Writing isn't a hobby for Norsewood's Lyn McConchie, it's a passion, an obsession, a life.

And the obsessive, passionate writer has just had her 44th book published - but it won't be the last.

"Writing isn't a hobby. My hobby is reading, my farmlet, my cat and time with friends online, in person and on the phone," she said.

"Mind you, I wouldn't want to give any of those up either, so it's a case of having my cake and eating it too, I guess."

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Lyn's latest book, Coals and Ash, is a post-apocalyptic novel, one of a set of four.

This 44th book is set in Australia and next year McConchie will write two more of the same genre, one set in the United Kingdom and one in the United States.

And, yes, there's something of herself in this book.

"Everything you write has a bit of you in it," she said.

"I have a lot of fun starting with a group of characters and Tam, in Coals and Ash, is me.

"There's a certain amount of my character and knowledge in her. I've shot rabbits with a Browning and went deer hunting with a World War I rifle."

ROTORUA DAILY POST
25 Aug, 2018 7:34pm
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It's something her friend Cheryl Hunter recognises.

"She's in there all right and I couldn't put Coals and Ash down," she said. "I had to keep going back to it all the time."

It was science fiction fandom which saw Lyn, now 72, write her first book, with her professional writing career beginning in 1991.

"I was asked to write a review on a book for the national SF magazine (Warp), then another review, then an article and a story and another.

"Then someone said why didn't I enter the annual national convention's short story contest. I did and placed. I also had several writer friends all encouraging me to push further into doing it professionally," she said.

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"I also wrote farming poems and sold them to Straight Furrow for a couple of years, then, finally, I wrote four stories and submitted them to paying markets, here and in America and, voila, I sold three of them - after that you couldn't have stopped me with an axe."

Lyn said plots keep ambushing her.

"I can't resist a good plot," she said. "Interesting characters ambush me too and I can't resist those either. Life, the universe and everything inspires me too. The cat helps, well . . . that's his story.

"If you are a writer you listen to people and interesting things get squirrelled away. As I write, those filing cabinets I've mentally filled when I was 15 or 16 fly open. It all accumulates."

And Lyn admits she doesn't do any forward research for her books, it's those mental filing cabinets flinging themselves open which provide the fodder for her books.

Of all her 44 books, Lyn said fantasy was her favourite genre, although she loved writing most genres and reading them too.

Her favourite book?

"I'm torn, but maybe Key of the Keplian or my Western, South of Rio Chama, or my latest, Coals and Ash. It was such fun to write," she said.

Living in rural Norsewood fans the flames of her writing, with little traffic up her country road to disturb her.

"The noise is mostly the currawongs and I love hearing them anyway," she said. "People are kind, pleasant and community-minded here too."

And she doesn't find any aspect of writing difficult, not even writer's block.

"It certainly exists, but I'm lucky, it just never comes near me," she said.

"My problem is the opposite. If I live until I've written every single plot I think of, every book I want to write, I'll still be around in a thousand years, with scientists pestering me to how I'm doing that and impeding me continuing to do so."

Living so far from editors and publishers, how does she cope?

"It used to be difficult, now with the internet, while technology can be a pain at times, it's basically easier. In the last two months I've done the final revision for two books and currently have a third to start on Monday," she said.

So what makes Lyn tick?

"My imagination, I spend a lot of time in there and believe me, there's some really strange places around some of those corners . . . ".

Lyn emits a little laugh when asked about the profitability of writing.

"No. Not unless you're JK Rowling, or another best seller," she said. "I do it for the love and for a very moderate amount of remuneration."

Lyn lives alone on her Farside Farm lifestyle block at Norsewood, in the company of her cat Thunder, a gaggle of geese and a few sheep and some chooks, but she sometimes envisages a life with some of her characters.

"Now and again, particularly when I'm writing the book, I often drift off into all sorts of possibilities," she said.