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Monday, January 07, 2008

An Interview with Christine Lynxwiler

Today we're privileged to interview Christine Lynxwiler. She is a prolific writer, with ten books published and six more contracted. She's also a very nice person.

Your mystery, Death on a Deadline, is one of the first four books in the new Heartsong Presents Mysteries line. How do you feel about that?

I'm SO excited. This new line is a blessing to mystery readers like me who have switched over to reading Christian fiction. And it's an amazing honor to be a part of the beginning of a project like this. (And to be in such good company as an author in the debut set of books.)

You’ve written this book with two of your sisters. Tell us a little bit how that works? How do three people write a book together?

Yes, I'm thrilled to be writing mysteries with my sisters, Sandy Gaskin and Jan Reynolds! We love to work together. But there's no pat answer for the "how does that work?" question anymore. We had a plan in the beginning to divide the duties, but now we all do it all. And every book is different. The first one--Death on a Deadline--I did a lot of the writing, probably the bulk of the writing, with Sandy and Jan doing plotting, editing, and research. The second one--Death of a Diva--is more their collaboration on a rough draft, because I was on a deadline with a trade fiction book. I took that rough draft and added my two cents worth of rewriting. The third one is shaping up to be even more of a three-way collaboration. I think the key to writing a book with three people is making sure the communication never becomes false. If one of us thinks a plot element or a section of writing doesn't work, we say it. We have to be able to count on each other for total honesty.

Give us a brief synopsis of Death on a Deadline.

It's headline news when Jenna Stafford's teenage nephew, Zach, is accused of killing his boss, the newspaper editor. But stop the presses! Jenna recruits her sister, Zach's mom, Carly, and they go undercover to get the scoop on the murder. Will the next edition’s lead story be about Jenna and Carly nailing the real killer? Or will the sleuthing sisters make the obit column in tomorrow’s paper?

Is there a story behind the story? Where the original book idea come from?

The idea came from the convoluted minds of three very twisted sisters. I'm kidding! Sort of. There is no real "story behind the story." We chose to use sisters as our amateur sleuths because we see that relationship as filled with fun dynamics. There are five girls in our own family, but having just two in the books made it easier to flesh out their personalities.

One of the big topics that writers discuss is SOP versus plotters. What are you?

In my trade fiction, I'm normally a combination. But we're plotters thru and thru for the mysteries. I don't see how you can write a mystery "seat of the pants" and have it come out okay in the end. Every change changes everything.

Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?

All around. Every person we know is fair game. So be warned.

Often people who don’t write books think the life of an author is like a fantasy—all fun. What do you think? What is your favorite part of writing? And your least favorite part?

I had to stop the interview and compose myself from laughing so hard. All fun? I think I'll write that with a permanent marker above my monitor. Something to get me through those grueling all-night writing sessions when I'm behind on deadline. Honestly, writing is a job. It's a blessing to be able to work doing something I love, but it's still work. My favorite part is when the book comes out. My least favorite part is the last two weeks before deadline, when I realize that I'm much farther from being done than I thought I was.

Do you have any particular writers' resources you use regularly? Any that apply to suspense in particular?

We use Writers' Digest books a lot. . .Careers for Your Characters, Writer's Guide to Places, and more specifically for suspense - Malicious Intent - a writer's guide to how murderers, robbers, rapists and other criminals think. I also use James Scot Bell's book, Plot and Structure, for every book I write. I like Elizabeth George's book Write Away, too.

Do you have any future plans for your writing you'd like to share? Any specific dreams you'd like to accomplish in the area of writing?

My future plans are just to keep writing. I recently signed a six book exclusive contract with Barbour Publishing. I'm working with them now, brainstorming the new series, and I am so excited about it that it's hard for me to concentrate on the books I'm currently working on. My writing dream is to become a better writer. For each book to be better. That's the dream I hope God will help me achieve.

What is the number one thing you've learned from your writing journey?

Sounds corny, but I still have to say it -- Never give up. A long time ago, I heard somewhere that the writer who gets published isn't necessarily the best one, but the one who didn't quit. That stuck with me and I've always been determined to keep on going even when things don't seem to be working out.

What suspense/mystery authors do you read for pleasure? (Inspirational and Secular)

I love Dean Koontz. Reading a book by him is like going to a writer's conference professional track. I learn so much while immensely enjoying myself. I also enjoy Gillian Roberts' Amanda Pepper mysteries. I love anything by Ted Dekker. I'm sure tomorrow I'll think of twenty authors I should have put here, but for now that's what I'm coming up with.

Do you have anything you want to leave with our readers? Something the Lord is speaking to you?

I'm a little hesitant to answer this question because what I'm working through right now has nothing to do with writing. But you asked. . .

The verse that is working on my heart the most right now is the last part of Proverbs 22:7 -- . . . the borrower is servant to the lender. My husband and I asked for a unique Christmas present from his parents this year and we received it. We got Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We've watched 8 of the 13 lessons already and every day, we're humbled by what we didn't know and didn't understand about this mess we call our finances. Dave entertains us highly, but amidst the laughter, he hammers the point home about how important it is to be a good steward with the resources God gives us. But then he shows us exactly how to do it. And how even a trainwreck financial history can be turned around with careful planning and decisive action. Our goal is nothing less than financial peace and when we achieve that, it will be the first time in 26 years of marriage. God is helping us put this plan into action and even our kids are excited about it. I'm thrilled watching them sort their money into Save, Spend, and Give envelopes. They love it!

I'm laughing because I just read back over this and I can see that I sound like an infomercial. I don't personally know Dave Ramsey and I'm not selling his plan, nor (unfortunately) do I get any kind of kickback or commission from his website. I told my husband - I'm like all those annoying people on diets who want to tell us how easy it can be for us to do it too. But when I heard Dave read that scripture in Proverbs and several others, I realized that, other than our giving, our finances are the only part of our life that I always thought of as separate from our spiritual life. Never again. (End of infomercial.)

Thanks for having me!! I love KMIS.

Please visit Chris at her website: http://www.christinelynxwiler.com/


1 Comments:

Blogger CHickey said...

From one Heartsong Mystery author to another, I can't wait to read your book!

9:00 PM  

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