I am very excited to have Becky Lyles back with us. I interviewed Becky a while ago but she has a new book out to talk about today. You can read her first interview here. To hear about what is going on in her life now keep reading. Oh…and she has a giveaway for you.
Winds of Freedom features several characters from Winds of Wyoming, the first book in the Kate Neilson Series, and the action begins about a year after the WoW storyline ends. However, Kate and friends make new friends in the sequel and encounter more nasty villains. Also, much of the drama occurs in a large city as well as on the Wyoming ranch.
Here’s a teaser: Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
At this time in my life, I have the fun of helping my daughter plan and prepare for her October wedding. I also volunteer with the women’s ministry at my church and for a faith-based women’s home/program that helps ex-inmates transition from prison to life on “the outside.” Plus, I love to walk, hike, camp, snowshoe, cross-country ski, bike and garden—anything (well, almost) that requires being out-of-doors.
Where do you get your ideas?
Like most authors, my ideas spring from real life. The first book in the Kate Neilson Series came from volunteering with a prison ministry in another state that provides Bible studies and mentors plus assists newly released inmates, who are ushered out prison gates with the clothes on their backs, $50 cash, and possibly a bus ticket. With such limited means to begin a new life, ex-offenders often return to the families who triggered their wrong behavior and/or the friends who led them astray or joined them on their downward spiral. I wanted to show that although release from prison is a thrill, the transition back into society is tough for those who’ve been incarcerated.
The idea for Winds of Freedom was sparked by a neighbor’s relative who walked into an airport restroom and never came out—as far as her husband and children knew. Although they didn’t see her exit the restroom, she must have snuck past them wearing a disguise, because they later learned she’d left them to start a new life. Several weeks after her disappearance, she returned to her home to pick up her clothing and other personal items. She didn’t tell her husband where she was living or what she was doing, only that she no longer had to clean house, cook meals, or care for their children. To add to the mystery, she was wearing a collar around her neck.
Do you outline or are you a seat-of-the-pants writer?
I’ve worked from a rough outline, and I’ve also used Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. From those modest beginnings, I created rough drafts that changed dramatically with each revision. For the next Winds book, I’m hoping to develop a stronger “base of operation” than I had with the first two fiction books. Surely a more complete knowledge of where I’m headed with a story when I begin it will lead to fewer blind alleys and rewrites. In other words, I’m still learning. J I also recently purchased Scrivener, which should help me corral my thoughts and notes and enable me to visualize where the story is headed.
Are you like any of the characters in your book?
As the experts say, there’s a bit of the author in each of his or her characters. However, I have yet to picture myself as one of my characters while writing. When I wrote the first Kate Neilson book, our three children were in the same age range as the heroine and the hero. I tried to picture our daughter and two sons as I wrote but couldn’t do it. In my mind, Kate and Mike were not the same people as my kids. Yet, it’s quite possible that I subconsciously attributed some of my children’s qualities to those characters.
Are you working on a new project now?
I wish I could say I’m writing book three for the series—or even better, that I’ve already written the book (smile). The truth is, I haven’t written a solitary word of “Winds of Change” (possible title). I know a basic plotline for the story, and I’ve begun researching some of the more elusive details. I’m also planning to gather several short stories that I’ve written, smooth out the rough edges, and publish them in an inexpensive compilation.
Anything you would like to add?
Thanks so much, Melissa, for the opportunity to talk about my work on your blog. What an honor and privilege. Bless you!
Bio & Links
Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her Kate Neilson novels. She currently lives with her husband in Idaho, where she serves as an editor and a mentor for aspiring authors and as a coach for women transitioning from prison to life on “the outside.”
Want to connect with Becky? Click on the links below.
It was so nice chatting with you again, Becky and thanks for taking the time to share with my readers.
Readers, if you would like to win a copy of Becky’s book leave a comment for her by August 27th at 5:00.