Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dateline: Atlantis by Lynn Voedisch: Interview

 Tell us about your current release.

My novel Dateline: Atlantis is a fast-moving adventure about a female Indiana Jones-type character who dives beneath the waves in the waters off Mexico and finds ancient structures that she feels may be part of a forgotten city. Since the book is a contemporary fantasy, all sort of things are possible, but I try to keep it believable. She, Amaryllis Lang, is a reporter and urged by her editor (who wants the Pulitzer Price)  hunts for clues about the underwater civilization, even though evil forces are trying to keep her from the truth.


 Does travel play in the writing of your book?

 Absolutely! In Dateline: Atlantis the heroine travels from Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula) to Los Angeles to Chicago, to Miami, to the Bahamas. I have been to all those places and live in Chicago. Plus, some of the bad guys are in London, and I’ve been there as well. For my previous book, The God’s Wife, much of it is set in ancient Egypt. And I’ve traveled there too! It makes a huge difference to the story if you write about a place you’ve seen, smelled, felt—and where you’ve even eaten the local food.


 Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

 Yes, and it’s a sweet story. When I was in fifth grade, our teacher would have us do flash fiction one day a week, where we had five minutes or so to write a little story on notebook paper. I always got an A on those exercises. When parent-teacher conferences came around, he told my parents that they should of preparing me for a writing career, because I was a “very talented writer.” I was so thrilled, and he set my life’s course for me that exact night.


 Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?

 I never got a MFA, but I have had some brilliant teachers. Still the mentor who stands out is Lou Aronica, my publisher. I met him through one of my former agents. We got together on a science fiction project, where I was a ghostwriter. The project didn’t sell, but Lou stayed in close touch with me. He tried to help me get an agent. But in the end I never needed one because he asked me to join his publishing imprint, Fiction Studio Books. Now, my works will be folded into Aronica’s more successful imprint, The Story Plant.


 What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

 That the characters have a life of their own and can offer change where your chapter is going all by themselves. It sounds crazy, but I know many authors who agree with this.


 Plotter or Pantser? Why?

 If I had to outline a book, I’d never even get started. The enjoyment, the freedom of writing, comes from facing that blank page and surprising yourself with what happens with it.


How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

 Set formulas are like outlines—to the moon with them.

My plots come from long and involved conversations with myself, and even from dreams. I set up the characters and start adorning them with characteristics, but they let me know if they don’t like something I’ve done. Everything works very organically, as if the novel were a living, growing thing.

The only set thing I do is make sure I know how the novel is going to end.


 As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 Well, that’s easy. After my teacher recognized my writing ability, I decided I was going to be an author. I was a complete advocate of the Nancy Drew mysteries and read them all cover to cover, several times over. I wanted to write mysteries when I grew up.

But when I did get older, I found out that writing novels and earning enough to live was a difficult prospect. So I moved into journalism, which I was quite good at, thinking that I’d do the novels later. I got sucked into journalism and it was a good 20 years before I finally got the chance to write my first novel. Sorry, Nancy Drew, it was not a mystery!


Dateline: Atlantis

by Lynn Voedisch

on Tour July 1 - July 31, 2013

Book Details:

Genre:  Contemporary Fantasy
Published by: Fiction Studio Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Number of Pages: 277
ISBN: 978-1-936558-57-5
Purchase Links:


DATELINE: ATLANTIS is a contemporary fantasy featuring a female Indiana Jones who dives underwater and accidentally discovers what just might be the lost world of Atlantis. After she and her photographer document fabulous pyramids and other structures under the Caribbean sea, they return to their newspaper in the Los Angeles area, only to have all their evidence stolen. The sea rolls back and reclaims the buildings, and the photographer is kidnapped by unknown criminals.

The simple news assignment becomes more complicated with each turn and takes the Amaryllis Lang (pen name: Amy Quigley) to Chicago, Florida, Mexico and the Bahamas.

An ever-skeptical reporter, the Amaryllis Lang finds that her search for humanity's first family (in the possible Atlantis) dovetails with her own search for her own lost roots. Long ago someone murdered her archeologist parents—and they may be the same villains who are working against her own efforts to bring the Caribbean discovery to light.

In the midst of the tension, a testy romantic triangle develops. Plus, the pressure never stops as editor Noel Wright III keeps badgering her for a Pulitzer Prize-winning story. After escaping the villains' traps with her life intact, Amaryllis emerges a more open-minded adventurer, a better journalist, and an adventurer who is never afraid to let a historical find change written history.


She dives underneath the waves. Next to her is the tip of a giant stone structure. It widens as it plunges down to the ocean floor, filling her line of sight. She surfaces and swims toward the top of the rock. Amaryllis fights for breath as the waves roll up toward her chin and away. She dives again. The structure is a pyramid, without a doubt. It can’t be a natural formation. Its lines are too regular. The stones used to fit the pyramid together are huge—twenty-ton boulders at least—yet they are meshed with knife-edge precision. She can’t get her fingernail between them. Another thing occurs to her: this pyramid is not built in steps, but is smooth-sided like the monuments of Egypt.

She bobs up and down, diving and surfacing for a quarter of an hour, finding more impossible things. These walls, unlike those of the Maya structures they found on land, are still smooth. They are weathered and pitted, but not covered over with barna- cles and seaweed. She sees the remnants of writing carved into the rock near the top, but can’t tell what language it is. It has neither the pictorial intricacy of Maya glyphs nor the simplicity of Roman characters. It has a modern aspect, clean and stylized, proportionally balanced, as if it were a font designed by an adver- tising agency. Yet, some of the figures recall the ancient themes of the American Indians: swirling vortices, men with large heads, hunting dogs. The most prominent of all symbols is a cross in- scribed with concentric circles.

Amaryllis’ strength is nearly gone, but she dives once more if only to give the fullest of reports to her cohorts sleeping back onshore. She slips below the surface and feels along the eastern wall, pulling herself down. She is looking for a dark square she glimpsed before, gaping and black. It yawns at once before her, its edges wavy in the ocean swells. A sea turtle darts in front of her, and she constricts her lungs. She streaks to the surface, gulps a huge lungful of air and immediately she’s at the opening again. Seconds disappear as she measures the portal. It’s just big enough to slip through, but will she be able to get back out? A shining gem illuminated by a sun ray catches her eye. She swishes inside.

With lungs screaming, she scans a tiny chamber, carved from top to bottom with ancient writing. Gold glints from porticos on the sides. A painting is still visible on the ceiling. A carved hand, claw-like and strong, rests on a pedestal in the center of the space. The red hand holds a stone so beautiful, she can’t bear to leave it. In the filtered sunlight that passes through the door- way, the gem dazzles like Venus in the night sky. The morning star—the guide that Amaryllis can rely on. She grabs the jewel.
Through the door, up to the surface, sucking in the air—she’s free.


Lynn Voedisch is a Chicago writer who had a long career as a newspaper reporter and worked for 17 years at the Chicago Sun-Times. She also freelanced for many other publications, both in print and online. She lives with her husband and pet cat three blocks from the Chicago border. Her son, a new attorney, lives in the city. Her hobbies are tennis, tai ch, an promoting the appreciation of literature.

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants


1 comment:

CMash said...

Thank you for sharing this interview. I really enjoyed learning more about this author! Great job!