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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Author Interview: Linda Yezak

Good morning, all of you beautiful readers. I coerced Linda Yezak, author of Give the Lady a Ride,into revealing some deep, dark secrets about herself today. Okay, maybe not so dark, but at least somewhat deep. Over the past few months we've become acquainted, and I feel like I've gained a life-long friend. Her sense of humor gives me my vitamin giggle. She's easy to like. So, Linda, I know you've been asked this a thousand times, but how did you get started writing?

L: I’ve been writing for the bulk of my life, little things like short stories, poems, and song lyrics. I started again soon after my dad died in 1997. Sometime around then, I got my first computer and worked on a police-procedural mystery in between bridge games on Pogo. One of my bridge partners had a degenerative disease that had her totally incapacitated. She could see, and apparently play on the computer, but she couldn’t talk. She typed somehow, and her computer did her talking for her. Which was great, because her husband could hear, but couldn’t see.

Anyway, as I wrote each chapter, I’d send it to these two, and they would sit together and listen to the computer read it to them. I know now that my first novel was horrid, but she and her husband loved it and always encouraged me. These two were among those who kept me going.

Just as an aside, it’s amazing how close we can get to folks we’ve met only in cyberspace. When I got an email that she passed away from her disease, I cried for days. Since her husband couldn’t see, his son shut her email down, and I never heard from him again. Funny how I remember her screen name but not her real one, but she was one special lady.

A: It seemed in your book you have this fascination for bull riders. How did you meet your hubby? Was he a bull rider?

No, no, no–most adamantly not! Not a fan of rodeo or bull riding. We met in church. Although Billy was raised in the country, he considers himself “country” not “western,” a farmer, not a rancher. He calls his acreage “the farm,” even though they raised cattle, too.

Whenever we return to his hometown, we can see “who’s who.” Those who consider themselves ranchers–western–tend to wear cowboy hats. Country boys wear caps. It’s amazing there’s even a difference between the two. Both groups hold the same love of the land, the same work ethic, the same core values, but . . . they’re different. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it stems back to the days when ranchers called farmers “plow boys.” That’s a guess right now, but I have the rest of my life to figure out why I’m “western” and he’s “country,” even while we’re both Texan. Actually, I’m only western in heart. I was raised a city girl. So not fair.

A: I'm sure others are as curious as I am. How did you meet the Lord?

L: I can’t remember not being a Christian, although I wasn’t raised in any particular denomination. Mom taught me to study the Bible using the “Precept” method long before Kay Arthur coined the term and introduced it to the rest of the world.

Although I’ve been a Christian forever, I haven’t always acted like one. That’s why I’m so grateful for God’s grace. No matter how many times in your life you play the prodigal child, He always welcomes you back and wraps you in His love. That’s an amazing truth I’ve discovered over the years.

A: Okay, since your husband didn't introduce you to the bull-riding world, what inspired Give the Lady a Ride?

L: Ride is the result of a NaNoWriMo contest, but I got too wrapped up in editing and researching to make the deadline. The idea came from two programs on CMT (Country Music Television): Cowboy U, a fun competition where city folks meet ranch chores, and Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding, where men from all walks of fame try their hands at making the eight. How much fun would it be to have a woman try her hand at making the eight?!

A: For those who are unfamiliar with the acronym above, NaNoWriMo, it means National Novel Writing Month--an event for amateur and professional writers that takes place in November. Writers are challenged to write a 50,000-page novel in one month.

Linda, with one popular novel under your belt, what's your next book about and when can we expect to see it out?

L: With The Cat Lady’s Secret, I step away from western romance. It’s a women’s fiction tale of forgiveness, but it’s wrapped with a bit of humor. The cat lady went to extremes to hide from her past, but it comes barreling toward her when a journalist wants to know what her secret is--and the love of her life finds out.

A: I see you wrote another book, a nonfiction about public speaking. How did you get started with speaking?

L: I got an invitation through LinkedIn to speak to a writers’ group in Longview, Texas. They invited me more as a consulting editor for Port Yonder Press then as an author, but hey, I didn’t complain! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and that one speech led to several others. I wish I knew better how to arrange these speaking engagements, because for 2012, I’ve come up bone dry!

A: One more question and I'll let you go. What is your favorite topic when you speak?

L: Anything about writing. Editing, particularly. What I love is to have my audience ask questions during my speech and divert me from what I planned to talk about to what they want to talk about. Since all my engagements have been with small groups, we can do that. Believe me, it’s fun!

Well, Linda, you have certainly given us a lot of information about yourself. I'm impressed. But just to cap off this delightful interview, you also gave us your bio--thank you!

Linda's Bio: Linda Yezak lives with her husband and three cats in a forest in Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a two-time finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest: in 2008 for Give the Lady a Ride, a contemporary western comedy romance published in 2011; and in 2010 for The Cat Lady’s Secret, a Women’s Fiction comedy-drama. She has been published in Christian Romance, Beyondaries, and Vibrant Nation e-zines, has served as a judge in several national and local writing contests. She's also a freelance editor and a consulting editor for Port Yonder Press.
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