goodreads page, or on Instagram.