A little bit about Rebecca...
Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her Kate Neilson novels. She currently lives in Idaho, where she serves as an editor and a mentor for aspiring authors and as a coach for women transitioning from prison to life on “the outside.” Winds of Freedom is the sequel to the award-winning first book in the Kate Neilson series, Winds of Wyoming.
Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles
You can purchase her book here.
Author Interview | Rebecca Carey Lyles
You & Writing
You visited my blog several months ago to talk about your first book in the Kate Neilson Series, Winds of Wyoming. Now the sequel is available, Winds of Freedom. How many books are you planning to include in the series, and what’s the purpose of the series?
...At this moment, all I can foresee for the series is a trilogy. I feel like Kate’s story will be complete with the publication of the (unwritten) third book, Winds of Change. But you never know. Something in book three could change my thinking. If not, I’ll finish the first book in a Montana series I’m planning.
...The purpose of the series has been to first of all portray incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals as real people trying to become good citizens, not monsters bent on terrorizing society. Yes, I know prisons are full of evil people (actually, we’re all evil until we’ve been cleansed by Jesus’ blood). However, while involved with prison ministry, I discovered that many if not most inmates are products of dysfunctional childhoods and poor choices who want to grow beyond their upbringing and failures. Secondly, I want to depict the challenges ex-inmates face when they’re released, from finding a job to beginning a new life, to avoiding old habits and hangouts, to establishing a sense of self-worth and a solid relationship with God.
What is writing like for you? Do you find it hard or easy?
...I wish I could say writing is easy for me, but I’ve always found it difficult to drag thoughts from my head through my fingers to the computer. What seems to work best for me is to slap down a rough draft and then go over my work again and again to get it to make sense. Even then, I desperately need my editor’s assistance plus input from beta-readers and proofreaders to create a quality final product.
Where did you get your idea for your newest book?
...The idea for Winds of Freedom came years ago when the relative of a neighbor walked into an airport restroom and never came out—as far as her husband and children knew. Although they didn’t see her exit the restroom, she must have snuck past them wearing a disguise, because they later learned she’d slipped away to start a new life. Several weeks after her disappearance, she returned to pick up her clothing and other personal items. She didn’t tell her husband where she was living or what she was doing, only that she no longer had to clean house or take care of children. To add to the mystery, she was wearing a collar around her neck.
Tell us more about Winds of Freedom.
...Here’s the blurb:
Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
Sometimes people find themselves in abusive situations that are nearly impossible to escape.
...I trust Winds of Freedom will inspire readers to pray for those in bondage and assist them however possible. Here’s the scripture I included at the beginning of the novel:
“Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, so I can thank you.” Psalm 142:6-7a (NLT/NIV)
When you write, what is your overall intention for your stories?
...Other than what I said above about supporting inmates, ex-inmates and those trapped by abuse, I pray my writing draws readers to a deeper relationship with God. I also strive to make the stories suspenseful with a bit a humor added here and there.
Here’s my tagline: Contemporary Christian Romance Set in the West and Salted with Suspense.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Don’t be afraid to dump your most beautiful writing. My original beginning for Winds of Wyoming was sooo lovely—and sooo wrong for the story.
What’s your favorite activity in the fall?
...Besides crunching through leaves on my daily walks, I like to bike the greenbelt along the river and drive through the mountains to see the changing leaves. This fall, I have the added joy of watching my daughter marry her longtime love.
Thanks so much, Rebecca, for joining us here on the blog. I loved hearing about your next book - sounds exciting and intriguing - and I love the takeaway you give. I believe every author, no matter what they write, carries with them a theme. It may not always be worked out in the same way, but I think you can see it through their writing.
And great advice to those who are aspiring to be published - I've learned that lesson myself. Sometimes you have to get whole books out of your system before truly finding your voice.