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INTERVIEW WITH LYNN H. BLACKBURN
What triggered the idea for the Beneath the Surface? Until 2014, I had no idea there was such a thing as a law enforcement dive team. But I had the opportunity to attend the Writers Police Academy that year. There were so many amazing classes offered and I struggled to decide which ones to attend. I don’t remember what prompted me to do it, but something spurred me to hop into a van and go watch a demonstration of underwater evidence recovery techniques. I sat on bleachers beside a steamy YMCA indoor swimming pool as members of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Underwater Recovery Team showed us how they would search for evidence or recover a body from the lakes, rivers, and ponds in the local area.
They explained that their team was made up of sworn and non-sworn members of the sheriff’s office and that they volunteered to be on the team. They participated in monthly exercises and were on call whenever there was a need to recover evidence from an aquatic environment.
All the members of the team were certified divers but they were more than recreational scuba divers. They were specifically trained to perform underwater criminal investigations.
Before I’d climbed back into the van that would take me to the hotel, I knew that at some point I wanted to write a series about the men and women of a law enforcement dive team.
How long did it take you to write Beneath the Surface? The general idea had been percolating since 2014, but I didn’t put words to the page until the summer of 2016 when I put the proposal for the series together. My writing was interrupted by the revisions for Hidden Legacy (my 2nd book with Love Inspired Suspense). I came back to it in November and turned it into my editor on May 1st.
Who’s your favorite character? I don’t have a favorite! LOL! Most of the time, my favorite is the character I’m actively writing at the moment. So in this moment, that would be Anissa and Gabe (they are in book 3!) but I am very partial to some of my secondary characters in this series, specifically Mr. Cook and Ms. Edna, and I’m also very fond of Leigh’s friend, Keri. I would like Keri to get her own story someday.
Tell us a little bit about your typical day. There is no typical day! During the school year, I try to hit the gym early (5:30 a.m.), then I’m in full mom mode/homeschool mode until after lunch. I try to write for an hour or two in the afternoon, but I usually wind up doing most of my writing in the evening after the kids are in bed.
I take full advantage of babysitters and grandparents and write whenever the kids are out of the house.
And of course, when I’m on a deadline (like now) I write whenever/wherever I can. Ten minutes here, thirty minutes there.
When did you start writing? I was always good at writing and I’ve always had stories in my head, but it never occurred to me to try writing them down until March 2009.
When did you receive your first book contract? My first contract was for Covert Justice. I won a contest called The Search for the Next Killer Voice from Love Inspired Suspense. I sold the book in July of 2014.
What is the hardest part about being an author? Juggling. At any given time, I’m writing one book, editing another, and promoting another. Now I’ve added a new element because I’m currently doing all three of those AND working on a proposal for a new series.
Who is your favorite author? Ha! I don’t have “A” favorite. In my own genre, I’m a huge fan of Lynette Eason, Dani Pettrey, Susan May Warren, Ronie Kendig, Carrie Stuart Parks . . . I know I’m leaving people out! Those are the authors whose books are sitting on my desk taunting me while I finish writing the book I’m currently working on. I’ll read all of them in August.
What is your favorite book? Again…I can’t choose! Based purely on what I’ve re-read the most, I would say Anne of Green Gables is a top contender, as well as The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. But this is the kind of question I could answer differently on any given day.
Anything you want to brag about? Hmmm…Oh. I have a free recipe book for people who sign up for my newsletter that has the recipes mentioned in Beneath the Surface. I had a lot of fun putting that together. You can find the link on my website. lynnhblackburn.com
Now for the important questions:
Pepsi or Coke? COKE – always and only!
Candy, cookies, or cake? Cookies
Favorite food? Who can pick a favorite? I will never turn down Mexican.
Coffee or Tea? Both. Coffee in the morning. Iced tea anytime.
Favorite vacation? My husband and I traveled to the Pacific Northwest last fall and Oregon is now one of my favorite places in the world. But we’re traveling to the Keys with our family later this summer and that might take the top spot.
Favorite TV show? NCIS (all three) and Lethal Weapon, but I am now a full season behind thanks to my writing deadlines.
Favorite Movie? I can’t choose! I will watch the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Harry Potter, Star Trek (the new ones) anytime they are on. Tombstone. You’ve Got Mail. Pride and Prejudice. Okay. I’ll stop now!
Hmmm…I seem to recall you tried something new recently. How did that go? I recently got my SCUBA certification. The first day was a near disaster – I was absolutely terrified and panicked the first time water started trickling into my mask. It’s not like I was going to drown in 5 feet of water! LOL! But I could barely get enough air. I stood up and wasn’t sure I would ever be able to go back down. Thanks to some amazing instructors I not only survived, but I actually managed to enjoy my last dive. I’m looking forward to diving in the Keys in August.