Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Interview With Western-Romance Author, Lynda Cox

Where are you from?  
 I was born in Chicago, and grew up in the south suburbs of that city. By the time I was thirteen, I couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge, so to speak.

What inspired you to write The Devil’s Own Desperado? 
I was eye-ball deep in the critical introduction to the creative piece for my masters in English when Colt walked into my head, fully formed. It’s rather hard to argue with him, so I made a deal with him and my Muse. If they would leave me alone to finish that critical introduction, I would tell Colt’s story.

How did you come up with the title? 
 My editor at The Wild Rose Press actually came up with the title. This was a case where the title had to be changed. She pulled the title from a fictional book mentioned in The Devil’s Own Desperado. It was a fictional dime novel that I created just for this novel and was the “true account” of the life and times of Colt Evans, “the devil’s own desperado.”

Who is your favorite character?
  Jenny. She’s the most innocent of all the characters in TheDevil’s Own Desperado, and she’s also the wisest. She was also the most difficult to write, because for 90% of the book, she refuses to speak. She had to communicate in other manners.

Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you balance your writing life with your family/work life?
I’d like to say that I write full time, but I don’t. However, when I get an idea for a book and it all gels, I will write continuously for days on end. Fortunately, I have a very understanding family (it may have something to do with the sign on my door that says unless the house is on fire I’m not to be disturbed) and my other job of professional dog handler allows me time to write in the evenings when I’m at shows.

What books have most influenced your life most? 
 Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces immediately come to mind. So do Raiine Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade and Caitlin Matthews’ King Arthur and The Goddess of the Land. All of these books have had a profound impact on me, my world view, and my writing. 

What book are you reading now?
I’m actually reading several. I’m getting re-acquainted with an old friend, if you will, in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s books of the “life” of her vampire hero, St. Germain; I’m reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Born of Silence and because I’m such a history geek, I’m also reading John Bakeless’s Spies of the Confederacy.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I am such a voracious reader that I can’t say there is one author or authors who’ve really grabbed my attention. Honestly, they all do—which is the beauty of Kindle. I can buy an e-book for a few dollars and discover new authors all the time. Some new favorites are Jessica Lemmon (her “Billionaire” series is very good, BTW), and Jessica James’s historical novels are fantastic. 

What are your current projects?
I’m reworking a romance I wrote a long time ago. Marshal Harrison Taylor and the love of his life, Rachel, finally have their moment in the sun.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Two of my instructors at Indiana State University have always been very supportive of me and one of them pushed me as hard as he could to get published. Maggie Wheeler was an instructor I had as an undergrad (and I wasn’t the traditional student in that I started working on my degree late in my 30s) and she strongly encouraged me, and Aaron Morales was on my master’s committee. Aaron pushed me to go in directions I had never gone before in his creative writing classes and pushed me very hard toward publication.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 
The title…My second book is being published by The Wild Rose Press (as was The Devil’s Own Desperado) and I had the working title of Smolder on a Slow Burn on the second book.  We never changed the title and I wish I had changed it.

Can you share a little The Devil’s OwnDesperado with us? (Excerpt)

She cleared the plates from the table. “I’ll start some water heating for your shave, Mr.—”

“Colt. My name is Colt,” he interrupted.

She froze for a moment near the stove. “I would feel very forward to address you by your given name, Mr. Evans.”
His laughter boomed through the room. Amelia whirled. His head was tilted back and the strong cording of his throat stood out in relief. “Amelia, you didn’t have a problem taking care of me while I was unconscious and naked as the day I was born, but you think it would be forward to use my given name. There is something that doesn’t add up there.”
She twisted her apron between her hands, staring at the floor. A moment later, Colt caught her chin in his palm and tilted her head to him. She hadn’t heard him cross the floor. Her breath caught in a mingling of fear and some nameless anticipation.
“My name is Colt. Try it, Amelia. Colt.”
Amelia’s skin burned with the light touch of his fingers and her heart hammered against her breastbone. She wet her parched lips.
“It’s a simple name, really. Four little letters. Colt.”
Her throat was frozen. She was falling into the depths of his gray eyes. The pad of his thumb brushed along her lower lip. The butterflies returned to her stomach and that curious ache renewed. She shook her head, freeing herself of his gentle hold. She staggered a step away and broke the spell.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The most challenging part of writing for me is not getting lost in the research. I am a total history geek and I love research. I’ll spend weeks tracking down the most arcane, obscure fact or tidbit of information and forget to write. It’s an occupational hazard of being three credit hours short of a history major, holding a masters in English (a lot of research there), and being a research assistant for two years at Indiana State.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I honestly don’t have a favorite author. I do have a few that I don’t even bother to read the back cover if their name is on the front, I’ll just buy the book. One of those authors I’ve already mentioned and that’s Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Another, when the series wasn’t complete were J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books (and for the record, I always believed in Snape). I think what draws me to these books is the depth of detail.

Who designed the covers?
The incredible Deb Taylor, of Dca Graphics. She has a Facebook page for Dca Graphics and her work is magnificent. She’s wonderful to work with, takes into account (within reason and limitations) what the author wants for a cover, and will tweak it, again within reason.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Letting them go…I got very attached to Colt and Amy and her siblings, Saul and Jenny…And, I had to let them be “real”. I do have visual reference for the characters—meaning I have pictures from the internet of what I envisioned Colt and Amy and Saul and Jenny to look like. Unfortunately, with those visual references came some attempt to make them fit the mold of the subject of those photos. I had to let go of the preconceived personalities. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
NEVER assume that book is perfect. That’s what an editor is for. The first time I opened the edits for The Devil’s OwnDesperado, I would have sworn an oath that my editor bled all over the page. I saw all that red and thought there had to be some mistake—with all that was wrong with the manuscript, there was no way I could have been offered a contract for that book and any second, I was going to get an e-mail or phone call stating such. I learned I had to trust my editor.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
 READ. READ. READ. WRITE. WRITE. WRITE. And never give up. I started writing when I was sixteen. I was 40-something when my first novel was published.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
 I love you guys! I love sharing the people who live in my head with you.

Do you have an agent or publisher? How did you go about finding one?
 I don’t have an agent. I gave up trying to find one a long time ago and concentrated on smaller publishing houses that are still RWA (Romance Writers of America) recognized. I polished my manuscript until I thought it was a shining diamond and submitted it to The Wild Rose Press. After researching TWRP, I felt they would be a good fit for me and vice-versa. For several years in a row, they have been recognized by Preditors and Editors as the top small publishing house to work with/for.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 
Within sight of the Medicine Bow Range of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. I have said for almost three decades, that area of Wyoming is my soul’s lodestone. I love that area so much and feel so at home there, all of my historical western romances are set in the area between Laramie and Cheyenne, always in sight of the Medicine Bow.
If you could have any super power, what would it be? Would finding a way to meet Henry Cavill and make him fall in love with me count as a super-power, or does that fall more into the “stalker” category?

Lynda J. Cox will tell anyone who will listen that she was born at least one hundred and fifty years too late, and most definitely in the wrong part of the country. She holds a master’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from Indiana State University after earning her BA from the same university as a non-traditional student. (Think being old enough to be mom to 90% of the students in her freshman cadre.) She’s kept busy with two spoiled rotten house cats, a 30 plus year old Arabian gelding who has been nicknamed “Lazarus” for his ability in the later years of his life to escape death, and quite a few champion collies. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on the road, travelling to the next dog show. She loves to chat about books, the writing life, and the insanity which is called a “dog show” and can be reached through her Facebook page at

Social Media Links: (web site)

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