Lyn Fairchild Hawks is one of those rare writers who is in the writing game because of her love of storytelling. In her own words:
Focus on what you love, which is writing.
Hawks lives in Chapel Hill, NC and siphons her creativity that’s leftover on evenings and weekends to edit her novel through the guidance of her agent. (And took some time to meet with me in Carrboro before an open mic.) Yes, she’s a step ahead of most first-time novelists, she landed an agent! Writers will find comfort with her agent-hunting experience. We often here of miracle connections of writers connecting with an agent at a coffee shop, conference or through a friend, however Hawks did her search the traditional way:
She sent 150 queries.
It took a year for Hawks to find Sarah Heller of Helen Heller Agency. For nearly another year now they have been working together on tedious and necessary revisions to her YA novel, How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought. (She’s trimmed her 123,000-word novel to 65,000 words!) Her novel centers on Wendy, a young girl who hates the 2000s and thinks everything is lame, and thinks Michael Jackson is a saint.
Before focusing on her novel, Hawks published a few non-fiction books for teachers using her 13-year experience teaching high school students and her degree from Stanford.
200 Words with Author Lyn Fairchild Hawks
Write Naked: What is the most effective part of your platform? (If you’re not familiar with what a writer’s platform is, check out my short video here.)
LH: My current job. (Hawks works for Duke University’s non-profit education program TIP, which targets gifted children and develops programs to foster their abilities.) I want to stay connected with youth, even though I’m not in the classroom anymore. I’m not as active as I once was on Twitter, but I find it’s a constant balance. With a full-time job, commute, family, heavy revisions on my novel, my blog, updates to my website, plus a reflective writing journal…and I want to devote two hours to writing…a lot of goals pull me away from my platform.
WN: What was a mistake you made when looking for an agent?
LH: I made extensive revisions to my novel after an agent told me to make changes based on a college student’s suggestions. This agent never picked up the phone to discuss my book, all correspondence was through email. The changes were very time consuming and I decided when I work with an agent again I will not make revisions without a phone call. Build a relationship that’s more than email before you make time to commit. I have a contract. I wouldn’t work without one.
WN: My traditional nod to James Lipton: What turns you off creatively?
LH: Petty and conniving people. Office Space politics deplete my energy. I get emotionally caught up and my creativity tanks as a result. Zaps the writing life!