Today, I’d like to introduce you to St. Louis author Lynn Cahoon. I met Lynn through an amazing group called Authors Helping Authors. As many of you know, I seriously rooted for the Cardinals last year for two reasons—my mom was from St. Louis and they beat the Rangers in the playoffs against the Detroit Tigers. Yay, St. Louis.
Lynn, please tell us about yourself.
The official version? Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters to modern cowboys. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want.
Other than that, I work a day job, listen to books on cd on an hour commute – best invention ever! – and play wife to my husband of four years when I’m not attached to my computer. I’m the mom of a born-to-love-Seattle son and two Pomeranians who believe my role in life is to take them for a walk. And buy the dog food.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a storyteller, but I only told the stories to myself. I’d imagine what if… and by the time I was done, I’d slayed the dragon, found the treasures, and won the heart of the prince.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
When I’m writing? I’m always writing. I have so many books started, waiting for me to get time to schedule them in. I heard Shannon Butcher talk once and she mentioned she knows what she’s writing for the next two years. I can see how you’d get there. I’m doing a third (at least) book in both of my series that debuted this year. The second books are already written and The Bull Rider’s Manger is sold. My other editor is reading Return of the Fae, the second in the A Member of the Council series. Currently, I’m writing a cozy mystery I started at the beginning of the year before I sold the two romances.
So, back to the question – I try to (and yes, Yoda, there is a try…) write first thing in the am before I drive to work. Then again at night until I reached 1000 words. If I wasn’t working on a self-imposed deadline (I want to enter the cozy into a mystery contest October 15th), my word count goal would be lower – 500 words. Weekends I double that.
Great output, even if you didn’t have a full-time day job. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
See answer above. Honestly, I spend way too much time on the computer. Both at work or at home writing, reading, marketing, tweeting… all that stuff. But I have a five year plan. At the end of that, I hope to be writing full time which will allow me to do other things with my ‘free’ time.
What does your family think of your writing?
Again, see answer above.
Just kidding. My husband is very supportive, even jabbing me when I’ve been slacking a bit and not writing. He sees my success as a way to fish full time. My adult son has been amazingly supportive. And I’ve gotten a lot of support from more distant relatives. However I still get the comments about writing a ‘real’ book.
Can’t please everyone! LOL
Isn’t that the truth. How do you come up with ideas?
Ideas are everywhere. My accountability partner says I have Bright and Shiny Disease, I’m always talking about how this or that would be a great story. When my husband and I went to Cincinnati for a baseball game, we walked through Fountain Square. In the middle is this big fountain (duh) but a woman is perched high on the top of the fountain, her arms outstretched with water flowing out of her open hands.
At the time, I was plotting the second book in my magic series – A Member of the Council. I knew a few things. I knew the two main characters were going on a quest to seek out Coven X and Parris’ family. I knew the bad guy would fall in love with a minor character and get her pregnant. But I didn’t know what they were looking for, where they would go, or why. So I kept bouncing ideas off my husband. When I saw the statue, I knew she’d be part of the story. When I got home, I started writing. My editor’s reading the book right now. I hope she loves it as much as I do.
The city hall building will be in a book somewhere, sometime.
I love that term “Bright and Shiny Disease”. I think I have it, too. LOL What is the single most important part of writing for you?
Remembering it’s my story, even through all the revision processes. I let my characters take me on their journey, good or bad, they run the show. And I know, others are going to say, You’re the writer, not your characters, but when a scene isn’t working for me, usually it’s because I wanted something to happen and my characters either aren’t there yet, or don’t want to do it.
A few days ago, while I walked at my morning break, I thought about my WIP and the young woman (Christina) who’s staying with Mia, my main character. Christina’s got a secret and I thought I’d revealed it during a late night conversation in the last chapter. I thought maybe I needed to go back and fix that, since I’m only on chapter six. While I walked, I realized that the reveal was a lie. Christina isn’t talking to her estranged mom, she’s been sent there on a quest from her brother – Mia’s ex.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
Definitely character. I’ll start with a character or a setting and think, who is this person? Why is she showing up in my head? What’s her story? Sometimes they even tell me.
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
Can I say not well? I’m driven. So I work until I burn out and then I sit and eat potato chips and watch Tivo’d shows until I bore myself back to my own stories. Mostly I just try to keep going and doing a little at a time – that gives me momentum.
Tell us about your latest book.
I’m writing a cozy mystery set in a small mountain town in Idaho next to the famous Sun Valley. I love writing about home as well as mixing in history of an area to give readers a taste of the glamour years when all the stars visited for ski vacations. And, my main character loves to cook. So I get my foodie on while I’m writing. Of course there’s a touch of romance mixed in, just because everyone deserves the chance at a happy ever after. My characters are a lot like me in that way, when they are working out a problem in their heads, they keep their hands busy, creating a new version of a treat. A few days ago, I made spicy sausage potato soup for dinner, mostly because my writing was giving me fits.
On a girl's night out, Lizzie Hudson finds herself comparing her life as a single mom with her best friend's successful career when James Sullivan, the cowboy who got away, walks his Justin Ropers back into her life.
Seeing him shakes Lizzie's world but James is in for an even more eventful weekend: he learns he has a son. James has enough on his plate trying to manage his brother's bull riding career. Can he learn to redefine family and become part of Lizzie's life before she gives up on him and marries another?
And a teaser excerpt from The Bull Rider’s Brother
“I’ll be there in a minute.” James knelt down next to the kid. He had a new straw hat. Staring at the sheep, James picked up a piece of straw and put it in his mouth like a toothpick.
The kid watched James and mirrored his actions. He, too, picked up a piece of straw and started chewing.
James grinned. “You riding tonight?”
“Yep. Gramps bought me a new hat. He says I’m big enough.”
“I rode at your age.” James laid his arms on the rails of the pen.
“You did?” The boy cast a glance downward and away, kicking the dirt with his toe before he asked, “Were you scared?”
“Heck, yeah. I worried I’d fall. Then I was scared I’d make a fool of myself and bawl my eyes out.” James peered at the barn toward where his brother stood talking to group of men. “I didn’t want my brother to tease me.”
“My mom doesn’t know. Gramps said it was our secret.” The kid bent his head towards one of the men talking to Jesse. “Do you think it’s okay to have a secret from your mom?”
“As long as it’s a good secret. Is she coming to the rodeo? Will she be here to watch you?”
“Yep. Gramps says she’ll shit a brick when she sees me.” The boy grinned.
“She probably will.” James laughed and held out his hand. “I’m James.”
“I’m JR.” The boy shook his hand, stood up from his crouch and headed toward the men near Jesse. Turning around, he called, “Are you going to the parade?”
“Wouldn’t miss it.”
“I’ll see you then. They throw lots of candy and you even get an ice cream cone at the end.” He waved and took off at a run. When he reached the crowd around Jesse, he grabbed an older man by the knees.
Now that’s love.
Or Nook - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bull-riders-brother-lynn-cahoon/1110496092?ean=9781440544590
Love the excerpt. What a guy! Thanks so much, Lynn, for being here today. Before you go, where can readers find you?
My website and blog –A Fairy Tale Life- at www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com
Or FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor
Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnCahoon