Authors need and appreciate interviews and I have had the pleasure of being interviewed by some very interesing people. The questions they ask encourage me to dig into my heart and motives for writing. I hope you enjoy the excepts; please consider visiting the websites not only to read the whole interview but enjoy and support these very kind hosts.
The Christian Enquirer
Welcome Rebekah, and thank you so much for taking the time to share with us.
Thank you so much for having me. I am excited to have a chance to talk with you.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you are from, your family, and your Christian background.
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and asked Christ into my life at the age of nine. When I went away to college I was exposed to new ideas and for the first time I had to explain my faith to others. This led me to question what I really believed for myself versus what I believed because it was always what I was taught. After college I bounced around a bit having a hard time finding a church where I fit in. I’m very introverted and it was hard to connect with strangers, so when I found a group that made the effort to welcome me and make me feel comfortable I was thrilled. I really started to grow in this group and my faith started to grow roots. I thought things were going great, but then it all came crashing down.
My grandmother, who I was very close with, was hospitalized and despite my pleading prayers she passed away. I was angry at God, questioning why he worked miracles in the Bible, promised to provide us with our hearts’ desire if we asked, and yet he seemed deaf to my prayers. To add to the pain, when I called the pastor of the singles group I had become so attached to, he apparently didn’t pass along the message of her passing and I was left alone to deal with my loss. The roots I thought I’d grown in my faith were viciously ripped from a soil that turned out not to be so deep. I turned my back on God the way I felt he’d turned on me. For two years I avoided church and became friends with a group of non-believers. From time to time I would feel this overwhelming sense of loneliness but I brushed it aside.
I am thankful that God doesn’t give up on us as easily as we give up on him. After two years of running, life changed again. The friends I had made fell away and I was left alone again. I fell on my knees before God and begged for his forgiveness for abandoning him. The feeling of love that washed over me at that moment submitted my belief that the Lord is my savior and will always be there for me.
Q. I see that as an author you have recently written books across two different series: Summer Storms and Winter’s End in your Seasons of Faith series, and Julianne and soon-to-be-released Jesse in your Coastal Chronicle series. What led you to work on these particular series and why two different series at once?
During the time I was running from God I started writing about the events of my life during those years. It was cathartic to fictionalize things and work out my emotions through the characters. That work was a practice run that will never see the light of day, but Julianne was written with a similar cathartic goal, at least in the beginning. I was frustrated in my career and started writing a story that allowed me to live many people’s dream, quitting a job to pursue their passion. When I finished Julianne I put it away and got caught up in my daily life with no time for writing.
I returned to the church of my adolescence and saw a void in small groups for young adults those in college or just out, trying to figure out where they belong in the world. I prayed on it and talked to my pastor about starting a class for this age group. I was excited, believing that I would have an opportunity to share from my own experiences and maybe help them avoid some of the pitfalls I’d walked right into. Being a small church, there wasn’t a large number of members in the age range I was targeting, and I ended up spending a number of Sundays in the room alone studying the Bible. I found passages that really spoke to me and I would mark them or write them in a notebook. The years I had walked apart from God kept echoing in my heart and I knew I had a story to tell. That’s when Summer Storms was born. I knew others who were grieving over loss both through death and broken relationships and I felt called to use what I had learned to minister to others.
I didn’t intend to have two series going at once, that just kind of happened, but I’m actually enjoying it. When I need a break from one location I can pop over to the other series and have a whole different experience going on.
Q. How would you characterize the Seasons of Faith series and your intended audience of readers?
We all walk through seasons in our faith, the spring of first belief and the times when we are on the mountain of euphoria in our relationship with Christ. The hot, stormy summer of adolescent faith, where we are questioning, facing difficult situations and trying to find God. Fall, which can be vibrant and beautiful, filled with the miracles we see all around us or bleak and foreboding. And winter, which, living in Florida I know little about as a season, but in my walk with Christ I would say winter can be either warm and cozy, snuggling into the arms of Jesus and allowing him to protect you from the cold outside or it can be freezing and lonely when we chose to face it on our own.
Q. Within Seasons of Faith, what kind of major theme or message have you intended to communicate through your writings of each of your books Summer Storms and Winter’s End?
Summer Storms shares the message of hope, redemption, and God’s grace; that death is not the end and we can rejoice in the passing of a believer because we will see them again in a much better place. That message was trite to me at the time I was hurting over my grandmother’s death, but now it is one of my greatest comforts.
Winter’s End deals with personal forgiveness for the mistakes we have made in our past and even the failings we have every day in our pursuit of walking in the image of Christ. It is too easy for us to wallow in self-pity that is often rooted in a lack of forgiving ourselves. By doing this we are making ourselves more important than God, saying that it’s fine for Him to forgive us, but we just aren’t ready to do that ourselves. We don’t realize how this separates us from God and prevents us from the fulfilling life He has planned for us.
Q. Similarly, how would you characterize the Coastal Chronicle series and your intended audience of readers for it?
Coastal communities have their own distinctive flavor. These books will be stand-alone stories, but I wouldn’t rule out the chance that characters from Julianne might pop up in other stories. I would say anyone who is trying to find their place in the world would be able to relate to these stories.
Q. And within your Coastal Chronicle series, what kind of major theme or message have you intended to communicate through your writings of Julianne, and if you can share, the forthcoming Jesse?
The Coastal Chronicles will be about self-discovery, overcoming our flaws to be better people. Where Julianne has to overcome issues with her self-worth, not defining herself by her accomplishments, Jessie is going to have to let go of bitterness born of a difficult childhood and some devastating tragedies.
Q. What do you find is the hardest or most challenging part of writing?
I write very corporate pieces in my day job and sometimes that transfers into my fiction, especially in dialogue. Sometimes I go back and read a passage and cringe because it sounds so clinical. Taking off that bill paying hat and putting on the relaxed creative hat is something I need to remember to do every day.
Q. What is your most pleasurable or enjoyable part of writing?
I enjoy getting to know my characters as I write them. Julianne and her friends became so real that I thought about them all the time, wondering where they were and what they were doing. Jessie and his brothers are typical teenage boys and they are constantly playing in my head, building forts, exploring the untamed woods of 1960s Florida. So much of what I get to know about experience about the characters never makes it into the book, but it I enjoy it as much as interacting with my real friends.
Q. Is there anything about any one of the books you have written that you could say has a particularly special meaning or significance for you that you would like to share with us?
Summer Storms will always have a place in my heart. I wrote it with a specific struggling person in mind, praying one day they would have a chance to read it and find the healing relief Christ offers.
Q. How has writing the Seasons of Faith and/or the Coastal Chronicle series been a blessing to you so far?
There are numerous ways this writing journey has been a blessing to me. One thing that I will always treasure is the renewal of old friendships. My writing partner is a few generations older than me. When I was a child she and her husband were my parents’ Sunday School teachers. We were part of a very close-knit group that met together regularly to sing, study the Bible, and fellowship. I have wonderful memories of those nights, but as so often happens in life, we all grew apart and lost touch. When I happened upon DiVoran in a store one day after I had started writing, we got to talking and agreed to meet together once a week to critique and encourage each other. We met all through the development of Summer Storms and she cheered me on as I took the plunge in to indie publishing. She thought it was great that I was putting myself out there, but she was hesitant to do so herself, even though she already had three manuscripts that had been professionally edited and even won some awards. After my first year testing the waters though, I am thrilled that she has decided to take the plunge herself. It is an absolute joy to see how excited she is about the process. She and I have already had our first joint book signing at the local bookshop and by the time this goes to print we will have appeared at a joint Afternoon Tea with the Author event, which has become my signature promotion. Members of that old church group are also rallying around us to provide support and encouragement. It’s almost like old times, except we all creak a bit more.
Q. How do you hope reading the books within each of these series will help, bless or otherwise affect your readers?
One of my favorite songs is by Al Denson, “Right Where You Are.” It’s about God meeting us right where we are, right where our need begins. I believe that the themes I’m writing about are something everyone can relate to whether they are a believer or not. I pray that each person who reads one of my books will be met right in that spot of need, that they will walk away knowing God loves them and wants to shower them with that love if they will only open their hearts and give Him a chance.
Q. How have the books in each of the two series been received so far by the public? (For example, through posted reviews and other interviews?)
I am thrilled with the reception all three books have received. I’ve had several conversations with women who have read one or another of the books and they’ve shared with me how they’ve been encouraged or emboldened to share their faith. One the reviewers for Summer Storms mentioned that she was going back to write down the scriptures I referenced and memorizing them. It made my day knowing that she related to the story and found strength in the scriptures.
Q. What are your current activities and future plans, including for each of these series, and even outside of writing?
After I finish Jessie I have two more books in the Seasons of Faith series on my mind. There is at least one more book in the Coastal Chronicles already brewing, and I have a piece I started years ago that needs further research. I’m very close to my parents and we recently started planning a trip to Europe. I dream of being able to spend 3 or 4 months there exploring, researching that unfinished work, and maybe even taking some cooking classes in Italy.
Q. Have you been surprised by anything in particular that has happened as a result of your writing and publishing that you’d like to tell us about?
Honestly, every time I look at the sales numbers I am surprised and humbled. When I first published Summer Storms it was purely a labor of love with the hope that it would get into the hands of someone who needed to hear the message of God’s love. Whenever I see a new sale my heart sings wit because that is one more person who might not know Christ yet.
Q. Is there anything that has happened recently or is about to happen that you are especially excited about and would like to share with us?
I’m pretty excited about this interview. Thank you again for having me, I really feel blessed to share my story with your readers.
I’m also going to be at an event in Jacksonville, FL in April called One Spark, a “creative explosion” as it was described to me. I’m not quite sure what I will be doing there yet, but a group I’m a member of Biblio Connection will have a booth there and invited member authors to come mingle. I am looking forward to meeting some great people.
Q. For what are you most grateful?
I am incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement of my parents, especially my mom. She works tirelessly to help promote my books and find me new outlets to share my story. God has richly blessed me by placing me in this family and surrounding me by a network of friends who have played integral roles in my success.
Q. Finally, where can our audience find out more about you and your books?
My books are all available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. I love interacting with readers and fellow authors and can be found on several social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, the Independent Authors Network, and Goodreads. I also have a blog and I’m currently building a new website. Right now I have trailers for Summer Storms and Julianne. If I can ever nail down my producer we will have one for Winter’s End and maybe even a teaser for Jessie.
RebekahLynBooks.com will be live at the end of March
Independent Authors Network: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/rebekah-lyn.html
Skipping Stone Memories
Featured Christian Author – Rebekah Lyn
Read more about Rebekah Lyn and other authors at Skipping Stones Memories
Jason’s Spina Bifia Journey
Are the books based on personal experiences?
They aren’t based on any specific events in my life, but I do draw on my experiences. After my grandmother died I often wrote to deal with my grief and when I was writing “Summer Storms” I drew on that grief to understand what my characters were going through
Read more at Jason’s Spina Bifida Journey. He has a fine blog.
Rachelle Ayala Publishing LLC
Since you write Christian fiction, I’ve a question I’m sure readers would be interested in. Hope you don’t mind, but what is your opinion about sex in Christian fiction?
I know sex in Christian fiction can be a difficult topic. I do have a few characters that have pasts with sexual entanglements, but they have now chosen to pursue purity in their future relationships. In my upcoming novel, Winter’s End, Lizzie and Ian will experience moments of intense desire, but the heat predominately focuses on the emotions they are experiencing rather than their physical actions.
Visit RACHELLE AYALA PUBLISHING LLC to read more and see what Rachelle is working on.
Hercules Editing and Publishing
Lyn decides what to write in this way. “So far the stories I have written have found me. It is important to me that the stories I tell are honest. I think Christian Fiction has a certain expectation, that the stories are ‘happily ever afters.’ I want my books to help people understand just because a person is a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean they don’t have struggles, nor does it mean they look down on those who aren’t followers. We face hard times in our lives, but we find strength in our faith to get us through. I want to provide encouragement to believers and an invitation to non-believers.”
Read more of this except as well as find new authors at Hercules Editing and Publishing
Turning the Pages
For more questions and answers at Turning the Pages Books