Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Petra Vlah Interviews lmmartin (Lynda M Martin) Hubpages 10/27/2010

"A talented writer
and editor reveals her
rich background and 
exciting endeavors"

(PV) Through your work on HP, but no less, because of who you are as a person, in just one year you have gained a loyal number of followers and well deserved respect of the community. Could you highlight your best and worst experiences? 
(LM) First, let me say thanks to my followers and friends on hubpages who have made the past thirteen months so much fun. I’ve given your question a lot of thought and I just can’t pinpoint either a best or a worst experience. It’s all been good – wonderful. What I’ve enjoyed the most? The people I’ve come to know, for sure. I do not write on hubpages for income – can’t. I’m here to write, to share and to network, not for monetary gain. That makes a difference in the approach taken to the writing, I think, and one that seems to pay big dividends in reader appreciation.

(PV) European by birth, growing up in Canada and eventually moving part-time to US, you have brought a wealth of experience and a fresh prospective to all of us. How did those different cultures shape your personality?

(LM) What an interesting question, and one I find impossible to answer in twenty-five words or less, but I’ll do my best. Shall we start at the beginning?

I was born in Scotland, moved to the south coast of England and then immigrated with my family to Western Canada at the age of six. The British culture component of my life came to me through my parents and extended family, rather than first hand life. Relatives and friends “back home” sent me books at each holiday, so I grew up with the British literary classics of Rupert the Bear, and Enid Blyton’s the adventures of The Famous Five. Outside our house was Canada: inside was a part of Britain – and I fought it! I worked very hard at adopting my new accent, and becoming thoroughly Canadian.

As a young woman, I attended the University of Montreal, a French language university, and earned a Bachelor degree in Business Administration. I loved Montreal and stayed in Quebec for eight years. As a business consultant based in that great city, I came to know more of the U.S. My first audit in ‘the States’ took me to the tiny town of Demopolis, Alabama. That was an experience! Even more so than New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta … The same career took me to Europe: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Dublin…

Twenty-five years ago, I attended a business conference in Denver and there met my husband, Jim, from New Orleans. After five years of a cross-border affair, we married and he moved to Canada – Winnipeg, Manitoba and Calgary Alberta.

Now, we live in Florida, and this year, as Jim was offered an excellent professional opportunity in Florida, we are in the process of getting my resident status – legal at last. I enjoy life on the Gulf coast very much, as anyone who reads my personal hubs knows.

How has this affected my personality? It’s made me into a person who can’t answer a simple question about her past with any efficiency of words. It’s also kept me poor. (Rolling stones gather no moss.)

(PV) Your soon to be released book deals with the tragic problem of abused children, a cause which you took to heart and made it your mission in life. Please tell us more about it.

(LM) “This Bird Flew Away” does deal with the life of a girl made vulnerable through neglect, trafficked and exploited, but abuse is only one minor component of this story. It is a tribute to the courage and strength of children, to their ability to reinvent themselves, to go about the business of being children no matter what goes on around them. It is primarily a story of love, the real meaning of love and its healing power. It pays homage to the family, the need for that safe refuge and strength we find there, no matter what form the family takes. It is not a dark book.

My thirty years in child protection gave me more reasons to celebrate than to despair, and I dedicate this book to those girls it was my profound honor to befriend and the voyages we took together. They have my undying admiration.

 Why did I write the book? I answer that question in my blog, Sincerely Yours, Lynda. For those wanting to know more about my background in child protection, you can read about it here on hubpages.
(PV) You have posted fragments of this book on HP asking the community to give an honest critique. What has been the response and to which extent did that help you or motivate you to continue the project?
(LM) The hubpages community played a great role in affirming my belief in this story. Most comments were positive and complimentary, which was a soothing balm coming at a time when the agents were busiest at slapping me down.
A group of hubbers volunteered to be my beta readers. Can I take the space here to thank them? Thanks papajack, Amanda S., itakins, Peg Cole, RebeccaE, resspenser, Tammy Lochman, Mr. Happy… (If I forgot someone, I apologize.) A special thank you to Morten Rand (Fiction Factory) who critiqued the work, and offered excellent advice. Another special thank you to Rafini, who took her editing and critiquing duties very seriously, and offered many helpful insights and discussions.

(PV)  One of your most admirable qualities is your willingness to share specific knowledge and life experiences with the community. What was the response and what are your plans on continuing such helpful activities?

(LM) I assume you are referring to my Good Writing Is… series, and yes, I plan to continue. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to study with some really great writing mentors over the years. I am an education junkie, love to learn and so I am still taking seminars as well as teaching them. With my ‘students’ (for want of a better term,) it is easier for me to say, ‘Go to hubpages and check out #5 or #7’, rather than rewrite the same points over and over.

I hope to eventually end up with an on-line primer for new writers. My next hub will be on pacing, as I have a couple of writers I’m working with who need help in that regard. That many readers find the series helpful – and say so – is a side effect of a completely self-serving goal, and a delightful one. There it is; my confession. Thanks to all who’ve made that series a success.

(PV) With incredible ease you can switch hats and go from powerful and sensitive creative writing style to a pedagogic and clear writing manner meant to teach others; just the same you can use sarcasm and humor in other hubs. Which writing style is most comfortable to you?    
(LM) When you’ve spent years writing such sparkling works as Financial Reporting – the Case for Consistency, and the XY Corporation Internal Auditors’ Handbook during the day, and editing such literary gems as Forbidden Desires, and Paula’s Pillow Talk under contract at night, while writing Dick and Alice’s Big Day Out (a short story about two dogs lost in the big city for a day – for Owl, a children’s magazine) on the weekend, and juggling all this with articles like Low self-esteem and promiscuity in the adolescent girl and Follow-up on five case studies – the reunification of the run-away and the family, acted as editor-in-chief to a couple of journals for charitable organizations and written short stories for women’s magazines, it’s safe to say not only do you acquire the ability to write in any voice, you also have to become very organized to keep your various personae straight. What writing style works best for me? Whichever one I need to use at the moment.

(PV) As busy as you are with your own writing you have always extended a hand to others and offered one on one tutoring and editing help. How did that enrich you as a writer and as a person?  
(LM) I’ve never been sure whether I’m a writer who loves to edit and teach, or an editor/teacher who loves to write. Either way, one supports the other. I learn more about writing from teaching, and become a better teacher by writing. There it is.
(PV) Anything else you would like to add?  

(LM) Hubpages has enriched my life more than I can express. I am grateful to those who’ve chosen to follow my work, and honored by the opportunity to share with so many, all around the world. Thank you for asking me to give this interview.

I wanted to share this interview with you, and I hope you enjoyed it.
My thanks to Petra, and the wonderful team over at hubpages. 

Sincerely Yours, 



  1. Good on you Lynda ...well done .Great interview.

  2. Thank you, wheresmy. I was honored to be selected from the thousands, no -- hundreds of thousands of talented people writing for hubpages. Lynda