Interview with Lynn Michell!


Their eyes met and locked. Pulling his hand from his pocket, Neville waved. Once.”
Eight year old Neville is the first to notice that the red beach hut is occupied again.
Abbott, panicked by what he believes is a homophobic cyber attack, is on the run. The
hut is his refuge and shelter.
Inevitably man and boy collide. Their fleeting friendship is poignant, honest and healing.
But Abbot’s past threatens to tear him away, as others watch and self-interpret what
they see.
An evocative portrayal of two outsiders who find companionship on a lonely beach,
Lynn Michell’s novel is about the labels we give people who are different, and the harm
that ensues.


1. Let’s start with a general question! Tell us the journey of how your book, The Red Beach Hut, came into the world and what or who was your inspiration writing the book?

It was the time of the 2015 General Election and I’d been tuned into the sound bites of hatred and intolerance from right-wing politicians and the tabloid press. There was Nigel Farage with his Rivers of Blood poster of refugees pouring into ‘our country’. I was distressed and depressed by the way people were turning against immigrants and other minority groups, wanting a vanilla flavoured white population. It was a false nostalgia, a wish to turn the clocks back to the 1950s when the world had moved on. My two outsiders, a man and a boy, appeared of their own accord, maybe in response to the discord. They walked up and down a rather desolate English beach and into my heart. I don’t know where they came from but they spoke to me when I woke in the night and when I walked the dog. They needed a plot and from then on the book wrote itself. Or so it seemed.

2. I noticed a sensitive subject on the plot of the book, what made you decide to incorporate and discuss homophobic on your book?

I didn’t decide. When Abbott presented himself to me, I knew he was homosexual. He represents more than gay men. He represents all the outcasts and unwanted people in our society who take the rap for the state of our NHS and the lack of jobs and a woeful lack of housing. He’s an outsider.

3. Taking consideration of what I asked above, what is your stance when you’ve read backslashes or hate comments regarding on the topic?

Any intolerance towards any minority group or individual is repugnant. To reject people on the grounds of their country of birth, religion, the colour of their skin or sexual orientation has to be condemned. I’ve always supported the under-dog and reject privilege, whether inherited wealth or private education or belonging to the ‘right club’.

4. If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who is it and what would you do on your date?

I’ll spend an evening with Pete Street, an ageing rock musician in Susie Nott-Bower’s The Making Of her. We’ll light a fire and he’ll play his songs and strum his guitar. We’ll drink good red wine and talk of yesterday.

5. Describe your book in ten words!

A man, a boy, a beach. Who sees the truth?

6. What was the hardest part of writing your book? Is there any specific character that gives you a hard time on writing them?

No, not in this novel. I had to be careful not to make Bill a total caricature with his worship of all things English, his fury at having a ‘coloured’neighbor, and his rejection of blacks, immigrants, and refugees. He gorges on tabloid stories about pedophiles and rejects the ‘disgusting’ practice of gay marriage. I had to keep telling myself that people like Bill really do exist.

7. If you are asked to give an advice to your 10-year-old self, what advice would you give?

Don’t take everything at a sprint. Take more time and don’t get fazed if things aren’t working out. They will. Eventually. And in surprising ways.

8. Having the chance to teach the world one lesson, what lesson would you teach to everyone?

I wouldn’t dream of teaching anyone a lesson. I’m still learning from my own mistakes.

9. What is your favorite quote from your book and why?

“OK, you don’t have to stay frozen,’ Abbott said, turning round and smiling at the stiff little figure in the prow. ‘But just don’t make any sudden movements or we might sway wildly and you’ll tip sideways. She’s a light boat.’

The boy nodded, too awe-struck to speak. He loosened his grip a fraction and allowed himself to turn just his head and stare backwards to sea and sideways towards the cove. The man rowed on, pulling on the oars without effort so that the boat moved in a rhythmic pull and glide, pull and glide straight out into the bay. For a while, neither spoke. The wonder was enough.”

I wanted to capture the held-breath excitement of Neville’s first ever ride in a boat. I like the way he doesn’t dare move, not just for fear of making the boat rock, but for fear of breaking the magic. But the magic doesn’t break and on they go, out into the bay. I’ve sailed for thirty years and know that magic of being one with the water. The wonder never goes away.

Excerpt From: Lynn Michell. “The Red Beach Hut.” iBooks.


The Red Beach Hut (1)


LYNN-by-NyeI write, have always written, and I run Linen Press, a small indie press for women
writers. It’s a fine balancing act but ever since I watched Elvira Madigan, I’ve secretly
wanted to be a tight rope walker.
My fourteen books are published by HarperCollins, Longman and The Women’s Press
and include an illustrated writing scheme for schools, and Shattered, a book about living
with ME. Those closest to my heart are fiction: Letters To My Semi-Detached Son, my
debut novel set in Kenya, White Lies and my latest novel The Red Beach Hut.
When not writing or editing, you’ll find me building a house and creating a landscape out
of rocks in an oak clearing high above a small village in southern France. Hands on.


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