Today start’s the first of a series of monthly author interviews and book reviews. I will be reviewing a Novel and sitting down to chat with the author so that we can all get to know them a bit better. This month I invited Lynn Donovan, Author of the Christian gothic mystery “The Wishing Well Curse to my campfire to sit and jaw abit about her book and writing in general. I must say this sophisticated lady surprised this ole mountaineer by accepting and not even flinchin’ when I directed her past the outhouse to the campfire and its stump chairs. I didn’t however have the heart to tell her that the “cookies” she commented on and kept munchin’ were actually organic dog snacks for the Lazy hound at our feet.
Lynn, Welcome to the campfire I must say it’s an honor to meet ya and get the chance to talk with ya about yer book.
“Thank you PG, I’m glad to be able to be here. I must say your place is umm colorful.”
Yeah we like it up here in the mountains. I hope you didn’t have any trouble finding the place?”
“No the directions were very clear . I did have a small bit of trouble trying to find ‘the old hickory tree homer cut down’ but other than that very clear.”
Great, Well I know you’ll want to get off the mountain fer night falls so lets just jump into it shall we?
What genre do you consider “The Wishing Well Curse” to be?
I consider it Paranormal/mystery/with a hint of romance. But I have been told by those who know more about this than me, that it is Gothic Paranormal. So…
Yeah them experts love to correct us fer sure.
What made you chose to write in that genre?
Honestly I didn’t. The idea came to me from the song “If You Could Read My Mind, Love” by Gordon Lightfoot. The line goes, “…like a ghost from a wishing well…” This got me thinking about a guy who inherits a house and finds a woman near a wishing well. She is being tormented by another guy on the grounds and the hero rescues her from the guy, then finds out they are ghosts and she crosses over. That’s not how my story goes, but that was the original thought. After I wrote it, I started researching genres to find out where it fit. I’ve been known to do things backwards.
That’s all right they been telling us Mountain Men that fer ever.
Some parts of your book will be considered controversial by some Christians. What answer would you give them about that concern?
It never occurred to me that these parts of the story were controversial until my editor pointed that out to me. I was more concerned with insulting Native Americans with the indian story/folklore part of the plot. (Silly me!) But upon being told this would give issue. I sat back and thought about this.
My response is simple, really. This story is fiction. Not non-fiction. I did not experience this stuff and now am writing to tell the world what happened to me. It’s a made-up story about a made-up guy.
Now that’s a great answer. (Lynn and I talk more about some of those contraverys but that’s over on my askpastorgeorge blog where spiritual discusions belong.
In “The wishing Well Curse” you have a Harley riding, biker clad pastor who advises Zeke named Pastor V. Was there a real life Pastor V who inspired your literary one?
Yes. And he knows he was my muse. In fact I sent him and his wife a copy of the paperback. His name is James Vickers. (See how I turned his name around, James Vickers became Vince James.) He lives in Colorado Springs is a member of my church. He and his wife, Michele, are leaders in a motorcycle life group in the church called, Cruisers for Christ. He’s physical appearance is Pastor V’s and they wear leather and ride their motorcycles to church. He is an awesome man of God and was perfect for my character.
Sounds like my kinda Preacher you’ll have to introduce us some day.
It would be my pleasure. I think he’d get a kick out of meeting a buckskin and coon cap clad minister as well.
Well, I ain’t always dressed like this but up here at the home-place it just feels right. The Wishing Well Curse makes mention of a small but well known story in the Bible the story of Jabez. What made you think to use that story as part of your tale?
For the past four years I have been reading the bible from year-long reading plans. One day, about two years ago, I was reading 1 Chronicles and was (sorry God) bored with the tedious details. I’m not a bean counter. I’m so glad God is, because I know these things are important. But I’m not. Anyway, reading along, bored with the listings, I stumbled on 1 Chronicles 4:10. WOW! What a nugget for my soul. I have issues with my childhood and I realized this passage was my freedom from those issues. I took the enlightenment to my pastors and they surprised me further with the knowledge that others have gone before me and have written about the power of the Jabez’s prayer. Who knew?
So, when I was plotting out The Wishing Well Curse, I automatically turned to this curse breaking passage and realized it fit perfectly with this story. So I wove it into the plot. It helped immensely moving the plot through to the resolution. I think.
I have to step back and tell you that I don’t really think this was my doing. I’m not this smart. God planted these ideas in my head and this story is all for His glory.
Yeah God does do that on occasion don’t he?
Yes He does.
When you’re not writing insanely thrilling novels how do you spend your time?
(Lynn starts laughing at this question almost choking on her dog bisquit, hmm ,I mean cookie, wink wink.) I am a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and prayer warrior. I live with my husband, Paul. My youngest of four children still lives at home while he’s going to college. The other three (two girls and a boy) are grown, have children and one is married. We are very close via texting, Facebook, phone calls and the like. My mother has Alzheimer’s and lives with us. My sister is blind and deaf, the result of rubella measles when mother was pregnant, and is under my guardianship as well. We have a full but small house. So life is always interesting. I am an active member of my church and love to serve God whatever way he directs me. Occasionally, I sing with sign language for the special during the Praise and Worship (musical part of the service). The people have been blessed by this and I enjoy being God’s conduit!
I also, paint with oil. My sister and I attend a painting class at the local college. We enjoy that very much and so far, we are not too bad at what we produce. Several of my paintings are posted on my Facebook page.
I read, garden, crochet and sew quilts. My husband and I love to camp. We have a tear drop camper we built our selves and we get with other tear drop campers and enjoy the great outdoors.
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter, a panster or some mixture of the two?
I think I’m a plot first type writer, because an idea comes to me from weird sources. Like this one from lines in a song. But the scene where Zeke saves the guy from the ditch, I heard something like that on a radio news cast. Sometimes ideas come from dreams. Then I do the “what if…” thing and work out how this idea might actually work into a story. But once I have that down to a small degree (I’m not a big outliner, just general idea sort of gal.) Then I visualize my characters, like a movie in my head, and—I tell everybody—I follow them around and write down what they do and say. Sometimes they stop talking to me and I have to wait until they let me in. (I suppose that’s a little writer’s block.) but with patience, and mundane chores, they start talking and doing again. So I run to the computer and start writing it all down.
Now fer the most important question of them all, what is your writing snack food of choice?
I drink iced tea all day long after my two cups of coffee in the morning, and I love to have one Sonic large diet coke per day. Other than that. I try not to snack, but just can’t help myself. I love pretzel twists, toast, Cheeze Its, Wheat Thins and slices of block cheddar and sliced apples, popcorn, yogurt, fruit, chocolate, etc., etc., etc… Not all at one time, of course. This is just what I choose from, generally, when I get up to get a snack. By the way have I mentioned how good thses cookies are?
Umm, Thanks. I make them myself.
You are one of several Authors working with the new AltWit press publishing house. Why did you choose to publish with them instead of a more established trade house or going completely independent?
Pauline actually contacted me. I know! That NEVER happens! But it did. She visited with me about her goals and ideals for AltWit Press. I did a little research and found that she had a solid plan and I appreciated her commitment to her authors. So I submitted The Wishing Well Curse to her and she accepted it.
I’m sure our readers would love to know how you got to that point. Would you care to share it with us?
It all started the beginning of 2012, I sat down and started writing. This story and another was in my head for a long time. The Wishing Well Curse had come to me over twenty years ago. So
by the end of April I had a first and VERY rough draft. Now, back up a little. Six years ago, my husband and I worked for his parent’s at a GMC dealership. He did a search for Plymouth parts one day and got a web site about tear drop campers. Yeah, really. Goooo Google! He showed it to me and we agreed that would be TOO cool. We built a camper and started going to TD gatherings. There was an online forum where we connected with other TD campers, etc. On this forum is a published author, Lynn Coleman. I messaged her and asked for advice. She directed me to ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) I joined them and began downloading resources to help me improve my writing. That got me connected to Jeff Gerke. I googled him and found he had a Forum, Where the Map Ends. On there, I was invited to an off-shoot critique group. They were the biggest help ever! They critiqued this story and TORE IT UP! I mean helped me improve it for publishing. On this critique group was a member, Pauline Creeden. She had a young publishing company and offered to the group to submit short stories about a clockwork dragon. I submitted a story and she liked it. I asked her if I could give her some more and she said yes. I gave her three more. (I couldn’t quit thinking of stories with the clockwork dragon.) Then another member, Jennette Mbewe submitted one to her and she accepted it too. Jennette and I collaborated on one story and Pauline accepted it. Finally, Jennette submitted one more of her own. And the book was published October 2012.
This brings us to the conversation with Pauline and The Wishing Well Curse submission. Talk about following your Destiny! This has been an amazing journey! And it was ALL GOD!
What is the greatest complement a reader could ever give you?
Well, I love to hear, “I love the story.” But, I want to cry and lay down in humble prayer when I hear, “This made me think.” “Or I didn’t believe in destiny but now I’m reconsidering it.” Stuff like that where God reached the person through the story. Because I truly mean it when I say, this is ALL FOR HIS GLORY.
Most Authors are also readers so what are the top three books in your to be read list?
THREE? I am currently reading Swiss Family Robinson. I just finished Thorns of Eden. I’ll read almost anything. I love mysteries, Sci Fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, steam punk, ghost stories, historicals, romance, westerns and I LOVE time-travel stories. I have read all of the Harry Potter books more than once. I’ve read nearly all of Steven King’s books. Bag of Bones, reminds me in a small way of The Wishing Well Curse. And James Patterson, I’ve read all of his books for adults and my son has read all his YA books. I don’t like war stories, erotica or violence. Because I have grown up with a handicapped sister, I don’t enjoy stories about special needs people, especially if they are being mistreated. It’s just too close to home. The movie Radio, I have never seen, in fact I walked out on it. It’s just too close to my heart and I can’t handle it emotionally.
I start every day reading the bible. I call it my Coffee with Christ.
Speakin’ of which would you like another cup?
Um, No thank you. This is a bit strong for my taste.
How can fans connect with you?
FB Authorpage: LynnDonovanFGG (that’s For God’s Glory)
Linkedin.com: M Lynn Donovan
Also, connecting with AltWitPress.com will keep you connected on all our publications as they are released.
What do you think was the best advice you ever got on writing? What one piece of advice would you want to pass on to aspiring writers?
Write for an audience of one. (God)
Just keep writing. Fix stuff later.
No idea is a bad idea.
Seriously, just write. If you don’t type well, so what? If you don’t have a computer, so what? Whatever excuse you have, so what? Just write and write and write until you reach the end. Then you have something to work with and can learn how to make it publishable. But you gotta have that first draft in order to get anywhere else.
Well I see it’s getting late we better wrap up before the critters start comin’ out. What can we expect from Lynn Donovan in the future?
I have a sequel to The Wishing Well Curse. It’s titled Thorns of Betrayal. And It is with the publisher now. I am currently working on two stories. One is a Spec Fic titled Fertility Pirates, and a Christmas Themed novella, the working title is: Christmas Grace, Signing Seeds. I’m not sure what genre it falls under. It’s contemporary, spiritual, maybe paranormal, but more … hmm. I’m not sure. Still in line with fulfilling one’s divine destiny.
AND…I’ve got some other ideas tapping me on the shoulder. If only I could write faster! LOL!
Lynn, Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with me today.
Thank you, Pastor George. I enjoyed our time together. You are a great host and I loved the cookies!
Umm, Glad you liked em’ Can’t wait to read more of yer works. You drive safe leavin’ the hollar now.
Tomorrow I’ll post my review of Lynn’s book ‘The Wishing Well Curse” You can get your copy HERE.