WG: Welcome and thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us about yourself.
LE: Hi Winnie, thanks for having me. So good to be here. I have a background in education and teaching, but now am a full time author. I'm from Greenville, South Caroline where I now live with my husband and two children. I have a sweet dog who is ten years old and is an American Eskimo Spitz. For fun, I love to travel and hang out with my family. And write. LOL.
WG: Let's talk about your own personal road to publication:
Is there some individual, group or event that you can point to as the catalyst/impetus that set you on the road to becoming a writer? Explain.
LE: I've always been a reader, so making the transition to writer was amazing. Now I got to be in control of the story! Ha! I've always loved writing, but never really thought about making a career out of it, but when I read Dee Henderson's book, Danger in the Shadows, I knew that was the kind of story I wanted to tell. So I tried it. That book didn't sell, but my fourth manuscript did.
WG: Tell us about your journey.
LE: I wrote the manuscript (that didn't sell) in about 4 months. I kept emailing Dee Henderson, asking her questions, and she graciously answered all of them. I incorporated what I learned from her into the manuscript. Then went on to write three more books and that last (fourth one) sold to Love Inspired Suspense. It took me 8 years of writing off and on (I added a baby during that time and was a bit distracted) but finally sold.
WG: How many books did you complete before you sold your first? Have all/any of them sold since?
LE: I completed 4 books before that fourth one sold. No, the other three are still sitting on my computer or a flash drive somewhere. LOL.
WG: Can you tell us something about your experience in getting 'the call'?
LE: I was at work, teaching at the South Carolina School for the deaf and blind in February 2007 when Krista Stroever called to tell me that she wanted to buy my book for the Love Inspired Suspense line. I couldn't answer the phone in the classroom (against the rules added to the fact that there was practically no signal) so when I saw the 212 area code, I knew who it was and what the call was going to entail. I grabbed my phone, yelled at my assistant that I'd be right back and ran out into the cold. I stayed calm and cool while on the phone with Krista getting details, but when I hung up, I let out a scream. It was a good thing all my students were deaf. LOL
WG: How has being a published author impacted your life?
LE: Well, it's definitely impacted it. In good ways and not so good. Mostly good in that I get paid to do something I love. Not so good in that I wrote a lot very fast. I neglected my health and now I'm paying for it. I've recently slowed down in the writing department and am getting my physical self put back together. LOL. I love, love, love writing and don't take it for granted that I get to do it.
WG: What aspect of life as a 'published author' surprised you the most - either in a good or bad way?
LE: I don't know that anything really surprised me. I'd been in the writing culture long enough by the time I was published that I pretty much knew what to expect.
WG: What about your writing process? Do you maintain a set schedule? Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
LE: Nope, nothing typical about my day unless you count CRAZY. Everyday is a new adventure. I write when I can. Sometimes that's in the mornings, sometimes afternoons or late evenings. My kids' schedules come first. I work the writing in. But that's the key. I DO WRITE EVERYDAY. Somehow, someway, I will get words into the story.
WG: Do you set writing goals for yourself?
LE: The only goals I set are to have the manuscript finished and turned in on time. I tried setting a daily word count, but if you'll refer to the above question, my CRAZY days don't always allow for a set schedule. SO I was often not meeting my daily goal which resulted in frustration. So now I just make sure I work on the manuscript daily. So far that's worked out fine for me.
WG: Do you have a 'mood setter', something (music, ritual, environment, etc) you use to get you going when you sit down to write?
LE: No. If I had to have a mood setter, I'd never get anything done.
WG: Do you do a lot of up front plotting before you start or do you just dive in?
LE: For the Love Inspired Suspense novels, I have a 10-15 page synopsis written in advance simply because that's what the publisher requires before approving and buying the proposal. For Revell, I write out a general idea and then jump in.
WG: Do you normally start with storyline or with character or with some combination of the two?
LE: Character. I usually do a character sketch of my hero and heroine so I know who they are a bit.
WG: Do you find certain themes or character archetypes making recurring appearances in your stories?
LE: Forgiveness, Unconditional love, beauty is what's in the heart, God's sacrificial love.
WG: What do you see as your own personal strengths as a writer?
LE: I write characters well. People generally like my characters.
WG: Are there any obstacles/conflicts, specific to your particular lifestyle, that get in the way of your writing? If so, how do you try and overcome them?
LE: Like most people, time is always a factor. Sometimes my focus is not there and sometimes life just interferes. But I always always always, sit down in front of the story and FORCE myself to write SOMETHING. Even if it's drivel. I can fix drivel. I can't fix a blank page.
WG: Do you have a favorite sub-genre as a writer? as a reader?
LE: I love to read a good historical especially if it has a little bit of suspense or mystery to it.
WG: Is there a genre you haven't been published in yet that you'd like to try your hand at someday?
LE: No, I like my genre. :)
WG: Do you have any advice to offer writers still striving toward publication?
LE: Write something every day. Even if it's just five words. Keep the story moving forward.
WG: Is there a specific 'ah-ha' moment you've had as a writer that you would like to share with us?
LE: Just that the writer brain is not normal and I shouldn't be surprised when I find a story in nearly every situation. I should just roll with it and be grateful for it.
WG: Rejections, less than stellar reviews and notes from unhappy readers are all part of this business. What is your own method for dealing with these and moving on?
LE: I ignore them.
WG: Is there some piece of advice you received or bit of 'conventional wisdom' that you wish you had ignored?
LE: I have to say that most advice that I received was good. I can't think of anything I wish I would have ignored.
WG: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about being a writer? What aspect do you struggle with the most?
LE: The most rewarding thing is the flexibility of it. I love that I'm in charge of my schedule -even if it is crazy sometimes. I struggle with telling people no. A lot of people think that just because you stay home, you have unlimited amounts of time on your hands and should be available to do things for others. And while that's true to a certain extent, my days are full without anything being added to them. I never do get all I need done during the day so I'm learning to say no to. It's a good thing.
WG: When you're not writing, what do you do for fun or what is your favorite self-indulgence?
LE: Watching Netflix or something on television like Hawaii Five-O or NCIS Las Angeles.
WG: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
LE: A pediatrician then I decided that while I loved kids, I didn't like science very much. Or blood. LOL.
WG: What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?
LE: I'm profoundly hard of hearing, wear hearing aids and read lips.
WG: What are your favorite movies and/or TV shows? Why?
LE: Cop shows. Blue Bloods, NCIS-LA, NCIS, Hawaii Five-O, etc.
WG: I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share.
LE: I'm not into quotes so can't think of one right now. :)
LE: I'm working on the 2nd book in the Elite Guardians series. It's about a group of women who banded together to open a female bodyguard business.
WG: Please tell us about your current project.
WG: What inspired you to write this particular story?
LE: I just thought it sounded interesting and I thought my readers would love it.
WG: What sort of research, if any, did you have to do? Did you stumble across any unexpected interesting/fun tidbits along the way?
LE: I did a ton of research and I was thrilled to find there's an actual all female bodyguard school in Athens Greece called The Athena Academy. There's a branch in Dallas, Texas as well. I learned a lot from their website. I was planning to go to Greece last year, but it never worked out.
WG: Tell us about your upcoming plans.
LE: I still have several more books to write for Love Inspired Suspense and two more for Revell after I finish this current one.
WG: And before we close, tell us how your readers can get in touch with you.
LE: I'm active on facebook at www.facebook.com/lynette.eason and Twitter: @lynetteeason
WG: Thanks so much for spending time with me and my readers this month. It was fun 'chatting' with you, as always!
LE: Thanks so much!!