With Ritu Kaushal, author and empath

Ritu is, a San Francisco Bay Area-based author and blogger. Her book The Empath’s Journey is a memoir set in the first few years after she relocated from India to the United States. Ritu writes about the creative life and how to survive and thrive as a highly sensitive person. She has interviewed many sensitive creative people on her website: Walking Through Transitions.

Here is an in depth interview with Ritu in August 2019 and it’s very much a two-way conversation:

In this interview, Lynne and I discuss the writing process for INFJ and INFP writers, myths that hold intuitive writers back, the difference between INFP and INFJ intuition, and much more! If you are interested in any of these topics, here we go!  

Ritu: Welcome to the blog, Lynne! It’s great to have you here. I know you are a multi-passionate creative. Can you tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your novel On Turtle Beach. How did your artistic career begin? Where all has it taken you?

Lynne: Thank you so much for having me here, Ritu. It was lovely getting to know you through your book, The Empath’s Journey, in which I found much to identify with as an INFJ. I even began to realise that I do have traits of sensitivity and empathy which I hadn’t fully acknowledged in myself, and therefore hadn’t been using in a consciously positive way. So I  I have to thank you for this, Ritu, as I am now valuing these aspects of me and putting them to use. Here in the UK the Myers- Briggs personality typing is not rated highly or given much attention, but my finding out my own type just a few years ago was like coming home to myself in a way – so warming and reassuring. And to connect with like-minded kindred spirits online has been wonderful, just like finding one’s long-lost tribe – and I really do mean this. I’ve badgered some of my friends and family to do the test and it has helped me understand what their priorities and values are in life which in turn has helped me relate to them and understand them for the better. All to the good! And I have at least two INFJ friends in ‘real’ life, so we talk about anything and everything!

Well, you’ve asked some meaty questions here, but I will try to be succinct. Having diverted from the arts at school to pursue science – which was a mistake as I later found out –  it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I was pulled back into drawing and painting again, which I had always done as a child. While I was employed in a department store working with furnishing fabrics, many of which were luscious florals, I went on a one week botanical illustration course I heard about and I loved it. I decided this was my true calling in life. Soon afterwards, my partner and I moved to the Scottish Borders, where I did some college training courses in art and design and then went on to become a freelance illustrator concentrating primarily on nature. By this time gardening was a passion and I felt a connection with flowers, animals and habitats. I went on to teach my own watercolour classes with mature students for ten years, before midlife changes hit. Actually, these life direction changes are going to feature in the memoir and guide I’m in the process of writing on midlife transitions, Ritu.

The creative writing came about through the art in a strange kind of way. On the college course in art and design there was an art history component which I found so engaging. This spurred me on to do an honours degree in the humanities. I had dropped out of my science degree course as a young adult, so the mature me felt driven to gain a degree of some sort, and what better than to do it through open learning with the Open University – and in the arts! I soon discovered an affinity for art history and literature, so these two subjects formed the foundation of my degree and I was so happy to get a first. During this time, I found the practical combination of studying and painting as my main occupations really nurturing to my spirit. So after the degree I chose to do a creative writing diploma, fuelled by what I had stimulated inside myself through studying literature. Of course, I didn’t know whether I could be a good enough writer, but found myself really enthusiastic about the craft and built up my skills from there.

Quite a few years later I decided to write a novel, and it had to be something I felt strongly about, that being how two sisters can be so very different from one another, have different versions of their childhoods, and how it can be such hard work understanding one another. This was fictionally derived from the journey my own sister and I have been on and that of other women friends with sisters I consulted. And so On Turtle Beach came about. My teaser line is: ‘Two estranged sisters find reconciliation difficult, after the death of their father, when a family secret lies locked in the past.’ The setting is the turtle conservation resort of Dalyan in Turkey and its beautiful turtle beach, which I was lucky enough to visit twice on holiday. So my artist sister, Lucy, and her career woman, sister, Rhea, go to Daylan, just the two of them, to see if they can heal their relationship, and tensions soon ensue.

You ask where all this art practice has taken me? Continuing painting of course, I’m into acrylic on canvas now, and more writing projects. I also volunteer in social care as a counterbalance to the inevitable self-focus painting and writing engender. I am fascinated by human nature and psychology (probably an INFJ and INFP thing), so did a counselling skills course as part of my midlife transitions, and the volunteering naturally evolved from there. Of course absolutely every experience can feed into writing, so variety in one’s life is probably very conducive to keeping the flow of ideas and observations going.

Ritu: I have been really looking forward to this interview, Lynne. I don’t know many people who love to both write and paint. I also don’t know many people who feel similarly about writing and painting as you and I do. As I’ve told you before, writing is a mixed bag for me. When it flows, it really flows. But because writing is about expressing my voice, often, it also brings up a lot of emotions. There’s a lot of push and pull, a lot of resistance.

Writing The Empath’s Journey, especially since it was a memoir, was an emotionally exacting experience for me. I was constantly weighing the pros and cons of how much to reveal, what was really mine to share and how I could write truthfully without revealing everything.

On the other hand, painting is something that, without fail, deeply nourishes me in that very moment. I sometimes think: Art is for the Heart while Writing is for the Voice. Of course, this is not a set-in-stones-differentiation, and writing is also something that deeply nourishes me in a different way. I also expect that when I write lighter things, this will change.

Could you talk a little bit about your own relationship to writing and painting? Does practicing one art form affect the other in any way? Are there things you’ve learnt from writing that help your painting or vice versa?  

 Lynne: From what you’ve just described about your own relationship with art and writing, I can honestly say, I’m pretty much the same, Ritu. And I agree that primarily, art is for the heart and writing is for the voice. That’s very well said. Of course, with a memoir, I know from having begun mine, that head and heart can start vying with one another – that inner voice of self protection coming in saying, are you really going to talk about this? Should you reveal that? You might get hurt. And then another voice saying, Yes, but this is a memoir, you have to give with this, tell it how it is, tell it how it’s been, that’s what a memoir is all about. That is why you are writing it, to share with others and perhaps help others. So in this case it’s so tough to get a working equilibrium, Ritu.

But to answer your question, I find painting wonderfully absorbing and relaxing and it feeds my love of colour relationships and the visual. I find the doing and the viewing of the stages working towards the finished result a heart-based and spiritual journey. I can stop at any stage in the process knowing exactly where I will be ‘going with it’ next and it’s relatively easy to sit down, mix the paint, and pick up a brush. Of course, I stay open to spontaneous surprises – it somehow wouldn’t be art without these!

Writing, for the most part, is a very different experience for me. It’s more of a full-on challenge which I have to steel myself for and it’s here that creative resistance can be felt. Even before I sit down at my desk, I kind of have to mentally prepare myself to ‘open the door’, and once I’ve begun, a couple of hours can speed past so fast as I sit glued to my chair. I know these are common feelings for many writers and Steven Pressfield talks about this kind of resistance in his book, The War of Art, which I can whole-heartedly recommend to any artist, crafter, or writer as a useful aid to managing their art practice. But here is how I described in my blog what writing is like for me, it’s the one image I keep coming back to, so I hope you don’t mind me quoting myself:

‘When I paint, I relax, when I write I feel more charged, more challenged, like I’m entering a black hole in a small craft, where anything may come at me, where anything is possible, and I’ve got to navigate my way through with deft moves, both calculated and intuitively spontaneous. And once you’re in there, its hard to get out…ideas keep coming long after you’ve left the desk, you have to catch them, jot them down, like bits of stardust that have come out of the black hole with you. So the very prospect of the intensity of this is both exciting, yet scary. No wonder resistance keeps cropping up.’

So I get far more creative resistance over writing than painting and it’s probably why so many writers talk about it, and of course all we can do is to carry on regardless, with an understanding of what is going on psychologically and emotionally within us. The bottom line is that writing well is difficult.

Does one art form affect the other? I used to think no, but now I realise, yes, of course they do. They complement each other in my life and echo one another in the practice. I remember telling my university tutor that I mind-mapped my essays and did all the research before I even started the actual writing and that if she saw my painting, she’d understand why I didn’t just dive in. I wasn’t being pretentious (not an INFJ or an INFP thing), I just suddenly realised the connection, because I do detailed paintings, where I gather my reference material first and then I begin to carefully and methodically draw out the composition. I draw what I need to begin the painting and then I work through it, adding other features to the composition, building up the tonal range, and I’m constantly appraising and making decisions on colour balance, composition and form, hoping that the vision I have in my mind will come to fruition.

I work very similarly with my creative writing. I do a mind-mapped linear dramatic arc timeline through the novel or story, have most of my research material by my side, then begin with the first chapter or prologue and build it up from there. I need to know where it is going, but I don’t have a precisely plotted full outline because I want to allow for something to evolve naturally or even spontaneously while I’m in the flow. This can be the fun element. If you believe in a creative muse, it’s in the flow moments that she arrives. My one rule is that I need to know my destination and I rarely ever do a reverse turn. This lovely quote from the American writer, E. L. Doctorow, can be applied to my writing and my painting and I’m sure is apt for many of us creatives:

‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’

As to whether there are things I’ve learnt from writing that help my painting or vice versa, my love of visual detail in painting flows into my writing as I relish visual descriptions. Even though I do edit carefully to cut down on this (well I try!), it is such a motivation within me that I suppose I tend to the ‘literary fiction’ style genre because the emphasis here is on language and in-depth characters, which I am compelled towards. I think this is the only area where one art form affects the other in my case – in other words, it’s in the details.

Ritu: I am curious about how you balance your different loves. I see you starting so many new paintings on social media, and I also know you are working on several writing projects. How do you move between the two forms and also between different projects? Is it completely free-flowing or do you have a set number of hours you schedule for writing or painting or both? 

How do you start and stop? How do you make progress and actually finish things? I really admire all the beautiful art you create and am wondering if you have any energy management or time management tips for the rest of us.

For me, I have to say, in the past, I have had some unbalanced times with writing and painting. There were times when I was writing The Empath’s Journey when I just wrote for months and months till I fell down exhausted. Then, for a few months, all I wanted to do was paint and not even think about words.

I also wonder if this is not actually unbalanced but rather a cyclical way of doing things. Maybe, for me, there are seasons for writing and painting (and, of course, for other things).

What about you? What’s your relationship with these two different energies? How do you move and dance between them?  

Lynne: There is no scheduling for the writing or the painting at all, Ritu. I wish I could adhere to a strict writing time slot, but it never seems to happen for me. I consider myself doing well whenever I manage two hours writing a day for a few days in succession, followed by a break for painting. And it may well be cyclical, as you say, with a moving and dancing between them – I love this description of yours! I used to paint very regularly when I was doing mostly watercolours before I began creative writing, so I have a pretty large portfolio of my painting history which I can share with social media, and I’ve put all my work on Redbubble and Fine Art America. These days, I do acrylics on canvas, and the production rate is much lower, though I always have one in progress – that’s vital for me. As for the numerous writing projects, after I finished my second novel which I had slogged away at for so long, I felt the need for variety, so I supplied myself with some! – another novel, a memoir, and a collection of stories. They get nibbled at, Ritu, they are ‘in progress’, but there is no high level of production. Novel 3 is calling to me the most right now, so that is where I’ll be putting my writing energy for a while. You could say the characters in novel 3 are shouting the loudest and need to be moved on to the next scene. So maybe the key to your question is I seem to go where I presently feel the most drive, the most need.

As for tips on finishing things, I feel it’s paramount to relish the journey. That’s where the enthusiasm and joy lies. This, together with a methodical approach, can really help you get to the finishing line, using the skills you’ve built up in writing or painting, using your craft well. There doesn’t have to be an urgent rush unless you have a deadline, and even then you can stay one step ahead to feel in control. And it does seem to be about control. It’s important for you to be in charge of your work, not the work take charge of you. If you’re not careful, it can have you driving down interesting roads to see what’s just around the bend, but which are taking you away from your destination. A little bit of sightseeing is fine, that’s where the details can come in, but keep your eye on the main road.

I can totally understand from experience how having too many ideas for projects can render a feeling of helplessness, a not knowing what to turn to next, a feeling of being divided. However, the bottom line is to allow yourself to be absorbed in the practical doing, the craft and techniques and to trust that the delightful serendipities will happen and will enhance your work without you pressing for them to come. There is a way of being in simple creative craft which enfolds you, a kind of nourishment for the soul. So my tip would be to view your art, whatever form it takes, as a special kind of food for the soul and as a means to pour out your inner energies in ways which simply can’t be expressed any other way.

Ritu: In a similar vein, I have been thinking about how writing is a very different experience for me at different times. When I write by hand, I feel embodied. I feel like I tap into something deeper. This can also happen when I am typing away on a laptop and inspiration strikes. But writing by hand is definitely qualititatively different. Images tend to pop up more when I am writing by hand. I was wondering if you like to write by hand? Can you also talk a little bit about any rituals you have around writing? Do you prefer writing at certain places, such as the library? Do you need a certain environment? Do you need a block of uninterrupted time or can you write in little patches? 

Lynne: Writing by hand is mostly a NO for me, Ritu. I do hand write mind maps, plotlines, and when I’m developing new characters, I have these big lists to fill in. These are certainly more tangible and I prefer them physically by my side to refer to when I’m doing the creative stuff on my laptop. Mind mapping gives me images and more ideas, and I think this is probably linked to where you are coming from with your handwriting process.

My rituals are more to do with place than any quirky practices. I do my creative writing on my laptop at my desk in a bedroom. I’ve got all I need around me, books and more books, it’s visually pleasing for colour – that’s important to me –  and it’s secluded. I like to keep it tidy, dust-free and no one touches it but me!  I use the main house computer for everything else, like admin or social media. So there is a divide between creative writing and functional writing which works well for me. Upstairs, I can work in blocks of time, and find it impossible to do just ten minutes or so without getting totally sucked in. With all this privacy and quiet, I don’t even bother trying to write elsewhere anymore where there can be so many distractions. As Stephen King has said, you need to write with the door shut.

Ritu: Could you talk a little bit about the process of writing your novel On Turtle Beach? Where did the idea come from? How did you begin to construct your characters? How did you create the setting? Did you plot the novel or did it germinate and take root organically? 

I really like how George R.R.Martin talks about how while all writers are both architects and gardeners to some degree, we are definitely more one than the other. As an INFP writer, I am definitely a gardener. Although I did start off with an outline for The Empath’s Journey, that was more to get me started than something I followed religiously. The outline morphed and changed as I wrote more and discovered more.

So, although I was a little bit of an architect, I was mostly a gardener. I knew what seed I had planted. I knew I needed to nourish it for it to grow.

I did have a loose plan. But I wasn’t like the writers who are mainly architects who have a detailed blueprint and follow it to the letter. They are constructing a house they already know the exact vision for, while for me, as an INFP writer, the fun of writing is in the discovery.

What’s your process like? If you were to give a percentage split (just for fun!), how much of your process is being the architect and how much is it being the gardener? I would say I was 30% architect and 70% gardener while writing The Empath’s Journey.  

Lynne: Okay, I’ve been mulling over this recently as I know so many writers believe in fully plotted outlines, scene by scene, from start to finish. So what we’re really talking about here is drafting out the full plot of a fiction book or fully mapping out the content of a non–fiction book like a memoir. And my answer is no, I just can’t outline to this degree or work this way, even though I have tried. Turtle Beach was mostly organic, the seed was watered and fed but I didn’t know how it was going to be exactly when it was finished growing, the exact form of it. I developed the two characters of Lucy and Rhea using a blend of inspirations from people I knew or have known, including bits of me and my sister, and the exotic setting came from where I’d visited on holiday, whereby it acted upon the sisters’ feelings, conflicts and motivations to drive the plot on. These were the more straightforward aspects and the alternating points of view became the structure. Apart from the major turning points the plot mostly evolved when I needed it too, but I did know the ending in order to get there. Secondary characters popped up along the way and some fascinating things happened when they became helpers or hinderers to the sisters. This was the magical stuff that just seemed to weave in well for me, where every decision you make early on somehow becomes relevant later, as if by accident, and I’m not going to examine this too closely because this is the creative mystery of writing we should value and honour.

When it came to the second novel, After Black, currently in the publishing process, I really wanted to have the full story worked out. I tried so hard, but again, the material somehow wouldn’t allow me to do it. There were too many questions, too many possibilities. So I began with the first few chapters, knowing where it was going for a while, but checking on and thinking about what should come next, and that way I got to the end without any reversing going on. So I’m sticking with this blend of architect at the beginning and gardening in process as it’s obviously what works best for me. I’m going to say 50:50 for the proportions, Ritu, and I’m very happy with this!

Ritu: I feel like there are all these myths that surround writers as well as the writing process. Some people talk about how you have to write every day. Some people think that you are not a professional writer if you don’t do it full-time. I have also heard some writers talk quite disparagingly in online forums about writers with a different process than theirs (these are usually architects talking about gardeners and believing, I think quite erroneously, that we are haphazard.)

For me, understanding my own free-flowing, gardener-like process and sticking to it has been a game-changer for my creative life as an INFP writer. Are there any myths that you once believed about writing that you no longer do? What would you say to your younger self or a young writer just starting out who is confused with all the shoulds they are hearing about what writing is or what it’s supposed to be?

Lynne: You’ve touched a nerve, here, Ritu. Early on in my blog I wrote a post called ‘How to be an unhappy writer’ because as I was learning the craft I was coming across so much dogmatic advice and writers’ rules on what you should and should not do: concerning writing time, plotting methods, hooks and cliff hangers, the perfect first sentence, what agents want and don’t want, what publishers want and don’t want, the perfect submission method, dialogue tag dangers, railing against too much ‘telling’ description (which I love doing), how writers must visit book festivals, do readings, build up their CV, enter competitions and win prizes. It all had me in a whirl and caused me much inner conflict, self doubt and frustration. And now, it simply makes me angry. I have come across very opinionated writers on some forums too, Ritu, who see their way as the right way. In painting I came across people who insisted watercolour was for loose wet-into-wet work, not for detail, and yet all botanical artists use watercolour for exacting precision. So much for rules, then.

I would say work hard but go with the flow of your own nature. Write when you can, paint when you can. Be disciplined within yourself, be spontaneous within yourself. Embrace both. And please don’t compare yourself or your process to others – it’s simply too destructive, and what you see on the outside may be very different from the truth. Know that most of us don’t get rich in the arts, and far more luck is involved than I ever realised when I was younger, no matter what you hear or what you are advised to do, it really can be a matter of luck. So do your art because it makes you who you are, who you need to be, and let fate decide everything else.

Ritu: You are an INFJ personality type, Lynne. I have been thinking lately about the difference between my Extroverted Intuition and Introverted Intuition, which is what INFJs have. My husband, an INTJ, also has Introverted Intuition (Ni) as his first function just like INFJs do. So, I get to see it in action and can kind of glimpse inside it (though not really!)

I feel as if INFP intuition is about experimenting, pushing buttons in the real world to see what happens, and is this crackling burst of different ideas. It’s almost like one idea leads to the next to the next. I always have a plethora of ideas, but like other INFPs, that also makes me a little paralyzed because now, I have to choose between these different exciting possibilities and shut some of them down.

On the other hand, it seems to me that INFJs’ Introverted Intuition is about creating a big picture and going deep with one big idea (correct me if I am saying it wrong!) Could you draw a picture of what intuition feels like for you as an INFJ personality type? 

 Also, are there any “tells” that show you that you are on the right track? Trusting my intuition has been both a big challenge as well as a game-changer for me as an INFP writer and artiste. So, I am curious to learn how you think about your intuition and how you relate to it.

What would you tell your younger INFJ self or INFJ writers/creatives just starting out about intuition and its role in the artist’s life? I also asked this question to Mark Pierce, the author of The Creative Wound who is an INFJ sensitive creative in an interview I did with him. He gave me a really interesting answer and I am wondering if your experience is similar or different from Mark’s. 

Lynne: This is tricky for me to answer, Ritu. I’ve only known I’m INFJ for about four years and then had to decide if I felt I fitted with the characteristic traits, which primarily I certainly do and as mentioned earlier, it came as a relief! But the intuition aspect was the most difficult for me to form an opinion about. When I was young I followed my head rather than my heart, but slowly I realised over the years that I could actually trust following my heart and that this was key to my happiness and peace of mind. I was always sensitive to other people’s inner emotions and their moods (as well as my own, of course!), but just felt I was ‘too sensitive’, that it was a handicap rather than a useful tool. I learned to appreciate this sensitivity and empathy when I did some counselling skills training, and it was then that I began noticing my intuition working too – listening to it, respecting it, working with it.

So over time, I’ve come to embrace and trust using my sensitivity, empathy and my intuition, the intuition working in tandem with the former two. The mode it takes seems to be like this: knowing when someone is being false – a kind of seeing behind the mask scenario; knowing how an awkward situation is going to turn out and preparing for it in advance; knowing if someone is hurt or angry from tiny behavioural clues. Just knowing! So I use this now in a constructive way and it helps me decide whether to intervene or act in a social situation or to leave it alone. I suppose what I’m saying it that it helps me deal with people, and I also know in a specific moment whether I need to do or say the most useful thing for me, right then and there, to avoid being upset later on. I take this aspect of intuition very seriously for self care. I know I am on the right track when I feel the inner conflict fizzle out and when I feel a sense of calm over how I handled the situation which triggered the conflict.

Now creatively, I cannot embrace too many projects, unlike you. I want or need to put myself into one or two at the most and go right into them, deeply exploring, working my way through systematically to reach an outcome I’m happy with. So I have to intuit from the start which project is going to deliver the most meaning for me and then I stick to that like glue. In my reading of psychology and self-development books I look for harmonious patterns and links from disparate sources where the ideas and theories support one another to build one big picture, so in this sense I seem to be using my introverted intuition. It is focused, controlled, it has a direction. It’s this needing to have a direction which might well be an INFJ  INFP difference?

I would tell young creative INFJ’s to get in touch with their intuition to ease social situations, to understand others, as well as for self protection, since we can be so easily hurt with our over sharing and our unbridled honesty. These life factors of who we are can heavily influence our creative work. We just cannot separate the two. Someone suggested to me once to ‘keep my own counsel’ . Although said for their benefit, not mine, I realised that I can be too easily roused to express myself and that actually I don’t need to always ‘jump’ in and put myself in the firing line – I can keep my own counsel. And guess what, it can be quite liberating instead of having your strings pulled. So young creative INFJs should know they can trust themselves in the face of self doubt and know that their intuition will guide them well in life and in their creative projects.

Ritu: In preparation for our talk, I read this interview that you did where you talked about the best advice you have ever heard and which applies to any sensitive creative person, whether it’s a writer or a craftsman. It’s a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Can you explain what this means to you a little bit please? How does this quote relate to your creative life as an INFJ writer?

I am a big Mahatma Gandhi fan as well, so it was so lovely to read this! When I started blogging, one of my doubts was: “What if I write something today, and then I stop believing it later on? How could I be consistent? Would people think any less of me if I were not consistent?” But then, I found a quote by Mahatma Gandhi in which he talked about how, in his search for the truth, he was free to change his mind anytime.

That gave me my answer. I could write from my present understanding but could also change my mind later on. This was a really important question for me to find an answer to in my own blogging journey as an INFP writer.

So, it was lovely to see our connection here and I wanted to understand what exactly this quote means in your creative life as an INFJ writer.  

Lynne: Yes, that’s a very pleasing connection, Ritu, and I entirely agree that we should be free to change our course at any time. We’re not linear beings, we’re more like trees, branching into wherever the light happens to be shining to find what’s true for us at any particular time, but there is a foundation of learning there in how the growth has been achieved.

Well, when I first found the Gandhi quote you’ve highlighted, I felt an immense sense of permission to be me and to write and paint as I do, in the ways I do, regardless of the outcomes. I was struck by the quote when I was listening to far too many writers’ and artists’ rules on how to achieve success. I could see there were so many artists and writers out there, I began to wonder whether there was any point in my being one too? How can I possibly make an impact? And hasn’t it all done before? Just how many writers and artists does the world need? Not to mention how slim the chances of monetary success really are. So when I read the quote it helped me to redefine success for the better.

Yes, we are all insignificant, and what we produce in the great scheme of things is totally insignificant too. But facing up to the truth of this insignificance can also be a form of liberation, a freedom from being plagued by the imperative to measure up at all costs and to endure the inevitable suffering and strife while you claw your way along the rugged path to imagined glory. Instead you can do the creative work simply because it is important to you, because it is who you are and what you do. You can do your very best work, knowing that life is precious, and how you spend your time is so valuable you owe it to yourself to spend it by making your very own form of meaning with your art. That your life would be impoverished and shallow without it. So this quote resonated very deeply with me as you can see and I hope sharing this helps someone who may be currently struggling with these art practice existential issues.

Ritu: Can you tell us a little bit about your next project. What stage are you in right now? Also, is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t asked in this interview?

Lynne:  Okay, thanks, Ritu. I’m currently in the publishing process for Novel 2, After Black, concerning a relieved widow, Janet, who returns to her beloved department store job only to find her new peace of mind shattered by a feisty young woman colleague she loathes. The two women go head to head for personal advancement in the retail world of the 80s where material values hold sway over matters of the heart. The plotting of this novel required plenty of introverted intuition and organic growth!

While that is going on, I’m picking up where I left off at three chapters in to novel 3, No Magic Pill, which features a jaded and cynical man going through a midlife crisis. I have three major characters here so will be back to alternating points of view again, which I do relish. And I have a peony painting in development – always has to be a painting on the go!

Oh yes, I haven’t mentioned that I write as Lynne Fisher, Fisher being my husbands name, and I paint as Lynne Henderson, my legal name. I chose to do this to keep some personal boundaries around the writer me and the artist me, but of course they overlap all the time in practice, as I’ve discovered above by answering your questions, Ritu.

It has been a joy, a challenge, and a revelation at times to do this interview with you, Ritu, so many thanks for inviting me!

Ritu: Thank you for this interview, Lynne! It was a real pleasure to have you here! How can readers connect with you online? Where can they find you and your work?

Lynne:   Thank you, Ritu!  Here goes with the links…

Original interview here