Welcome, Lynne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
A fair amount. I’m a biology teacher, and in A Twisted Strand, my protagonists are medical professionals. In my current WIP, a story set in the 1740s, my heroine’s main interest is botany. On the other hand, I have to imagine a lot of their experiences and feelings. A Twisted Strand is by no means a memoir.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In high school, I attended the “Computer Dance” as the computer. A couple of us set up a box-like structure with instructions on the outside. I hid inside. I can’t remember what I told inquirers. Who they should dance with, maybe.
When did you first discover you were a writer?
Good question. “Discover” is the right word—I never wrote stories or took any creative writing classes in my youth. But after I took pity on my own students and wrote a Texas History curriculum in “novel” (narrative) form, others started calling me a writer and desired me to teach writing classes. Looking back, I see that I’ve always loved to read. Now I’ve been bitten by another kind of bug—I enjoy writing the story myself.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Wow. “Range” is a good word. I read history and historical fiction, and some romance. I’ve read most of Michael Crichton (my geeky side), and one of my new favorite authors is Charles Martin. Occasionally I’ll read something theological. And I can’t forget the classics. I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird and The Lord of the Rings numerous times each.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I do have a physical infirmity that keeps me from constantly working. Well, occasionally I overdo it. But writing itself is perfect in the sense that I can do it at my own pace, and the editing functions of Word are marvelous when compared to the clunky typewriter I used in college. Back then, I had two drafts: longhand, and the final edit as I typed.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Some of it’s a bit random. I like strong names, but strong names can be very common. In my historical fiction I am very careful to choose both given names and surnames that existed in the time and location of my story.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
My husband and I raised four sons by the grace of God. Repeat: by the grace of God!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
If you had asked me this question in the fourth grade, it would have been easy: a horse, of course. Yes, I went through a horse phase and read every single horse book I could lay my hands on.
What is your favorite food?
Does coffee count? Starbucks’
is total awesomeness.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I ran into a roadblock with A Twisted Strand because it was my first novel, and I didn’t understand story structure all that well. I was writing by instinct. I read a few books on the craft, including John Scott Bell’s on writing the middle scene early on, and so I stopped and did that. I wrote the middle “turning point” scene, and that solved it. I’ve learned that while I might not need a detailed outline, I do need something to structure my story so that I know where I’m going. With A Twisted Strand I ended up using a flowchart showing plot and character threads.
Tell us about the featured book.
A man cheats on his wife and they divorce. That’s the backstory. Then a genetically engineered virus invades
Texas—everything I write about bioterrorism is true, except for
this particular made-up virus. Anyway, the woman works for an epidemiologist,
and the guy is a doctor who ends up helping, and thus they are thrown back
together. They are also both confronted by scriptural truth. There’s a lot of
solid doctrine in this book, but I worked hard to keep it natural and
Please give us the first page of the book.
[this is page two]
She took another deep breath. The country settled her, reminding her of why she had decided against a stuffy city apartment, despite the long commute to her office in
Antonio. At eleven, Jason was old enough to care for
Buttercup, and Abby could ride Brownie, the pony. Well, with supervision. The kids
Last weekend’s storm had brightened the limp lawns of the houses scattered along the country road. The live oaks dotting the fields on either side were always green, but the mesquite and other brush country flora along the fences were now bursting with new leaves, painting the landscape in the pastel green of spring. Refreshing. It almost reached that hard knot deep inside her chest.
“Look, Mom, bluebonnets!” At his age, Jason rarely showed such child-like enthusiasm.
Yes. Swaths of soft indigo brightened the ditches. By next week the humble flowers would be entrancing motorists to stop their cars, wade in, and take pictures.
One final familiar live oak cheered her heart. They were home. After checking the mailbox, she eased the vehicle down their long unpaved drive.
“Mom, is there something wrong with Buttercup?” Jason sat rigidly alert, peering ahead at their property: ten acres with a small mustard-colored stone house, several spreading oaks, and their animals. Rachel blinked, trying to focus, and as they approached she saw what her clear-eyed son had spotted. The heifer was down.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
The best way is to go to www.lynnetagawa.com, my website. I’m also on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Thank you, Lynne, for sharing this book with my readers and me.
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