Today I welcome my friend and award winning author, Lynn Chandler Willis to my blog. Ms. Chandler Willis has worked in the corporate world, the television news industry and the newspaper business. She is the author of WINK OF AN EYE (Minotaur, 2014), winner of the St. Martin’s Press/PWA Best 1st P.I. Novel competition. Another of her novels, THE RISING (Pelican Book Group, 2013) was the Grace Award winner for Excellence in Faith-based fiction. She’s also the author of the best-selling true crime book, UNHOLY COVENANT which was based on a murder that took place in North Carolina (Addicus Books, 2000).
Thank you for joining us today, Lynn. Now let me ask you a few questions that I’m sure readers will be interested in.
Tell us about yourself. Did you have another career before becoming a writer? If so, how and why did you come to writing? I knew after reading Treasure Island in the 7th grade that I wanted to be a writer. The idea of having the ability to transport a reader to an entirely different world was mesmerizing to me. Although the longing to write was always there, I played it safe and did the “real job” thing while my kids were young and needed a roof over their head and food to eat. I worked in the television industry and the corporate world, then ended up owning and publishing a small town newspaper. Although the newspaper gave me the opportunity to “write” it wasn’t the kind of writing I longed to do, which was fiction. People frown on newspapers making stuff up! After 13 years, I closed the newspaper and finally started actually submitting some of my work and found there was an interest in it. Today, I’m the “granny nanny” to eight of my nine grandchildren and writing full time between diaper changes and wiping noses.
What does your family think of your writing? The grandkids are super excited and are constantly asking what I’m working on, when will I finish it, can they see the cover…they’ve very encouraging. I have to grin sometimes when one of them will take one of my books to school because they’re teacher wanted to see it.
Tell us about Wink of an Eye. It is somewhat different from your other books. How did you come up with the setting, the characters and the idea? Was it based on real incidents? Short blurb: Twelve-year old Tatum McCallen hires reluctant PI Gypsy Moran to prove his father didn’t kill himself. Gypsy, on the run from his own set of problems, soon finds himself in the middle of a case involving eight missing girls, a cowardly sheriff, and undocumented workers. Aided by a sexy reporter, Gypsy begins unraveling secrets buried deep in his tiny hometown of Wink, Texas. Secrets so deep, exposing them threatens the only woman he’s ever loved, and the very life of Tatum.
I had the character of “Gypsy Moran” in my mind for several years in various locals, professions, and plots but it wasn’t until I saw the movie “No Country for Old Men” that it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I absolutely fell in love with the setting—the dirt, the cactus, the blistering heat—that dominates west Texas. I knew I wanted the story set in a small town so I started researching small towns in west Texas and discovered Wink, population 981, give or take.
What is your next writing project? NoBody’s Baby, a mystery/suspense, is being shopped by my agent. It’s about a small town newspaper owner who becomes the caregiver to her friend’s toddler when she discovers the child’s mother brutally murdered. The novel explores the thin line between suspect, witness, and reporter. With that one finished and being submitted, I’m currently working on Wink and a Nod, book two in the Gypsy Moran mystery series. He’s such a fun character to write and he’s developed quite a fan club!
What is your writing day like? Hectic! I’m the full-time (7:30am until 6:00pm, Monday through Friday) babysitter for eight of my nine grandchildren. Their ages are: 11, 9, 8, 6, two 4 year-olds, and twin three year-olds. I keep my WIP (work in progress) open at all times on my laptop and grab a paragraph when I can. I used to be a pantster, but now work off of an outline. It’s much easier to grab that paragraph if you know where you’re going with the story.
What advice would you give others who want to write a novel? Just write it. Write it from the heart. Write it because there’s a compulsive need to get it down on paper or in the computer. Worry later about point of view, setting the scene, description, pace, transitions, word count—all that stuff that you’ll obsess over later when you have some experience under your belt. Once you’ve got something on paper, start studying the craft. Next time you sit down to write, all those elements you never gave a second thought to before—point of view, description, pace, etc…—will suddenly make sense.
Other Books by Lynn Chandler Willis
Where are your books available? From the publishers, most major bookstores, Walmart, Amazon and other on-line retailers.
How can the readers get in touch with you?
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K7W7DU