I’m thrilled to welcome Lyn Liao Butler to BookEnds! I fell in love with the heroine in her women’s fiction debut, the complicated family dynamics she must navigate, as well as the immersive sense of place that oozed off the pages. I can’t wait for you to read it down the road, but for now you can get to know a little more about Lyn. ~Rachel
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I write wherever and whenever I can: at home, in the library or a coffee shop. I even write in my car during my son’s after school activities. I have a writing partner and we try to meet once a week to motivate each other. But I can only write during the daytime. Once it gets dark out, my brain shuts down and my writing turns to gibberish.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
No. I don’t sit down to write unless I have things worked out in my head. I think about my project a lot throughout the day, allowing it to percolate in my mind. I’ll jot down notes (or record them in my phone) so that by the time I sit down to write, it usually flows pretty fast. That’s why I don’t go by word count per day. All that thinking and planning, even if it doesn’t produce words that day, still counts as writing to me.
What do you love about writing women’s fiction?
I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and read everything, even cereal boxes when my mom took my books away for reading at the dinner table. But a few years ago, I went through some major traumatic life experiences all in one year. Reading women’s fiction and seeing some of the emotions I was facing on the pages made me feel like I wasn’t alone. That’s when I started to think maybe someone else would connect with what I had to say and it made me passionate about writing women’s fiction.
What is the hardest part about writing?
The waiting. Publishing is a very slow business and I have no patience. I love reading, I love writing, I even love critiques and revisions but the waiting part is like torture for me. But I’m learning to focus my attentions elsewhere while waiting. h
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
I’m a yoga/fitness instructor and personal trainer so you can usually catch me torturing, I mean encouraging students in a boot camp class or helping people find their physical/mental balance in a yoga class. I also sew and have an Etsy shop for my handmade bags and purses. I volunteer for dachshund rescue groups (I’m owned by two dachshunds). And hanging with my six-year-old son who is really the happiest little boy I know.
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
Women’s Fiction Writers Association
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read?
I tend to read two or three books at a time –
Lying Beneath the Oaks by Kristin Wright
Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
Kauai, Hawaii. I want a second home there and live in Kauai during the cold months, and then come back to our house on the lake in New York during the warm months.
Plotter or pantster?
I used to be a pantster and realized that wasn’t working for me so now I’m a plotter.
Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them?
No. I usually write in silence and my vision board is all in my head.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
What a great family it is! The BookEnds clients I know rave about their agents and the agency as a whole and how you are willing to fight for your clients and get those books published. I love the camaraderie that’s evident in your website and blog posts. It truly feels like a family with support from everyone, not just the one agent and that’s the kind of agency I was looking for.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
I know I used to roll my eyes when I read this from authors while I was in the query trenches but really it’s this: DON’T GIVE UP if you truly love to write. I started querying in June of 2015 and by the beginning of 2018, I had decided to give up because it was either keep going or lose my sanity. I lasted all of two weeks before a new story idea came to me and I had to write it down and suddenly I was writing again. But this time, I reached out to other writers on twitter, joined Women’s Fiction Writers Association and found the support and beta readers I needed. And most importantly, I didn’t allow the ups and downs of writing to be my main focus. I had my sewing and my yoga and fitness teaching to help balance my life. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard and my poor husband suffered right along with me. But now I can honestly say, I’m so glad I didn’t give up and found Rachel!
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
Liane Moriarty. Her books are what got me through that traumatic year and inspired me to write. And also Barbara Kingsolver – Poisonwood Bible is one of my all time favorite books.