Lyn Cote is an award-winning author of both contemporary and historical inspirational romance. She speaks at state, regional and national writer’s conferences and is an active member of RWA and the American Christian Fiction Authors. CHLOE, the first novel in Lyn’s Women of Ivy Manor series published by FaithWords was a 2006 Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National Readers Choice Contest. She is also one the top-selling authors in Harlequin’s Love Inspired category line. Her historical sagas always feature women who are trailblazers, a multi-cultural cast of characters, and authentic historical detail. Born in El Paso, Texas, Lyn and her husband now live in Wisconsin.
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In this interview, award-winning inspirational romance author Lyn Cote discusses what prompted her to write her latest novel, THE DESIRES OF HER HEART, and describes her fascination with the rapidly changing history of Texas, where the book takes place. She also credits both C. S. Lewis and Charles Dickens as personal influences, reveals her weakness for homemade pie à la mode and shares the most rewarding aspect of being an author.
Question: What inspired you to write the book?
Lyn Cote: I had never done much research into early Texas history. I read about Stephen Austin’s deal with the last Spanish governor of Texas and was intrigued by the three demands made of the Anglos entering Texas: No slaves, Convert to Roman Catholicism, and swear allegiance to Spain. I was intrigued because in my experience, Americans of that period were unlikely to follow any of those! And that means conflict, and every good story thrives on conflict.
Q: Name the two people --- living or dead --- you would most like to invite to dinner at your house. What would you discuss?
LC: C. S. Lewis and Charles Dickens. Both of these English writers had tremendous influence on their times and their writing after their deaths. C. S. Lewis revolutionized the way I thought about God. And I think Charles Dickens and I share the same passion for social justice.
Q: Of the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth) which one is the hardest for you to resist?
LC: Now it’s not very nice of you to ask me that. <GRIN> But I cannot turn down a good slice of homemade pie. So there you have it. Oh, and it must be à la mode!
Q: If you could live in another time and place, where and when would that be?
LC: I don’t ever want to live before indoor plumbing and running hot and cold water, so that rather limits me. I could drop in and have a chat with Elizabeth I, who I think was an amazing woman, but just for tea. Then I’ll be back in my heated home sipping safe water I didn’t have to draw from a well. Thank you very much.
Q: Who is your oldest friend?
LC: Books are my oldest friend. The first book I loved was Lois Lenski’s COTTON IN MY SACK, the story of a migrant family.
Q: What are you reading right now?
LC: I’m reading a joke book my son got me for Christmas, a For Better or Worse title. I loved that family.
Q: What is your favorite book of all time?
LC: The Gospel of John. Can you imagine being best friends with Jesus? I love the way John’s words exude love and wisdom. I guess you can judge a man by the company he keeps.
Q: What do you consider to be your first piece of writing?
LC: In 5th grade, we were assigned to write an autobiography. My teacher was excited to see that he’d finally found out what I could do well. That’s when I decided to be a writer.
Q: What were some of the challenges or surprises in writing this book?
LC: When I research for a book, I do just enough to set up the story plot so that it reflects genuine history. Then I start writing. As I go along, I make note of facts (names of places, dates, etc.) that I need to check. The thing that threw me most was how fast the history of Texas changed over the course of the 3 books in this series. The constant flux in government especially impacted names of towns. Santa Roseta became Hidalgo, for example. I was kept busy finding how what had changed on the map of Texas from 1821 on.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an author?
LC: Reader letters are the reward. It’s such a boost to hear how a book of mine gave pleasure or impacted someone’s life in a real way. It makes all the long hours in front of the laptop screen worthwhile!
© Copyright 2017 by Lyn Cote. Reprinted with permission by Avon Inspire. All rights reserved.
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