Linda W. Yezak recently released her new book Writing In Obedience and I had the great privilege to interview her for When Readers Write. Linda gave us so much insight into what it takes to be a Christian writer that I wanted to know more about her journey as a writer and what inspires her.
NW: What has been the most surprising part of your journey as a writer?
LWY: How everything has worked so far. It seems to have been a matter of “being in the right place at right time.” I met someone on Christianwriters.com who later became a publisher. I worked for her as an editor, and one of the books I edited was Terry’s A Writer’s Survival Guide to Getting Published. The publisher I worked for released the first edition of my debut novel, Give the Lady a Ride. By the time my second was ready to go the rounds, Terry approached me about working for him as an editorial assistant. Now, he’s my agent, and I’m his EA.
NW: If you could go back in time and change one thing about your writing journey, what would it be and why?
LWY: Oh, that’s a hard one. Give the Lady a Ride and The Cat Lady’s Secret (soon to be released) have a peculiar story. Ride was published during one set of personal crises, and Cat Lady was accepted for publication during another set. I often wonder what would’ve happened if I’d waited until the crises were over before submitting them to publishers. But when I look at the trail they rode to publication—Give the Lady a Ride especially—I can’t say I’d change anything.
NW: What project are you currently working on?
LWY: Corporate Ladder. This is my first serious novel, a darker drama than what I usually write. It’s influenced by a short story I read in college years ago about a man who’d committed a sin, liked it, and continued until the thrill was gone and he had to find ever more evil sins to rev up his adrenaline again. In Corporate Ladder, I explore the same theme–the quicksand effect of sin–but illustrate it through the life of someone who started out with the best of intentions.
NW: Here’s a fun question! What book has made the biggest impact on you as a writer? (I didn’t say the question would be easy J )
LWY: Yikes! You aren’t making this easy, are you? I’m limited to one?
Okay—here’s the sneaky answer: The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass. The reason that one has had the biggest impact is because I made it my ongoing resolution to read the books he used as examples. Although they’re all mainstream (one I had to throw away—not recycle, mind you. Throw in the trash!), I’ve learned something from almost all of them.
Now, if you hadn’t limited me to just one book, I could list a whole slew of Christian books and authors who’ve influenced my writing. But, well, there ya go.
NW: Okay, I can’t help it…what other books have influenced you?
LWY: Other books that have influenced me: that one’s hard. I learn from just about everything I read. It would be easier to answer which authors have influenced me. Francine Rivers got me interested in Christian fiction again, and Brandilyn Collins and Donn Taylor taught me I don’t have to go to the secular market to find great books in my favorite genres. Dineen Miller, in her The Soul Saver, showed me how to blend genres–her book is Christian fiction, women’s fiction, and supernatural, all beautifully rolled into one. Tosca Lee and Frank Peretti show me how to cut my imagination loose, and then how to get the results on paper (I’m still working on that). On the mainstream side, William Landay’s Defending Jacob showed me how vital outlining is for complicated plots, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road showed me, among other things, how to use punctuation and phrasing to set pace and illustrate emotion. One non-fiction, Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, is helping me recognize and appreciate techniques in others’ works. I always have, but she points out things I usually don’t notice.
These just scratch the surface. I learn something from everybody who writes!
It has been a pleasure getting to know more about Linda and if you want to know more about her recent book, Writing In Obedience, you can check out her interview on http://www.whenreaderswrite.com, or her page at http://www.lindayezak.com.