Have you been writing for a long time?
Only my whole life. And that is getting to be a very long time.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
Honestly, it was fish or cut bait with writing. It’s my best talent—no, actually, it’s my only talent. I was an English major in my looooonnng college career (I had three babies in four years during that time which sort of slowed me down.) I always knew that I wanted to be some kind of writer but didn’t know which type. When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, I volunteered in her school library, where I discovered the middle-grade novels of Madeline L’Engle, Betsy Byars, and Penelope Lively. I thought, I want to write those! And did…after five years of figuring out how to do so. I went on to publish 15 children’s books, from picture books to young adult, before having the time and courage to tackle the kind of books I was truly called to write, novels set in history for grown-ups (I say “grown-ups” because “adult” sounds a little spicy.)
Is this book a stand-alone or part of a series?
Twains’ End is a stand alone. I’m going to say right here that I don’t write series…which, if my personal history serves as an indicator, will guarantee that the next work I write will be a series.
Why did you choose this genre?
I’m fascinated with how we humans tick. I’d say I’m more interested in psychology than history, yet what better subjects to explore our follies and strengths than famous people from the past? I also have to admit that I love the detective work involved in digging into the lives of these famous folks. I’m an incorrigible snoop.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write every day. Constantly seek to improve your work. Enjoy the magic of creation. And last, don’t be discouraged when the writing won’t come. I’d say 90% of my writing time is spent spinning my wheels. Only because I’ve been doing this a million years do I know to not panic—that 10% of good stuff will come if one hangs in there.
About the Book
Title: Twain’s End
Author: Lynn Cullen
Now in paperback for the first time from the national bestselling author of Mrs. Poe, Lynn Cullen, comes TWAIN’S END (Gallery Books; June 7, 2016; Trade Paperback; $16.00), a fictional imagining of America’s iconic writer Mark Twain and the woman who knew him too well.
In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V. Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both, wrote a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, and then—with his daughter, Clara Clemens—slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family.
In TWAIN’S END, Lynn Cullen “cleverly spins a mysterious, dark, tale” (Booklist) about the tangled relationship between Twain and Lyon. A silenced woman, Isabel’s loyal service and innocence were not enough to combat the slander, and she has gone down in history as the villainess who swindled Twain in his final years. She never rebutted Twain’s claims, never spoke badly of the man she called “The King,” and kept her silence until she died in 1958. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain’s life to a woman he was determined to destroy? TWAIN’S END explains.
Lynn Cullen lives in Atlanta surrounded by her large family, and like Mark Twain, enjoys being bossed around by cats. Follow Lynn Cullen on Facebook or visit www.lynncullen.com.
Buy the book on Simon & Schuster