Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
Welcome Lynn Austin, author of Keepers of the Covenant, to Author Spotlight! Leave a comment below for the chance to win a copy of her book.
I’ve been happily married to my husband, Ken for 44 years. We’ve raised three children, two sons and a daughter, and are now empty nesters. I have been writing full time since resigning from my last teaching job, more than 20 years ago.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest . . .
I started out writing biblical fiction for my first 5 novels, then switched to historical fiction for the next 14. I love researching historical time periods and telling the stories of everyday people who lived through challenges times. For my latest 3 novels, including Keepers of the Covenant, I’ve returned to biblical fiction.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I have always loved to read but never thought about writing until after I was married. I got tired of reading books that were nicely written but offered no hope—“Life is hard and then you die.” I agree that life is hard, but God is good. I wanted to write stories that offered hope. So I sat down one day and started to write . . . and it was so much fun I got hooked.
After you started writing seriously—how long was it before you were published?
Eleven years . . . and many ups and downs and rejections!
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I’m a morning person. I like to start my day with a cup of strong Irish tea, my morning Quiet Time/ Devotions, and a three-mile walk. Then I’m ready to write. I go to my beautiful home office that has everything I need—including peace and quiet. I don’t spend a set number of hours writing, but I do set a page quota that I have to finish before I can quit. It’s usually around 5 pages.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
I was blessed to be mentored by another Christian author, Alma Barkman, when I was first starting out. She invited me to her critique group and to Christian Writers’ conferences. I still belong to a critique group and I couldn’t work without my faithful writer friends. I met my first publisher, Beacon Hill, and my current publisher, Bethany House, at writers’ conferences.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
It has been far beyond what I could have imagined! I was thrilled just to be able to write and be published . . . and then I began meeting some of my wonderful readers! I can’t begin to explain what a blessing and an encouragement they’ve been to me! And if that wasn’t wonderful enough, I was invited on book tours in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands to meet my readers in those countries.
What are your biggest distractions?
Warm, sunny days when I would rather be outside, hiking or biking or walking on the beach instead of sitting in my office.
I’ll start with the worst. It was the day my manuscript came back from a publishing company, rejected after a year of waiting—and it was delivered in a garbage bag! The shipping box had burst open so the Post Office scooped up all the pages and tossed them in a garbage bag with my address taped to it. One of the best was when I won my first Christy Award. It more than made up for the garbage bag experience.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
I like the business end of it the least, doing all the paperwork and non-creative things that go along with being an author. What I like the most is being my own boss, deciding the shape of my days and weeks for myself. I especially enjoy being able to take a day off if I feel like it.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Don’t give up. I needed to hear that advice several times along the way. Beginning authors also need to spend enough time in prayer to become convinced that God is truly calling them to write—not necessarily to be published, but to write. Once they accept that calling, they won’t be tempted to quit when tough times come.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Does the Bible sometimes seem boring to you and difficult to read? This book, Keepers of the Covenant, will help bring the Bible to life for you in 3-D, and prove that the Bible is anything but boring!
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I’m working on the sequel to Keepers of the Covenant, which is my newest release. On this Foundation will continue the story of the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. And while Keepers of the Covenant featured Ezra as the main character, the one I’m working on now will feature Nehemiah.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?