Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Friend, Lynette Sowell

Readers, you met Lynette when we did the intro blog for the book Windswept Weddings that we did along with Rachel Hauck, President of American Christian Fiction Writers, and multi-published author Pamela Griffin. Now I want you to get to know Lynette better. I've known her for years through our association with ACFW. Since she lives in driving distance from me, we've also socialized away from the writing world. I've known for several years that she would be published. Her writing style is refreshing. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Windswept Weddings.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I wouldn't say my characters are autobiographical, but I sometimes try to draw on some of my own experiences, especially through emotions. In Heart's Refuge, my heroine Krista had been betrayed by her hero and discovers she still deals with trust issues. Who hasn't been betrayed by someone we love? I drew on those feelings as I wrote her story. The same for Luke, her once fallen and now restored hero. He battles guilt over how he'd tossed away both his faith and his love for Krista in the past. I truly hope readers can relate to Luke and Krista. Christians fail themselves and others all the time, and I believe there's as much redemption for them as for a brand-new convert.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

On a road trip during college in 198--, some friends and I removed the foot-high letter "U" from a restaurant's light-up menu sign that originally read "TRY OUR NEW MENU."

You naughty girl! When did you first discover that you were a writer?

In fourth grade, I wrote a story and made it into a film titled, The Mystery of the Uranium Cave. Yes, I read lots of Nancy Drew books. The film won the Worcester County Maryland Children's film festival. After that I had a terrific English teacher in fifth grade who encouraged creative writing. I just assumed it was something that everyone could do. In the years that followed, I spent my time trying not to get in trouble while passing stories around class.

That's quite an accomplishment for one so young. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Range is the right word. C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, (some) Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Mary Higgins Clark, Robin McKinley, Terri Blackstock, Kristin Billerbeck, Brandilyn Collins, Davis Bunn (his contemporary work), Marilynn Griffith... I could go on and on as I scan the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf near my computer. Mostly a fresh voice and clean tight storytelling captures my attention. To me, the genre isn't as important as the story itself.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Heart's Refuge is my first published novella. This month and December, I have two historical novellas releasing in the anthologies Bayou Brides and Brothers of the Outlaw Trail. Then my first novel, A Suspicion of Strawberries, releases in March 2007. I've written four other books and at this point they'll remain unpublished, which is a good thing. There's always a learning curve and I always hope to keep learning.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I pray a lot. I'm learning to say no. I'm still working on that because I have good intentions that often fall short. I must force myself to slow down. Besides writing, I work 40+ hours a week at a regular job. I try to keep in mind what truly matters.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I work in medical transcription, a profession where I see hundreds of names every week, so sometimes if a particular first or last name stands out, I'll hang onto it. I like good, sturdy, uncluttered names that the eye can read easily. I also like simple ethnic names. Many modern names are variations on old spellings, and I think it makes the reader's mind do mental acrobatics every time the name pops up on the page, so I tend to stay away from those.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Becoming an "instant mom" just over eleven years ago. My kids by love and marriage are now 16 and 14. I never dreamed what I was getting myself into by marrying a ready-made family, but I think God for His goodness and help every step of the way.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A cat, because of those nine lives and the great fur coat, of course.

What is your favorite food?

I can't pick one, so I'll ramble a list: nacho chips smothered with melted cheese and Rotelle tomatoes; Pizza Hut pan pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms; strawberry smoothies in the summertime; an ice cream sandwich made from vanilla bean ice cream squashed between two chocolate chip cookies. A tossed salad to balance things out (just kidding).

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

I enjoyed getting to know Luke and Krista. Many times romance books end with the engagement, or at least a promise of happily ever after, so I loved exploring this couple's story afterward. That's when I think the real work on a relationship starts in, after you make that promise and say, "I do." Of course, if only Luke and Krista can get to the altar before the town goes up in flames!

Thank you, Lynette, for letting us get to know you better.

Readers, remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Luke and Krista's story and three other stories where the wedding is threatened by a storm of some kind.


Jennifer Y. said...

Sounds like a great book. I really enjoyed reading the interview.

Cherie Japp said...

Great interview! Windswept Weddings sounds like a great book!

Lynette Sowell said...

Lena, thanks for having me as a guest. I really enjoyed working on the project with you, Rachel, and Pamela. And thanks to everyone who's stopped by. :)

Cathy West said...

I had the privilege of being in an online critque group with Lynette, before she got famous! haha
She owes it all to me...
I am sorry I won't get to meet her in person in Dallas this year, but hopefully she will make it next year.
Great interview and way to go Lynette!

Lynette Sowell said...

Hey, Cathy! Glad you stopped by. I'm planning to drive up to the conference for the book signing on Saturday. I couldn't see missing that when we live so close, and all my best-est writing buddies in one place. :)

Patricia said...

Good interview. Lynette sounds like an interesting person and a good writer.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited to read Windswept Weddings. And, I loved that Lynette would be a cat if she could. Me, too. Cats are purrfect animals.

Bonnie Engstrom