Today’s author spotlight features debut author and All The Kissing cofounder Tricia Lynne. Her debut, Moonlight & Whiskey, is available now.
Introducing Tricia Lynne
Tricia Lynne is fluent in both sarcasm and cuss words—a combination that tends to embarrass her husband at corporate functions. A tomboy at heart, she loves hard rock, Irish whiskey, and her Midwestern roots. She’s drawn to strong, flawed heroines, and believes writing isn’t a decision one makes, but a calling one can’t resist. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she lives in Dallas with her husband and their goofy dogs.
Hi, Tricia! Many of us over at All The Kissing are already familiar with your wonderful self, but for any newbies out there, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing, and what made you decide to seek publishing?
I’ve always liked to write, but it wasn’t until I had six knee surgeries in three and a half years that I decided to try writing a manuscript. Between surgery recovery and rehab, I couldn’t work a regular job, and I was devouring tons of books. I told my mom how I wished there were more curvy heroines in romance novels. She told me to put up or shut up, and Moonlight & Whiskey was born.
I’d planned to self-publish until I took an editing class online. One of the discussion leaders was an agent who liked my premise asked me to send her a few chapters. After she got back to me she told me to try my luck in traditional publishing. It was all the push I needed.
What did you with struggle most with as a fledgling writer in terms of craft, process, and mechanics?
Pacing was my worst enemy. I think I had an instinctive feel for the story arc because I read so much, but I didn’t understand when to make what happen to continuously move the story forward. Getting into Pitch Wars with Moonlight & Whiskey was such a blessing because I got a crash course in pacing and craft.
With mechanics, anyone who has read for me as a beta or a CP—hell, if you’ve read my tweets and Facebook posts—knows that homonyms kill me. It’s not that I don’t know the difference between passed and past, straight and strait, your and you’re, I just don’t pay all that much attention to them when my fingers are flying over the keys. On top of that, I suck at copy edits and I don’t often find them when I do misuse them. Sigh.
As far as process… I feel like I’m still finding mine? Can I get back to you on that?
What’s one thing you know now as a published author that you wish you could go back and tell your burgeoning self?
Oy, I guess that not all advice is good advice?
One of my favorite sayings is to know the rules, but also know when to break them. It tends to bug me when another writer tells me, “Oh, you’re not supposed to do that, agents hate that, editors will rip you apart for that.” The quickest way to ensure I do something is to tell me I can’t.
I have mad respect for the rules, but breaking the rules for the right reasons can be a powerful tool in your writer’s toolbox. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries and hold on to what’s unique in your voice. Perfect writing is for research papers and news articles. Not fiction.
Breaking the rules can certainly work in your benefit as an author. Okay, so we know Moonlight & Whiskey just came out. It’s an amazing story set in New Orleans with some to-die-for characters. Tell us more about that.
Truthfully, I haven’t been to NOLA often, but the city speaks to my soul. New Orleans has a magic all its own. That mysticism cried out be its own character in this book. In NOLA, we do things, see things, accept things as possibility, that we might not in our day-to-day lives. There’s great freedom in that—it gives us permission to cast aside the labels and be exactly who we want to be.
It was the only place I considered to tell Avery’s story.
Love it. NOLA really is a character in and of itself, and you really capitalize on that in your novel. Where did you get the story idea from?
Ugh. I went to a convenient care facility to get an injured shoulder looked at. The doctor to one look at me, and without so much as touching me, he pronounced, “When we don’t work out, and then start, muscles can get sore from lack of use.” I was a competitive athlete for years and I work out regularly. I know the difference between sore muscles and an injury. But when this doctor looked at me, he labeled a chubby (lazy and unhealthy) woman (overreacting and requires patronizing), and cast aside my concerns.
I delivered a verbal smackdown, and I doubt he’ll ever make the same mistake. But I’ve had so many similar instances, from a Starbucks drive through where an employee was shocked at my music choice, to a stranger screaming at me because he didn’t think I’d scream back, to being a woman in a male-dominated sport.
They say write what you know, and I know about being woman who bucks the labels. What you see with me definitely isn’t what you get. Oh, the injury? Yeah, it turned out to be a separation.
That’s quite a story, and I love how much Avery reflects your desire to showcase strong, powerful women. Speaking of Avery, we’re talking a lot about character development on the blog. Anyone who’s read your story knows that she is one kick-ass heroine. (You’ve even written a post about strong female characters!) For those who might not know her, tell us a bit more about Avery and what inspired you to bring her to life.
I built all of the characters, but especially Avery, with the what you see isn’t what you get premise because of the boxes people have tried to put me in. We so rarely get a glimpse of who someone truly is and why.
As women, there are so many rules we’re supposed to follow. We shouldn’t behave like men. We should be likable and accommodating. We should put other people’s needs in front of our own. We should be strong, but not too strong (both in the literal and metaphorical sense). Plus-sized women are subjected to even more boxes. We can’t be happy with our bodies. We shouldn’t think we’re sexy. We shouldn’t do certain activities. We shouldn’t wear certain clothing. We shouldn’t be healthy/athletes/confident, etc.
I call bullshit. We can do all of that, and so much more, but we let social norms dictate what is appropriate for us. I wanted Avery to be a direct reflection of the see-saw most women straddle trying to function within social norms to avoid ridicule, and the need to break free from the expectations forced on us.
In addition to Avery, you created a stud-muffin hero and a swoon-worthy cast of secondary characters. When it comes to those all-important roles, what do you keep in mind? How do you make them so lifelike and believable?
I think it’s because they’re so vivid to me. In my head, I’ve been friends with this group of people forever. Each character has their own nuances, speech patterns, and physicality that make them unique, and I’m careful not to overlap those. But, also, I see them clearly as individuals with quirks and personalities of their own.
Okay, now I have to ask—who’s your favorite secondary character (not Avery or Declan) and why?
Matthias. And I won’t tell you why. 😉
Tease! But fine, we’ll move on. I love all your characters so much, and I’m sure everyone wants to know—what’s next for you? Is it another BlackSmith book? Or something else?
I have several things in the queue at the moment, but currently, I’m wrapping up another BlackSmith novel—Kat and Jamie. I may try on a new series between Kat’s book and the third BlackSmith novel, but I’ll definitely be revisiting my sweet tortured Matthias. My Cajun boy deserves a girl of his own.
Ahhh that all sounds so amazing! Okay, to wrap things up, let’s end things with a fun question: who is your all-time favorite book boyfriend?
Dexter from Kristin Callahan’s The Game Plan. It’s about a football player who’s not your typical jock, and he reminded me a lot of my husband. *insert dreamy sigh* I typically don’t re-read books unless they’re sweeping saga—and then it’s generally to remind myself what happened in the last book. The Game Plan from the Game On series is I the only romance I’ve ever re-read.
Thank you so much for being here, Tricia, and congrats on your release!
If you want to stay up-to-date with everything going on in Tricia’s writerly world, be sure to check out her website, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also order Moonlight & Whiskey now!
Feature image courtesy of Random House