Today’s guest has a unique view of the world, one I think you’ll enjoy. Please help me welcome Lynda Rees to the interview hot seat! First a glance at her background before we move on to find out more about her writing process and inspiration.
Lynda is an award-winning storyteller living on a Kentucky horse farm. Born in the Appalachian Mountains the daughter of a coal miner and part-Cherokee Indian, Lynda grew up in northern Kentucky when Newport prospered as a gambling, prostitution, and sin mecca under the Cleveland Mob. Her fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into her written pages.
Having traveled the world working with heads of industry, foreign governments, and business managers during a corporate career in marketing and global transportation, this free-spirited adventurer with workaholic tendencies followed her passion for writing.
Both debut novels are award winners. Gold Lust Conspiracy is her award-winning historical debut novel. RITA finalist and debut romantic suspense Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine, Book 1 of The Bloodline Series, is set in Kentucky horse country, followed by books 2-10. Operation Second Chance, also set in Kentucky, was an Imaginarium finalist.
Lynda’s middle-grade children’s books, Freckle Face & Blondie and The Thinking Tree, are co-authored with her granddaughter Harley Nelson. Lynda has also published several non-fiction books and a children’s picture book NO FEAR.
She hopes you enjoy her stories and you become life-long friends.
Lynda Rees, The Murder Guru
Love is a dangerous mystery. Enjoy the ride!©
Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?
Lynda: Fans of The Bloodline Series asked for a favorite character, FBI Agent Reggie Casse, to have her own love interest and series. So, I wrote Hart’s Girls, Reggie Chronicle 1; and U.S. Marshal Shae Montgomery entered the sleepy, rural, horse country town of Sweetwater, Kentucky, and the Reggie Chronicles was born. Hart’s Girls was such a success, I followed it with Heart of the Matter, Reggie Chronicle 2 launched 6/1/22 and Magnolia Blossoms, Reggie Chronicle 3 launched 7/1/22.
Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?
Lynda: I studied abduction and human trafficking with an FBI Agent and learned a lot about the industry as well as what organizations like the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s office are doing to combat the despicable crimes. It’s fascinating and has many legs. Through romance and suspenseful entertainment, these books are my way of helping the public learn about what’s going on in their neighborhoods, regardless of where you live; and how they can recognize the signs, prevent it from happening to loved ones, and help victims of such crimes recover.
Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?
Lynda: Yes. Reggie is a wacky, irreverent character who loves to flirt and prank. She’s also hell-bent on saving women and children from criminal activities. As such a strong character, finding a man who would appreciate her personality and career was difficult. Shea Montgomery is just the opposite of what she thought she needed, but he’s perfect for her. They both have issues to get through and over, but in the end, they are meant for each other.
Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?
Lynda: I adore strong women and portray them that way in all my books. Strong women need strong men. It takes a man with lots of confidence to appreciate my gals. They’re all so fun to create, and I have enjoyed learning them down to their very core.
Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?
Lynda: As I said earlier, I worked with an FBI agent in order to understand the criminal organizations—not just what they do but how and why. I delved into the psychology of the criminal mindset, and discovered why they are so successful, who their prime targets are and why they’re so vulnerable. I learned what punishments are levied for the varying types of activities, how the FBI and other organizations I mention in my books combat these crimes, and what is done to help victims. Recovery is a long, difficult battle, but it’s achievable for victims to ultimately have happy, productive lives.
Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?
Lynda: About seven. I write the story in my head. Then I outline the chapters and sequence of events. I write the chapters. I read and rewrite them. I share with my critique groups and incorporate revision. I share with beta readers, then incorporate revision. I do a final edit then send to an editor. I revise with editor revisions. Then I do another final edit.
Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?
Lynda: Yes, it’s a typical length of time for me. Putting the first draft on paper took about a month. I let it sit for almost a year while completing another project, then pulled it out again. It took about three more months to complete and submit it for publication.
Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?
Lynda: Nothing special. I normally listen to audiobooks while marketing, doing social media and answering emails. When I write, however, I need quiet. I have a glass of ice water, a cocktail or glass of wine. Then I sit alone in my office and put hands on the keyboard.
Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?
Lynda: My pet peeve is overuse of words. I am extremely conscious of it, something I’ve learned over the years. Those that irritate me most are: then, the, very, just, about, down, up, almost. I have a complete list of what I call “edit-out words” available for download at my website under the For Authors tab. It’s at: http://www.lyndareesauthor.com
Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?
Lynda: My father was the most courageous man I knew. He always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. I owe my achievement to him. His parents, my grandparents, showed me what love and marriage should be like. My grandfather taught me to read at the age of four with the Bible, while sitting at his side on the porch. We read together every day, and his patience at my continual questions never wavered. From him I learned a passion for reading, learning and for stories.
Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?
Lynda: I write in my office unless I’m traveling. Then, anywhere comfortable works. I listen to audiobooks in my office while doing work other than writing. I read in my comfy chair in the living room or on the swing out back under the pines.
Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?
Lynda: I’m a retired Marketing Operations Manager and Global Transportation Manager from Procter & Gamble, having spent thirty-six years traveling the globe for them. I did enjoy it. It was fabulous meeting and working with other cultures, governments, and heads of industry. Now, I enjoy writing full time, my family, many critters and farm life.
Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?
Lynda: Finishing and getting published my first two novels. Both won accolades from contests. Gold Lust Conspiracy is an historical romance set in 1890’s Alaska. It took over two years of research to write. My first romantic mystery, Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine, Bk. 1 of the Bloodline Series, also won awards, and launched the same time as Gold Lust Conspiracy.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Lynda: I love romantic suspense, rom-coms, cozy romance, and hardcore suspense and mysteries; and I occasionally read time travel.
Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?
Lynda: I have achieved a comfortable financial status in my life, due to my corporate career and from writing. It’s great to have that stability. As far as defining success, getting good reviews or letters from fans is the most satisfying part.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. I greatly appreciate you and what you do. I can’t wait to meet your readers and fans.
A corpse with a strange tattoo and a kidnapping at their wedding lead FBI Agent Reggie Casse and U.S. Marshal Shea Montgomery to an international ring selling items money shouldn’t be able to buy.
Stephanie Plum meets Alex Cross in rural Kentucky racehorse country. Janet Evanovich and James Patterson are my favorite two authors.
I love stories set in the horse world in one way or another. Thanks for sharing with us, Lynda!
Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories
Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.
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