Today I’m interviewing western historical author Lynda J Cox.
About the author: Lynda J. Cox will tell anyone who will listen that she was born at least one hundred and fifty years too late, and most definitely in the wrong part of the country. She holds a master’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from Indiana State University after earning her BA from the same university as a non-traditional student. (Think being old enough to be mom to 90% of the students in her freshman cadre.) She’s kept busy with two spoiled rotten house cats, a 30 plus year old Arabian gelding who has been nicknamed “Lazarus” for his ability in the later years of his life to escape death, and quite a few champion collies. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on the road, travelling to the next dog show. She loves to chat about books, the writing life, and the insanity which is called a “dog show” and can be reached through her Facebook page.
Welcome, Lynda. Lazarus must have nine lives like my cats. And lucky you having collies to show! With such a fascinating “hobby” how did you begin writing?
I started writing in my first marriage and it was truly my lifeline to sanity. I could escape an abusive situation by escaping into the page. I didn’t get serious about it, though until after I married my best friend and one night while reading in bed, I threw yet another book across the room and announced, “I could write this well.” Hubby said, half asleep, “So go write.” And, I did.
Ha! I’ve tossed a few books across the room too. What’s your best time of day to write? On average, how many hours a day do you write?
I’m a night owl. I don’t hit a creative groove until long after everyone else is asleep. The fact that I also have severe insomnia (the type that even prescription meds doesn’t touch) can be seen as a blessing in a writing career.
Insomnia is my friend as well. Describe your favorite place to write.
My favorite place to write is my office. I can’t write in public places. I’ve tried. Just doesn’t work. My office has everything I need—a window that overlooks my dog kennels, internet, electricity, heat and air conditioning. It’s my own little space and because it’s actually separated from the house (was a guest house at first), I have to walk from the house to my office to work. That separation allows me to vanish into whatever I’m writing.
Are your books published by a large publishing house or small press? If so, how did you come to be with this publisher?
I’m published by a small press called The Wild Rose Press. I cold queried them and to my surprise, was offered a contract. I love being a Rose. They’re a great place for an author to be.
How do you develop your plots and your characters?
I’m a panster. The one and only time I wrote a detailed outline for a book, I put so much into that outline I destroyed any joy in writing the book. My characters, on the other hand, are incredibly well developed before I start writing. When I get a character in my head, I start asking that character questions. I actually have a character interview form I use with about fifty or more questions. And, most of the time, the answers to the questions bring about even more questions. I will also write extensive back story for the main characters.
Do you see yourself in some of your characters?
I think every author brings a little bit of themselves to every character they write. The trick is to separate from that. However, I’m tenacious and I’ve noticed most of my characters have that quality.
How and where do you research for your books?
So far, all of my books are set in the Wyoming Territory, during the period of westward expansion. I’ve travelled extensively in Wyoming. I’m a bookaholic. I bring more books home every single time we visit Wyoming because while we’re there, we visit museums and local tourist attractions. The tidbits of Wyoming history I learn in these places are incorporated into my books and add that “authentic flavor.” I also spend way too much time on the Internet, but because I was three credit hours short of a history major to go with my English major as an undergrad, I absolutely have to have my history correct.
Do you have critique partners and/or beta readers?
I have a wonderful street team and three of those members are also my beta readers. They find the plot holes for me, toss ideas back and forth with me about plot points, and are just great people.
Who designs your book covers?
My shout out here goes to Deb Taylor at Dca Graphics. She works with The Wild Rose Press and did such a fantastic job on my first cover, I requested her as the cover artist for my second book. I LOVE what she does with a book cover.
How do you unwind and relax when not writing?
I make dog show leads. No joke—I braid leads and put sparkly beads on them. Braided bling leads are the hottest fashion trend in the dog show scene and selling those leads helps to support my dog show addiction. Showing dogs isn’t a hobby with me. It really is an addiction.
Now here are two thrilling western historicals from Lynda.
Book Blurb for Smolder on a Slow Burn:
When your life has been stolen from you and the man responsible wants you dead, where do you run? Who do you trust?
Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn’t have a trusty companion to rescue her…until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.
When everything you fought for was stripped away, even your honor, what is left to fight for other than revenge?
Branded a “traitor” for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster’s arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.’s battle strategy.
Excerpt for Smolder on a Slow Burn:
For the first time since she had met him he wasn’t wearing that battered cavalry hat and she noticed that the silvering at his temples wasn’t even. The silver among the black at his right temple traced nearly to the back of his head about two inches above his ear and followed a direct line with the thin scar along the slope of his cheek bone.
“May I ask what caused that scar? A deflected saber blow?”
He shook his head and plopped his hat on, tugging it into place. “Nothing so romantic. It was a rifle butt to the side of my head. As I recall, I said something the other man didn’t appreciate.”
Allison felt her stomach turn. “Why?”
“Why? Why was what I said unappreciated—?”
“Why were you struck in the head with a rifle butt?”
“Because even though I could say something that man didn’t appreciate, he still had the authority and the power to knock me senseless.” He lifted a shoulder in a negligent shrug. “Train’s slowing, which means the porter will be here shortly to let us know which town we’re coming to. Let’s not damage your reputation beyond repair, shall we?”
Allison wiped the tears from her face, aiming for some semblance of normalcy when the porter arrived. “Even if I’m mistaken, I want to thank you for not doubting me, Mr…A.J.”
He quirked a brow even as he stretched his legs out, crossing one ankle over the other. “I learned a long time ago that a woman’s intuition is often the best source of information available. A lot of men are complete fools for not giving it more credence.”
Allison glanced at the revolver tied down low on his thigh, visible where his greatcoat had slipped open. She lifted her face to his. “I don’t think many people would dare accuse you of being a fool.”
“You’d be surprised how often I have been accused of that.” He leaned back, another smile tracing new lines across his features. “And I do believe, Allison Webster, you’re flirting with me.”
Heat seared her cheeks, but she managed to keep her gaze steady on his face. “I suppose I am.”
Smolder on a Slow Burn: http://amzn.to/1pstPH4
The Devil’s Own Desperado: http://amzn.to/1p9lytX
Linda’s Social Links:
@lyndacox (Twitter handle)
www.lyndajcox.com (web site)
http://bitly.com/YXa7ZC (Amazon author page)