A Word with Anne Lyken-Garner
Anne Lyken-Garner is the author of How to Spend L£ss (downloadable here), and our regular non-fiction host on a Tuesday. Every week she shares wonderful advice based on the book, so, as we’ve been speaking to our novelists with books out on december 1st, we thought it only fitting to sit down and spend some time with Anne, getting to know about her, and her book. Here she is, in her own words:
1. You say you’ve tried and tested the techniques in your book. Trying them out must have given you some great anecdotes
Yes, and a cupboard full of stuff which I had to remember the taste of. Trying different products is exciting, but I had to also remember the taste to be able to make a proper comparison. This was the hardest bit.
2. What differences have you noticed in your life since you’ve been following the tips?
My bank balance has been nicer and I’ve felt a lot more sensible. Whether I am or not is another story, but it’s great to feel that I know stuff.
3. Is there any such thing as the “target reader” for How to Spend Less?
Yes, but it’s certainly not other writers. 🙂 I think my target audience is younger people who’re just starting out in life, and young families who’re trying to make ends meet. There are lots of those around. The problem is getting the word to them.
4. Do you think cultivating good habits now will be of benefit once the recession’s over?
Definitely. Having good spending habits we can pass onto our kids means that they won’t be seriously affected the next time our collective bubble bursts (and it will happen again). Money cannot buy happiness but it helps us sleep deeper at nights. In my case, I was forced into good spending habits because we lived in poverty when I was a little girl. I was sent to ask different neighbours for food so we could make up one meal. Of course life is totally different now, but I wanted to see how much money could be saved by just having wise spending habits even when life is good.
5. It strikes me this is the kind of book that’s organic and would keep growing. You must think of new things all the time. Do you have any plans to keep updating it?
Funny you should ask that. I’ve already thought of so many things I could’ve said; things I wished I had said. I think this became clearer once I started writing the column here at Year Zero Writers. Once I pop open the Word doc and start writing, my experience pour out of my finger tips onto the keys. I will certainly update it as time goes by.
6. Have people started coming up and suggesting things to you?
It’s like when people find out you’re a medical doctor. No matter where they are, or what you’re doing together, they take a deep breath and start talking about their rashes and niggly pains. Yes, people do that, but they also tell me about their money troubles which can be a bit embarrassing. It’s the same when they find out I do relationship counselling. But we’re all like that, aren’t we? I have to bite my tongue when I meet gardeners so as not to bombard them with gardening queries.
7. Whenever I read from How to Spend Less it feels like a friend talking to me rather than someone lecturing me. To what extent have you tried to put something of yourself in this book?
I try to put a bit of my personality into everything I write. Apart from my articles, I’ve also finished writing four self-help books. I’ve edited and re-edited all of them to sound like I’m talking to someone sitting in front of me. (A great way to achieve this tone is to have a picture of someone close to you in front of your screen and ‘talk’ to them.) It’s like when you’re talking to someone on the phone (or on radio). If you smile while you’re talking, they feel the warmth of your personality. If you’re busy watching TV during the conversation they’ll also ‘feel’ your detachment.
I see writing as the same thing. I once wrote some online writing tutorials and the one thing I stressed was that there’s hardly anything new out there anymore. The best way to be original with a stale subject is to put your personality (or personal story) into it. No one else, no matter what they write, can capture you like you can. For example, anyone can answer these questions, and in better ways than I have. However, no one will have exactly the same personal story I’ve revealed to you in question 4. This alone has made this particular Internet entry unique.
8. What comes next?
‘A Model’s Guide to Losing Weight Without Dieting’ has just been published on Smashwords. If you’re reading this, please give it a tweet if you can. I haven’t started promoting it yet because I’m still mainly concentrating on ‘How to Spend Less,’ but a tweet can’t hurt.
9. Which do you prefer writing? This or Sunday’s Child? Were the experiences in any way comparable?
It was the experiences (some of them) in Sunday’s Child which made me capable of doing the work and the research to write ‘How to Spend Less.’ Sunday’s Child was obviously easier because there was no research involved. I just had to sit and write and actually had all the contents down on paper within 25 days. This of course is not counting the edits, edits, edits….
If I can say I enjoyed writing something, it has to be ‘Fair Of Face.’ This is the follow-up to Sunday’s Child. I hadn’t paid much attention to the things that happened to me in that period of my life, but boy! Writing that book has brought back so many amazing and unbelievable experiences. I’m holding off editing it until Sunday’s Child is out of the way. I think I’ll savour it doubly then.