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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Interview of Author Lynn Rae

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Lynn Rae.

Latest Book: Return
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Lynn Rae is a romance writer residing in Columbus, Ohio. With professional experience in fields ranging from contract archaeology to librarianship along with making donuts and teaching museum studies, Lynn Rae enjoys incorporating her real-life adventures into her writing (except the naughty parts).

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: No! Each one arrives pretty ‘fully formed’ in my mind. Stature, hair and eye color, skin tone, smile, the tones of their voices, they are all individuals to me. I write realistic contemporary and it’s very important to me that my characters resemble people I would meet in everyday life. I relate better to people and characters who have flaws and aren’t defined by some sort of standard of conventional attractiveness.

In my current book, my hero James Winchester is older, has short greying hair, and uses reading glasses; all signs of aging everyone acquires eventually. He showed up that way in my mind and was a pleasure to write. The woman he falls for, Evelyn Prentiss, first appeared to me as a woman whose thick brown hair kept falling out of her barrette and getting in her eyes. That characteristic came to symbolize all the things out of control in her life.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: Oh, this is hard to admit, but I really want to write a post-apocalyptic romance book set in a small town. Sort of The Stand meets Welcome to Temptation. It’s an impossible idea! I just can’t get beyond the fact that my characters won’t be able to take showers. It’s hard to be romantic when you haven’t bathed in weeks. The idea of the story is like a balloon bumping around in my mind, it just floats in and captures my attention sometimes and then it drifts away as I work on another project. Someday I’m going to write it.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: I don’t eat much while I’m working. I tend to stick with hot green tea or iced tea. If I do get the munchies, I like gluten free nut bars with dark chocolate. As far as inspiration goes, most food can elicit some sort of response in me. When I eat something exotic it makes me think of travel to faraway places and how someone trying a new dish for the first time would experience the combination of spices and ingredients. When I have a glass of red wine, some smelly cheese, olives, and shaved ham, I pretend I’m in Italy enjoying a relaxing snack on the patio of some beautiful villa in Tuscany. What can I say, I love to eat and I have an active imagination.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The ending. Always the worst. By the time I get there, I like my characters so much I don’t want to leave them. I could write seventy thousand more words about them shopping at the grocery or working on their landscaping. Of course, that sort of conflict-free scene doesn’t drive the story forward and would make an editor pull out his or her hair, so I don’t get to indulge myself. However, readers can trust that I know exactly what happens to James and Evelyn once Return ends. If anyone wants to know, they can email me and I’ll give them a quick outline.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: My voice. Every rejection I’ve gotten has complimented my voice, so that seems to be a good indicator. I like to think I have a small talent at injecting some humor in my books and I make a point of writing from my experience so there’s authenticity to my writing as well. I like to create believable characters who have to cope with real-life issues like work stress and family conflicts in addition to the main storyline of finding romance.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Lots of things; reading, cooking, watching my favorite shows or films, travel. But one of my favorite hobbies is shopping at thrift stores. I have to admit I’m addicted. Part of the appeal is the whole frugality/reuse side of it, but most of it is because I love finding something perfect for my needs in the midst of all that strange detritus people have discarded. I go through phases of collecting certain things, and when you spot that Corning Blue Cornflower roaster you’ve been longing for hidden among the warped pots and stained plastic containers, it’s quite a rush. Right now, in addition to looking for Blue Cornflower cookware, I’ve been looking for cocktail glasses and lace mantillas.


James Winchester is content with his predictable in the small town of Palmer, Ohio. He lives alone, helps out at his family farm, and doesn’t miss an ice-cream social. His life is so neat and ordered he could use one of his accounting spreadsheets to chart his upcoming days, weeks, and years.

Evelyn Prentiss’s world is in chaos. She’s returned to her home town twenty years after leaving and somehow the transition isn’t as smooth as she’d anticipated. Her home needs renovated, her parents are delighted to monitor her life once again, and she only has a couple of months to settle in before she starts her new teaching job in the fall.

In an effort to be a good neighbor, James finds himself stopping by Evelyn’s house more and more to help with her endless to-do list. When a shared tragedy from the past comes to light, James and Evelyn come to realize their reliance on each other has transformed them both.

Content with his predictable small town life in Palmer, Ohio, James Winchester lives alone, helps out at the family farm and never misses an ice-cream social. One of his accounting spreadsheets could chart his upcoming days—his weeks—and years. Predictable and boring, until Evelyn Prentiss moves back home.

Conversely, Evelyn’s world is in chaos. Returning home after twenty years, the transition is hardly smooth. Her new house, chosen with more optimism than practicality requires extensive renovations, her parents delight in the opportunity to direct her life again and in two short months she starts her new teaching job.

Neighbors help one another out, not only because one of them has an intriguing personality, a smile that reaches her eyes and a sweetly curved body, or so James tells himself. Evelyn is grateful for his assistance, even as she resists the chemistry.

Then a shared past tragedy resurfaces and a sad mystery is solved. The depth of their mutual feelings withstands the horror and James and Evelyn surrender to the inevitable—they are meant to be.

Evelyn was not sure what she was doing other than enjoying the music and proximity to James’s body, mainly his chest and arms and hands. She knew she was lonely and missing male companionship, so she hoped he didn’t take it too personally when she leaned in closer and sighed. His arms tightened a bit and she almost let her head fall to his shoulder, but that would be too much. All she was hoping was that another slow song would come up on the playlist and that the canny woman looking over the pictures in the booth would leave them alone for a while.

“I’m sorry about this.” James rumbled.

“What? Dancing with me?”

“Lucy putting you on the spot, that’s what I’m apologizing for.”

“What spot?”

“Having to dance with me, that spot.” To his credit, he actually did sound apologetic.

“It’s not a spot.” Actually, Evelyn felt like it was a good spot but to say so would be pathetic. His thighs brushed against hers and if she breathed really deeply her breasts would be touching his chest. Which would also be a good spot.

He was silent a moment. “Lucy likes telling people what to do.”

“Oh. But this is nice.” She hoped that he would agree with her or at least not comment negatively. Her ego couldn’t take that. Not when she was enjoying this so much.

“Well, yes, it is nice.” He made this agreement grudgingly.

“And I like this song.”

“It is a good song.” He concurred while maintaining a polite distance.

Evelyn started to smile, he was being so careful not to touch her more than the bare minimum. If it was anyone other than James she would be insulted or grateful, depending on the attractiveness of her dance partner. But he was different. He was a friend, an unexpectedly sexy friend, but this was entirely comfortable no matter how close or how far apart they were. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d danced with a man. Walter never went anywhere dancing was an option. His favorite places were sports bars, school fundraisers, and chili parlors. And now her thoughts were rattling aimlessly around in order to divert herself from how her body was feeling. Intellect over instinct, that must become her new mantra.

“Are you as miserable as you sound?”

“I’m not miserable,” he protested. “I just don’t like being coerced into dancing with you.”

“Is it the coercion that bothers you, or is it me?”

“Evelyn.” He sounded exasperated now.

“Just curious.” She leaned her head back and caught his eye. “So?”

With a suffering sigh he looked over at the wall as their bodies swayed. But he kept hold of her hand, and his arm was firm around her waist. She kept her eyes on him and pressed a little on his shoulder.

“Coercion bothers me.”

“So dancing with me is okay?”

“Yes.” He sounded strained as he admitted it and she felt happier.

“So would we be dancing without Ms. Overberger’s prompting?” Evelyn just couldn’t help herself, he was so much fun to put on the spot.

James tried to look fearsome but she just snorted out a laugh and finally let her head fall against his shoulder, like she’d wanted to do for interminable minutes. Then her nose was close to him and she sniffed guiltily, like sneaking a chocolate from the box, and his clean skin scent floated up her nose directly to her brain and her body said yes.

Everything went hotter and tighter and it was hard to breath for a moment. Oh dear, she was locked and loaded now. Seven years out of the dating pool and she was interested in this quiet considerate man who would likely be flummoxed by the idea of her opening her shirt by one more button. He didn’t want to dance with her or even touch her.

Maybe she should try to divert herself with Will Painter after all. He could help her get over Walter, he could help her ignore James and his intoxicating pheromones and big hands and strong arms and…


Sandy said...

Lynn, what a lovely excerpt. I loved your characters.

I do have some ideas for baths in the book you're talking about writing. People used to bathe in the river, and if they had a metal tub they boiled water and poured in cooler water so they didn't get burned when they bathed. Just a couple of ideas for you.

Lynn Rae said...

Hey Sandy, those are both good ideas. I actually had the notion that the survivors would bathe in the river and take turns standing guard, but then I think about crawdads biting toes and snapping turtles snapping on sensitive parts and I am repulsed again!

jean hart stewart said...

People also heated water in buckets. I think there are lots of solutions and you should pick one or two and write that book!

Melissa Keir said...

What a fun interview. I love that you are from Columbus, Ohio. Go Bucks! I love the cover and idea of coming back to a small town. I miss my own hometown.

All the best!

Cara Marsi said...

Thank you. What a good interview. I loved the excerpt. Your characters seem real and very appealing. Best of luck.

Lynn Rae said...

Jean Hart Stewart-thanks for the encouragement, I keep thinking it's a weird idea but maybe others would like to read it too.
Melissa Keir-the cover is beautiful, isn't it? My favorite thing about the Bucks is that on Saturdays in the fall, most places are deserted because everyone is either at the game or home watching it, so it's super easy to run errands!
Cara, yes, my characters are definitely people I wish I knew in real life!

Fran Lee said...

YUM! I loved it. On my over to check it out as I type...

Lynn Rae said...

Thanks Fran Lee! I hope you enjoy it!

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