Name: Lynette Willows
Age: When my Mom was my age, she was much older.
Where are you from: Red neck farm country, about an hour. outside of Edmonton, Alberta.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect: Mother of three grown boys, tolerant wife, over educated and under experienced.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Our first book in the Sons of Liberty series “No Gentleman Is He” was released by Tirgearr Publishing in March of 2013, and we are currently finishing up the second in the series, and already have an outline for the third. Very exciting time for us and I love the stories!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started a very young age, mostly because I’m verbally awkward and always have been. In writing, I can get my thoughts, ideas, fantasies, everything out in a way that sounds clear, intelligent and entertaining.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When a publisher saw my satire/humour columns (under a different pen name), she wanted to make them a regular feature in her magazine. I was so flattered when I started to get fan mail. Then I took up freelance journalism and my work was bought and shared all across print mediums. That was also very thrilling and fulfilling for me. That’s when I knew I was a good writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have been writing novels for many years, actually, but lacked the confidence to submit any of them. Authoring is so different from freelance writing. The whole process is different, as are the expectations of readers. For many years, my co-author, Carley Bauer and I wrote interactively on stories secretly. On one story, she mentioned she thought it was interesting enough to be a book, and that we should consider trying to get it published. Needless to say, she has more guts than I have, and when were done editing and primping and making it all pretty, she convinced me it was time and contacted a publisher. To our surprise, the owner of Tirgearr wanted to look at the whole manuscript, we sent it in, and she replied a few weeks later offering us a contract!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend to be very descriptive, and I love snappy and witty dialogue, no surprise there since I cut my teeth on humour writing. But with romance novels, you really have to watch it when you’re tackling a serious subject like the American Revolution. My co-author was very generous in allowing me little snippets of humour in there, so I’m grateful to her for indulging me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was a chance comment from a secondary character in “No Gentleman Is He”, when she was warning our heroine about taking a job and getting too close to our hero.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That if you love someone, you can overcome any obstacle if you work together towards a resolution, no matter how daunting it may be. Also, never judge a book by its cover; in other words, our hero could be considered an anti-hero in many respects. He’s certainly a man of his time.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
A lot of it, actually. We researched this novel extensively, so that we could mix in real events with our love story between Cassandra and Colton. We wanted our readers to smell the gunpowder when the shots were fired in Concord and Lexington, we wanted them to groan when our hero almost got arrested and thrust into an English prison ship, and we wanted them to feel the disappointment when all seemed lost when allies deserted the rebels, leaving the underdog Americans even more desperate. All of these events were played out in reality with real people, although our two main characters’ personal story is fictional.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, but many of the events are based on situations and characters who lived through the times, based on letters we uncovered during our research, and incorporated them into the events unfolding in the story.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?
I love historicals, and biographies, as well as really good literature. My favorite book of all time is “To Kill A Mockingbird”, probably because the main theme of the book is something that occurred every day in those people’s time, but the writer approached it with interesting, flawed characters, was incredibly descriptive and allowed readers to see an issue from all sides, and not in a way they were accustomed. Harper Lee was a gifted writer, and it was a shame she was only known for one book.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Again, Harper Lee. Two Canadian writers I admire greatly are Margaret Atwood and Pierre Burton.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m actually studying the History of Canada, believe it or not. I’m such a geek. I just finished Alison Weir’s series of biographies as well, most of them on English Tudor rulers.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Oh yes. Janice MacDonald is very popular, especially in my neck of the woods. She’s a wonderful mystery writer.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Again, Book 2 is almost completed in the Sons of Liberty series, and we have the detailed outline of Book 3 complete and I’m already compiling research for that one. I’m also doing a series of short stories and readying them for submission to a magazine for speculative fiction. This is a long shot, because it’s a new genre for me to tackle. Should be interesting to see what happens.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My co-author Carley is mostly responsible for supporting me and keeping my confidence up enough to keep trying as an author. She believed in me, and for that I will remain forever grateful to her.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. Pay is awful for most authors, but the rewards are uncountable.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I answered that, I’d be shooting myself in the foot. Yes, there are a few things, but what I would change, others might think made the book great. Each person would have a different answer to that one.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Again, as a child. I was too shy to talk to anyone, and when I did, I usually screwed it up and said something stupid. With writing, you can edit; with speech, not so much.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
You mean, like, an excerpt? Sure, be glad to. I’m going to share my favorite part of it: The rebels have found out they have been betrayed, and now they had to get their leaders, including Sam Adams and John Hancock into hiding before the English Army can arrest them, They also have to save their precious supply of armaments, so they leave to rush to the various secret depots and to warn everyone. But the English Army mobilized a few hours earlier than expected, so Cassandra (whom Colton called Casey) is determined to warn the men, especially Colton, our reluctant hero.
Excerpt “No Gentleman Is He”
“Come,” Abigail touched her shoulder, urging her back into the parlor. “There is nothing you can do. Besides, you do not even know where they went.”
“I know they went to Lexington or Concord, based on what they discussed here…” Cassandra said, uncertainly. “I should be able to find them on the road…” Her voice faded, watching her aunt return to the parlor.
Picking up her cup with her back to Cassandra, she said, “Come and sit and finish your tea, my child. They will certainly hear the…” Cassandra did not hear anymore and she pulled the door closed behind her.
Cassandra quickly saddled Thunder and, with the help of a crate she used as a mounting block, settled in the saddle and rode out in search of the men.
On the road, she passed the line of marching soldiers. She ignored the command to stop, barreling by the officers in front and dodging one who reached out to grab the reins. She ducked into a side street. Unfamiliar with Beacon Hill, she knew Thunder could out-run British mounts and get her safely back on track. The sound of thundering hooves soon faded.
She rode recklessly through the dark, hoping her horse did not stumble over the ruts in the roads and throw her. Luckily the soldiers did not seem to consider a lone woman worth the effort to pursue. As she put distance between her and the soldiers, she suspected it was mere luck more than skill that kept her mounted.
When she came to the crossroads, she reined up abruptly, causing Thunder to rear and toss his head before coming to a stop. Mud rose up, splattering the hem of her dress but she paid no mind. She studied the signs, indecisive. Was it Lexington, or Concord? She searched her memory for which city was more urgent, based on the conversation the men held at Aunt Abigail’s. They said the leaders were vital, and that meant Lexington. She turned and started down the road to Lexington, but stopped abruptly yet again, circling Thunder. He snorted in frustration at the rough treatment.
Colton would be more concerned about the arms, she knew, while Jackson would be concerned about the men. She circled her horse again, trying to make up her mind.
The men were more important, and she knew she should warn Jackson first, since he was no doubt heading in that direction.
Cassandra kicked her horse, having made up her mind. She rode to the crossroads and turned toward Concord, trying to make up wasted time. Her concern for Colt overrode her duty.
The men spent the entire night and the early morning routing the English soldiers, as more and more men joined them from the countryside. Entrenched in ditches and behind trees, guerilla-style ambushes were not what the British soldiers expected, having taken up their street-style fighting in three rows of troops. As the number of Colonialist men joined in the fighting, the soldiers were ultimately overwhelmed by the sheer fierceness of the opposition, and the steadily increasing number of rebels.
From his position on the bank of the ditch, Colton felt the sting of the gunpowder and smoke from the line of men on either side of him. He glanced over as he reloaded and saw a boy huddled down in the grass, tears flowing down his face and clutching his musket like it was a doll.
“Buck up, boy!” he shouted. “You are not shooting rabbits in your backwoods anymore.” The boy turned and stared at Colton with a blank face, and he suspected the boy had joined in the fray for fun but soon realized this was no game. The boy was dazed with horror. He could not have been more than sixteen summers. Colton was not surprised when the boy run away.
He shifted positions, scuttling along the line, shouting for the men to reload and continue firing. He looked over his shoulder to see Jackson, shouting out encouragement to the men, uplifting their confidence each time a man fell. Behind Jackson, Colton saw more men running across the field, darting from tree to tree, some rushing under the bridge and splashing through the shallow part of the spring-melt river to get to the rebel crowded ditch.
Eventually, the English troops split. Some broke the line, racing back to Boston and the safety of the fort. Some were cut off from the main troops and being driven back to the town of Concord. The sight of retreating red coats cheered the men, and jeering broke out from the American rebels. Colton fought with a fierce joy, feeling a grim satisfaction when two soldiers fell to his gunfire. Most of the rebels gave chase toward Boston, ambushing along the way. They had effectively cut the army in half.
The rebels left behind saw fires lighting the sky. Plumes of smoke from the town alerted them to the crisis arising from Concord.
Another concern now possessed Colton. Cassandra was still in the town, and he feared for her safety.
Seeking out Jackson, he weaved his way through throngs of men gathering about, looking for further direction. Jackson was shouting, trying to gather the men together and restore some semblance of order. A few townsmen prepared to go across North Bridge and defend Concord and their homes, but Jackson and the rest were to follow the retreating soldiers.
“Jackson,” shouted Colton breathlessly as he trotted toward his friend.
Jackson turned, haggard. “Colton, by God, you are still alive. I lost sight of you. I was worried.”
“Jackson, I have to go back to Concord,” said Colton as he surveyed the area. “What a mess,” he added, shaking his head at the corpses scattered about the road and beyond, both rebel and scarlet-coated soldiers.
“Our losses were heavy, but theirs are more so,” said Jackson with grisly satisfaction. Then he turned, startled. “What do you mean, you are heading back to Concord? Are you insane? We are on the chase to send a few more to hell before they hit Boston!”
Colton started to reload his rifle as he explained. “I left Casey back in Concord, in the house where we took shelter. I have to go back and fetch her.” He clutched his powder bag between his teeth while he carefully poured some down the barrel and then tamped it down tight.
He looked up to see Jackson staring at him with disbelief. “Cassandra? What on earth is she doing in Concord? She was at her aunt’s in Boston. Colton, what in God’s name did you do now?”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I have adjective disease, more of an addiction, really. I over use them, then have to do drastic cutting when it comes to the edit.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t, but Carley did. She lives close to the very areas where much of the story occurs. I like the nit-picky details that surprise us and the readers, but she does a lot of the heavy drudgery parts.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Our illustrious publisher, Kemberlee Shortland of Tirgearr Publishing. She did a beautiful job, too, don’t you think?
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Debating details with Carley was challenging, but it was also the most fun. We love the debates.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I found out quite a few surprising details about the Revolution, many which are not general knowledge. I love that. The fact that I’m a cheeky Canadian who found out a lot of the details was particularly funny to both me and Carley. But then, I love trivia and research.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read…a lot! You can’t hope to be a writer until you’re a voracious reader. Read the bad, the good and the ugly because you’ll learn something about your chosen craft by all of it. Then write…a lot! For the same reasons. At first, you’ll suck, but with practice, keeping your toolbox full of well used writing tools like grammar, and keeping a sense of humour with criticism, you’ll eventually become good.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. I love readers. They’re the ones that are the real artists. They will turn a bunch of symbols on a page and turn the characters into real life personalities and the plot into a block buster movie in their heads. I have more pride in being a reader than I ever will as a writer.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies
Reading (a lot!), gardening, camping and fishing, training dogs, and chasing tornados when I get bored.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a BBC fan, and I love British programs, especially mysteries. I’m so glad they are prevalent in Canada.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
: Favorite colour is red, food is barbequed ribs and stuffed baked potatoes, and for music, classical and country & western.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I was a social worker for a while, and while it was often heart breaking, it was also rewarding and very exciting. As a worker, I was chased by a shotgun wielding man, lost in the bush looking for a remote foster home, and met the most interesting people I have ever had the privilege to know, including an old Blackfoot woman, 84 years old when I knew her, who put her three kids through University by working a trap line in our harsh Alberta winters. She was without a husband and didn’t speak a word of English. We communicated through sign language of a sorts. A very noble woman who, I’m proud to say, had tea with me and called me a “human being”. I found out later, she never associated with white people.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?