Monday, August 5, 2013

Interview with Lynn Chandler Willis

By Barbara Early 

I'm pleased to welcome Lynn Chandler Willis here today. 

Lynn Chandler-Willis has worked in the corporate world (hated it!), the television news business (fun job) and the newspaper industry (not a fan of the word "apparently" and phrase "according to"). She keeps coming back to fiction because she likes making stuff up and you just can't do that in the newspaper or television news business. 

She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina within walking distance to her kids and their spouses and her nine grandchildren. She shares her home, and heart, with Sam the cocker spaniel. 

She is the author of the best-selling true crime book, Unholy Covenant. I recently interviewed her about her new Harbourlight release, The Rising, and about her writing life in general:

Barb: What books have most influenced your life most? 

Lynn: Believe it or not, Treasure Island. As an assigned reading project in the seventh grade, it was the first “real” novel I had ever read. I was totally transfixed. I knew then I wanted to be a writer, or at least a professional reader (laughs)

Do you have a day job as well?

The best ever – I'm blessed to be able to babysit my nine grandkids. It's an exhausting job but the rewards are plenty. My “grands” are my biggest supporters and give me a constant stream of material for my blog.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

The first time I overheard my daughter tell one of her friends, “My mom's a writer.” Although I had been published, it made it seem real when my children said it out loud. 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

I'm so embarrassed to admit it – but – I don't really like coffee anymore. Everyone assumes writing and coffee are joined at the hip. All my writer friends are coffee addicts. Maybe it's just a weird phase I'm going through but I can write without the java.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

The act of writing itself. Getting the thoughts down is a complicated process for me. I struggle with just letting the words flow. Instead, I unfortunately strive to make each sentence perfect in the first draft. I truly admire those who can finish a first draft in three months. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

God forgives.  And there is so much power in forgiving of others, and ourselves. It's very liberating.

Who was your favorite character and why? 

Without a doubt – Jesse. He's one of those characters that just takes control and hijacks the story. He was supposed to be a very minor character.

What project are you working on now? 

Nobody's Baby. The first in what I hope becomes the Ava Logan mystery series. It's about a small town newspaper publisher involved in a murder investigation who ends up taking in the victim's small child.

What do you think makes a good story? 

Flawed characters. Everyone has flaws and to keep it real, even the “good” characters need a few.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

Pamela King Cable (Televenge, Southern Fried Women) She writes in a lyrical style where each cluster of words shines with beauty and depth.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be? 

Someone who lives day in and out in the poverty and warfare of a third world country. I think it would be a most humbling experience to witness first hand simple things we all take for granted.

A little boy, beaten and left to die in an alley. A cop with a personal life out of control. When their worlds collide, God intervenes. Detective Ellie Saunders's homicide investigation takes a dramatic turn when a young victim "wakes up" in the morgue. The child has no memory prior to his "rising" except walking with his father along a shiny road. Ellie likes dealing with facts. She'd rather leave all the God-talk to her father, a retired minister, and to her partner, Jesse, a former vice cop with an annoying habit of inserting himself into her life. But will the facts she follows puts Ellie's life in mortal danger? And will she finally allow God into her heart forever?


  1. Lynn, thanks for joining us today! Congratulations on your first novel!

  2. Thank you, Barbara, for having me.

  3. Oh my. Loved the interview Barb and Lynn.
    I am impressed by your story lines and ability to write mystery so well AND THE FACT you are babysitting multiple grandchildren each day. Oh my. OH MY!
    The few times I have my three together, I am knocked out for a week. I had three little ones of my own close together and completely have lost the touch!

    I wish you the best on your series. They sound fascinating.
    Thanks for visiting the Inkwell!


    I also wanted to say I admire you taking on a true crime story. It must have been very difficult at times yet there must be satisfaction in giving victims a voice.

  5. Congrats, Lynn! THE RISING sounds great. I love mysteries, but every time I try to plot one out, I get stuck. It's quite a talent to be able to twist a plot into a yummy pretzel!

  6. Great interview, Barb and Lynn! And congratulations on your release, Lynn. The Rising sounds like a real page-turner.

    I, too, am impressed by your ability to write and watch nine kids. You deserve a medal!

  7. Count me in the impressed category. Nine kids is a lot. Also impressed at the story. Sounds great. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Wow. This was a very interesting and varied interview. This lady has a lot going on. The book looks wonderful. Thanks for visiting us. :)

  9. Hi, Lynn! Congratulations! My Harbourlight book comes out in January. I can't wait to read your book. It sounds great. I also like the sound of the Ava Logan series. I hope it comes to fruition.

    A little side comment: You said newspapers can't make things up. Funny, because the newspapers I read seen to make up a lot of their news. ;)

    Congratulations, again, and good luck!

  10. Sounds like a cool idea for a book. I wish you well.

  11. Wow - love all these comments! Forgive me for lumping all replies into one big one but for some reason the system won't let me reply individually so here goes...

    Debra: Yep...nine of 'em. My daughter has five and my son has four. And yes, there are twins in the count. And the real mind-boggling aspect is 4 are under the age of three. Writing True Crime - I am glad I was able to tell Patricia's story, but it stays with you for a long time.

    Jennifer: I'm eating pretzels right now! Just remember, everything starts with a "what if"

    Suzanne: Thanks for your comment. Fortunately, the grandkids make me laugh more than cry.

    Lisa: Looking forward to school starting back. Then I'll be down to five. Thanks for the comment!

    DeAnna: Thank you for the comment. It all boils down to focus. or lack of LOL!

    Suzie: You are soooo right on in saying it seems newspapers make up stuff. After working in journalism for so many years, I see personally how easy it is to sway public opinion whether you mean to or not. And congratulations on YOUR book!

    Dina: Thank you for the comment! Best wishes to you, too.

  12. Thanks for coming by, Lynn! You're a fascinating woman (Superwoman!)


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