Yay! Another writer interview with a former reporter! Enjoy!
1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?
I left reporting to be a stay-at-home mom, and I have three little ones, two of whom are not yet in school. So I write during naptime in the afternoons, usually from about 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. On a good day, I can do about 3,000 words in that time. I also have a wonderful husband who is super supportive, and when I have a deadline looming, he gives me time to write in the evenings and on weekends.
2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?
I walk. Moving usually helps shake things loose. Figuring out stubborn plot points also requires talking—to myself or anyone nearby—which sometimes gets me funny looks on the trails around the lake where we live.
3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?
Stephen King’s On Writing. I know it’s probably the most belabored title in this field, but it is a wonderful resource. And it’s not written as a source book, so it’s easy to read and retain.
4. Who do you read for fun?
There are so many authors I adore! I’m a book nerd from way back. Let’s see: Laura Levine, Stephen King, Harley Jane Kozak, Julie Kenner, Lisa Brackmann, Terri L. Austin, Sophie Kinsella, Larissa Reinhart, Agatha Christie, Susan M. Boyer, Meg Cabot, Gretchen Archer … I could go on for pages.
5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.
I’ve wanted to be a writer in some fashion since I was a preschooler. Back then, I wanted to be Lois Lane. Then as I got older, Helen Thomas became my role model. I discovered I loved writing fiction in the summer of 2009, working on the book that would become FRONT PAGE FATALITY. I’d never seriously attempted to write fiction, and really fell hard for Nichelle and her story. I wrote in sort of a fever, because I was unsure where the ideas were coming from (or if they would stop) and by the time I had a finished manuscript, I was hooked and wanted to write more.
6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Two things: first, write every day. It’s trite, but things become cliches for a reason. The only way to get better is to do it. Second, don’t give up. Develop a thick skin, and learn from constructive criticism, but know that in traditional publishing, rejection is part of the game. To succeed, you have to keep going.
7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?
Perseverance. Writing a novel is a huge undertaking, and something most people never accomplish. Why? Because it’s hard work! You have to stick with it over a long period of time, through the murky middle of the rough draft, through writer’s block, and days when you just don’t want to do it. Once you’ve done that, you have to hang in there through months or years of trying to find the right home for your work. You can learn craft. You can learn grammar. But I think writers must have the ability to persevere if they want to succeed.
8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?
My favorite food? That’s almost like asking me to choose a favorite child! I love Mexican food and barbecue (I am from Texas). There’s a restaurant in Dallas called La Hacienda Ranch that makes the most amazing Mexican food. I’ve never been able to figure out what’s in their ground beef, but it’s heavenly. And the tortillas … sigh. Now I’m hungry. Here in Richmond, Buzz and Ned’s has the very best barbecue I’ve ever eaten.
9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?
Yes! They both have the same title, too. I love Gone With the Wind, because it’s full of wonderful women. Even though Scarlett is stupid about men (in my opinion, anyway) she’s so strong and determined, in a time when women weren’t supposed to be strong and determined. Melanie, too, is very strong, but in an entirely different way. So is Ellen O’Hara. And Mammy. I’ve read it probably more than fifty times, and I still find some new story nuance on every trip back to Tara.
10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?
If there’s anything I learned from years of working as a journalist, it’s that everyone has a story. Another important skill writers can develop is to listen. All around you, every day, there are stories going on, and you never know what might inspire you to write something wonderful. And observe. When the sun comes back out after a storm, put words to it. Think about how you’d make a reader see that picture in their mind. Little things go a long way toward developing craft.
My debut mystery, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, released this week! Back cover copy:
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.
About the author:
LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. When not writing or reading, LynDee is usually wrangling children, eating barbecue or enchiladas, or trying to walk off said barbecue and enchiladas. She and her family live in Richmond, Virginia.