Hi Lynda, and welcome to RomanceJunkies. First, can you let us know what projects you are currently working on?
I’m happy to talk about my projects, Kim! Thanks for interviewing me!
I just sold my first full-length manuscript, THE VAMPIRE SHRINK, to Medallion Press. This book is an urban fantasy with romance, sex, mystery and a witty vibe (hopefully!). It’s about a Denver psychologist who gets pulled into the vampire/vampire wannabe underworld. She meets a gorgeous, 800-year-old bloodsucker, an irreverent FBI agent, a dead woman, lots of nasty characters, and generally falls through the looking glass. I’ll soon be working on edits, and plugging along on the second book in the series. I also just completed a novella (erotic urban fantasy romance) under my pen name and will be submitting that to the epub that requested it.
What does your workspace look like? Do you have a set writing schedule or do you write as it comes?
My computer is on a 6-foot table in my bedroom (I share my apartment with a roommate). It’s cluttered with files, newspapers, books, manuscripts, sticky notes, and general chaos. I have a comfortable set-up, and tend to write every day, even if only for a few minutes. I am a seat-of-the-pants writer, and I’m most disciplined when I have a deadline. Otherwise, I’m likely to wander off and read or watch TV.
How long does it take you to write a book? Have you ever developed writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
I’ve only been writing fiction (I’ve written nonfiction for a very long time) for three years, and THE VAMPIRE SHRINK is my first completed, full-length manuscript. That took me 14 months to write. I think it wouldn’t have taken me that long, except the learning curve for the differences between writing nonfiction and fiction was steep, and I didn’t know about all the online support and resources that were available to me. I kept rewriting and rewriting until I found a great crit group who encouraged me and kicked my butt. I often get bogged down in mini-bouts of writer’s “resistance.” Usually triggered by some confidence crisis. Or by some bizarre, illogical element of the publishing world. I indulge myself for a few days, thinking I suck as a writer and nobody’s really going to read anything I write, then I just seem to get over it. Maybe I just get it out of my system. I’m a firm believer in having a personal (and private) hissy fit whenever I need one.
Do you name your characters first or do they have to have a personality before they are named? How do you choose their names?
Names are actually very important to me. I keep lists of names – or words that can be used as names, such as the heroine’s name in THE VAMPIRE SHRINK (Kismet is her first name). All my writing is character-based, so I usually have an intuitive sense about the personality of the character and then the name just seems to float into my consciousness. It’s challenging to find great names that everyone else isn’t using. In my novella, I chose a name that is in use by others, but I’d already made so many references in the story to the other meanings of the heroine’s name, that I just couldn’t change it. I like to give the main characters unique names.
Do you have any input for your titles? How about the covers for your books?
So far, all the titles I’ve given my short stories and my novel and novella have held through the publication process. My short stories (through The Wild Rose Press) all got standard covers, so there was no input on those. Medallion Press (as of today) hasn’t shown me the cover for THE VAMPIRE SHRINK yet (and I’m trembling in my boots because they asked for my thoughts about it and I had lots of opinions to share – I hope we’re on a similar page!!!). The novella (UNDEAD IN THE CITY) is just starting the submission process, so who knows what kind of cover it will end up with?? I love all those new urban fantasy covers with a cityscape in the background, and shadowy faces, etc. Yum!
When did you consider yourself a writer? You have been writing for twenty years, what changes have you seen in the writing industry? How about your own style of writing?
I’ve mostly been a nonfiction writer, which is a different animal totally from a fiction writer. I’ve considered myself to be a good writer as a general description, rather than a career title. I’ve always been able to write articles, columns and to create all my materials for the various workshops, presentations, classes I offer. People have always told me my writing is humorous – that I make them laugh or smile. I think that’s one of my strengths. What I discovered when I started writing fiction (and paranormal fiction, specifically) was that I already had a style, which could be called “quirky.” I think my psychology training, my strange sense of humor, and fiction writers like the nutty Tom Robbins have influenced my writing because I tend to use a lot of metaphorical phrases. I’m likely to personify an emotion, say for example: “Anger raced across my inner landscape, grabbed Fear by the neck and wrestled it down.” Some of my critique partners still raise an eyebrow at my writing!
How do you feel when you write “The End” on your stories? Do you feel a sense of empty nest without them or are you happy to send them off into the sunset?
Writing “The End” is an awesome feeling. I don’t remember who said this, but I agree: I love
having written more than
writing. I look back on the 105,000 words of my novel and I’m shocked I got through it. It just seemed to flow. Maybe that was because I really didn’t know anything about outer ideas about how I “should” do it, so I just followed my inner wisdom. Now that I know more about the “shoulds” and the challenges of the publishing industry, I find myself procrastinating more often. But, I’m always so happy to finish something – to send it on its way. I love the submission process (I know. I’m a bit strange). I guess I have confidence that whatever I write will sell – eventually.
You have a fascinating resume, what do you find most interesting about hypnotherapy? Can you tell us more about your psychic/intuitive abilities and how you use them on the radio?
Hypnotherapy, like every other study of the mind, is incredibly interesting and intriguing. I do enjoy working with clients to transform habits (smoking, addictions, etc.), but my favorite thing is to delve into the unconscious and uncover the hidden roots of their conflicts and problems. I love pushing the envelope of my own creativity to find ways to connect with a client’s personal mythology, metaphors, symbols, etc. A combination of behavioral and depth hypnotherapy can create astounding changes. We’re learning more every day about how beliefs create experiences. Or, put another way, beliefs create reality. The slogan, “change your beliefs and change your life” turns out to be very true. Hypnosis is an awesome way to encourage those changes. I’ve created a line of Guided Hypnotherapy CDs, which can be found on my website
I was a weird kid. Always talking to friends who weren’t there. Hanging out in a closet (literally) having conversations. My mother feared the worst: I was possessed by the devil. Actually, I just had/have a juicy imagination and a high level of psychic/intuitive abilities. I used to draw attention to myself as a child and teenager by calling myself a witch. Of course, that was before I understood what that meant. I had no knowledge of Wicca back then, and later discovered that I found it interesting, but I’m not a joiner. In fact, my isolated – rather lonely – childhood might be why I have such a rich imagination today. When I’m on a radio program (which I love to do) I answer questions called in by listeners. Over the years I’ve combined all my skills (psychic abilities, counseling training, understanding of the Law of Attraction, etc.) so that my guidance/advice contains elements of all. I used to write a local newspaper column for five years where I answered readers’ questions. I was sad when the newspaper went out of business. Now I do that on a blog:
Can you give us some background on Tarot readings?
Nobody seems to really know where the Tarot originated. I’ve been fascinated with the cards since I was a teenager (at that time it was another way to draw positive attention to myself). I love the metaphorical stories represented by the pictures on the cards. I use the Tarot a lot when I’m working with clients who come to me for intuitive guidance (I don’t do readings for my psychotherapy/hypnotherapy clients. I keep my various services very separate). After a while, the cards just became another part of me. I’ve participated in metaphysical fairs for 30 years where I do Tarot readings. I find it to be a very helpful tool.
If your life were a movie, what would it be named? What would the theme song be?
My movie might be called: “An Alternate Reality.” I never seemed to fit in (which I think is great now), and I always experienced things the others around me didn’t. I spent a lot of years thinking I was nuts (which is likely why I became a psychotherapist), and then discovered I’m highly sensitive (called a HSP in psych literature) and empathic/psychic/intuitive. My theme song would be “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” or “Stranger in a Strange Land.”
What is the last book that left a big impression on you?
I was very impressed by Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake books (most of them), because she focuses on character and writes in first person (like I usually do). I really enjoyed reading Susan Squires’ THE COMPANION. Really well done. Lots of paranormal books have impressed me!
What is one snack that you absolutely have to have stocked in your house?
Well, when I’m not trying to get rid of some blubber, I like ice cream. Chocolate. Well, actually, I like chocolate anything.
Who was your first celebrity crush? Is he still hot?
That was probably when I was very small. I liked Ricky Nelson. Then, right after that, I liked the guys in The Beatles. Now that I think about it, I guess I haven’t had a good celebrity crush since I was little!
If you could pick one super power to have, which one would it be and why?
Well, my first reaction was that I’d like to be able to read minds. But since I already tend to read energy/emotions, that’s close enough for me. Maybe the ability to travel through time and space would be great! There are many places/times I’d like to visit and understand.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not? And if you did have you kept them so far?
I don’t make them. I’m constantly thinking about moving more into alignment with the changes I want to make in myself and my life, and it’s an ongoing work in progress. Sometimes I pick a day (usually a powerful day for me, one that has significance) and decide to change something as of that day. The first of the year usually isn’t a significant time for me, so I rarely focus my attention there. I’ve noticed that I’ve made lots of commitments to new goals in March and October. Those seem to be my focus periods for some reason.
Lynda, thank you so much for spending time with us. It has been a lot of fun. Best of luck in Year 2007 with your pursuits!