Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I have cozy mystery author Lynn Cahoon. I can always relate to someone whose first celebrity crush is Donny Osmond. Although, I don’t know why she expected him at her door when, of course, he’d be at mine (heh). I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m Lynn Cahoon. My first cozy mystery series was Tourists Trap. It’s set in a California beach town with an amateur sleuth bookstore and coffee shop owner. Cat Latimer mysteries’ main character is a Colorado paranormal young adult author who runs writers retreats in her restored Victorian. A new kitchen witch mystery where the main character is more focused on getting her business up and going in the small Idaho town of Magic Springs. Finally, the Farm to Fork series that’s set in a kinder, gentler version of the town I grew up in. They all have one thing in common – a lot of food. 😊
Tell us about your current release. My current release, Killer Comfort Food is set in the Farm to Fork world. Angie and her bestie, Felicia, run a farm to table restaurant in River Vista. Angie’s farm that she inherited from her Nona, is being considered for the new Soybean plant that will bring in a lot of jobs to the area. Problem is, Angie doesn’t want to sell. Add in her pet goat, black and white hen, and her full-grown St. Bernard, Angie can’t just move into a condo. When one woman is found dead, and another is missing, Angie might have a choice to sell or be the next victim.
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Love this question. It’s Donny Osmond. Sigh. I grew up in Southern Idaho and he lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was close enough in my mind, that he might just show up in my mall or even move to my town and attend my school. Even then I had an active imagination.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I always wanted to be a writer. A high school student showed me her books when I was in middle grade. She wrote and then illustrated them with pictures she’d cut out of Teen Beat. When I looked at the college programs, there wasn’t a ‘writer’ program, at least not until you were working on your masters. And I didn’t want to be a journalist, I’d have to talk to people. So I went practical (I’m pretty black and white on somethings) and got a political science degree and went to work for the state.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I am actually what they call a hybrid author. I self-publish some of my stories and work with my publisher, Kensington, on others. I think there’s a place for both. Working with a publisher has taught me a lot about the business of writing. The temptation of self-publishing is the ease of getting a book out to the reading public before it’s ready. My books that go through the long traditional publishing process, they get at least four different editing processes – my own, developmental edits from my editor, copy edits, and page proofs. And mistakes still get through. Which makes me crazy.
How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel. What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? I started taking classes toward a Masters in Fine Arts, Creative Writing (which I never finished.) I wrote all the time. Character sketches, short stories, essays. And then I started a novel. My first one was a mystery – a police officer who was chasing a killer who’d stopped into his town one day. I was great at the first four chapters. I’d write up to there and get stumped. So I figured I wasn’t good at writing -a thriller, a middle school historical, a mystery, a romance… I finally got a writer/mentor who challenged me to finish a book. Didn’t matter which one, just finish one. I chose the romance and powered through. Then I wrote another one. And another.
It’s said that writing a book is like driving in the dark with your lights off. You can’t see too far ahead. I still write like that. I have a general idea of the book, maybe a theme, who’s going to be characters on stage, and then, the words come – 2000 words a day. It’s a matter of sitting down and doing the work. As easy as that. And as hard as that.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? There are two reasons I don’t have an idea on what to write. One is the story took a left turn and I need to figure out what happened and if I want to go that way. The other reason is I’m tired and my brain is fried. When that happens, it’s easier to put the book away for the night and start again the next morning. It’s always better to start again with a clear head.
I have too many stories in my head to not have something to write. I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?
Now, see, that’s the problem. I typically know the setting, the characters, and what I want to focus on in a book. But the rest is up to the writing. I’m what they call a pantser or, a better name in my opinion, is a gardener. I plant the seed, then I let the writing water the idea. So sometimes I never really know who the killer is when I start the mystery. In a romance, I’ve had to switch up the location to make the story work. In the Bull Rider’s Manager (published under my pen name, Lynn Collins), I had them fly to Cody, Wyoming for a rodeo. It just didn’t work or increase the tension at all. I stopped writing because I didn’t like the story arc. When I slept on it, I realized that if the plane landed in Las Vegas, the tension exploded.
What made you take the plunge and finally do it? For me, it was a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2007. I was going through treatment and sat down one day and asked myself, if this was all the time I had, how did I want to leave. And it wasn’t doing the job I was doing, or the other ones I’d worked at. I got out a notebook, wrote three essays and sold them all that year. It took me three years to sell anything else. But I knew I was on the right track. I’d found my purpose.
Thanks for having me over! I appreciate you all!
Here is where you can find Lynn online:
- Goodreads –http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5857424.Lynn_Cahoon
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/LynnCahoon
- Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor
- website – http://lynncahoon.com/
- Amazon author page – http://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Cahoon/e/B0082PWOAO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Lynn is giving away an ebook copy of Killer Comfort Food to a reader! See below how to enter to win: