Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Lynne Tagawa as she share insights into her writing journey, answers a few questions, and shares the first page of her novel, A Twisted Strand.
I’m amazed at quilters. Anyone who can piece together fabric and stitch it all into a practical work of art has my admiration. But I suspect they learned the craft slowly, over a period of years. Maybe Grandma is responsible.
Writing is like that. I didn’t have a “Grandma” who taught me to write. But I loved to read. Perhaps my mentors were the authors of my childhood, from Felix Salten to Walter Farley to J.R.R. Tolkien.
And let’s not forget Anne of Green Gables. Why, my penchant for using semi-colons comes from somewhere, and it’s probably found either in Prince Edward Island or perhaps Rivendell.
Fast forward to an empty house. No more diapers, no more homeschooling, and the laundry pile has shrunk. I lay awake at night thinking, “If I were to write a novel, what would it be about?”
As a Christian my first love is Christ and the gospel. The Word of God. So I know that somehow that would be the core, the essence, of my book. But what about plot, characters, and setting? I knew my theme. What is the story?
As for setting, I decide to stay here in San Antonio. As a novice, I want to keep some things simple. I know when the bluebonnets blooms here. I can get those details correct easily. Then I decide to have fun. A bioengineered virus.
Did I tell you I’m originally a biology teacher by trade?
So, yeah, there’s Ebola that gets repackaged . . . then a doctor and a nurse as protagonists . . . terrorists . . . and a few minor characters who are fun to create. And kids. I include kids. And food, and plenty of coffee.
I get stuck in the middle. I buy books on writing, join ACFW, and when I was all done, I hire an amazing editor. Months go by.
When A Twisted Strand was finally published, I felt like I’d completed Creative Writing 101 and then some. All told, the process took four years from beginning to end. And even now, with another novel under my belt, it still seems strange to call myself a “writer.” I feel more like a work in progress, like my manuscripts.
Whether you quilt or write, I hope you stick with it. There is no such thing as reaching perfection. We just improve our craft.
What is your favorite food?
Is coffee a food? If not, I’d have to say dark chocolate.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
That’s a good question, one I don’t have an exact answer to. In A Twisted Strand, there are certainly elements of Rachel’s life I can identify with. She’s divorced, and my parents divorced when I was eight. Without having experienced it myself, it’s about the closest you can get. Also, she’s a nurse, and I’m a biology teacher whose mother was an RN. It’s easier to write what you know.
This is a common question asked of authors. Sometimes I wonder when I read, “Is the author like this character? How much is autobiographical?” The reality is, we don’t have that goal in mind. But because we’re human, writing about the human experience, it’s inevitable that our own worldview and even bits of our personality ooze into one or more of our characters.
If you couldn’t write for some reason, what would you do?
Oh, that sounds horrible. But I’m not a full-time writer. I also teach homeschool co-op classes and edit. Right now teaching and editing are very part-time, but I love teaching, and I also love helping folks polish a manuscript or essay.
About A Twisted Strand:
After dragging her heart through a divorce, Rachel Davis is ready to settle down on their South Texas country home, raise her kids, and find some peace. Can she find the secret to making her heart whole again?
William Davis, MD, would do anything to take back his horrible mistake, but infidelity is more than his wife can forgive. He goes home to an empty house in Austin every night, trying his best to be a good dad to his kids from afar.
When Rachel discovers their Jersey heifer dead from a hemorrhagic fever, she quickly realizes that the danger may spread to humans. Working for an epidemiologist, she joins the investigation. Is it natural? Or terrorism?
The family vet sickens, and Will enters the fray. Could this become an epidemic? Why was their family targeted?
Estranged from God and from each other, both Rachel and Will encounter the truth of the gospel and struggle to make sense of it all. Is there hope? And is there hope for their relationship?
Lynne Tagawa is an author, editor, educator, and best of all, grandma to four. She loves to writes quality fiction with solid gospel content. Her debut novel, A Twisted Strand, is contemporary romantic suspense, but she thinks she’s found a true home in historical fiction. Currently she’s writing the sequel to The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening.
Giveaway: One print or kindle copy of A Twisted Strand—comment to enter!
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A Twisted Strand
By Lynne Tagawa
Rachel Davis took a breath of cool spring air. The workweek was over, and she wasn’t cooking. She could relax. And forget.
“Junk food Friday!” Abby skipped at her side.
Smiling, Rachel squeezed her daughter’s hand in response. Walking ahead of them across the parking lot, Jason carried their box of fried chicken, its contents suffusing the air with a warm peppery aroma. And she’d snagged a new horse movie to watch while they ate.
“Will Buttercup have her baby today?” Abby’s curls bounced as they approached the Honda minivan.
“No honey. Three more junk food Fridays, at least.” Four more weeks. Maybe.
They piled into the van, and Jason pushed the side door shut. Brushing an errant strand of hair behind her ear, Rachel started the van and eased the vehicle out of the restaurant’s parking lot. Gravel scattered beneath the wheels, and soon the shops of Floresville were behind them . . .
“Mom, is there something wrong with Buttercup?” Jason sat rigidly alert . . .