We’re so excited to speak to Birdie Lynn this week about her debut NA romance novel, Sparks Fly! Originally from LA and currently living in Chicago pursuing a career as an art therapist, Birdie loves all things creative, including fanart and fanfiction. Thank you so much for joining us, Birdie!
Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your debut novel, Sparks Fly?
I’m Birdie! I’m a bisexual, biracial woman pursuing a masters degree for Art Therapy in Chicago, but I’m an LA native. Sparks Fly is a new adult contemporary romance novel for the queer community, centered around Arthur and his archnemesis Mika as they find themselves on a journey from enemies to soulmates to fake boyfriends to friends to lovers at magic school. It’s chock full of my favorite romance tropes, and it’s basically a love letter to anyone who’s an avid enjoyer of fanfiction.
What did your journey to publishing look like while you were trying to get Sparks Fly into the world? What advice do you have for other writers currently on a similar journey?
I wrote a book in quarantine, and the next year tried to shop it around via the standard querying process: submitting it to literary agents and hoping someone would love it enough to pitch it to a publishing house. At the time, it was not a very good time to be querying—agents just weren’t taking on new projects. I was never in this for the fame or money—I just wrote a book and wanted to share it. So when my friend sent me a link to Counterpoise’s open submission call, I submitted Sparks Fly and got a response within the hour! It ended up being the perfect fit, and it took about a year to go through the publishing process. I got to retain a lot of creative control over my story, and even got to design the cover—things I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do if I’d stuck to the traditional publishing route. I’d say if you want your story to remain very much yours, with a personalized publishing process, look into independent publishing! It was really fulfilling for me.
Ready Chapter 1 is all about helping writers polish their work through our Peer Critique Community. What is the best critique you’ve ever received and how did it change your writing?
The best critique I’ve ever received, and continue to receive, is “show don’t tell.” It changed the way I write stories, and it continues to be something I work on even after years of practice. Whenever an author explains to you how a character is feeling, it doesn’t evoke the same sense of empathy and relatability as just showing you how they’re feeling. The difference between “Arthur felt love in his heart” and “Arthur’s heart beat a tattoo against his ribs, chest swelling with something indescribable and exciting” is so poignant and even more telling. Trust your readers! They’ll get it!
Your author bio says you love creating fanart and fanfiction. How do you think these creative outlets have influenced your writing overall?
I maintain a sense of whimsy in all my creative pursuits. I just don’t take myself too seriously, and don’t expect others to either! I write purely for fun. I write stories that I’d want to read myself. My goal is to write romance so compelling that you want to stay up till odd hours of the morning just to see them kiss, to write intimacy so engaging that it makes you want to scream and keyboard smash about it. I’ve read fanfictions that are higher quality than published novels, and they do it for free! If that’s not a pure, unadulterated love for writing, I don’t know what is. That’s the energy I’m chasing when I write.
If you could hang out with one character from Sparks Fly, who would it be and why?
Oh, absolutely Mika. His energy is so infectious, and he’s the kind of person that can make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world when you’re with him.
Do you have any exciting writing projects on the horizon you can tell us about?
I’ve been working on a Good Omens fanfiction collab with my best friend, as well the final installment of a very indulgent Attack on Titan Vampire AU fanfiction series, but I can’t imagine that’s of any interest to anyone 😉
Can you provide links to any websites or social channels you’d like readers to follow?