Lynne North book signing

Caution: A Witch In Progress

altBlackpool strives to highlight the talent of it’s homegrown artistic and cultural heroes, one such is Lynne North, a north west based author whose latest children’s book, Caution: Witch in Progress won the People’s book award for 2014.

North’s latest story involves a troubled and misunderstood young witch who struggles to fit in as she looks, as we mere mortals might call, normal. I caught up with Lynne to find out more about the book and her writing.

Fiona: How did you get into writing?

Lynne: My aim in life has always been to write, and I have had a sideline of freelance writing for more years than I like to admit to having lived. I have written since my teens, and most of my early writing was for adult magazines such as Prediction, Destiny, Your Future and the like, this work concerned such subjects as horoscopes, palmistry, dreams, strange phenomena and fortune telling. The first children’s fantasy I wrote is still in mothballs. Since then I have written two children’s fantasy novels, ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ out since 2013 and ‘Zac’s Destiny’ due out later this year. I was delighted when ‘Caution’ received enough online votes to win ‘The Book Awards’ in February of this year!

Fiona: What is your inspiration for writing Children’s fantasy books?

Lynne: When I began to write ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ I wanted to write a funny story in a fantasy theme. I love fantasy myself, so enjoy writing it most. Some of the funniest things to me are things that happen unexpectedly, or in a silly way. Things going wrong

Fiona: Tell us more about the main character in Caution: Witch in progress.

Lynne: Gertie would be perfect in our world, but as a witch she is one of the odd ones out. Gertie copes with growing up in her daunting life with kindness, fortitude and determination to become who she is meant to be, in her own way. Gertie was born to be my main character, and as I wrote the book her character changed and developed all the time until she was leading my writing.

Fiona: Do you find inspiration from real life?

Lynne: In history some poor old women were punished as witches just because they looked different, like they had a squint. Gertie would be perfect in our world. Bat (Gertie’s faithful sidekick, a bat/umbrella) is a different tale altogether. He was actually based on a true happening in my life. My mum had an umbrella with a wooden bear’s head as its handle. She left it at the information counter in our local library one day then went off to find a book. Before long she saw the umbrella’s head, seeming to turn this way and that, looking for her over the top of some book shelving.

Fiona: And what else is coming up?

Lynne: I have a third children’s fantasy in its final stages, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’. I’m hoping that one will be released next year. Meanwhile I have written a fantasy game-book to be released soon by my publisher, Ghostly Publishing. This is one of those books where the reader is the hero, and the story unfolds depending on choices made by the reader to move on to the next section of the book. That was great fun to work out and piece together! I already have my next game-book in its early stages. Another work in progress is something completely different on kindle very shortly. This one is a compilation of macabre twist in the tale short stories, definitely for adults only.

Our youngest contributor for alt, my nephew Luke, read the first chapter with me and found it hilarious. He can’t wait to read the rest and find out what Gertie gets up to and also to meet a real life author!

Lynne sounds like she has many exciting projects in the pipeline for readers young and old, but if you can’t wait to hear about them you have the chance to catch Lynne and ‘Granny Grimthorpe’ (another star character from Caution: a witch in progress) at her book signing in Blackpool Waterstones this Saturday.

Meet Lynne and find out more about Gertie and her other characters Saturday 21st June from 1 to 3pm at Blackpool Waterstones. Each child can have a lucky dip in the cauldron and choose a free gift.

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