As promised, I’m interviewing writers of lesbian fiction who don’t write full time this year.
Today’s guest has just published her newest novel, Rebound, which is already in the Amazon top 100 and also very high on my to-be-read list.
Let’s start with some warm-up questions:
Chocolate or cookies?
Chocolate. Dark chocolate. That is definitely my weakness. I keep a bag of Dove bite-sized pieces in the cupboard. I’ve got decent willpower, though. When I indulge, I keep it to a single bite. That way, I don’t feel guilty.
E-books or paperbacks?
I’m old school, so nothing replaces having a book in my hands. I do like the fact that my ereader holds many, many books in a small space. What I tend to do is buy hardcopies of my favorites.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Trek! Keeping with the old school theme.
Beach or mountains?
I love the outdoors, period. I’ve lived most of my adult life in close proximity to the ocean. However, the mountains have a greater appeal for me. I love the texture of the scenery, the variations of weather conditions, craggy rocks, lush green forests, cool mountain air, snow covered peaks. Yeah, the mountains do it for me.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I love to stay active. I’m not a marathon runner or anything, but I do enjoy my time pounding the pavement with my iPod streaming my favorite music in my ears. My wife and I kayak. I do some weightlifting and cross training. Again, not to extreme, just enough to stay fit and clear my brain. I find that physical activity helps my creativity. If I fall into a sedentary spell, my writing invariably suffers. Also, the physical activity offsets my periodic chocolate indulgence. My down time from the physical is spent reading.
My first book, Faithful Service, Silent Hearts was a long time in the making. Devon’s character latched onto my creative brain years ago. I would dabble in parts of her story and then, like so many of us, real life always seemed to get in the way. In about 2007, I discovered fan fiction sites, but I had no interest in writing stories based on someone else’s characters. It just wasn’t for me. Later, I stumbled on sections in those sites that allowed original submissions, so I submitted my story. That very flawed, and ultimately very different version of FSSH finished the year #2 on the Athenaeum. From there, I got my first publisher rejection. I’m glad because it let me know that I had a lot of work to do on my craft if I wanted to be taken seriously. (For the record, I still work hard at craft daily). A wonderful group of like-minded women at a place called the Lesbian Fiction Forum gave me tons of critique and encouragement. I learned enough to improve my manuscript, and eventually I was fortunate enough to have FSSH published.
How did you come up with the idea for Rebound?
My nephew and one of my dearest friends are spinal cord injured. They both played wheelchair basketball and are very involved in various organizations promoting education and opportunity for disabled individuals. They are my daily inspiration. Both of them attack life with such gusto and determination that it’s impossible not to respond to that unspoken challenge: Never give up. Rebound developed out of my humble attempt to portray folks with disabilities in a fair and positive light. They don’t want our pity, only the same chance to prove their individual worth based on their merits, just like anyone else.
Your two previous novels, Faithful Service, Silent Hearts and Tactical Pursuit, have a strong action/adventure plot, but I hear Rebound is a departure from that. How is it different from your other novels?
As far as setting, Rebound is a bit different. Conner Maguire, the protagonist, is a professional basketball player, not a soldier or cop. I’ve said many times, “Yikes! Nobody’s getting blown up or shot at. ” LOL But, I think there is still a lot of the action and drama that LM fans have come to expect.
What would you say is the most important theme in Rebound, and what personal meaning does that theme have for you?
The tagline on my business cards has always been, “Stories of action, adventure, and the human spirit.” My readers know that I write very character-driven stories with deep point of view. Rebound is all about the human spirit. I think we all look at folks with disabilities and wonder what we would do if faced with that difficulty. Truth is, most of us would rise to the occasion. For Conner there’s no other choice. That’s the message: There’s no quitting. Life is what you make of it, no matter what.
How long did it take you to write Rebound?
Oh, wow. That’s tough. Rebound went through several incarnations before I hit on the right formula. The beginning of the story came to me in a rush many years ago. But, I think I was afraid of the story. Honestly. I wanted to tell this story authentically and portray these characters with the strength and dignity they deserved. I didn’t want it to be typical in either the “miraculous recovery” or the “drawn out drama and angst” kind of recovery that seems to be the norm. The injury isn’t the protagonist, Conner is. It changes her, but doesn’t define her. So, it took me a few years to work through that in my head.
I struggle to find writing time. Discipline. That’s all I can really say. You have to want to write and be successful enough to carve out time to do it. We all make choices in our day about whether to do this or that activity. Get on Facebook and lose two hours before you even realize it or write. Some days, FB wins. LOL
As far as myself, my workdays are very long, and my schedule can change dramatically from week to week, but normally I write in the morning, while my wife is still sleeping. I try to take care of emails, etc, then write for an hour, on a good day, two. Then it’s time to workout and get ready for my shift. Since I have so little time, I really have to focus on whatever project I’m working on.
What’s your favorite scene in Rebound?
My favorite scene in Rebound is a scene where Conner has decided that she wants to give wheelchair basketball a try. She goes to the gym alone because she doesn’t want anyone to see her trying to shoot. Suddenly, just making a basket is daunting. Conner is experiencing her new reality first hand and her frustration boils over into a sort of tantrum. Oh, yeah, and the coach who’s been less than impressed by Conner’s pedigree sees the whole thing. The layers of humility and compassion in that scene set the tone for the rest of the story, I think. Conner really has to figure out this new life.
Which scene in Rebound was hardest for you to write?
Hands down the hardest scene was Conner’s first sexual experience post-injury. I tried to write it with the sensitivity and honesty that it deserved.
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would Conner, the main character in Rebound, order? Black coffee? Soy-sugar-free-non-fat-vanilla latte? Double chocolate chip Frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce? Something else?
Conner’s an athlete, so non-fat latte, no whip.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m working on a short story for an upcoming anthology from Sapphire Books and another police-based drama called Full Honors that will be out later this year. The protagonist in this story is a little darker, nothing like Devon or Mac, and it’s a stand-alone story. We’ll explore some new themes, but it will once again be in the deep POV context of the job through their eyes and imperfections. As always, with an LM story, the story won’t be formulaic, and the ending might not be the typical HEA, but the human spirit will rise.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Lynette. I’m about to curl up on the couch with your newest book, and I so look forward to it.
Fellow writers of lesbian fiction, if you are looking for a promotion opportunity and want to be interviewed on my blog, send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Have a great Sunday.