OK, ok, enough already. Our next Christmas author has combined Christmas and a wedding in her novel. Nice! I am going to jump right into the interview, and then get into her book and bio later, so read on, I'll get some hot chocolate for us all. It's still a bit nippy up here.
Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I have loved books since I was a little girl. I dreamed of being an author and living on a ranch, well at least of having a stable full of horses and someone to muck out the stalls. I started writing stories as a kid, usually as a way to work out my emotions. I had a crush on a boy but was too shy so I wrote a story about us. As an angst-ridden teenager, I filled numerous notebooks with my thoughts. If ever you do speaking conferences in schools, it would be great to share this with the students. They need some form of outlet for their emotions. Somehow writing fell by the wayside in college and my early twenties, but when I went into work one day only to find out my schedule had been changed and I had two hours to kill, I picked up my pen and started writing again. I published my first book in October 2011 and have been writing ever since.
How much of your life is set aside for writing?
Right now I still have a day job too. Most of my writing is done on weekends or vacations from the day job, but I do a lot of research in the evenings while winding down from the office. Being able to do some form of writing related work on a daily basis is wonderful.
Could you tell us a little about your novel?
Christmas Vows is the fourth book in the Seasons of Faith series. Lizzie Reynolds is the main character in all of the books. She evolves from being focused on fixing the problems of others to facing her own fearful heart.
What lead you to choose a Christmas theme?
My mom loves Christmas books and the series I was working on was leading to a wedding. It seemed like a natural fit to have the wedding around Christmas. Thanks, Mom! ;o)
Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
When I read a book set in a location I’ve visited, I enjoy recognizing familiar places so I’ve used locations that were open during the time the stories are set. The Seasons of Faith series is set in Orlando, Fl and started in the summer of 2004, when four hurricanes ravaged Central Florida. Christmas Vows takes place in the fall/winter of 2005, a little more than a year after the first story ends. Orlando is much more than theme parks; there are museums, gourmet restaurants, quaint boutiques, and rich history. I want my readers to see and feel that side of the city. One of the locations in Christmas Vows, the Park Avenue shopping district in Winter Park, was a favorite area to visit when I lived in Orlando. That sounds like fun, and never having been myself, makes me realize that there must be so much more to Orlando than I had believed. Now I am curious to look it up...that is, until I get to visit with the kids in a few years.
Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Reynolds is the main character of this series. Bits and pieces of her come from me. I had a difficult time dealing with my grief after my adored grandmother died. After I came out of that darkness and re-established my relationship with God, I felt compelled to write Summer Storms with the hope of reaching others who’ve struggled with grief. Lizzie continues to evolve throughout the series, helping others to do so as well. The secondary characters in this series are just as important as Lizzie because they all represent different phases in the human journey. Grief is a very difficult load to carry and overcome. This sounds like a noble cause. Thank you for sharing this with others who are suffering as well.
What is the message behind the story?
There are a couple of messages in Christmas Vows. In the main storyline, circumstances force Lizzie to let go of some of her control tendencies and trust others when a calamity arises that could ruin her wedding day. The relationship between Lizzie, Ron and Emma is a tender example of God’s provision in meeting our deepest needs. There is also a secondary storyline that started in book two of the series, Winter’s End, regarding Michelle Burton and her exploration of life after death.
Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow?
I go with the flow. Since this book is part of a series I already know the characters well and have a general vision of where they are headed. The basic plot for the original book in the series, Summer Storms, was written one day when I was people watching. From there, the characters have been telling me what they want to do. My favorite kind of characters!
What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
This particular story starts at Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Eve, so about a month passes. The largest part of the research was the wedding planning. My Pinterest home screen is still suggesting wedding related pins months after I finished browsing them. I also know the Orlando area pretty well, but it was fun to drive around Winter Park and soak up some of the areas that appear in the story. The driving around part seems like a lot of fun. I am very grateful for all the information we can dig up on internet. I can't imagine having to try and find the things I've looked up at my closet-sized rural library.
Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
For Christmas Vows I didn’t have a ton of research, not like the historical fiction pieces I have been working on. Mostly I used Pinterest to locate inspiration for the wedding, then created a board for readers to see all of the final choices. I started writing in Scrivner when I wrote my novel, Jessie, and I love how it allows me to keep research documents in the same file as my story. The split screen feature has come in handy a number of times when I needed to view a photo or video as I wrote. I learn a little more about the program with each project, making my work easier. Maybe you'd like to come back and offer a tutorial for Scrivner? I know I need help!
How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
With so many books being released every month, it’s hard to keep up. Some say publishing more often is the key, but I don’t want to publish just to keep my name in people’s minds. I want to put out quality work that I believe can impact lives. Since I don’t write every day that means I may only put out one book a year, there may even be more than a year between books. In 2015 I was able to publish Spring Dawn and Christmas Vows, but that was because they are in the same series. It made sense to continue on, while the characters were still living in my mind. I’m not sure when my next book will be available and I’m okay with that. I like that. I honestly can't imagine pumping out a ton of novels while offering high quality stories and writing. I don't think these things can be forced.
How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
Marketing is a tough job. I have a degree in Public Relations, but the aspects of this field that I enjoyed most were event planning and crisis management. I network on Twitter and Facebook with other writers and work with local businesses to host book signings. My mom is a huge help on the marketing front; she sets up promos, networks, and manages my website, RebekahLynBooks.com. I couldn’t do this without her. Then you better go give her a hug!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I recently spoke at a local writing group and one of the authors said she gave herself permission to write for an audience of one. We are often afraid of what others will think of our work, but if we start out writing for ourselves we can find freedom. Once you get that first story, poem, or song out, it’s highly likely more will be begging to be written. Ooh, I like that....'permission to write for an audience of one!' Thank you, I'd like to use that :)
Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
Right now I’m doing research for my next book, Virginia, which will be a follow-up to my award-winning novel, Jessie. Jessie followed the life of a young boy growing up during the early days of the U.S. space race. The follow-up will focus on the Space Shuttle program as well as the romance between Jessie and Virginia. I grew up on the Space Coast and these stories are very close to my heart. That sounds nice. Let us know when you are done and you can come back and share more about it with us.
Rebekah Lyn Bio
Rebekah Lyn is a popular Indie writer with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of Faith, Adventure, and Hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books.
Rebekah writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. One Summer Storms reviewer said, “Something about this author’s writing style reminds me of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series.” Her first published novel was released in October 2011, and her current books have received solid ratings in the Christian Fiction category on Amazon. She has two distinct series developed, with further books planned for each series.
The Seasons of Faith series include Summer Storms, Winter’s End and Spring Dawn. The final book in the series, Christmas Vow, released November 6, 2015. Just as in life, we experience “seasons” in our spiritual growth. The main characters are young adult professionals, working in the Orlando, Florida hospitality industry.
The Coastal Chronicle series are stand-alone stories that derive their distinctive flavor from the close-knit beach communities. Julianne was released in 2012, followed by Jessie in 2014. The next book in the series, Virginia, will be released in late 2016.
An active participant in social media, Rebekah enjoys interacting with her readers, particularly at her her signature event “Tea with the Author” where she meets with a small group to share her passion for tea and love of writing.
Rebekah is a sandal-loving native Floridian. She grew up on the Space Coast within sight of the Kennedy Space Center. She has fond memories of windows rattling and dogs barking as the big Saturn rockets or the Space Shuttles raced into the heavens. She will always be proud of America’s space program.
With an eye upon her future, Rebekah received her Bachelors degree in Communications from Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Florida. Her career immediately introduced her into the life of event planning, media coordinator, and client interaction. She has been employed for 20 years by a Fortune 500 corporation in Orlando.
One of Rebekah’s passions is travel and she has been blessed to see much of the United States and Canada, with a sprinkling of trips to the Caribbean and Europe. She has said, “Some of my best writing has been done on the balcony of a cruise ship.” Another favorite spot for writing is on the back porch of her parent’s home in North Carolina, enjoying the peaceful surroundings away from her hectic life in Florida.
Christmas Vows Blurb
The Christmas season is descending upon Lizzie and with only twenty-four days until her wedding, she is squeezing in dress fittings, last minute cake tastings and, of course, some Christmas shopping. In anticipation of her impending wedding and honeymoon, Lizzie's type A personality pushes her to put in long hours at Hotel Lago, a boutique hotel in downtown Orlando.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Robbins is the best man and he doesn't have a date for the wedding and the groom's mother can't seem to settle on a venue for the rehearsal dinner. With ingenuity and flair, Lizzie has saved the day for countless despairing brides at Hotel Lago, now that it is her turn to be the bride, will someone step up to save her wedding day?
Since this just released last week, there is only one review available right now.
"Christmas Vows is a sweet romance with lots of fun, anguish, and Christmas spirit. This was the first book I have read in the series and there were a few times when I was a little lost, but for the most part it wasn't a problem. I loved Lizzie, Ian, Jeffrey, and Stephen. This is a great book, especially if you like reading about workaholics being forced to stop working. Okay, so it wasn't that bad, but Ian was strong enough to keep Lizzie from going crazy with everything she had to do. The ending was perfect."
Twilight was fading into night as Ian put away the last shovel. Lizzie watched through the kitchen window as the men stomped their feet and brushed their hands on their pants, sprinkling the patio with dirt. Her gaze drifted to the completed project: a dry creek bed that served as a border for a flowerbed and ended at a pond where a small fountain bubbled.
Stephen led the way through the back door. “The next time Lizzie offers to make me dinner, I'm going to have to say no.”
“At least you have that luxury,” Ian said. “I have a feeling I'm going to be doing projects like this for the rest of my life.”
“I'm getting too old for this.” Ron accepted the glass of water she extended to him, and downed it in one long gulp.
“You're not old.” Lizzie filled Ron's glass again. “Anyway, that was the last project on my list.”
Jeffrey blew out a loud breath. “Thank goodness.”
“She just asked you to spread a few rocks,” Stephanie said.
“Sure, a few thousand rocks, in a specific pattern, but not too perfect so that it would still look natural. No problem.” Jeffrey fell back on the couch.
“It looks wonderful, though,” Lizzie said. “Thank you.”
“Consider it my wedding gift to you,” Jeffrey replied.
“Mine too,” Stephen said.
“I'm hiring a landscaper for our next home.” Ian set his cup in the sink and rubbed his shoulder.
Lizzie reached up to massage it. “Then I won't be able to look at the yard and think about all the people who mean so much to me. Now I look outside and I see the shrubs Ron first tamed from the jungle I found here. When I look at the patio I think of Mae and her son Avery who helped me level the area and place the pavers. Now the creek bed will always remind me of this Thanksgiving and each of you.”
Her gaze moved from Ian to Jeffrey, then Stephen and Ron, then back to Ian.
“Well, when you put it that way I guess it doesn't seem like so much work.” Ian leaned forward to kiss her.
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