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Lynne Phillips, a retired teacher, lives in the beautiful Northern Rivers Region of New South Wales Australia. Her stories, across all genres, have been published in anthologies and various online magazines. Her priority is spending time with her family. Her passions are reading, writing and keeping fit.
What is your background, what compelled you to start writing?
During my fifty years of teaching students aged between five and twelve I was always a story teller, but I never wrote my stories down. Any retelling would see the story change and morph to suit the situation or the message I was trying to get across to my students. I began writing my stories down three years ago just for fun and haven’t stopped.
What book from your childhood do you remember best? Why?
My favourite book from my childhood was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was eight the first time I read it. I loved Mary, the bossy main character. This was probably because I was a bossy boots myself. I didn’t own a copy of it until two years ago when I bought it to add to my collection.
What is a little known fact about you?
To kids I teach, I am known as the “Puppet Lady” because I own forty puppets that all have names and individual characteristics. My favourites are Chook-a-look, a naughty rooster and Ram Sam Sam, a sheep that has trouble learning to count. My puppets were an important part of my teaching. Now they live at my house. Sometimes they get out of their bag and play around after dark when everyone is asleep. I also knit puppets, making thousands of glove puppets and finger puppets which I have given away to children. My ex- students say, “I remember you. You’re the Puppet Lady. I still have the puppet you made me.”
Were you an avid reader while you were growing up?
I was a compulsive reader. I was always in trouble for having my head in a book. I would read under the blankets in bed using a torch after my parents told me to turn off the light. I would borrow a bag full of books from the library every week. We didn’t own many books. Today I have thousands of books in my collection, half of which are children’s books. My favourite is “The Book with no Pictures.”
What’s brewing? What projects are you working on?
I write stories for submissions that appeal to me, but mainly I write stories about ideas that just pop into my head, just for the fun of writing. I like writing fantasy stories the most because I have a great imagination and I don’t have to do research. I am working on a fantasy story that is inspiring me to possibly turn it into a novel in the future. I write funny stories for my grandson.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything what would it be?
I would tell my younger writing self to read slower and think about how the writer has constructed the story instead of racing through the story to find out how it ends, but then I wouldn’t have had the joy of reading the story multiple times. I would also say to my younger self the teacher I had in Year Six didn’t know what she was talking about. There really are magical unicorns and capes that make you invisible, you just need to believe.