Female Entrepreneurs: Series 3
Hi! I am super duper excited about introducing you to my friend, Lynn. I met Lynn at our local Crossfit gym and immediately fell in love with her sweet nature. When I learned that she wrote books, I was in awe! Without further adieu, here is Lynn.
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Question: Have you always wanted to be an author?
Answer: No! I didn’t even consider it until I was in my mid-30s and had 2 children. The crazy thing is that I have always told myself stories. In the car, before falling asleep, that kind of thing. As a kid, I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. (The jury is still out on that part!) Even though English and History were my favorite subjects and I excelled in writing essays and papers, it never occurred to me that these stories in my head could be written down and other people might want to read them. One Sunday evening after everyone was asleep, I opened a Word document and took the plunge. I was an avid reader. I knew how books worked. How hard could it be to write one? It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought!
Question: What genre do you write?
Answer: I write inspirational romantic suspense. My stories are clean romances with a spiritual component. I have always been a sucker for romance. As a kid, my room was one big explosion of hearts. I wore a heart necklace. Hearts were my “thing.” I also grew up reading Tom Clancy and I loved spy stories (and not-so-secretly wanted to be one). I’ve tried to write stories without the suspense element, but before long the accountant turns out to be an undercover FBI agent or someone gets kidnapped…so I stopped fighting it.
Question: How long does it take you to write a book?
Answer: I work best on a deadline, so when I have a book due I will do whatever it takes to finish it on time. I also write two different lengths of books. Some are 55K-60K words. Some are 85K-90K. Ideally, I would like to have six to eight months to write a book. I can do it faster (3-4 months), but I’d rather not.
Question: What is your schedule like?
Answer: I have three kids. Our daughter has disabilities. I homeschool our boys. There is no “usual” schedule! Ideally, I write a little bit in the morning and then every afternoon, but what usually happens is I squeeze it in wherever it fits best during that particular day.
Question: How many books have you written?
Answer: Well… I’ve completed four. And have a couple of others that were abandoned at some point. Two of the completed manuscripts will never see the light of day. Two are published. Two others are around the halfway mark and will probably be published in 2018 and I have a contract for two more.
Question: What was your main goal when you first started?
Answer: My main goal was just to see if I could do it. I wasn’t thinking about publishing at all.
Question: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Answer: My absolute favorite thing is when I’m writing and my characters do something I wasn’t expecting. (This is also the part that makes people who don’t write get a little twitchy.)
Question: What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Answer: When my characters don’t cooperate or when I sit and stare at the page for hours and have no idea where the story is going. It’s terrifying. I pray a lot.
Question: How many hours a week do you work?
Answer: It varies and depends on how soon the deadline is, and whether or not I’m working on edits or all the “other” stuff you have to do when you’re getting a book ready for publication. I’d say a minimum of ten hours a week. But sometimes it’s more like thirty.
Question: What is the first book that made you cry?
Answer: Wow. I have no idea! I cry during commercials, so it really doesn’t take much.
Question: What kind of research do you do before writing about a subject?
Answer: I’m a very organic writer. I don’t have a super detailed outline when I start. But I do have a general idea of where the story is going and I will spend some time fleshing out the suspense thread before I start. I may not know exactly how it will all play out, but I need to know who my villain is and why they are acting the way they are. After that, I keep a running list of questions I have as I write. I talk to people who do what I’m writing about – homicide investigators, nurses, etc. – and read books on the subject. Sometimes I throw questions out into the world of Facebook to see what kind of response I’ll get.
Question: I’ve seen you talk about being attached to your characters in the book. How hard is it to finish a book or let a character go?
Answer: I really am attached to them. Which is why I tend to write books in a series so even the ones I leave behind get to come back and play a little in the next book. I usually have a pretty good idea of the specifics of what their lives look like well into their happily ever after.
Question: How do you select names for your characters?
Answer: Sometimes it’s based on a name I’ve always liked. Sometimes it’s the name of a friend. Sometimes I pick a name and then I have to change it because you really don’t want to have five characters whose names begin with L or that all end in “i” – that kind of thing. Some sounds are harsher and they make great names for the villain. I use a writing software called Scrivener and it has a name generator function where I can input things like gender and language and it will spit out fifty names that are a good fit.
Question: What is your favorite childhood book?
Answer: I don’t have a favorite. That’s like picking a favorite child. Okay, not quite. But close. I adored Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I’ve reread the entire Chronicles of Narnia series multiple times. I adore Tolkien. I’m an avid re-reader. Right now I’m enjoying being able to introduce some of my favorites to my kids. We read Charlotte’s Web this year. I cried.
But, my first favorite book was Marvin K. Mooney by Dr. Suess. My mom says I insisted on having it read over and over and over again.
Question: What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
Answer: Read a lot and write a lot. There is absolutely no better way to learn. Beyond that, consider attending a writing conference or joining a local writing group. Follow blogs on writing. Study books on the craft. You can find a ton of them at the library. Subscribe to Writer’s Digest. Then keep writing.
My Closing Thoughts
I love how Lynn can fit her writing and work into her already hectic schedule and still manages to create beautifully written stories. When it is something you are passionate about, you will find the time! If you want to check out any of Lynn’s books, you can find them on Amazon here.