Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Author Interview: Linda Yezak

It's Author Interview time! Yay! Getting to share cool conversations with amazing and interesting people is my favorite part of blogging.

Today I get to interview Linda Yezak, who just published her first novel Give the Lady a Ride. Linda Yezak resides in the state of Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She lives in the heart of a forest with her husband, three cats, four ducks, and a pond full of fish. Aside from being a member of Women Writing the West (WWW) and The Christian PEN, she is a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Her debut novel, Give the Lady a Ride, was a finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis contest, and her work-in-progress, The Cat Lady's Secret, was a finalist in 2010. A self-described nut, she says, "I keep both feet candy-coated, because there's no telling when one or both will land in my mouth."

Candy flavor of choice? "Peppermint. Chocolate melts too fast."

Nina: Welcome to Notes From The Front, Linda! Tell us about yourself!

Linda: How I wish I could whip out some wonderful stories about how fascinating I am, but there isn’t much to tell. I’m a wife, step-mother, grandmother, with a degree in English and a grad certificate in paralegal studies, and now I’m a published author. Although I’m not physically capable of much anymore, I’m game for anything. I love fishing and hunting, canning and cooking, horses and cattle, needlework and baseball. My interests are eclectic. If I were younger, and away from all those who once told me not to, I’d add sky diver and barrel racer or show-horse jumper to the list. Oh well, c’est la vie!

Nina: Give the Lady a Ride is your first published novel. How does it feel to have a book in print?

Linda: Like a ride in a hot air balloon. In the weeks before the debut, I was scrambling to get everything prepped. Attach the flat balloon to the carrier basket, hook up the gas for the burner–or in writer’s terms, get my debut activities lined up, announcements printed and cyber-announcements posted, parties planned, guest pieces and interviews written.

The morning of the debut, I shot heat into the balloon in a glorious sunrise fire-up. Or for me, before sunrise. I was so excited I got up two hours before the sun even thought about climbing over the horizon.

As the day went on, my balloon sailed through the sky, fired by every encouraging comment and congratulatory remark.

And it’s still flying!

Nina: What is your favorite scene from Ride? What makes you like it?

Linda: There are so many it’s hard to choose, but I think my favorite comes near the end, and surprisingly doesn’t involve the hero, but one of the other ranch hands. Throughout the book, a character named “Frank” provides fatherly wisdom to the hero, Talon, about Patricia, but at the end, he shares his wisdom with Patricia too. I’m not going to reveal the scene here, but “cowboy logic” is the perfect term to explain what Frank has to say about Patricia’s ride!

The scene really revealed Frank’s character to me, and I just fell in love with him. I’m going to tell you a secret, because I’m not sure whether I’ll actually write a sequel to Ride, but I started one, and Frank is the hero of that book. I hope everyone comes to love him as much as I do, because if I do write the sequel, I’ll be presenting more of his cowboy logic. (Nina: Sequel about Frank? Oh yes yes!)

Nina: One of the hottest topics in Christian writing right now is how to weave faith into a novel without becoming preachy. I really like the practical down-to-earth cowboy faith you wove into Ride. Was it difficult to decide how much religion to put in the book?

Linda: Yes. Oh, yes. But I’ve never written anything that didn’t reflect my love for my Savior. Even in grad school, for my final grade in my criminal law class, I wrote about the Hebraic penal code (got an A too!).

Aside from worrying about how much religion to include, I also worried about religious views. I want to appeal to a broad audience, but Christians hold diverse beliefs on so many topics. Whether a new convert is sprinkled or submerged for baptism, whether dancing is allowed among the members, and so on. These topics can spark heated debates among the family of Christ.

With the folks in a cowboy church though, submerging is preferred and dancing is fine. Since my hero is a member of a such a church, I hope readers with different beliefs will forgive me if I’ve written things they don’t practice themselves.

Nina: Tell us about other projects you have simmering. Do you have a new novel on the drawing board?

Linda: Of course, I do! The Cat Lady’s Secret is about three quarters done, and I can’t wait until I can get back to it! I’m still working on the elevator pitch, but it goes something like this: Carrying a fish net as she walks around town, Millie is on a mission to catch and rescue feral cats. As she hunts, she learns of people's needs and wishes--and all these are fulfilled. But what will happen to the town's benefactor if the journalist dogging her trail reveals her identity?

Nina: Thanks so much for coming! As a wrap-up will you give us a teaser from the book?

Linda: Patricia felt her vertebrae jar each time she pounded on Tandy’s bare back. It took all her will power not to hold on with both hands . . . Cowgirl? She didn’t think so.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Questions, Questions!

Spring comes. The snow melts. The birds sing. Rain is followed by the promise of sun. And my curiosity, tingled out of winter dormancy, is busy asking questions.

So! This blog post will be about YOU, not me. I’ll ask the questions, you’ll answer them. Then I’ll post again, this time with a compilation of your comments, and my own. Please spring right in, let your ideas scatter like rain, and your creativity bloom!

What season of the year are you most creative as a writer?

Do you generally find books, movies, or music to be more inspiring! (List examples!)

Is Absolute Quiet a must for you while writing, or do you work better with background noise?

Everyone has things they care about deeply, and much of the time, these fuel our writing, whether subtly or directly. What makes your heart leap and your blood boil – and have you put this into your creations?

What part of writing do you hate most? (everyone hates something!)

Name a few favorite words and/or phrases.

Would you say writing engages your mind or your body more?

There’s nothing in the world to compare with finding that perfect turn of word or phrase. Tell us about the latest one you found.

And finally – what project are you working on right now?