Monday, May 16, 2016

SOMEONE LIKE YOU - Victoria Bylin - One Free Book

Welcome, Victoria. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
This question reminds me of something my husband once asked. He said, “Honey, I have the strangest feeling you’re writing about me.”  For the first time in our long marriage (we just hit 36 years), I wasn’t totally truthful. “Oh, no,” I replied. “This is fiction.” And it is. But to the extent my heroes are strong men who love their families, work hard and struggle to live their faith, I’m writing about the wonderful man who stole my heart when he rode up on a big red motorcycle.

All my fiction has some degree of autobiography. When I write about a character’s spiritual journey, I’ve usually walked in those shoes. I also pull extensively on places I’ve lived and the remarkable people I’ve been blessed to know. If you don’t mind an analogy (I’m addicted to them), my books are the plants that grow out of the garden of my life.

I love that. That’s how I feel, but you put it much better than I ever have. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m not sure how quirky this is, but I’ve been known to dance around my office before I sit down to write.

Sounds like fun. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I started my first journal when I was in the fifth grade. Putting words on paper has always helped me to sort my thoughts, but I got serious about telling stories in 1999. I started that year with a resolution to finish a book length work of fiction—good, bad, or boring. Around Chapter 3, the story took off, and I knew I’d changed from just wanting to write to being a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I pretty much stick to fiction with an occasional Christian living book folded into the mix. Within the fiction spectrum, I read mostly contemporaries (both romance and women’s fiction) along with some historical. Westerns, WWII, and Americana are my favorite subgenres, but a good Regency or a Downton Abbey era book is always a pleasure. Every so often I’ll ask my husband for something different and venture into a detective story. Last summer I binge-read all of Lawrence Block’s “Keller” books. Talk about a change of pace! They’re about an ordinary guy who’s really a paid assassin. Great plot twists!

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
This world is crazy, isn’t it? I can’t say I’m sane all the time, but I read Oswald Chambers’ Someone Like You almost every day. There’s a particular passage about being broken bread and outpoured wine for the sake of spreading the gospel. That’s how I view the super busy times, like right before a deadline.  I see my writing as a ministry. Sometimes it’s okay to exhaust ourselves for a good cause. But then it’s time to rest, read, rebuild, and restore. I try to find the balance over the course of weeks and months, rather than just single days.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
The best names just pop into my head, but that doesn’t always happen. In Someone Like You, “Zeke Monroe” popped into my head and it never changed. On the other hand, in the second “You” book (Together With You, April 2015), I changed the hero’s name about ten times before I settled on Ryan Tremaine. I ended up loving that deeply troubled man, but naming him was impossible!  

For secondary names, I’m a big fan of the Social Security Administration website. I’ll put in the character’s birth year, see what was popular and shop around. I also like the website called Behind The Name.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of my family. My husband and I have two sons, both married to wonderful women. We’re also grandparents to twin girls. Writing-wise, I get a happy rush every time I type “The End.” Those two words mean I’ve done my job. After that, the results are up to God.

I have one strange writer quirk. I only wrote The End on my first novel. Since then I haven’t. To me, it feels like overkill. If the story is finished, I know it and the reader should, too. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A rabbit! My husband and I have a long standing joke about that nickname. Rabbits are cute, fun, and very busy running other peoples lives J

What is your favorite food?
Right now, it’s the bite-sized Dove Dark Chocolate. Mocha latte, mint, or plain. It’s all delicious.

I have a bowl of Dove Dark Chocolate on my coffee table for the authors who meet in my home for the critique group I lead. (There’s also a smaller bowl for milk chocolate, but there are only a few who love milk chocolate best.) What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest roadblock is my own writing process. Ideas come fairly easily to me, but I have to work hard to put the best words on paper. I once told my editor that I don’t really write a book. I construct one. My first drafts are nothing but choppy phrases, weak verbs and scattered images. Turning that mess into something readable is exhausting.

I cope with my cumbersome process by writing every day and trusting God for the words. That trust looks a lot like self discipline, which I don’t enjoy at all. Also, if I walk five days a week, eat healthy food, and get enough sleep, I’m far more productive as a writer.

Tell us about the featured book.
Someone Like You is a flip-flop reunion story. Back in college, Zeke Monroe and Julia Dare were romantically involved. A minister’s son, Zeke believed his faith was strong, while Julia had no faith at all. Fast forward six years . . . Julia’s now a single mom and a brand new Christian, while Zeke is wrestling with himself and God. He’s also trying to save a historic California resort and needs Julia’s help to do it.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Zeke Monroe appreciated a good joke, and this one was on him. Grinning, he crossed the plush charcoal carpet in his office to a desk the size of an aircraft carrier. A new Han Solo action figure guarded his pencil cup, and a handwritten sign was taped to the back of his massive leather chair.

“Starship Command,” he read out loud. “Captain Zeke Monroe to the rescue.”

Chuckling, he peeled off the sign. Everyone on the Caliente Springs management team knew he appreciated a silly prank now and then, and in the eight months he’d been general manager of the historic California resort, he had come to call them all friends.

Which made the task before him daunting at best: save Caliente Springs from bankruptcy, or allow two hundred people to lose their jobs.

People like Ashley, the CS marketing director, whose daughter suffered from severe asthma.

Or Javier, a college kid who helped support his family by working as a concierge.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter:  @VictoriaBylin

Thank you, Victoria, for sharing this new book with us. I love the cover.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Someone like You -
Someone Like You - Amazon
Someone Like You - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Anonymous said...

would love to win. angela in ky

Victoria Bylin said...

Hello, Angela! I live in Lexington. Kentucky is a beautiful state -- though it's cold and cloudy right now. The weather here changes in a blink, doesn't it?

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Hi Victoria. I have read several great posts about you and your newest book and I am very anxious to read it.
I live about 60 miles from Lexington and I am so proud that KY has another author to promote and support!
Connie from KY
cps1950(at)gmail dot)com

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Connie! We're practically neighbors. I thoroughly enjoy living here. In fact, the heroine in my second contemporary--Together With You (April 2015)--is from Kentucky.

Victoria Bylin said...

And while I'm here . . . Hello, Lena! Thank you for having me on your blog!

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like it will be a very nice story. I would love to read it.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Melanie Backus said...

Love the title, love the sounds like a great book!

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for the first page. Gorgeous cover.

Mary P


Victoria Bylin said...

Thank you all for stopping by! I love the cover, too. It's super romantic, and the lanterns in the trees capture the dark / light themes in the book. Makes me want to go sit in a hammock and relax :)

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed this post and reading your thoughts. I'm especially interested in this story. I love the stories where lovers rekindle, particularly when God's done something to their hearts! Thanks for this giveaway. ~Amanda in Florida

Lawrence Block said...

Thanks for the kind words, Victoria! They're especially welcome now, as I've a new Keller novella ("Keller's Fedora") coming any day as a Kindle Single. Hope you enjoy it!

Loraine Nunley said...

I liked the part of the excerpt showing Zeke to have a good sense of humor. That is an attractive quality. Thanks for the interview and giveaway.

Loraine in TX

Beth Gillihan said...

Love the cover! This book is on my wish list.

Beth in Montana

kim hansen said...

Enjoyed the excerpt.north platte nebraska

Barb D said...

YES! Dove Darks! They are my favorites also...and even my picky eater grandson's favorites! I live in Wayne County, OH-- Thanks for an opportunity to win a copy of your book!

Victoria Bylin said...

What a nice way to wrap up the day! I just walked in from my p/t day job and saw all the comments. I'd say we have a lot in common--love of books, appreciation of a good sense of humor, and appreciation for chocolate among others things. I have to admit, I went a tad bit fan-girl when I saw that Lawrence Block commented :)

Thank you all for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me.
Blanch NC

Terrill Rosado said...

I'm so thrilled that this book is finally out. Until I Found You was one of my favorite reads from last year. I still need to read Together With You, but I know I will enjoy it just as much.

Terrill - WA

Brenda Arrington said...

This book sounds like a truly great read. Thanks for the interview and giveaway. I lived in KY several years and loved it.
Brenda in VA

Caryl Kane said...

Lena, thank you for having Victoria on the blog! Victoria, I enjoy reading about characters that struggle in their faith. It gives me encouragement in my own walk.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Victoria Bylin said...

Caryl, That's what writing is all about for me -- encouragement!

And Terrill, Thank you!

And Abigail! Good luck in the drawing :)

Merry said...

I love that Victoria's husband is inspiring her heroes!
Merry in MN

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

KayM said...

I think the first page sets up an intriguing plot. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for offering a copy.