I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Debut Author Interview: Linda Yezak

Linda Yezak's first novel, Give the Lady a Ride, was published this month by SkySail Books. Linda is a two-time ACFW Genesis finalist, and is also a member of Women Writing the West (WWW) and The Christian PEN.

Join us as we find out more about Linda and her novel! And answer the question(s) at the end of the interview for a chance to win a copy of Give the Lady a Ride.

Tell us about Give the Lady a Ride.
Ride is based on a couple of discontinued TV shows that centered around ranching and bull riding. The leading lady, Patricia Talbert, needs to return to the faith of her childhood, to learn to rely wholly on God. What better way to teach her than to put her on the back of a bull? Of course, Talon Carlson, the rugged ranch foreman-slash-bull rider, is there to teach her about the ride. And faith. And love.
In fact, they both learn a lesson in faith and love.

Why do you write romance?
My writing career didn't start with romance. It began with mysteries, but the romance between the characters kept getting in the way. When I discovered the love stories were far better than the mystery aspect of my novels, I shifted gears entirely, instead of writing romantic suspense.

Why Christian romance?
I love giving emphasis to God's plan: attraction based on character, as well as physical qualities, love, marriage, sex--in that order. In my mind--and granted, I'm old, so this may not click with everyone--romance doesn't necessarily go hand-in-hand with sex. If he smiles that particular smile, meant only for you, that's romance. Intimacy doesn't have to be the physical. It can be a glance across the room, when suddenly everyone else fades out of the scene, leaving just the two of you. "I love you" can be illustrated as much by an oil change as by a kiss. Fortunately, oil changes aren't included in my novel, just my married life (which includes kisses too!).

When did you start writing?
Like so many authors, I began around the same time I figured out how to make an "A." I wrote poetry, songs, and stories throughout my childhood. Much later, one of my college professors tried to encourage me to become a writer, but I had my eye on a hot new career emerging in the judicial world: legal assistant. I didn't start writing seriously again until I was 47, and then only sporadically because of several personal crises. (They seem to hit all at once, don't they?)

How do you approach your writing?
I'm a seat-of-the-pantser. What they say about pantsers is true: We have to do a lot of rewriting. But I simply can't seem to write any other way. I'll get three or four chapters down, enough to meet my characters and firm up my idea, then I loosely sketch out what will happen and when. As I go along, I fill in that sketch until I have a good picture. It's a bit backward from the way outliners write.

One of my favorite practices is free-writing in a character's POV. Sometimes what I write in the novel surprises me, so I explore it by "interviewing" my character. Usually the interview question is as simple as, "Why did you say/do/think/feel that?" I climb into my character's head and answer in her voice. It's revealing.

Do you feel like your characters are alive?
Oh, yes! And if I don't, I know they're too flat. With Give the Lady a Ride, I already knew Talon. I grew up with many such people in my life. I guess that's why I start the book with him. Patricia was harder for me to get to know. I did quite a bit of free-writing with her until I got to know her better. Didn't take me long to get under her skin, so to speak. I really like her. She's spunky and game for anything!

What are you working on now?
My work-in-progress (WIP) is The Cat Lady's Secret. This one will fall more in line with Chick Lit or Women's Fiction, but romance is definitely involved. In Cat Lady, I teach Emily Taylor that she can't hide from her past for long, nor can she buy her way out of trouble.

~Ginger Takamiya

For a chance to win a copy of Give the Lady a Ride, leave a comment answering one or both of these questions: Are you a seat of the pants writer like Linda or an outliner/plotter? Would you ever want to ride a bull like Patricia, the heroine of Ride?


  1. Great interview, Ginger! And thank you for sharing yourself with us, Linda. I enjoyed reading about your novel, your WIP and your process.

    In answer to the first question, I want desperately to be an outliner/plotter but I think I may be a seat-of-the-pantser. I have tried both ways, but I'm still not sure. I guess I will have to do a little more research, lol.

    In answer to the second question, I have never actually wanted to ride a bull, but I went through a phase when I was madly in love with rodeo. I was totally into cowboy hats and belt buckles, and I had hoped to marry a cowboy. Instead, I married a pastor, and I am crazy about him, so I guess it was meant to be. I do, however, look forward to reading about your bull rider!! =)

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey! This book sounds great. Please enter me in the drawing.

    I'm mostly a seat-of-the-pantser. I start writing and usually about half way through the book I'll start organizing it. Sometimes I'll just write the whole thing then go back and put it in Scrivner before I start the editing process.

    No thank you to the bull riding! I guess I'm not that adventurous.

  3. Great post and interview, Ginger. Ride a bull? No way! I do like to watch bullriding. Not only is it physical, but so much of it is mental.

    Plotter or Panster? A little of both. My wip was more panster than plotter and has taken quite a while to finish. Next book I plan to write couple of chapters, and once I get the feel of the book, I will plot it out, probably start with a 500 word synopsis...

  4. Awesome post! :o)Thanks for sharing!

    I'm a SOTP writer almost all the way. I get the backbone of my story so I know how it ends, but when I sit down to write, I go where the characters lead me.

    Ride a bull? Absolutely NOT. I would be terrified!

  5. Sounds like a fun book. I am enjoying westerns lately. :)
    I too am a pantster--and it does end up requiring a lot of rewriting.
    No bull riding for me, unless I worked my way up to it with the right instruction. :)

  6. Congratulations on your first book, Linda. Sounds like a great story!

    When I write, I outline each scene with a sentence or two, so in that aspect, I'm a plotter. But what happens in the scene can be a surprise at times. I give my characters a little leeway. I have to know what's going to happen though or I end up writing myself into a corner.

    And no bull riding for this girl.

  7. Loved the interview, Ginger and Linda! It sounds like a fun book. :) I'm definitely a plotter, as anyone who knows me will attest. :) I've been told I need to let the story go a little more, so I'm a "Pantster-in-training."

    As for bull riding...Not for me. :) I hope to read more about it in your book, though, Linda. :) I look forward to hearing more about you. :)

  8. Ohh, I can't wait to read it! I'm totally a plotter. I'd like to think I'd love to ride a bull, but if there was actually a bull in front of me, I'd likely be less enthusiastic!

  9. Linda, it was a real pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to come visit with us :)

  10. Thanks for having me, Ginger. Looks like we have lots of ladies who would rather write by the seat of their pants than ride by the seat of their pants!

    If I were younger, I'd love to try riding--but not thiose PBR bulls. They're too mean!

  11. Great interview--nice getting to "know" you better, Linda! I have no desire to ride a bull or anything else that's going to buck me off! As a writer, I'm a "pantser" too. Sometimes I think it makes my self-discipline issue a little harder, but I feel like I'd be too confined by an outline. Just the word gives me writers block!

  12. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite...yeah, I'm a pantser too. I have written beautiful outlines that never became stories. Bull riding. I've seen that done. I would have to say "no." Loved the interview, Ginger. I'm always happy to read more about Linda.

  13. Since I've been involved with Suzie and Rachel and MBT, I've become more of a pantster: the Inciting Incident, the Ds and the Black Moment and all that.
    And, yeah, I'd try riding a bull.
    And then I'd immediately call my physical therapist. Who would probably bawl me out for my stupidity.

  14. Larry Brooks's e-book on structure is a terrific help to me. He tells what is supposed to happen at different points of the book, and as long as I have my story line that's about all the outline I need.

  15. i am not a bull rider...kudos to those who are :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  16. Discovering characters is always one of my favorite parts of the process. Some of those characters who refuse to talk about themselves get so frustrating that you just want to shake them. But, in my experience, the more difficult a character makes it in the beginning, the better he is on the page. If Patricia is any example, that's definitely true!

  17. Thanks, Katie. Yep. Patricia gave me a hard time, but she worked out well!

  18. Yes, this is a good and interesting record of a successful forward-moving writing journey. It's raised my interest. Thanks, Ginger and Linda