Where did you get your inspiration for the Texas Druids series?
Years back, while living in the Chicago area, I came up with the idea to write about a young woman who lived through the terrible Chicago Fire of 1871. Since many Irish immigrants had settled in Chicago, giving my heroine, Jessie, an Irish lineage was logical. The decision to make her and her siblings descendants of ancient Druids, each with a different psychic gift, came later. I’ve always been fascinated by Celtic myth and folklore, and Druids. When searching for a paranormal element to make my western romances stand out in the crowd, it didn’t take me long to settle upon making Jessie Devlin and her two siblings descendants of ancient Druids, each with a unique psychic power. Jessie has second sight, the ability to look into the future. Her brother Tye is an empath, able to absorb others emotions, and baby sister Rose possesses the power to heal with the touch of her hands.
What scene in Dashing Druid is your favorite?
Oh gosh, that’s a tough one. I love quite a few. Hmm, I guess I’d have to pick the scene late in the book, when Tye finally explains to Lil, his feisty Texas cowgirl, what he is. He scares her almost into running away from him. Then, once he makes her understand and believe what he’s told her, she orders him out of her head, with surprisingly painful results for Tye. It’s scene filled with revelation and dashes of humor. And love.
Which character was the most challenging to write and why?
Lil was tough. Literally. For years she’s worked alongside her father’s cowhands, wearing britches and a six-shooter. Softening her up, showing that she longs for love just like other women, while still retaining her spunky character, was a tricky process.
What is your writing story? How did you get started in the business?
I was trained as a visual artist and worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor. That was up in Minneapolis. When my husband was transferred to Chicagoland by his employer, I gave up working to stay home with our two young children. And promptly went bonkers! Being home all day with toddlers, without adults to talk to, can do that to you. However, I loved reading, especially historical romance. One day, I read a particularly bad book and thought maybe I could do better. Desperate for a creative outlet, I took up pencil and paper and began to scribble stories. It took about a week for me to get hooked. Then followed hours and hours at the nearest library, researching the Chicago Fire, train schedules for the Union Pacific RR, and dozens of other obscure subjects. Eventually, I finished my first book (it had a different title back then) and sent off a query to a New York publisher. They asked to see the whole manuscript, a rather stunning request after a mere query. Unfortunately, they turned down the book (it was far too rough for publication). I rewrote it, got an agent, two different ones actually, and ended up with a bunch of rejections. I pretty much quit writing for several years until 2010, when I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing. I’ve since published two novels, a novella (a prequel to the Texas Druid series titled White Witch) and a photo-illustrated memoir titled Six Cats In My Kitchen.
Are you a plotter or a ‘pantser’?
I’m definitely a plotter. I tried the pantser approach with my first book, Darlin’ Druid. It took me years to get past the first three chapters. Never again! These days I lay out detailed outlines. As a matter of fact, I just finished the outline for my next Texas Druids book. I plotted and wrote the first few chapters to get acquainted with my characters. Then I took time to outline the rest of the story. Now I’m set to zip through the chapters. I hope!
What is the oddest/craziest piece of advice you’ve heard from an editor/agent/or author?
Oh boy, have I got a story for you! Back in 2008, I entered the prestigious Orange Rose Contest, at the urging of a friend in California, who belongs to the Orange Rose chapter. The story I entered is an unfinished manuscript set in Ireland. It did quite well, making it to the semi-finals. One of the editors who judged it really like the story but could not offer for it because the house she worked for (still does as far as I know) had recently contracted for a historical trilogy set in, you guessed it, Ireland. However, the editor requested to see more of my work. So I sent her the first three chapters and synopsis of Darlin’ Druid. After a few months, I heard from her. She said she wasn’t going to buy my book, for reasons I’m not real clear about, but she advised me not to take out the paranormal element (as I’d offered to do if necessary) because that’s what makes the book unique. She was very polite and encouraged me to keep writing. Still, I’ve always found it ironic that she didn’t want the book, but also didn’t think I should change it. Go figure.
What time and where is your favorite place to write?
I write at odd times, both day and night. It’s past 3 a.m. right now, as I write this. Sometimes I work in my favorite recliner with my laptop. Other times, I park on our bed, with research books and papers spread out around me. Needless to say, I have to move when hubby decides it’s time for some shuteye. Poor man puts up with books and papers piled around the house, but he does like to sleep. Darn!
What’s next for you?
Well, as I said, I’m working on the third Texas Druids novel. I hope to publish it by early 2013. After that, I’d like to finish that Irish historical I mentioned. It’s set in 1798, “The Year of Liberty” – when the Irish rose up against their British overlords. It was a violent, exciting, and finally sad period in Irish history, the perfect setting for an epic historical romance.
If you could have coffee/tea/martinis with any person (living or dead), who would it be with and why?
That’s a no brainer. It would be Diana Gabaldon, my favorite author. I adore her Outlander series and Lord John books. She truly is my idol. I’d probably just sit and stare at her like an idiot, entirely star-struck! Well, maybe not. I’ve actually met her years ago, but didn’t get to discuss writing with her. That would be fantastic.
Thanks for sharing, Lyn! Post comments/question for Lyn below and she'll answer. Come back on Friday for an excerpt of Dashing Druid!
Follow Lyn Horner online at texasdruids.blogspot.com