Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lynn Donovan {Writer Wednesday}

I'm happy to introduce you all to Lynn Donovan for today's {Writer Wednesday} author interview!

A little bit about Lynn...

Lynn Donovan writes from her heart and her passion for Jesus Christ. She is a daughter, wife, mother of four and grandmother of seven who has five decades of experiences to draw from when creating her stories. She has published a collection of Short Stories, The Clockwork Dragon, and this novel with AltWitPress. She categorizes herself as the “sandwich generation” because she is caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s and her special-needs sister. She is one child away from an empty nest. She currently lives in Southwest Kansas but looks forward to building a home in Colorado. 
How to connect with Lynn...
You can learn more about Lynn on her blog:
Follow her on Twitter @MLynnDonovan
Check out her profile at M Lynn Donovan
Become her friend on Facebook at MLDonovan
And like her Facebook author page at LynnDonovanFGG (For God’s Glory)

Author Interview | Lynn Donovan 

You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you start writing?
...My initial response is: I never thought of myself as a writer. But when I really thought about it, I’ve always been the one who initiated a story-play time adventure. When I was really young, like 6 or 7, my friends and I played outside (I know, shocking) and we would develop a scenario as we went along. The ideas always started with “See...” For example, we would decide to play cowboys and Indians, I would say, “See, we need to get water from the creek but the Indians are chasing us, so we have to hide in these bushes and sneak down to the water. See, we are hot and tired, so we have a hard time crawling down to the creek.” Then we’d play that out, kind of like keep away or tag. When I got older (11 or so) we sat down (outside of course) and wrote out plays. Then we’d rehearse them, set up lawn chairs on my friends back porch and invite their parents to come watch our play. Later still, I learned to sew and made hand puppets (like sock puppets). I road my Schwinn bike (like Pee Wee Herman’s) to the appliance store (about ¼ mile from my house) and literally dragged a freezer box back home. We’d cut out a window and hang a curtain that could be pulled back, and put on a puppet show. Again, by setting up lawn chairs and inviting our parents to come see.
What has kept you writing?
...Now that I am writing, the ideas won’t stop. I hear a newscast and think, hmm that would make an interesting scene to write or basis for a whole story. Or I’ll read a passage in the bible and think of a way to write that in modern times. Several ideas have come from a dream. Death Without Shoes in The Clockwork Dragon, is about 80% from a dream.
...Two years ago, we transferred my mother, who has Alzheimer’s and my sister, who is blind and deaf, to our home. They live with us now and so I do not work outside of the home. Writing allows me to stay busy, joyfully, and take care of their needs as well. I feel it was divinely orchestrated for me to have this season where I have time to write. My only challenge is my own multi-active mind who thinks it can do several things at once. I have to make lists so I can ignore the activity, for now, and focus on writing.
Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so why?
...Actually I love all my stories, since they are my own creations, but the one I am the most fond of is, “Blind and Deaf Faith.” I wrote it for a Creative Writing class I took at the local college this past fall. It is a fantasy fiction about my sister. The main character, Faith, is a blind and deaf Marine Biologist. My sister is fascinated with sharks and dreams (literally) of running a shark center. Due to her limitations, she will never do such. However, in my writing I have been able to present it as a reality. I gave a final copy to her and needless to say she LOVED it and hugged me. Her joy made me cry. (Yes, she can read. She holds the paper about one inch from her eyes.) A copy of it is on my blog, and it will be published in the college’s Telolith. (Seward County Community College) which is a yearly publication from the English and Art Department. Student’s Art work and writings are published in it. And it wins outstanding awards for quality and layout, etc., every year.
What is the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...I have to confess. I am SO blessed. Ephesians 3:20 says: Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” A year ago, February/March, I wrote The Wishing Well Curse. I didn’t know anything about writing. I simply wrote the story like I would tell the story. My grammar was based on mother-tongue knowledge. I saw it laid out in my mind like a movie, and did my best to put that picture into words. ...Then I read Jeff Gerke’s book, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. Learned a lot! Then I used his link at the back of the book to find a discussion forum, The Anomaly or Where the Map Ends. From there I was invited to an online critique group. It was in that critique group that I learned how to polish my manuscript. A member of the group, Pauline Creeden, invited everyone in the group to write a short story or two about a clockwork dragon which was home to legends, the many demons. I wrote four and collaborated on another. Pauline published it Oct 2012 with her publishing company, AltWitPress. (She wrote two of the stories) Then in December, Pauline sent me a message asking me if I had any finished manuscripts. I gulped, cried, ran to tell my husband, and then I relied, YES! I sent her the Wishing Well Curse. She suggested some structural/plot changes. I made them and here we are today. It was totally a Divine Appointment! And I do realize and appreciate that this NEVER happens in publishing…but it did for me!  Thank you God!
           Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book.
...The Wishing Well Curse is about a twenty-one year old man named Zeke Clay who lives in Austin, TX. His parents have died and on one spring day he loses everything, he drops out of college, finds his girlfriend with another guy, leaves their apartment, and gets fired from work. He receives an invitation to come to Pueblo Colorado for the reading of a Will for an Uncle he never knew he had. What does he have to lose? He goes to Colorado and discovers he could inherit a huge fortune, but he has to break a century old curse along with some other strange conditions. He is given clues from this Uncle and his mother. One source is First Chronicals 4:10, the Jabez prayer. (Did I mention his middle name is Jabez) Hmm, maybe mom knew something when she named him. He has to deal with a cantankerous elderly Attorney, a pastor who looks more like a Hell’s Angels member than an evangelical pastor, the attorney’s nephew/receptionist, and two ghosts who are not terribly agreeable. If that’s not strange enough, his 3 year old tattoo, a band of thorns, on his bicep, bleeds every time he goes near the wishing well. Wonder why?
Why are you/did you write it?
...Prior to this story, I wrote a fictitious story about a difficult period in my life but every other chapter is about the chapter before only from the point of view of the spiritual world, i.e., my guardian angel, prayer warriors, other angels, and demons who were out to get me. I wrote it to completion, was amazed I could write a whole novel length manuscript, and then decided it was too personal. So I set it aside and thought, “Okay, now what?” The Wishing Well Curse was the only other story in my head at the time, so I started writing it.
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...Zeke, the main character, is totally patterned from my first born. So, he’s a favored and dear character to me. But as I wrote the story, I became fond of Clifford. Don’t get me wrong, I like all my characters in their own way, after all I birthed them, so to speak.
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...God had a purpose for each and every one of us even before we were conceived. My hope is for every reader to wonder what their purpose is. I call it destiny, but I refer to God’s destiny for us. By wondering what that destiny is, I hope everyone will seek and find that destiny, then follow that path and fulfill God’s plan. I hope this story plants a seed that will flourish over time.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...This story originated in my head over twenty years ago when I heard Gordon Lightfoot’s song, If you could read my mind.  The line “Just like an old time movie, about a ghost from a wishing well…” got me to thinking. Then when this season presented itself in my life, I thought: I’m gonna try to write that story… And here we are today. Some scenes are from a real life event. The only character from a real life person is Zeke. The rest are from my imagination. With one minor exception, a waitress. (That’s all I’m saying.)
...I describe the way I write like this: I follow my characters around and write down whatever they say and do. Sometimes they won’t let me eavesdrop, other times they’re very open to me. That’s not to say I don’t plan out my story or do research. I do that too. But my characters usually take the story a whole different direction and I go along for the ride.
...My characters are VERY real to me. Sometimes, I accidentally call my dog Zeke, his name is Binx.
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...Number one intention is to glorify God. Number two intention is to entertain. Number three intention is … no that’s about it.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Three quotes: Nike-Just do it  Nemo-Just keep swimming [writing]  Confucius-A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
...The only way to be a writer is to start writing and keep on writing. No matter how terrible you may think it is, how slow you may type. If you don’t have a computer, write it out in long hand. WHATEVER you have to do, write. Second: read, read, read, everything you can get your hands on in the genre you love, or want to write in. Third: read all the how-to-write and how-to-edit books you can get your hands on. Plus, get an emotional thesaurus! Invaluable! Fourth: connect with other writers - online, in person with writing group, join a critique group (be careful some of those can be brutal) if you don’t like the critique group, join another. Whether you write Christian fiction or not, I recommend Where the Map Ends at  Lurk through the discussion threads until you feel comfortable with posting something. Last, but not least, pray about it. Pray before you write, pray after you write. Pray for other’s who write.

What is a favorite memory you have of your mother?
...Not my mother so much as my grandmother. She was the funniest person I have ever known. I got my humor gene from her. She always saw the silver lining. She patiently spent time with me, playing games (hide and go seek, checkers, and made up goofy games, too.) She would go out of her way to help someone in need. She read to me and bought me Golden books, Tell a Tale, etc. She taught me to cook, I had my own little bitty apron, and baking tools just my size. I stood on a stool and helped with everything. (At least I thought I was helping) There’s a story about her and my apron on my blog, too. Her son, my father, imprinted on me the art of telling a story with just the right poignant pauses and climactic reveals. I dedicated this book to him.

If you had to choose one type of food, what kind would it be?
...I love all foods (you can tell by looking at me!  LOL) but the first thing that comes to my mind is Italian. I’m not Italian, but I love their food and cook it probably 60% of the time. I’m in love with pasta!  
April showers bring May flowers – or so they say. Do you have a favorite flower? If so, why is it your favorite?
...Daisy is the first thing that comes to mind. But I adore daffodils and tulips and roses and … well, I love all kinds of flowers! I don’t know why. They’re beautiful and I love looking at them.
One question I did not ask but Lynn was so gracioius to piont out:
Will there be a sequel?
...Why yes, Emilie, there is!  I’m calling it Thorns of Betrayal. It is (as Paul Harvey would say) the rest of the story…about Zeke.  That’s all I can tell you without spoiling the Wishing Well Curse.  *evil smile*
Thank you so much for this great interview Lynn! I am right there with you about playing outside as a child. I think it was the beginning for my writing career. I'm also a very visual writer myself. I see what my characters are doing and basically let them tell me the story.  And lastly, your advice about praying for your writing and for others who are writing is invaluable! I'm planning a post on this soon so I won't say more than that ;)
I also have exciting news from Lynn that a new trailer for The Wishing Well Curse is out! You can follow the link below to check it out:
If you're intersted in purchasing her novel The Wishing Well Curse (how could you not be after reading its descritpion!?) you can find it at the link below:

I'm excited to say that I'll be reviewing The Wishing Well Curse on the blog soon!!  Happy Wednesday :)

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