Interview with Robin Lythgoe Part 2

The is the second part of the inspirational stealing interview with Robin Lythgoe.


Author Robin Lythgoe

 Any fun facts about you that we do not know?

I … went backpacking when I was seven months pregnant. We both survived!

And … I was born on my mother’s birthday. She missed being born on HER mother’s birthday by two days.

I spent one fun-filled summer driving a hay-mower and catching hay-bales. One summer was enough for me!

 List your top ten memorable books.

 (In no particular order, because it depends on the day and the mood …)

             1)         Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (series) by Tad Williams

2)         Lady of the Forest, by Jennifer Roberson Continue reading


Robin Lythgoe on How She Writes a Book


Robin with the Release Poster of As the Crow Flies

I wrote my first published novel, AS THE CROW FLIES, “freestyle.” I enjoyed the writing itself, but not so much the revisions afterward. I decided to plot the next book, but I dislike the notion of figuring out every little detail beforehand. What I’ve got now is a nicely dressed skeleton. There are points to aim for, but plenty of room along the way to learn new things. I use the Scrivener application, which is wonderful for keeping all the important information in one place—and easily accessible. While I’ve tried using it to outline (it has a great outline view and/or index cards), I found I needed a wider visual view, so I’ve created a monstrous plot board. Okay, it’s only 36×48. It might give me too much room to add my sticky notes!


Robin’s Plot board

I’ve got the Board broken down into three acts with two sequences each—but in the middle of my planning I found I liked three sequences in each section better. There are the important hurdles to include: the inciting moment, the midpoint, the ordeal, and the climax. I won’t forget if I have them written down! I also have a basic list of points or scenes I want to accomplish in each sequence, which I keep in Scrivener in a “Plotting” folder where I also keep notes of things I might want to include, such as a character list, a place list, a timeline (though I confess I actually prefer to keep my timeline in a spreadsheet), and other helpful ideas.

With the key points in hand, I write a brief sticky-note for each, then start expanding. I use one color for the protagonist, one for the antagonist, other colors for secondary characters. As I add them to the board I can easily see what plot lines and character arcs need attention. As you can see, my current board still needs a little wor, but at this point I want to write and see what comes out of each situation, find out how the nuances I discover will effect the last half. I still feel there’s much to discover about that “blue” character. When I get stuck on the plot I bounce ideas off my awesome writing partner; I really don’t know what I’d do without her!

Then I go to Scrivener and create a folder for each act, and one for each sequence within the act. I transfer those brief notes and expand a little in a synopsis. Then it’s time to write! It looks structured — and it is, to a certain point — but getting from Point A to Point B isn’t always a straight line. I aim the characters in the right direction, and they show me what they’re made of. Sometimes the plot board will have to be rearranged (again), but the ideas are fairly fluid, they are not carved in stone. There can still be room for those epiphanies I have in the shower.


Author Robin Lythgoe

As I write I sometimes come up against details that need investigating or creative untangling. Rather than stoppingPro the flow of my writing I make a note to myself in the document and mark it with an easily searchable hashtag. Inserting a comment would do the same trick, but I find the hashtag quicker and just as easy to find when I go to Round Two, where I fix the obvious and start looking for the inconspicuous gaffs.

Since I’m writing a series, I use the back side of my Plot Board to create an over-arching outline that covers the whole story. It will have the same key points, but broken down into individual volumes.

In the process of actual writing, I aim for a word count (depending on the time I have and the mood I’m in). Whether or not I reach it, I try to leave my writing with a question in my head. Or in my case, written as the last line of the day. It provides a great place to pick up the next time I write, and I’ll already have something in mind.

Top Ten Sci-Fi / Fantasy Movies / Books of Robin Lythgoe

List your top ten Sci-Fi/ Fantasy Books / Movies… (We all know either the book came from the movie or the movie came from the book.)


Again, in no particular order:


  • LadyhawkeRobin_0123_pp_300
  • X-Men (all of them!)
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams
  • Lord of the Rings (books and movies)
  • Princess Bride (book and movie)
  • The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
  • Minority Report (Phillip K Dick Short story originally)
  • Spiderwick Chronicles
  • Trio for a Lute series by R.A MacAvoy
  • Grimm

Book Spotlight: As the Crow Flies by Robin Lythgoe

As the Crow Flies. Robin Lythgoe
This is the review I did a few weeks ago on AS THE CROW FLIES. I feel this is a good enough time to re-post it.
For a thief, getting caught is never a good thing. Getting caught by a wizard is even worse.

‘One more job’ meant that Crow, a notorious thief, could retire with Tarsha, the woman of his dreams, but ‘one more job’ may just mean his life.

When he sets out to abscond with that last brilliant treasure and seek a life of ease and pleasure with the jewel of his heart, Crow seriously underestimates his mark, the Baron Duzayan. Under threat of death by poison, Crow is coerced into stealing an improbable, mythical prize. To satisfy the wizard’s greed and save the life of his lady love, he must join forces with Tanris, the one man he has spent his entire career avoiding.

But what’s a man to do when stealing that fabled prize could level an empire and seal his fate?

From a dungeon black as night, to the top of a mountain peak shrouded in legend, a man’s got to do what he must.

Until, of course, he can think of a better plan…

Continue reading