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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Interview with Lynette Sowell!

Congratulations to Tony Dell for winning a copy of Another Stab at Life. If you'd like a chance to win a copy of A Suspicion of Strawberries, post a comment below along with your contact information.

Today I’d like to welcome Lynette Sowell to our blog. Her first cozy mystery, A Suspicion of Strawberries is being released this month from Heartsong Present: Mysteries.

Here’s what Lynette had to say.

Lisa: Tell us some of the background behind the ideas for this series and about the first book.

Lynette: I found the setting for my series Scents of Murder when we visited my husband’s family in Tennessee about three years ago. The small town flavor and quirky characters sprang from the small town nestled along the Tennessee River.

Lisa: How did you come up with your heroine’s career?

Lynette: When I visited All Lathered Up, a soap store in Salado, Texas, I knew I’d found my heroine’s specialty. As Andromeda Clark changes over the course of three books, so does her business—but the fruit theme runs throughout. Andi Clark isn’t much of a cook, but she does learn how to can preserves in book two. I had to give Andi time to grow, and really find out what she hoped and feared, and find her flaws, too. She’s empathetic and can put herself in people’s shoes. But sometimes she’s wrong, and that doesn’t help her sleuthing.

Lisa: What are the challenges of writing a series? What is the fun part?

Lynette: One challenge is making sure the main character grows and changes in each book. As I followed Andi’s journey, I discovered new skills she had, and new obstacles in her life. Those discoveries make it fun. Unless, of course, a character won’t cooperate. I had a secondary character who refused to be the victim in book three. If you’ve seen the movie “Stranger Than Fiction,” you’ll understand when I say she ran away screaming from me and I couldn’t kill her off. And so she became Andi’s sidekick.

Also, while writing about the same town and setting, I wanted to include new facets of Greenburg, Tennessee. I didn’t want to rehash the same scenes from other books. Also, for me, it’s important that each story stands on its own.

Lisa: What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

Lynette: Diligence! It’s one thing when a writer is talented, but I’ve seen incredibly talented writers passed over. And I’ve seen some give up. The race doesn’t go to the swiftest and brightest all the time, but one thing for sure, diligence has its rewards. And I believe the more diligent we are, the better writers we become.

Lisa: Any words of advice on writing a cozy mystery?

Lynette: Think of a cozy mystery as a game you’re playing with readers. Sure, they’re going to figure some things out, and that’s okay. But keep the puzzle in mind as the story goes along. And have fun. Make sure you remember the elements of a cozy. When I was writing book two, I had to chop and edit parts at the end because it read too much like a suspense.

Lisa: How do you keep track of clues and red herrings?

Lynette: I have a list of suspects and include the villain at the bottom. The red herrings are on that list too, and some naturally occur as the story goes along. I always try to think of the reader. Readers are smart, and like I said earlier, they’ll keep track of whatever sounds suspicious…even if it isn’t. And some people may have had a motive to kill the victim, but that doesn’t mean they acted upon it—even if they had the means and opportunity.

Lisa: Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

Lynette: I am a huge fan of romantic suspense and speculative fiction as well. One day, I’d love to write a book that combines both. I’m not there yet, but maybe in the future. Like I mentioned before, diligence!

Lisa: Because I know there are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published?

Lynette: Be persistent. Soak up learning at writers’ conferences, or if you can’t attend a conference, buy the CDs. Most of the time you can go to a conference’s web site and see a whole list of workshops on CD. And while you learn, don’t forget to write, and finish what you write. Plus, if you’re interested in writing for a particular publisher, read what they publish. Get a feel for the story structure and flavor. Oh, and find a good critique group. Once you find the right mix, you’ll keep spurring each other on to bigger and better things.

Lisa: Any advice on juggling a job and writing?

Lynette: Wow, I’m still learning that juggle. I treat writing as my part-time job. If I want to keep it, I have to show up. I work a 40-hour-plus work week Monday through Friday and often a few hours on Saturday. So I write evenings and weekends, while trying to juggle family and church, too. My kids aren’t small anymore, but I’ve raised them to be pretty independent. I also am blessed with a husband who’s not helpless in the domestic realm. I realize that I don’t have to be perfect at housework, or be a perfect mom or wife, but simply show up.

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Lynette. Be sure and check out her website at www.lynettesowell.com

And leave a comment below (with contact information) for a chance to win a copy of Suspicions of Strawberries!


Anonymous Janice Olson said...

Great interview. I would love a chance to read your book and if I don't win it, then I'll just go out and buy it.
I love Keep Me In Suspense. You offer good practical writing info. Keep up the good work.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

great interview! i'd love to win a copy of this book! hsmuda[at]gmail[dot]com thanks!

9:51 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Hello, Sounds like an interesting lady! I love every cover of her books! Please enter me in your drawing. I so appreciate it! Thanks,Cindi

11:22 AM  
Blogger NancyMehl said...

Wonderful interview, Lynette! I loved what you said about diligence. Especially since I'm having one of those "off" days. Sigh.

Back to work, and it's all your fault! LOL!


4:31 PM  
Blogger Chris Well said...

"Diligence" and "persistence" - great advice for us all, Lynette!

5:05 PM  
Blogger Pammer said...

Great interview! I remember Lynette and I sitting there waiting with a bunch of other hopefuls, for the Noble Theme results to come in.

Look at you now. I love that pic of you.

Keep up the great work.


5:10 PM  
Blogger Beth Goddard said...

Hey has anyone received their mysteries from the Heartsong book club yet? Just wondering--I still have not received mine. :(


6:07 PM  
Blogger Mary Connealy said...

I've written in a lot of genres and I found the cozy mystery to be the most complex writing I've ever done. I really liked it, though. Fun style of writing.
I'm signed up for the book club and have my first shipment. Yours should be in the next batch.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Gina Conroy said...

Great interview! I definitely want this one! Portraitwriter (at) gmail (dot) com

9:14 PM  
Blogger tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview and would like to be included for the draw! tWarner419@aol.com

8:04 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Hey Beth,

The first shipments have gone out and people have begun receiving their books. Yours should be arriving shortly.

Lynette, thanks for the wonderful interview. You've challenged me with your words on diligence! Nothing replaces hard work, eh?

8:24 AM  
Blogger ChristyJan said...

Wonderful interview.

Please enter me for a chance to win a copy of A Suspicion of Strawberries.

hawkes AT citlink.net

2:12 PM  
Blogger Lynette Sowell said...

Hey, everybody! Thanks for stopping by and your kind words. I really appreciate it. Now everyone go write 5 pages. :)

9:47 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

A Suspicion of Strawberries sounds like a book I'd love to read. And thanks for the interview on how you came up the the story. I'll look forward to your next book. Please enter me into your contest.

3:18 PM  

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