It's time (maybe past time LOL) for an opportunity to meet another person from our wonderful Great Lakes Chapter. (If you're interested in being featured here, email me and I'll put you in the queue) Read on to learn a bit more about member, former GLC publicist, and published author Lynda Lee Schab!
JOANNE: Thanks, Lynda, for the interview. Tell us a bit about yourself.
LYNDA: Oh, boy. That’s a loaded question. Okay, well, I’ve been married for almost 24 years and have two teenagers, who keep me young and give me gray hair at the same time. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and my first sale was a greeting card for Blue Mountain Arts. I currently freelance for a couple of websites with articles, newsletters, book reviews, and marketing assignments. I’m also the National Christian Writing Examiner and the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner for Examiner.com. Got lots of pots and pans on the stove, which is overwhelming sometimes, but I love it. God has opened many doors for me along the way and I’m so grateful.
Aside from writing, I work part-time on the pricing team for a company called Serv-U-Success. Mostly, I work in a Meijer store, scanning grocery items for a program called Nu-Val, which assigns a nutritional value score to each item. For fun, I enjoy playing board games with my kids, reading (duh), playing Solitaire blitz on Facebook, and going to the movies with my large refillable popcorn bucket. None of those things are great for the waistline, but such good stress relievers.
LYNDA: Really, a little bit of everything. I started out writing poetry for greeting cards, and I love coming up with clever and humorous slogans, poems, and limericks for birthdays, retirement parties, bridal showers, etc.
Fiction-wise, I dabble in many different genres (except sci-fi, fantasy, and historical – not my preferred cups of tea). My favorite genre is probably mystery/suspense. I do have a mystery series started that I hope to get back to in the next couple years, but for now I’m busy with my Madi series. I do love women’s fiction, which is the category my Madi series falls under (Mom-lit style and tone).
I would say for me it’s not so much about genre as it is about the types of characters who star in my stories. Basically, I like to write about real women who struggle with real issues. I tend to be more nitty-gritty than sweet and candy-coated. Nothing too edgy, but always honest. Oh—and humor. Love incorporating humor into my books, whenever possible.
JOANNE: And you're GOOD at it, girl :) How long have you been writing? At ACFW?
LYNDA: The first story I remember writing was in 6th grade. It was called The Summer I Went to Honolulu, and included caricature drawings. My teacher at the time encouraged me to enter it into a contest, but regretfully, the deadline passed before I finished it. Bummer! Side note: I’ve never actually been to Honolulu.
The first writing I ever submitted for publication was a set of poems to Blue Mountain Arts greeting card company. As I mentioned above, this was also my first paid publication. I went on to sell a few non-fiction articles to magazines before I really got serious about writing a novel. Although, fiction has always been my first love.
JOANNE: ACFW has been wonderful for your career. Such a fabulous organization. What are you working on right now?
LYNDA: I am waiting for edits on Madily in Love from my publisher, and am starting to plot the third and final book in the series, Sylvie and Gold. And I’m also trying to keep up with my freelance assignments while taking time to enjoy the summer with my kids. Whoever coined the term “lazy days of summer” obviously had no life! But it’s something I strive for anyway. I’ll take an hour of lazy where I can get it.
JOANNE: Can I EVER relate to that! Lazy would be NICE. What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
LYNDA: The best piece of writing advice I’ve ever received is also the piece of writing advice I find the toughest to follow: SIT BUTT IN CHAIR AND WRITE. I am the queen of distraction. I am admittedly not self-motivated, which is why I work best under deadline. I always get it done, but I love a good kick in the pants. (Okay, maybe not “love,” but truly appreciate!)
JOANNE: To you, what is the best part of ACFW? The GLC chapter?
LYNDA: ACFW has so many fantastic resources for Christian writers, such as courses, contests, critique groups, and the fabulous annual conference. But the best part, in my opinion, is that it allows aspiring authors to rub shoulders with and learn from the pros. Some of my very best friends today are those I met through ACFW, and I can’t say enough wonderful things about the organization or its members.
When I was first starting out in fiction, before I joined ACFW, I emailed one of my favorite authors, Mindy Starns Clark, for a bit of writing advice. I remember being shocked when she actually responded! Mindy was so sweet and gave me some excellent advice, and I was seriously in awe. I learned very quickly after joining ACFW that this kind and generous spirit was the norm, and not the exception. Almost every author I’ve met – no matter how successful or “multi-published,” is so encouraging. I suspect this helpful and selfless atmosphere is mostly limited to the Christian publishing industry, as I’ve heard horror stories of secular author competitiveness. Not that we don’t all welcome success, but we realize that if God is big enough to gift us with our talents, He will have no problem using, promoting, and blessing every one of us as He sees fit.
The GLC chapter has been a blessing to me. It’s been so wonderful to meet and connect with other authors in Michigan. Holly Wolfe does an awesome job as president. I may be biased, but I think Michigan has the best group of authors ever.
Now I sit back and wait for the arguments to roll in from the other chapters. LoL
JOANNE: I'll be sure to delete any of those comments (wink). How can folks connect with you?
LYNDA: I have a website - www.LyndaSchab.com, and also a blog www.on-the-write-track.blogspot.com. I’ll admit, I took a couple month blogging hiatus, but am starting to get back “on the write track.” (Groan…) I’m also on Facebook (my author page is Lynda Lee Schab) and Twitter (LyndaSchab)
JOANNE: Anything else you want to add?
LYNDA: I’d love to quote my favorite verse, Proverbs 16:24. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb… Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”
Regarding fiction, I would say that although our stories don’t have to be all sweet and pleasant, the overall message should be a positive, hopeful one because we’re representing a positive, hope-giving Savior. And, of course, that verse can apply to the words we speak to other writers, too. We writers experience plenty of disheartening moments (you know, those “What made me think I could ever make it in this business?” and, “Everything I write sucks!” moments). An encouraging word may be just the push someone needs to finish that best-selling novel!
JOANNE: I couldn't agree more. What question do you have for GLC members?
LYNDA: Oooh, fun! Um…Okay, here’s one. Since I’m all about honesty and being real, what issues do you think need to be addressed more in Christian fiction? What issues do you think are overdone? Looking forward to your answers!
JOANNE: Great questions, Lynda. Thanks for sharing, an you KNOW I'm praying for the best for you.
What issues DO you think need to be addressed more in Christian fiction?