Lynne McTaggart has an extensive resume including investigative journalist, author and public speaker. She has appeared on Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s shows among others to discuss her science-based discoveries in the worlds of science, spirtuality and health.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I loved to read – very early – and also to write. I remember my second grade teacher telling my parents that I was talented at telling stories.
When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote poems and stories from the time I could write sentences. In fifth grade I wrote an ongoing serial about good and bad witches that I presented to the class in installments.
How long have you been writing?
Professionally (as in making money from it) since I was 22. I’ve only been employed as an editor for six of the 38 years I’ve been writing.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
Not until I was in my early 20s. I went through a period during my university days when I wasn’t much good at essay writing.
What inspires you to write and why?
I love writing about the new science and how it changes our view of the world.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Narrative non-fiction – non-fiction that reads like fiction.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I began my career as a journalist and investigative reporter. When researching my second magazine article I stumbled onto a major international baby selling ring after posing as an unwed mother and then a prospective adoptive parent. The story resulted in a major indictment of the parties involved, and I was called to Congress to testify about these kinds of questionable adoption practices. The article also won a prize. I then expanded the work, exposed a number of other lawyers involved in these kinds of questionable set-ups and expanded my research into book, called The Baby Brokers.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
Twentieth century writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, but also so-called ‘new journalists’ – Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Hunter Thompson, Truman Capote – who wrote non-fiction using fictional techniques. My heroes in journalism were obviously people like Woodward and Bernstein. I still believe strongly in the responsibility of the press as a fourth estate – a watchdog for the public interest. The recent scandal concerning News International shows the extent to which this historical role for the press has deteriorated.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
Science writers who combine science and spirituality – like Fritjof Capra and Rupert Sheldrake – but also popular science writers like James Gleick.
What made you want to be a writer?
I love the painstaking effort of putting one word after another.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
There always comes a time, about midway through a book, when I am convinced that I will not able to pull all the ideas and research together. Or I can’t get the narrative to work. I’m sure I won’t be able to pull it off. In my experience, you have to simply work through that dark night of the soul. Once you do, the right words start presenting themselves – often in a torrent. You have to trust the process. Writing is, above all, a task that proceeds through trust.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Every one of my last three books has taught me more about narrative writing and how to explain complex scientific ideas through storytelling. I also learn a great deal more about the subject of the book, since with many aspects of the subject matter, I am starting from scratch in the research. With The Bond, I learned a great deal about the fact that human beings and all living things were never meant to be competitive. We were born to share, care and be fair.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
It is my main career.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Most definitely. I’m complimented all the time on my ability to make quantum physics read like detective fiction.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I am no-stone-left-unturned tenacious as a researcher and a perfectionist with the words. I rewrite and rewrite until I hear a click in my head that signals that I’ve finally produced my own best expression of a particular idea at that time.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
No. I don’t always write my best material or even something that’s any good at all, but while I’m writing a book I have a rule about writing from 9-2 every day. Usually there is something salvageable from every daily output. Or I learn what not to do the following day. But I have been known to throw out entire chapters that don’t work.