Writer of the Week: Scott Lynch

Writers don’t have to be household names to be excellent, and Scott Lynch is no exception. Lynch, born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1978, lived a relatively normal life. Like you and I, he went through school with few distinctions, and like you and I, he’s held every job under the sun. Busboy, dishwasher, waiter, freelance writer, web designer, prep cook—if you can name it, Lynch has probably done it at some point.

More than anything, though, Lynch’s battle with depression is what distinguishes him from other authors of his genre. Lynch has always had some symptoms of depression; “I’d always been moody, flaky, weird, the standard artistic type” he said in an interview with the blog Relentless Reading. “I’d have episodes, which in hindsight are all related, but the bad stuff didn’t start until 2008.” Not even a year later, his grandfather died, and Lynch’s life fell into a downward spiral. His depression severely worsened, his wife divorced him, and his sense of ambition shattered.

How did he cope? Curiously enough, World of Warcraft.

“I don’t blame World of Warcraft for [my depression],” Lynch explained. “WoW provided structure, WoW was the reason not to lie in bed shivering and biting my nails all day.” Lynch’s life revolved around forcing himself to play World of Warcraft for several months, all the while producing “gibberish” and refusing to show anyone. “After the divorce I started playing for a while, then I just put the kibosh on the whole thing. That’s when the anti-depressants started to kick in and I began to reconceive ambitions outside of the game.” It is even because of this depression (at least, in part) that he has such a devoted fanbase.

Starting in 2010, Lynch began to share his difficulties with depression with his fans, bringing in a new group of readers and writers alike looking for guidance. It was this reaching gesture, along with a particularly active online presence, that most endeared Lynch to his fans.

Lynch’s writing is heavily focused on high fantasy. Though he doesn’t have many pieces to show—his only series currently has three books released, and his two short story collections aren’t as well known—he has developed a heavy cult following. His writing is fast-paced and intensely visual, with emphasis on worldbuilding and dialogue. Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards series is easily his best work, and while it’s not complete, its witty banter and focus on action and thievery engage the reader from start to finish.

The first book in Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards series is available for purchase here. If you just want to get a closer look on Lynch’s struggle with depression, you can read more about it in the Relentless Reader interview here.