Interview and Giveaway with Lynn Blackburn

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year and a half since Lynn and I first connected. She’s an amazing writer and friend. We’ve shared scuba diving experiences, family stories, and recently spent three days at MurderCon (a writer’s police academy) together. Not to mention the multiple times I’ve bugged her with writing questions.

Please welcome Lynn!

Enter to win One Final Breath

Sign up: Giveaway Link (click here)

Lynn Blackburn (2)

It’s the moment many of us have been waiting for. One Final Breath is out!!

Interview with Lynn:

One Final Breath is the Dive Team Investigations final book. Are you ready to move on OR do you wish you could continue writing about these characters? A little bit of both! I miss them, but I’m also excited to see what new characters and stories are waiting to be discovered! (But I’m sure the dive team will reappear from time to time in other stories.)

 Team Gabe is a thing. Are you Team Gabe? And why do you think your readers love Gabe? LOL! #TeamGabe caught me off guard but I LOVE IT!! I love how much readers connected with Gabe in Beneath the Surface and how they’ve been clamoring for him to get his own story ever since. I’m #TeamRyan and #TeamAdam and #TeamGabe depending on which story I’m in. I guess that means at the moment I’m #TeamGabe. I think readers love Gabe because he’s funny and sarcastic, but he’s not a joke. He can be serious. He’s very good at what he does. And I think they know there’s a deeper side of him lurking beneath the surface (see what I did there?) and they are anxious to finally know what makes him tick!

If you had to describe Gabe and Anissa in three words each, what would those three words be? Fun. Passionate. (Hate is a passionate emotion – LOL!) Intense. 

What was your favorite part of this series? The kissing scenes. (Kidding. Kinda.) Who doesn’t love a good kissing scene?! 

My absolute favorite part of all three books is when all six of them are together. The verbal sparring, the interaction, the developing and strengthening friendships. I had so much fun discovering the bonds between the three guys, the three girls, and then the guy/girl friendships. Ryan and Adam both have a great relationship with Anissa. And I love how Gabe and Leigh interact. They are a lot of fun in One Final Breath.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing One Final Breath? I was (and still am, to be honest) worried about getting Gabe right! I was writing One Final Breath when Beneath the Surface released, and the #TeamGabe fans were vocal right as I was giving Gabe his own voice. It’s the best kind of problem to have, but I definitely felt (feel!) the pressure to do justice to this character that so many people love.

And Anissa’s backstory was hard to write. I don’t really enjoy making my characters suffer and I knew her backstory was painful, but when I had to crawl into her head and live it with her, it was tough!

The other piece that was tricky was making their romance organic and believable. They have history that has only been hinted at up to this point and it’s a lot to overcome! 

Do you have a new series planned? Yes! The series doesn’t have an official name yet, but it’s set in Raleigh, NC, and features agents from the United States Secret Service.

How do you develop your plot and characters? I wish I had a system that made any sense at all! I start with their jobs, usually. Then figure out how they came to be in those jobs. I give them some backstory, but I don’t do a lot of interviewing and character histories. Not at first. I have to write 10-20K before I feel like I know them well enough. I start to get a feel for their voice and what makes them tick, and then I can piece together a more detailed picture of who they are. My plots work the same way. I have a general idea of the initial problem and I know how it will end (for the most part) but I have to start writing to see how it’s all going to play out!

Describe your writing space. We turned a storage area in our attic into an office. It’s small and cozy and makes me happy. If I’m not at home, my writing space is “my” table at Panera (I have been known to sit nearby until it is available and then move) or at a high top at my favorite coffee shop, Java Bistro.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I often need to get in the car and talk out scenes as I drive around. Then I can write. So if I’m stuck, I run some errands. It’s either that or take a shower. I have some of my best ideas in the shower!

Do you prefer printed books or eBooks? Printed. No contest.

What dream location would you like to visit? New Zealand.

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you. I love school supplies. As in I sometimes wander around office supply stores just because all that paper, all those pens, those notebooks and organizational options…they make me happy.

Yes, I am a nerd.  We love you anyway, Lynn! Lol!

Thank you so much for joining us, Lynn!

Check out Lynn’s website for the latest and greatest.

Please stop by in October for an Interview and Giveaway with Elizabeth Goddard!  

Interview and Giveaway with Lynette Eason

Romantic Suspense lovers, this is for you!

Introducing the Amazing Lynette Eason!!

I must admit, the first time I met Lynette I had a Fan Girl moment. One of my favorite authors was sitting before me in a one on one meeting. Eekk! Since then, that starstruck zing of excitement has dimmed. (Sorry, Lynette.) I’ve had the privilege of connecting with her multiple times over the past couple of years. She’s an amazing writer and person.

Please welcome Lynette!!

Enter to win Vow Of Justice

Sign up: Giveaway Link


Where do you get your book ideas? Wherever I can find them! LOL. I get ideas from newspapers, the news, television shows, movies, etc. Sometimes, I’m in conversation brainstorming one novel and an idea for another will pop up.

How long does it take you to write a novel? Usually about 4-6 months.

Who’s your all-time favorite character? In one of my books? Emily Chastain in Code of Valor. I can relate to her.

What was it like to see your book made into a movie?  It was pretty amazing. The first time I watched the movie, I kept wondering what was going to happen. And then I was like, “Oh! I remember that part!” LOL.

I hear you have a new release. Do tell! Vow of Justice released August 6th! Woohoo! I can’t wait to read it!

Here’s the back cover copy:

FBI Special Agent Lincoln St. John is living his own personal nightmare. When the woman he loves, Allison Radcliffe, is killed, he devotes his life to tracking down the killers and making them pay for their crimes. He expected it to be a challenge. What he never expected was to find Allison very much alive shortly after her “murder.” As his anger and hurt mix with relief, Linc isn’t sure how he’s supposed to feel. One thing he does know for sure: he and Allison will have to work together to stop a killer before she dies a second time–this time for good.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason closes out her Blue Justice series with a story that will have you tearing through the pages to get to the stunning conclusion.

Tell us a little bit about your typical day. My day is never very typical. LOL. I get up, eat breakfast, walk the puppy, have a quiet time (most days), then jump into my story. I take breaks, run errands, hang out with my family, etc, but the rest of the time is spent writing. And chasing a puppy—Lord, help me. Your puppy is so adorable!

When did you start writing? I’ve been writing and making up stories my whole life, but it wasn’t until 1999 that I started writing with the faint glimmer of being published.

When did you receive your first book contract? February 16, 2006

How many books have you written? 53 or so. I haven’t counted lately. I know that sounds really weird –or maybe even a little arrogant—but I don’t mean it that way. It’s just fact. LOL.

What is the hardest part about being an author? Writing the first book in a new series!

What was your job before becoming a fulltime writer? I was a special ed teacher.

Who is your favorite author? Wow, this is a hard one! Um…I don’t have ONE favorite. I have a whole list. LOL. Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson, Lee Child, James Patterson with Michael Ledwidge (the Michael Bennett series), Colleen Coble, Dani Pettrey, Cara Putman, James Scott Bell, Randy Alcorn, Carrie Stuart Parks, Robin Carroll, Lynn Blackburn and that’s just a handful!  Now that is one AMAZING list!

What is your favorite book? Of all time? Once again, that’s a tough one. I don’t really have a favorite. I never read a book twice simply because there are way too many good ones waiting for me.

Anything you want to brag about? I just hit the halfway point in my next book and I’m REALLY excited about that! I’m also a Carol Award finalist this year so I’m excited about that as well.

 Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke? COKE

Candy, cookies, or cake?  CAKE

Favorite food? Milk Duds and M&Ms.

Coffee or Tea? TEA

Favorite vacation?  Don’t really have one.

Favorite TV show?  Blue Bloods.

Favorite Movie? Die Hard  WooHoo! I love that one!

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities?  I love to travel with my family, reading, of course, and hanging out with friends. I just got a new puppy on March 8th. She was 6 weeks old when I got her and she keeps me very busy! I’m also looking at getting into Bible Journaling. It looks like a lot of fun!

Check out Lynette’s website

Thank you, Lynette, for joining us this month!

Be sure to join me on September 12th for a Giveaway and Interview with Lynn Blackburn!

Interview and Giveaway with Carrie Stuart Parks

Time for a change to Suspense with the amazing Carrie Stuart Parks!

Ahhh, Carrie, what can I say…I met Carrie about a year ago at the ACFW conference. She critiqued a section of my manuscript and believe it or not, she liked it. ☺We had a great conversation and as they say, the rest is history. She is so generous with her time and willingness to help. I can’t thank her enough.

Please welcome Carrie Stuart Parks!

Enter to win Fragments of Fear and an artist kit

Sign up: Giveaway Link

Carrie Stuart Parks

Where did you get your ideas for your books? Lately I’ve been brainstorming with fellow writers—Colleen Coble, Lynette Eason, Robin Caroll, Pam Hillman, Voni Harris, and my agent, Karen Solem. Several others have joined us in the past. I get a rough idea of location and problem and we all run with it. We try to get together once a year. Can I just say I’m jealous!

Tell us about your “other” career. ☺  I’m a forensic artist—I use my art to work with law enforcement and the legal community on criminal and civil cases. This includes composite drawings of unknown subjects, image modification, unknown remains, crime scene sketches, demonstrative evidence, and courtroom illustrations. My husband, Rick, and I teach these topics to law enforcement personnel.

I’m also a professional artist with watercolor as my primary medium.

I’ve heard your mentor is quite an interesting character. Do tell! Frank Peretti, the “Dean of Christian Fiction,” mentored me for eight years. What a TOTAL blessing.

How long does it take you to write a novel? The idea floats around for a few months while I finish the previous book, then the plotting, character development, and research takes about 4 months. Writing takes 8 months—so a year. I’d probably be faster, but I have a “day job.”

Who’s your all-time favorite character? Of mine? Gwen Marcey, of course.

When is your next release? Shameless plug time! July 23 is the release day for Fragments of Fear. From the back cover:

Evelyn McTavish’s world came crashing down with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she receives a call that her dog is about to be destroyed at the pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. But the shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine with her name and address makes it hers.

Evelyn recognizes the dog as one owned by archaeologist John Coyote because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner—but she arrives only to discover John’s murdered body.

As Evelyn herself becomes a target, her path crosses with undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price. But the more he gets to know her, the more personally invested he is in keeping her safe. They’re desperate to find the links between these disparate pieces. And the clock is ticking.

Tell us a little bit about your typical day. My “typical” day isn’t ever typical. I wake up between 5-6 AM (depending on dogs.) After putting them outside, then in, then out, then in until I am going nuts, I do my daily devotional with my first gallon of coffee. Then I answer emails and putter on the computer before starting on writing. I write a few hours every day if possible. I keep a spiral notebook open with the projects that need to be done—ordering art supplies for classes, bookkeeping, follow-up, art delivery, enrollment, and so on.

We travel to various locations about once a month to teach our week-long classes, so as the class approaches, the list will include packing, rosters, handouts, shipping books, airline tickets, dog care, and so many other things that I get tired just thinking about it… Rick (hubby) schedules the classes, does the newsletter, books the hotel and rental cars, and handles some correspondence.

In addition to the forensic classes, I’m a professional speaker. I talk on forensic art, signs of deception, and writing. I use Powerpoint extensively and customize it for each group, so preparing, timing, corresponding with the group, booking flights, hotels, and so on may take a chunk of the day. Whew. Now I am tired…

Then there are the dogs (I’ll answer a later question here.) I have six pooches: four Great Pyrenees and two bull terriers. I completed my Pyrenees permit judging license this year and am picking up the three provisional assignments to complete the final AKC requirements. I show several of the dogs, something I’ve been doing since I was nine. On that handy list I mentioned earlier are getting ready for the shows (showing locally, judging in Chicago, New Jersey, Washington State, and California.) Add grooming, training, kennel cleaning…I’m exhausted…

Finally, there’s the routine maintenance around here. We live on the family’s 685-acre ranch in the mountains of North Idaho. We have our home, guest house (used for classes in the summer,) the 20 x 30’ studio, and dog kennel. I’m going back to bed…

When did you start writing? Probably some time in the early 1990s. Non-fiction art books and books on signs of deception.

Tell us about your first book contract.  My first was for a non-fiction, illustrated Secrets to Drawing Realistic Faces. My first fiction contract came after eight years of being mentored by Frank, around ten writing conferences, numerous online classes, two critique groups, and over 80 books on the subject. The “learning” book didn’t sell originally, so I wrote a second. A partial of the second book (which became A Cry From the Dust) was sent to seven publishing houses. One didn’t answer, one said they weren’t doing fiction anymore, and five wanted the manuscript. It went to auction between two of the big five, with Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian signing me for a three book deal. That book won a Carol and finaled in the Christy’s. All of the books in that 4-book series won major awards. God is good.

What is the hardest part about being an author? Is there an easy part? Just sitting down with discipline and writing.

Who is your favorite author? Frank Peretti, of course. Dick Frances, Jonathan and Fay Kellerman, J.A. Jance, early Patricia Cornwell. Colleen Coble, Robin Caroll, Ronie Kendig, Lynette Eason, Cara Putman…oh my! So many books, so little time.

What is your favorite book? In terms of reading it the most times, the Bible.

I recall you have a big fluffy bear…oops, I mean dog. Do tell! I did mention the dogs earlier. I served as the president of the Great Pyrenees Club of America—something my mother did. I inherited the kennel and love of dogs from both my folks. They have since passed on, and I feel like I honor their memory by continuing to have them.

Anything you want to brag about? I think I’ve done enough damage….

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?   Coke

Candy, cookies, or cake?    Have you seen me? Yes!

Favorite food?  More like what won’t I eat…

Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the am, iced tea in the afternoon.

Favorite vacation? All of them.

Favorite TV show?  Hmmmm. I binge watch different shows based on my mood.

Favorite Movie? Do I have to choose one?

Any hobbies? I guess the dogs count as a hobby—the writing, art, and teaching are wonderful jobs.

Carrie, thank you so much for joining us and for the fun giveaway.

Please join me next month for a giveaway and interview with Lynette Eason.