Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Please welcome my friend Lyn Horner to A Writer’s Life. Lyn and I are in the same writers group and have been friends many years. Here’s her interview:

Lyn Horner

Caroline: Tell us about growing up.

Lyn: I was born in San Francisco, CA, but grew up in Minnesota, where my mom was from. We moved back there when I was four years old. I had two half-siblings from my father’s first marriage, but never got to know them. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, have two grown children and several grandkids.

Was I ever a bookworm! I loved reading and even enjoyed researching historical school assignments at the local library. Guess I should have known I was destined to be a writer, but back then I dreamed of being a famous artist. That led to my first career in fashion illustration and art instruction.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Lyn: My favorite author is Diana Gabaldon. Her characters are like old friends I’m compelled to revisit every so often. Other authors I love are Linda Howard, Iris Johansen and Judith Ivory. As you might guess, my favorite genre is historical romance.

Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Lyn: At the risk of sounding trite, I love the quote from Forest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” It’s so true. Taking the bad with the good isn’t easy, but there’s always a surprise just around the next corner.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write?

Lyn: One of my favorite places to write is in my recliner with my laptop. Another is on my bed with research books and papers scattered around me -- far away from the kitchen and the refrigerator.

If I’m blogging, checking email or chatting online, I often have the TV tuned to a news channel in the background. When working on one of my books, I need quiet, with the exception of soft music on occasion.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Lyn: I’m a plotter. For my first book, I tried writing by the seat of my pants, but it didn’t work well. My characters kept running off in odd directions, forcing me to drag them back onto the main path. This cost loads of time and teeth-grinding frustration.

Caroline: Me, too. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Lyn: Yes, I often include real historical figures as peripheral characters and actual events to draw readers into the time and place. The most dramatic event I ever incorporated in a story was the Great Chicago Fire on 1871. It formed the backdrop for White Witch, the prequel to Darlin’ Irish, Texas Devlins, book one.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals?

Lyn: I work every day but I don’t set word count or page goals. I’m a fussbudget about finding just the right words. Some days I might write only a few paragraphs, others several pages. Cranking out a whole chapter in one day is rare for me.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Lyn: First and foremost, I hope my stories take readers out of the workaday world and carry them off on an adventure into different times and places. Ultimately, I want them to love my characters and care what happens to them.

Caroline: Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Lyn: I love mint chocolate chip ice cream – way too much!

Caroline: Can you give readers a blurb about your latest book?

Lyn: I’d love to. Dearest Irish (Rose’s Story) is the third book in my Texas Devlins trilogy, which features three unusual siblings. Descended from a secret line of Irish Celtic Druids, each of the three possesses a rare psychic talent they hide for fear of persecution. Rose Devlin, the sheltered baby sister of the family, has the extraordinary ability to heal with her mind, a gift that has caused her great pain in the past. She also harbors a more terrible secret that threatens her chances of ever knowing love.

Choctaw Jack, a half-breed cowboy introduced in Dashing Druid (Texas Devlins, Tye’s story), straddles two worlds, honoring loyalty to his mother’s people while struggling to walk the white man’s road. Like Rose, he keeps shocking secrets. If they ever come to light, he stands to lose his job, possibly his life. Yet, after accidentally discovering Rose’s healing gift, he risks everything, kidnapping her in a desperate attempt to save his dying mother. As he spirits her away to the Indian Territory, they are threatened by natural forces and individuals who hate the sight of a white woman riding with a red man. But the greatest risk they face may be caring too much for one another.

Caroline: This sounds as intriguing as your other books. How about an excerpt?

Lyn: Here you go:
In her rush to get going, Rose arrived at the corral earlier than usual. Jack wasn’t yet there. Hearing a clang of metal striking metal, she thought it came from behind the barn. Curious, she strolled in that direction and found a large, open shed, from whence came the metallic hammering. It was a blacksmith’s workshop, she realized. Acrid heat struck her as she approached the open portal.
Wearing no shirt, the smith stood working at an anvil with his back to her. Even so, she recognized Choctaw Jack by his long, midnight black hair, tied back with a leather thong at his nape, and by the healed red scar across his left shoulder blade. But what was he doing here, working in the smithy? No one had ever mentioned he was a blacksmith.
Coated with sweat in the heat from the forge, his muscular arms and torso gleamed like molten copper. Rose stared in awe as he skillfully wielded his hammer and tongs. A strange excitement curled through her insides at the sight. She must have made some sound, for he stopped in mid swing and pivoted to face her. A startled look crossed his face; then he pinned her with his black stare.
“Miss Rose,” he said with a nod. “Didn’t think it was time to meet you yet.”
“Uh, nay, ’tisn’t. I’m early. I-I heard the hammering.” She gestured toward the heavy tool in his hand. “I didn’t know ye were a blacksmith as well as a cowboy.”
He shrugged one shoulder and mopped his face with the bandana draped loosely around his neck. “Pays to know more than one way to earn my keep.”
Nodding, she cleared her throat nervously. “No doubt my brother and the Crawfords set great store by your skills.”
“Saves them a trip to the blacksmith in town,” he replied with another one-shouldered shrug. “While I’m here.”
“Mmm. And what are ye working on?” Rose asked, hoping her questions didn’t annoy him.
“I’m making up extra horseshoes. We’ll need them on the drive to Kansas.”
“Ah, I see.” Feeling awkward, she stammered, “Well, I-I’m sorry for disturbing ye.” She ought to turn and leave, but her feet seemed rooted in place. Her gaze skittered across his broad, glistening chest then darted uncertainly to his chiseled features.
He cocked a raven eyebrow and laid aside his tools. Setting hands to his hips, he sauntered forward until he stood no more than three feet away from her. His mouth curled into a smile. “I don’t mind being disturbed by a pretty lady.”
“Y-ye flatter me, sir.” Flustered by his compliment, so unusual coming from him, she fiddled with the open collar of her shirt, touched her cross and stared at the ground.

“No. Just speaking true.”

Intimidated by his male scent and sheer size, she backed away a couple steps. She peeked at him from beneath her lashes, seeing his smile give way to his usual expressionless mask.

“You afraid of me?” he asked, tone hardening.

“Nay, I-I . . . .” Hunting for an excuse for her nervous behavior, she blurted, “I need air is all. ’Tis hot in here.”

He crossed his arms, muscles bulging. “A smithy has to be hot.”

“I know.” Rose cleared her throat again and licked her dry lips. “But I’m not accustomed to the heat.” Which was true. Extracting a handkerchief from the cuff of her sleeve, she dabbed at her damp forehead.

“If you can’t take heat, Texas isn’t for you,” he said in a challenging tone.

Miffed, Rose met his onyx stare and snapped, “I’ll get used to it. Excuse me. I’ll go wait by the corral.” She started to turn away, but his voice stopped her.

“You sure you still want to ride out with me?”

“Of course.” Her pulse pounded in her ears. In truth, she was a wee bit afraid to be alone with him, away from the safety of the house – perhaps more than a wee bit – but she couldn’t bring herself to admit it. Besides, she dearly wished to take Brownie for a real ride. “I’ve looked forward to this day,” she added, lifting her chin.

He stared at her for a moment and said, “It’ll take me a few minutes to finish up here. Then I’ll clean up and fetch the horses.”

“Fine.” Nodding, Rose swung on her heel and hurried away.

Jack watched her hasty retreat. She might deny it, but she was afraid of him. Once again, he wondered if it was his being an Indian that spooked her. Scowling at the thought, he reheated the horseshoe he’d been forming and hammered it into shape, reminding himself that he wanted nothing to do with the red-blonde girl with shy blue eyes. Eyes that reminded him of beautiful blue agates he’d once seen mounted on an ornate cross.

Caroline: Where can readers find your books?

All of my books are on Amazon.

Most are also available at Barnes and Noble. Here’s the link for Dearest Druid.

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?


Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Lyn: Since I’ve experienced clairvoyant dreams in the past, I strongly believe we all possess untapped psychic powers. This is a topic I hope to explore further in my writing.

Oh, I agree, Lyn. Thanks for sharing with us today.

Thanks for stopping by!


Caroline Clemmons said...

Welcome to my blog, Lyn. Wishing you continued success with your books.

Lyn Horner said...

Thank you, Caroline. I'm happy to be here. The same to you, my friend.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I want Chocktaw Jack for my very own. I really enjoyed your excerpt, Lyn and I know from this little snippet, it's going to be a big success.

Lyn Horner said...

LOL! I think Rose might fight you for him, Sarah. Glad you like him.

Thanks for stopping by. Lyn

Unknown said...

Lyn--we have Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream as a favorite.
But growing up, I was a good reader, and did read many books, but I spent more time outside playing make-believe with friends or neighborhood kids around my age. Most we playing Cowboys and Indians, but weirdly...we never had an Indian in our made-up stories! We had bad guys that Roy Rogers and Gene Autry--that would be me--had to catch. One little girl never wanted to be a cowboy, so she was always Rosarita, the dance hall lady who always got shot. Sigh.
Your books are intriguing, very different from mine because none of my characters are anything other than plain, ol', down-to-earth people with no special powers. Maybe I should look into this path of writing..Someday!
Good post, and I always love to learn something else about a friend.

Unknown said...

Lyn very good post. I love interviews, they give us a first hand look at an author.

Lyn Horner said...

Celia, when I was elementary school age I played cowboys and Indians too with a gang of kids on our block (in Minneapolis.) But by the time I reached junior high age, reading, drawing and painting were my favorite pastimes.

I kind of fell into writing about people with psychic gifts, but now it just seems natural for me. We all have our niches. This is mine.

Lyn Horner said...

Thanks, Mary. I love reading interviews too. It's fun learning how other authors work and about their backgrounds. I'm looking forward to interviewing you!

Ally Broadfield said...

Lovely interview, ladies. My kryptonite is chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream. I loved the excerpt and wish you many sales!

Lyn Horner said...

Thanks, Ally. I could get to love your kryptonite. :=)

Unknown said...

Enjoyed the blog, Lyn. Best of luck with sales on Dearest Irish and your other books.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Great interview and excerpt!! I tweeted.

Ruby said...

I never believed in psychics but I've always been fascinated. Recently an author read in declassifed papers that the US government funded the study of psychic spies and still fund the program today.And to think it all began with Chocktaw Jack! Like your character Lyn.

Unknown said...

Lyn, I would love to hear more about your clairvoyant dreams. Do tell!
Keira Montclair

Barbara Bettis said...

Great interview, ladies. Lyn, I can identify with your precision in writing the first time through. Some days I barely get a few paragraphs, others I can knock out a couple thousand words. Good luck with Dearest Irish. Barb Bettis

Lyn Horner said...

Thank you, Mairi. So glad you liked my interview and book excerpt.

Lyn Horner said...

Ella, thanks so much. You're a great friend.

Lyn Horner said...

LOL! Ruby, we'll never know how it began. Maybe there was/is a modern day Jack and his P'ayn-nah (Sugar in Kiowa).

Lyn Horner said...

Keira, my dreams occurred years ago. While pregnant with my first child I had several scary dreams that came true in odd ways. One night I dreamed the grocery store we shopped at was on fire. The next day news came that a store in the same chain had burned to the ground over night.

On another occasion I dreamed my husband was in a terrible car crash. That was truly frightening. A couple days later a close friend of Ken's called to tell us his cousin had been in an accident on the night of my dream and was in the hospital in serious condition.

Those are the two dreams that have stuck with me over the years, but there were others I can't clearly recall.

Lyn Horner said...

Barbara, I'm glad I'm not alone in my fussing over words. Thanks for visiting.

Lana Williams said...

Hi Caroline and Lyn! Great excerpt, Lyn! And I'm also a fan of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream!

Lyn Horner said...

Hi Lana, glad to know another fan of the most delicious ice cream flavor in the world! Thanks for popping in!