Welcome, Lynne Hackles.

Lynne Hackles booksLynne newLynne spell

It’s a real pleasure to welcome our writing treasure on to my blog. I have Lynne’s book, ‘writing from life,’ on my bookshelf – and if I ever need inspiration it’s one I reach for. The other two, ‘ghost writing’ and Handy hints for Writers’ are also books of mine, that I treasure, and I’d recommend them all.

Lynne’s writing career began when she had a letter published in ‘Woman’s Realm,’ the same as me. Now she has a regular column in Writing magazine, and this month, for Halloween, she tells us how to cast a writing spell, which I will be doing of course. Over to Lynne:-

Q1. S/ Lynne, I’m a massive fan of yours because I like your style, and mostly your humour. What was the title of the first fiction story that was accepted by a Woman’s magazine, and which magazine was it?

L/I’d been writing humorous articles on family life for My Weekly but was desperate to get some fiction accepted and now I can’t remember what it was. (Actually, the articles were 50% fiction) I can be excused for the lapse in memory as it was over 30 years ago (and probably written in my school exercise book and illustrated using wax crayons as I was such a baby back then). What I can tell you was that My Weekly bought it. I had followed the pattern of a published story. The main character had a problem at the beginning of the day and solved it, through her own efforts, before bedtime. My first dozen published stories all had that day-long time-span. I’ve had over 400 published now and am currently all story-ed out and working on other things.


S/ How long would you say it takes you to write a typical woman’s magazine story?

L/ Anything from an hour to twenty years. Yes, some arrive fully formed and others sit patiently in my In Progress folder and have been moved from old computer to new, several times, and eventually the bit that was missing arrives and the story gets completed.

S/  I enjoy your column in writing magazine each month, for the variety of topics you cover, and the common sense advice. If anyone was thinking of becoming a columnist, what advice would you give?

L/ Don’t! Only joking. I enjoy writing my regular features. I do five each month under different names but I sometimes get nightmares. I dream of opening up a magazine and my regular page/column is blank because I didn’t get around to writing it. So, if you want a regular column and are lucky enough to get one then be prepared to work hard, think ahead and never miss a deadline.

S/  I think you’d make a great agony aunt. Is that something you would do, if the opportunity came your way?


L/ I would LOVE it. Not sure if the troubled people writing in would though. I tend to be one of the ‘shut up moaning and get on with it’ brigade. There’s so much to be grateful for in everyone’s life. My cousin once told me I’d led a Charmed Life which goes to prove that no-one knows what goes on in anyone’s life. I never forget that. Everyone has problems and some people can’t cope with theirs while I’m like a terrier and shake mine until they’re resolved, though some can’t be and I’ve learned and am learning to live with those. If I was to be an agony aunt I’d have to remember three things – 1. To be kind 2. To be sympathetic and 3. Not everyone is as strong as I am.

S/  Recently, you were the writer in residence at Creative Frontiers. Did they provide you with your own writing room, or did you mingle, and what’s the food like over there?

L/ They put me in a padded cell and force-fed me chocolate.


S/  Am I right in thinking you are a tutor for writing magazine? If so, what’s the most common mistake you see in fiction stories that would stop an editor buying that story?

L/ I’ve been a tutor for Writers’ News Home Study courses for 20 years now. Once I realised how long it was I started hinting about a gold clock. No-one’s taken it on board so far. I enjoy teaching students and have had many successes but some make the same mistakes over and over. I’d say the most common are Telling instead of Showing (if you’re not sure, go to my writer in residence workshops on Creative Frontiers and read all about it) and what I call Cinderella syndrome. That’s where the main character does nothing about their problems and someone else steps in (fairy-godmother) and does the solving for them. If I’d written Cinderella she’d had got off her backside, ripped down some curtains, made a dress for herself and hopped on a bus to get to the ball.

Thanks, Lynne for taking the time to answer these questions.
Thank you for asking me and giving me the opportunity to leave my WIP and do something different and frivolous. I like frivolous.

You can read more about Lynne and what she gets up to from the links below. She also has a monthly slot on Creative Frontiers.

Racing Start – a Kindle best-seller. Fast paced cycling fiction for 8-12 yr olds
Handy Hints for Writers – Compass Books
Writing From Life – How To Books
Ghostwriting – Aber Publishing

Thank you Lynne for a great interview. And glad you’re a fellow giggle blogger as well…


Author: susanjanejones

I write pocket novels for My Weekly and also enjoy writing short stories. Gardening and reading are my other pastimes.

35 thoughts on “Welcome, Lynne Hackles.”

  1. Lovely to read an interview with Lynne. Like you, Susan, I really enjoy reading her articles. It’s an interesting concept getting ‘storied out’ and often wonder if/when it might happen to me (hope not too soon).

    1. Hi Wendy, glad you popped in. I don’t think you need to worry about getting ‘storied out,’ I’m still waiting to get ‘storied in:)))’ Looking forward to the story about the newsagents daughter in this weeks magazine. Lynne’s column is the one I read first, along with Lorraine’s on the back page.

  2. Great interview Susan and Lynne! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Susan – Lynne is our writing treasure 🙂
    I can’t think of anyone who’d be a better agony aunt either – you’d be brilliant at it, Lynne. As for being storied out, you should write your alternative Cinderalla story – I reckon it would be snapped up 🙂 x

    1. I like the idea of going to a ball on a bike. I used to go to work on my racing bike and get changed into my ‘posh’ clothes when I arrived. Sometimes, I admit to tucking my skirt into my training bottoms and hitching it out when I arrived.

    1. That’s funny, Teresa. Must be Lynne’s humour spreading through blogland. She could call it Cinderalla, or have her go to the ball on a bike and call it Cinderally…. better stop now. Thanks for your lovely comments, Teresa, and glad you called in:)) xx

  3. Thank you Sue and Lynne for a great interview. So true we never actually know what’s going on in anybody else’s life do we. Once read if everybody put their list of problems in a pile you’d snatch yours back pronto!! Lynne is such an inpiration – 400 short stories wow! She always inspires with such great humour too. Brilliant. Thanks again both of you 🙂 xx

  4. Thanks for the interview, Sue. Lynne’s columns are always light and inspiring. Will sign a petition for her to receive a gold clock – or maybe it should be a gold bicycle?

  5. Great interview (again) Suzy.

    I’d love to be able to write humour. I can do the odd funny line but it’s hard to do it deliberately and to keep it up for a sustained period (as the actress said to the bishop) Lovely Liz at My Weekly once said she’d take one of my stories if I could make it funnier. She was just Liz for quite a while after that! I did it and she published it, but gosh was it hard (as the actress … no stop me, smut isn’t the way to go, I know that much)

  6. Ha ha, Patsy, you’ve been up in the highland heather for too long. Now I think your stories are full of humour, but it’s knowing how far to go as the actress said to the bishop again. She’s busy, that actress isn’t she? And one person’s funniness wouldn’t suit someone else. I’ve had the giggles in situations when others go, ‘shut up’ like in a ghost hunt once. Then again, only one said ‘shut up’ the others got ghostly giggles as well.

    1. I bet your grandchildren give you some funny things to write about Jan, have a go, you never know what you might come up with. Good luck if you do. The falling through the door at the wedding would be a good one for a start:)))

  7. I think Lynne is one off superwoman, Keith. In fact, she is superwoman. That’s what I love about her stories, the one about the band was the last one I read, where the lady went away for peace and quiet, and stayed in a hotel where there was a band practising. So funny. Glad you popped in.

  8. That was based on truth, Sue. I was with Jane Wenham-Jones and a couple of other friends. We wondered why the hotel deal for three nights was so cheap – and then the band walked in. There was a huge competition going on in town but we had the same hotel as the entrants without a cat in hell’s chance of winning.

  9. A great interview, Lynne and Sue. Writing with humour is a art to be cherished as the world could certainly do with more of it. As another who also had her first paid contribution with Womans Realm there must be plenty of us still around to mourn the passing of that title. Struggle to catch the style of some of the more recent introductions.

  10. Hey, Ann, so great to hear from you, and hope you’re keeping well. Another Woman’s Realm writer. I always loved it as it had a certain style, and that is missing I think from today’s mags. I sound like an old grump saying that, but I know you know what I mean. I also had a piece in, ‘cherished memories’ part of ‘Woman’s Realm, it was also on the letters page. It did cross my mind a while ago, there is a gap for a new woman’s weekly magazine I think. I’d call it, Today’s woman…. and it would have three fiction stories, ‘lots of laughs’ page, and things we all like, and aimed at 35’s – 95’s, and if the 96’s to 104’s wanted to read it they could of course:))))

  11. I grew up with this amazing woman. I refer to her as my ‘virtual reality’ mum.
    Growing up listening to fantastic stories, (some I didn’t realise weren’t true until my 30’s!) helped me see life in a more positive and humourous way just when I needed it most.
    Watching mum chase stories for the local paper, write poems for companies, tag lines for Zanussi and short stories for women’s magazines was and is inspiring.
    I’m proud and privileged to be part of the gene pool of Lynne and the ever supportive LSO and yet have learnt to double check when making the phone call home, to be told…”an elephant nearly killed me today”!

  12. Lynne was my tutor when I did my short story writing course through Writers’ News/Writing Mag, so everything I’ve done since has stemmed from her sound advice. Lovely lady! She taught me loads… and in a very diplomatic way, too! 😉

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