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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Anniversary Blog Fest: Hywela Lyn


As someone who’d never been outside the UK, I always dreamed of seeing America, but never thought it would happen.

My first two novels, Starquest, and the sequel, Children Of The Mist, were published by the US publishing house, Wild Rose Press. By networking with US authors I’ve made some amazing friends, including Mary Rickson and the late Sharon Donovan. Sharon was a wonderful author and despite having lost her sight to Diabetes Type 1, managed to write amazing inspirational and suspense romances, as well as her memoir, Echo Of A Raven. We collaborated on a ‘fun’ blog to promote other authors, The Author Roast and Toast , and became such close friends it felt as if the three of us had always known each other. Out of the blue, Mary (who lives in Florida) suggested I travel to Pennsylvania with her to meet Sharon, and after some persuasion on her part, we started making plans. I'd never been further than France in my life, so the prospect of flying so far by myself was both thrilling and a little scary.

Tragically, a month before I was due to leave for the US, Sharon, who'd been admitted to hospital in January for a second major heart operation, suffered a series of setbacks and, despite putting up a tremendous fight, did not pull through. Mary and I were heartbroken, but decided to go ahead and make the trip to Pittsburgh, me from the UK and Mary from Florida, to meet Sharon's parents, and her sister, Mary Beth, who had kept us both updated about Sharon's progress.

The flight was smooth and I’ll never forget my first glimpse of America as the plane prepared to land at JFK airport – or the thrill of seeing the space shuttle Enterprise, sitting ‘piggyback’ on a specially converted Jumbo 747 as we taxied along the runway en route to Pennsylvania. Mary’s plane was due in before mine, so she arranged to meet me at the airport. However, when I’d picked up my luggage, and walked along what seemed like miles of terminal in search of her, I began to think I’d made a mistake and missed her somehow, and started to panic. It turned out her plane had been delayed by two hours, and I hung around the baggage collection point for what seemed hours before we were finally able to give each other a real hug after all the virtual ones we’d shared. I was very glad I’d brought my eReader with me – and extremely grateful for to the very tall and charming airport official who helped us find each other.

We spent several days in Pittsburgh and met Sharon’s lovely sister and parents, and saw the delightful room where Sharon wrote her novels. Mary Beth showed us around the places Sharon loved. It was bitter-sweet and we were so sad that Sharon had not made it, to share in our dream of meeting up, but we all sensed her presence and felt that somehow she was there with us, sharing our experiences and conversations and helping us make wonderful memories. We went to one of her favourite restaurants, saw the 'spaceship’ at the little town of Mars, where Mary Beth lives with her husband, son and daughter, and visited the peaceful cemetery where Sharon was laid to rest, looking towards the trees and mountains, and the beautiful Church where she used to worship.

After five days in Pennsylvania, Mary and I spent a very relaxing few days at a lovely guest house, called 'Dream Horse' in Ohio, in the heart of Amish country. We’re both horse lovers and the owner of the Guest House breeds Hafflinger horses. We were fascinated to learn she has written a book about the house and its guests, illustrated with the most beautiful photographs and paintings also done by herself. Writers are naturally drawn to each other it seems, because we had no idea when Mary booked our reservation there that we would make yet another writer friend!

My time in the US was wonderful, and something I’ll never forget. I little dreamt when I had my first novel accepted, that it would lead to the trip of a lifetime, across the pond!

About the Author: I live in a small village in England, with my long suffering husband Dave, although my heart remains in my native rural Wales, which inspired so much of my writing. Although most of my stories tend to be futuristic, the worlds I create are usually untainted by crowded cities and technology, embracing the beauty and wildness of nature. My characters often have to fight the elements and the terrain itself. My heroes are strong and courageous, but chivalrous and honourable - and of course, handsome and hunky. My heroines are also strong and courageous, but retain their femininity and charm. However difficult the journey, love will always win in the end.

STARQUEST is the 'book of my heart' to use the old cliche. It is set among the stars I love, and on various imaginary planets, one of which, the icy planet Niflheim, features largely in the sequel CHILDREN OF THE MIST. I fell in love with my characters, and hope you will too. One of them, Kerry Marchant, begged to have his own story - so I'm working on it, and 'Beloved Enemy' will eventually become the third in the trilogy.

DANCING WITH FATE is a fantasy novella, originally written for an anthology about the nine muses, published by The Wild Rose Press. When I regained my rights last year, I revised it and republished it myself, and it is available both as an Ebook and in paperback.

A keen animal lover, I have two horses, a rescued Jack Russell and a 'feral' cat. A horse or two usually manages to creep into my stories. Come, join me in adventures beyond the stars, where new wonders await, or travel back to a time where the world was greener and less frantic, to a time where myths and legends merge and legendary heroes shape the future.

All my books are available from Amazon and Kindle, and you can obtain an autographed paperback copy from my Website









Ingeborg said...

I'm very sorry about Sharon.

Hywela Lyn said...

Thank you Ingeborg, yes, her loss was tragic, she was such a wonderful friend and a very talented author - but she'll never be forgotten. There are links to her blog on my own blog and the one we used to run together, The Author Roast and Toast. Her wonderful spirit lives on!

Maddy said...

Bittersweet indeed - and people say the internet doesn't enhance our relationship.......

Hywela Lyn said...

Absolutely Maddy - I have made some wonderful, genuine friends on the internet, and when Mary and I met 'in the flesh' we felt we'd known each other for ever.

Karen H in NC said...

So sorry about Sharon but your post today is truly heartwarming and inspirational. Sounds like you had a lovely first trip to the US! Don't stay away. As they say here in the south, "Y'all come back and see us again, ya hear?!" As a transplanted northerner to a southern state, that's the best I can do!

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Hywela Lyn said...

Aw bless, thank you Karen - actually that just about describes Sharon herself - heartwarming and inspirational.

I did inded have a lovely trip to the US and everyone was so friendly and hospitable. I must admit I'd love to visit again, and Mary is nagging me already. even if I don't manage it, I have wonderful memories to last a lifetime.

Jean MP said...

What a wonderful post, so sorry about Sharon. It sounds like you met some great people and made some wonderful memories.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Hywela Lyn said...

Thanks so much Jean

Yes the memorories will stay with me forever - and I really felt Sharon's presence. She'll never be forgotten.

Mary Ricksen said...

Meeting you Lyn made writing worth every second. Even if I'd never published I got to know and love you and Sharon. That was well worth it. And I am gonna get you back someday! You know I need real hugs!
I never thought my soul sister might live in another country. It was the best time and Sharon was with us in her room. We felt her. Lyn heard her. It was amazing!

Hywela Lyn said...

Mary, sweet friend, thank your for your lovely words. Yes, truly Sharon, you and I were like 'soul sisters' so close, while living so far away. Thank you for making my visit to America so fantastic, and full of beautiful memories.

(And Mary -the one nearest the camera -gives the best bear hugs ever!)

LisaRayns said...

Touching story, sorry for your loss.

Hywela Lyn said...

Thank you so much, Lisa. Sharon will never be forgotten, and I know she wouldn't have wanted us to be sad, and would also have wanted us to make that trip and meet her family, just so sad we couldn't meet her too.

Catherine Lee said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Now, I must say that I used to live in PA, in a VERY small town not very far from Pittsburgh, and I'm sorry that it was your first scene of the US. It's not quite the best picture that I'd show a visitor from the UK...LOL
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Hywela Lyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hywela Lyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hywela Lyn said...

Thanks Catherine - but don't worry, actually where Sharon's parents live is very quiet and leafy on the outskirts of Pittsburgh - and her sister also lives in a lovely rural locaition. The restarant where she took us was on Mount Washington, and the views of the bridges were breathtaking. I'm a real country lover and had expected Pittsburgh to be much more built up, but we never really went into the city itself, and I just loved what I saw.

I have some pictures up on my own blog
if anyone would like to see them.

Debby said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I love the first glimpse of a place I have never been.
debby236 at gmail dot com

P.L. Parker said...

As always Lyn, wonderful post and glad you enjoyed our USA!

Hywela Lyn said...

Thanks so much for your kind comments Debby and Patsy. Yes, although I only saw a small part fof Pennsylvania and Ohio, I loved it. And the people were so friendly - and the food was wonderful!