Today my guest comes from California, in the heart of the Central Valley where I moved from! In fact, Lynette is a friend and fellow member of Yosemite Romance Writers, the chapter I am still honored to be a part of, even if from afar. It is a delight to have Lynette here today answering my silly and serious questions, and sharing her novels.
Enjoy hearing from Lynette – interview and excerpt – and be sure to comment to win ONE eBook of Finding Her Voice. Please join me in welcoming Lynette Endicott to Guest Author Spotlight Wednesday!
Lynette Endicott grew up in Illinois, met her husband in Western Nebraska, lived 25 years in Kansas where their daughter was born, and has been in Fresno, California since 2000. She has a son-in-law (who lives with her daughter nearby), and has rescued a dog, a bird and two cats. She and Ollie, her terrier mix, volunteer as a team at the local library, where children read to the dog.
At a youth camp when she was 14 the editor and teacher of a writing class challenged her to submit something to his youth magazine. She did and it was the first of 10 articles and stories accepted by the publication over the next few years.
Nothing like front end success to keep her writing! Lynette enjoys reading contemporary romance and speculative fiction and writes both. Her debut book, Starting Over Book One: More Than A Job, and three more books in that series, The Return of Joy, Finding Her Voice and Out of Agony are available in both electronic and paperback versions. The first four of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee are available now, including Animal Instinct, Survival Instinct, Pioneer Instinct, and Protective Instinct.
Because she didn’t have pets until after her 50th birthday the animals she enjoys find their way into all her books. Usually you will also find a character with a disability as part of the day-to-day fabric of the story. In More Than A Job, Paige works in services to people with disabilities until she loses her job and starts over. In The Return of Joy, Atlas, the yellow lab, becomes a Therapy Dog. In the Time After Time series animal helpers assist the hero and heroine in all six of the books in the series. Her own dog, Ollie, shows up in Finding Her Voice.
Follow Lynette at these places–
Meet Lynette Endicott ~
What were you like as a youngster? Tell us about where you grew up. Share a favorite childhood memory.
I was the oldest of five children, a preacher’s kid, and grew up in an Illinois town about 50 miles east of St. Louis, MO. I remember my brother, our neighbor and I playing super heroes. The neighbor would be rich today if he kept his comic book collection in good condition. I didn’t like any of the women roles so made up my own. I was the Queen of Super Heroes with ALL the powers, and only rainbow kryptonite, which is VERY rare, could harm me. I made index cards of all the super heroes, their powers, weaknesses and enemies. Keeping track of characters in that way can be very useful to an author.
If you could live anywhere in the world besides where you now reside, where would it be?
I want to visit our ancestral homes in Scotland, Ireland and England. I have researched what I want to see, and need at least six weeks to do it all.
Do you have a “day job” other than writing? If not currently, what “day jobs” have you had in the past?
In my real job I provide technical assistance to Centers for Independent Living, the disability rights organizations modeled after CIL Berkeley and funded by the Rehabilitation Act. My next book, out in February, has a heroine who is a blind disability rights attorney and single mom. I want to make sure people know the abilities and the everyday lives of people with disabilities, or at least get a glimpse of them in my contemporary books. I love that you are incorporating your wonderfully giving career into your stories!
Do you have any favorite TV shows?
Outlander and Downton Abbey seem too far away. I can’t wait that long (April? Are you kidding?) for Outlander so I have begun to read the books — and learned that the series is very true to them, at least so far. In the meantime The Blacklist gives me chills every week. I too am waiting for Outlander. I like watching all at once, if I can. I am also addicted to The Blacklist! A really great show, and I LOVE James Spader!
Do you have any tattoos or atypical piercings?
Oh, my, now you are really getting personal! I have tattoos. My lip liner and color and eyeliner are “permanent makeup”. I also have an iris on my left breast. Oh, my, did I really reveal that in public? YOU DID! And now I am going to Tweet it to EVERYONE! *evil laugh!
What is your fashion or accessory weakness?
I love the artistry of jewelry, especially silver and natural stones. When I travel I look for local artists and often come home with another piece.
If you could bring one of your characters to life to hang out with and be your BFF, which one would it be and why?
I think Jen, from Finding Her Voice. She is tough, has been through a lot, but loves life enough to keep on going after the death of her daughter. I also happen to like her whole extended family, who show up in the other books in the series.
Jennifer has the perfect life — a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a flexible job in the family business. When a heart-stopping accident takes it all from her, Jen struggles to survive her days alone. No one else understands, expecting her to “get over” her grief.
Ollie, her daughter’s rescued dog, is the only one who shares her grief and lives her pain. When divorce ends in the sale of their home, she and Ollie set out on a road trip of healing and discovery.
Life will never be the same, but maybe along the way she can find the music, find her voice, find her own path to living after her loss. And if she is lucky, find love.
What is your writing environment like?
My office is a small bedroom in our home. In one corner is a cat tree, and in another a dog bed and bird cage. I have music playing — I have very eclectic taste — and my bulletin board includes castles, a few “hero” pics, and cards and sayings that I like. There are posters of all eight of my book covers, and I don’t know what I’m going to move when the next four come out. (That is how many more are contracted to Desert Breeze Publishing, my publisher.)
Was the first book you wrote published, or is it still lying in forgotten shame under your bed?
It was published as my second book, but it is not my best. Still, it ended up fitting into the Starting Over Series as Book Two, so I’m happy.
Are there certain “must haves” to get the muse properly inspired?
Oh, yes. Music. A cup of fine whole leaf tea. A quiet day (or hour, or 30 minutes or whatever I can grab) with no interruptions. My dog, however, does interrupt me after a few hours if I don’t get up. He knows I need to move or I get stiff.
Do you plot your story, let it flow organically as the characters speak to you, or something in between?
I rough out an outline, then I begin writing and let the story go where it will. I am sometimes amazed at where the story goes. For example, when I began More Than A Job, the first book published, I didn’t know that Paige was adopted, or that an uncle she never knew, a man with disabilities similar to the ones she worked with, died in an institution. Huh. How did all that happen? I can’t explain it. I know, though, that if I show up at the keyboard to write, the book gets written.
Do you feel your novels have a “message” or particular point within them? Or do you write more for entertaining fun?
The Starting Over Series is inspirational, with the message that, no matter how tragic or difficult the circumstances, there is light behind the darkness. The Time After Time Saga is more fun and fantasy, as our enemy skips through time looking for women in the story who bear a certain birthmark. But that is a story for another day.
Do you write characters based on people you have known?
I don’t intentionally, but when I look back at the finished stories I see elements of people I know. I hope they understand that characteristics slip in, but no character is actually supposed to be someone I know.
Tell us what is next on your writer’s agenda.
Book Five in the Starting Over Series — Out of Sight — comes out in February and Time After Time Saga, Book Five, Maternal Instinct releases in April.
Exquisite Excerpt from Finding Her Voice by Lynette Endicott ~
Jen leaned back in her chair and watched the noisy, animated group as the conversation sped back and forth around the table.
It was perfect to sit back and watch. By next year she’d be ready to join in the ruckus at her own family’s table. Today it was warmly reassuring to sit in the middle of this family and realize she could do this. She’d stayed the whole meal. While Trudy was a part of every thought, Jen was able to eat, to talk, to not just survive but to actually enjoy the holiday with people who understood and loved her, had loved Trudy, but were not immersed in the loss. It was better this way.
Amy, on her right, leaned back beside her.
“Have you called home yet? You know you need to, hon.”
“I will. It’s an hour earlier there. I’ll give them time to finish dessert first. Is it time to clear the table? I have to try your brother’s pie. It looks amazing.”
Amy cocked her head to one side.
“Yes, it is about time, but I’ll have to leave it to you. The baby’s awake. I’ll have to feed her before I bring her in or she’ll be too excited to eat.” She scooted the chair back and groaned as she stood. “If I can move to go get her. I am stuffed. We don’t want pie yet, do we?”
“I’ll make sure everyone waits for you and Sylvia, I promise.”
“Good.” Amy grinned, winked, and sauntered away. The conversation around the table didn’t miss a beat. Maybe it was a good time to call home. She excused herself, not that anyone noticed, and went into the kitchen where she could hear better.
Her dad answered on the second ring. “Jen, baby, perfect timing. Everyone is here, and we haven’t started dinner yet. Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Dad.” She swallowed the lump in her throat and asked, “So did you go traditional this year, or did you surprise everyone?” Turkey was not an assumption in their house. Sometimes there was venison, if her Dad had a good hunt. Sometimes pheasant graced the table. Once in a while, prime rib or smoky slabs of salmon were on the menu. They ate whatever Dad was in the mood to cook — usually grilled, and always great.
“We are having southwest turkey.” She could hear teasing in his voice.
“Okay, I’ll bite. What makes a turkey southwest?”
“The rub is made of some of our amazing New Mexico green chilies, and it is stuffed with a citrus blend of lime, lemon, and orange, with a little cilantro and whole chilies.”
Jen groaned. “That would have sounded great an hour ago, but we’ve finished our dinner, and I’m too full to contemplate it. You’ll have to tell me how it turned out.”
“I will, Jen. I gotta go carve. Here’s your mom.”
They passed the phone from person to person while the food was served. Josh called out, “Hey, Dad, let me put Jen on speaker and have her do the blessing with us.”
“Hear that, Jen?” Josh asked, “Okay with you? We miss you. We miss Trudy. We want you with us at least in spirit.”
“Yes, it’s okay.” It was always Jen’s job to lead the Doxology while the whole family sang the blessing. She cleared her throat. She hadn’t sung in a long, long time.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
The spattering of applause startled her. She turned to the kitchen doorway where Amy’s whole family gawked at her. Oops. She’d only meant for her own family to hear. She always sang louder than she intended. She’d better finish the call and get back to this party.
“Now go eat, you guys. Happy Thanksgiving.”
She hung up quickly. Amy’s sister-in-law gushed, “What a beautiful voice, Jen. You should sing more often.”
“Hey, is it time for pie? I saw coconut cream. Even though it isn’t traditional, it’s my favorite.” She deflected the conversation.
Good. Because she wasn’t sure she could remember how to sing, or bear to lift the notes of a song the way she used to, and she sure didn’t want to explain today. But she needed to think about it.
Intriguing! Thanks for sharing your talents and time with us, Lynette. Now readers, be sure to comment for a chance to win an eBook copy of Finding Her Voice.