Author on the Couch: Leslie Lynch
This week on Author on the Couch, I conduct a session with…
Giveaway!!! Leslie would love to give away a print copy of the winner’s choice (US only): OPAL’S JUBILEE, CHRISTMAS HOPE or CHRISTMAS GRACE. Or, if preferred, a Kindle copy… Just do these two things:
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Leslie: Hi, Abbie! I’m delighted to visit with your fans today! Thank you for inviting me to On the Author’s Couch. I know I’m in great company! I’ve seen some of your visitors, and am honored to be part of your community today.
Before we get too far along here, I’d like everyone to know that the first two e-books in the Appalachian Foothills series, HIJACKED and UNHOLY BONDS are on sale for 99c through the weekend (Sunday night) on Amazon. I’d like you to have an opportunity to take advantage of the bargain, if what you read here piques your interest. And check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post! Last, for audio book fans, HIJACKED, CHRISTMAS HOPE and CHRISTMAS GRACE are available in audio format.
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Leslie: When I was thirteen, I got to ride in a small airplane. We lived on a ranch in Montana, and were visiting a nearby rancher who owned a Cessna, probably a 172. (That’s a 4-seater, high-wing, light airplane.) He took my Dad up, and offered my brother and me the opportunity to go along, as his kids were bored to tears with the plane. We weren’t airborne for more than fifteen minutes and probably didn’t get any higher than 500 feet above the ground, but I was hooked. It wasn’t until I graduated from college and got a job that I learned how to fly. Yet everything I did in those intervening years aimed me toward that goal. Since then, I’ve gone from private pilot to flight instructor with multiple ratings. It’s been a lifelong joy for me, and one of my children has carried on the love for flying; she’s in the Air Force and flies KC-135 air-refueling tankers. Doesn’t hurt that I married a pilot (yes, we met at the airport) – so that brief flight ignited more than a passion. It changed the trajectory of my life!
Me: Wow! That’s so cool that you can fly! I can only imagine how freeing it is to be able to pilot your own plane!
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Leslie: I, like most authors, am a voracious and insatiable reader. I love books, and I love words. Beyond that? I’m creative in other areas, too (pottery, quilting), which always helps with jump-starting creativity in writing. Last, I’d like to think I bring compassion to the stories I write. They incorporate a lot of issues women face (rape, domestic abuse), along with other subjects like criminal justice, restorative justice, PTSD, military, the sandwich generation – and CHRISTMAS GRACE even has an atypical romance!
Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Leslie: I’m not the best at time management; as an independently published author, the business end can get overwhelming, which creates a tension between marketing and writing. I’d rather write!
Me: Even on the best of days it’s difficult to keep all the marketing and writing balls in the air.
What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest?
Leslie: That had to be my nomination as a Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist in 2013. The most prestigious contest for unpublished romance writers in the world, it was a heady honor. A long time coming, it was the culmination of countless hours of writing, rewriting, online classes, workshops and other learning venues. I am blessed to be part of such a tight-knit community made up of that year’s finalists; we named ourselves the Luckies. We were, and we are.
Me: As a Golden Heart Finalist in 2014 I totally agree. The experience is like no other. And my Golden Heart sisters are some of the most supportive and awesome writers I know!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path?
Leslie: What – wasn’t that this morning? My confidence comes and goes in cycles. Overall, I’m reasonably happy with my skill as a writer; I recently enrolled in a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing program (Spalding University, Louisville, KY) and am hard at work stretching my comfort zone. Learning new techniques, improving my craft. The only way I know to slog my way out of the low points is to keep writing – or get a good night’s sleep and look at the work in the morning when I’m not so tired. It’s usually not as crappy as I thought, or there’s a clear way of improving it with the light of a new sun on it!
Me: How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Leslie: I’ve always known I was a writer. From early grade school when I wrote plays and forced my poor brother to act them out, to later grade school when I wrote poems and ditties based on the products the Fuller Brush man brought to the door. (I just revealed my age; does anyone know what the Fuller Brush man was all about?!!) In Junior High, I won an award for an essay – and got my first lesson in editing in the process. High school garnered me my first rejection: from The New Yorker, to which I had submitted a poem. As a college freshman, I was accepted into a competitive creative writing class populated by mostly juniors and seniors. (Intimidation anyone?) Then…life took over, including the pragmatic parts that required money. I tried again, twenty-some years ago, and enrolled in a great technical writing Masters program, but couldn’t pull it off because of family obligations. A little over fifteen years ago, with kids beginning to leave the nest, I bought a used laptop, taught myself how to use it, and went to town. Now, two laptops later, I can answer the next question:
Me: How many books have you written? How long does it typically take you to write a book? What’s the most painful part of the writing process for you?
Leslie: I’ve written three full-length novels and two holiday novellas. I’m generally slow, which means a novel will take me a year, give or take a bit. Novellas, oh, a couple of months. The most painful part of the writing process for me is getting a general, if hazy, sense of the story’s movement. Once I have a (very loose) outline, I can move quickly and write 1-2 chapters per week.
Me: What book do you wish you’d written? Why?
Leslie: My younger daughter recently gave me The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall. I thoroughly enjoyed it: 1920s flying, barnstorming, wing walkers, amazing historical research – and enough character complexity to make the story un-put-down-able. I cried at the end. Amend that: sobbed. Great writing. Just an awesome job all the way around!
Me: Tell me about your novel HIJACKED.
Pilot Lannis Parker’s carefully constructed, sterile life is upended when her small plane is hijacked before dawn on a wintry Louisville morning. Her captor does more than force her to fly him to the Appalachian wilderness, though. He resurrects memories she’s tried to bury, memories of a brutal attack she’d survived four years earlier, an attack she didn’t report and tries to pretend didn’t happen.
Wounded, and losing strength by the minute, Ben Martin knows he has no choice but to commandeer a plane before he’s set upon by a ruthless band of drug dealers intent on wiping him out, along with the information he’s acquired.He’s horrified to discover the pilot is a woman—but once his plan is launched, there’s no turning back.
During a week in the wilderness, Lannis learns her hijacker is fair and honorable, compassionate and insightful—strange attributes for a criminal. And when he discovers her secret, he vows to be the friend she desperately needs but refuses to accept.
Will she come to terms with her past? And will he be part of her future?
Me: Share a few of your favorite paragraphs with us.
Leslie: This is from my most recent book, CHRISTMAS GRACE, where Natalie Shaw is talking with her deployed husband, Connor, via Skype:
Natalie Shaw touched the computer screen as if she could erase the seven thousand miles between them. The muscles in her face relaxed for the first time in days. Probably since the last time she saw her husband, if she wanted to be truthful, but she didn’t. It was easier to tell herself he was on an extended freelance photography assignment.
“Hey, yourself.” He grinned at her from the screen. “How’s Baby Shaw?”
She stood up and modeled her growing figure for him. “Almost six months. What do you think?”
I love this section because of the chemistry between Connor and Natalie, even when halfway around the world from each other. Such a common experience for many young families these days. We can see their love and longing, as well as their determination to be strong in the face of adversity. It’s just such a relatable moment.
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Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. Her first novel RACE THE DARKNESS is available for pre-order now!
*Formatted by Manny Goodman