Name Lynda Engler
Age Old enough (haha) 51
Where are you from Born and raised in New Jersey, then spent 30 years in CT and VT before moving to North Carolina 2 years ago.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
After a long career working with books, first as a buyer for a national retail book chain, then as a production associate publishing leather-bound classic books, I decided to use my creative energy to actually write some books! My kids were a great inspiration.
My first book, The Forgotten Isle, was originally published in 2004 and was re-released in 2011 with new illustrations from the very talented Noa Chaikin. My second book, Into the Outside, (co-authored with Henry Dixon) is Young Adult science fiction. It was originally published as the short story “Out of Ewr” before being expanded to a full length novel and release July 2015. It’s sequel, “Into the Yellow Zone” releases March 31, 2017.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m very excited to announce that “Into the Yellow Zone” book 2 in the Into the Outside series, is releasing March 31, 2017. All my beta readers say the first book was good, but this sequel is awesome. I agree. Part of becoming a better is writer is improving along the way, and I’ve taken that to heart. I love to learn and grow as an author and as a person.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written short stories as a kid, and I wrote for the school paper in college, but I didn’t write my first full-length novel until my son was in middle school. It started out of a project her was doing in school and we wrote the novel together. Well, I wrote, and he read and gave me “what if” contributions. That book became the middle grade, time travel fantasy “The Forgotten Isle.”
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When the Forgotten Isle was published I knew I was a “writer,” but writing (and dreaming) has always been part of who I am.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
See 2 questions back!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m very conversational… most of my action moves forward as the characters converse. I tend to write the entire scene with dialog first, then go back and write in the stage directions, and lastly, I put in the scenery and sensory details. I don’t know if that counts as a writing style or a method, but it’s how my brain works.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My newest book is “Into the Yellow Zone” and if you’ve read the first book “Into the Outside,” you’ll completely understand where that name came from. The third book in the series is titled “Under the Mountain.” The trilogy is a journey that the characters take and the first book has Isabella leaving her underground shelter, where she has lived her entire life, and going into the deadly “Outside.” Mt co-author, henry, came up with the final name of that first novel. The short story it evolved from had a title that was hard to pronounce, and we needed something catchier. In the second book, the characters journey into even more deadly regions of the world called “Yellow Zones,” and in the final installation, they go to the underground capital city, Mt. Weather, which (pretty obviously) is under a mountain.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No matter what happens in the world, and how you deal with it, keep your morals intact and do what is right. You can’t always save everyone, but as long as you try to do the right thing, you’ll achieve something worthwhile.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Since my books are sci-fi or fantasy, very little is based on real life experiences. Some of the characters have personality components of real people. Young kind Arthur in “The Forgotten Isle” may be based on the historical figure of Arthur, but the 12 year old’s personality, ingenuity and clear thinking are all my son, Colin, at that age. In the Into the outside series, Isabella is the strong young woman I wish I had been.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Classic sci-fi has influenced me a lot, especially Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, but more recent authors such as Jack McDevitt and Robert Sawyer are ongoing influences. I love the way they weave a story together, revealing important details little by little, and wrapping it all up in the end in a way that satisfies.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh boy, that’s a tough one. There are so many great new authors in the last ten years. If I had to pick just one, my favorite – hands down – is Jodi Taylor. I have read every one of her Chronicles of St. Mary’s series of time travel books, including the short stories she released in between novels. Her writing is snarkily humorous, smart, and every story keeps you on the edge of your seat with expectations around every corner.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably! No writer is ever satisfied with their work, but at least with a series, you get the chance to “fix” things from previous books by addressing them in the next book.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on “Under the Mountain,” book three of the Into the outside series. The military has captured and imprisoned Isabella and her new family. They and other captive mutants face certain death cleaning lethal radiation zones unless Dr. Rosario’s cure can save them. Can Isabella’s cousin-brother Luke and the Mt. Weather rebel group convince enough of the army that the mutants are worth saving? Without their help, the mutants are doomed.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding enough time, and finding the ending. Time is always an issue, as I am not a full time novelist. Endings I find elusive. Tying up all the loose ends and concluding everything is the greatest challenge in writing for me.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I general, no, but that being said, I travel to writers conferences a couple times of year because I love to learn. I’ve also made a couple of road trips to gather information on the geography of places in my books. One trip was a driving tour of New Jersey and New York, up the west side of the Hudson river up to West Point military academy (for Into the Outside) and another trip around rural Georgia (for an as yet unfinished YA novel about a kidnapped girl).
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve had covers designed by others but the last two books I designed myself. I have a lot of graphic design experience from my day job, so I felt comfortable doing them myself.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve learned all kinds of things researching and writing my books. The Forgotten isle taught me about ancient Celtic history, and Bronze-Age Ireland. “Into the Yellow Zone” and “Under the Mountain” researcher turned up information on the US government’s contingency plans for a shadow government in case “the worst” should happen – yeah this stuff is real. I don’t put stock in conspiracy theories. I also learned quite a bit about survival skills in the wild. Let’s hope I never need it, because I don’t even like camping, much less surviving in the wilderness!
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
The female lead of Isabella would be played by a smart, snarky girl, who is short and thin, with curly brown hair. I would choose Willow Shields, who played Prim Everdeen (Katniss’ younger sister) in The Hunger Games. She is the right age and personality, and a tremendous young actress.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read, write, and read some more. Read books in your genre, but also read everything you can on the craft of writing. Learn about plotting, characterization, and dialog. Learn the rules of grammar and use them. It’s irritating when I read something that inexplicably changes from third person to first person or suddenly changes from past tense to future tense.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
This will likely be out of date by the time this is published, but as I write this, I am reading “The Last Tribe” by Brad Manuel, “Time Trap: Red Moon trilogy, book 1” by Micah Cada, and “The Einstein Prophesy” by Robert Masello. One is kindle, one Audible, and one paperback. I’ve usually got three books going at once.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Nope. I’m always reading, and always have been. But I’m pretty sure the first book was sci-fi.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh – comedy about real people and the stupid things we all say and do about events that happen around us. Cry – sentimental clap trap. I’m a sucker for stories about kids and animals.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
There are so many historical figures that I would like to meet, to learn firsthand what they really were like. Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, George Patton, John F. Kennedy. For current people I would love to meet Elon Musk because I’m fascinated by the same things he is – space travel, renewable energy – but also because of his outlook on the future of humanity. I think that covers past, present and future.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Sorry, cemeteries are creepy. I plan to be cremated and my ashes scattered over a snowy mountain. No head stone for me. I think people will remember me as someone who was helpful, creative, and hopefully a pretty decent person. I do my best, every day, to be that person. The memories people have of me are more important than words on a piece of stone.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love to read, to walk in the park, ride my bike, take pictures, kayak, and ski. I also love to travel and see new places to have new experiences. I’m somewhat difficult to buy gifts for because I prefer experiences to physical items. If you can find a physical thing that provides an experience – that works. I got a FitBit for Christmas and love it, because I love to walk and now I can see my steps and my miles, and I can use it as part of my daily life experience.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
This changes every television season, but if it’s sci-fi or fantasy, I’ll probably watch it. For 2017: Supergirl, Colony, Vikings, and I’m waiting for new Game of Thrones. I also enjoy smart political drama, and have binge-watched every episode of House of Cards and now I’m onto Madam Secretary. Favorite movie in the past I don’t know how many years: Hidden Figures.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love ethnic food, especially Asian so find me sushi, Thai, Japanese or Mongolian barbeque and I’m thrilled. I could also live on fruit. Pizza and hamburgers round out my food groups.
I don’t have a favorite color, but I wear purple, teal, blue, and black. I love red but have been told it doesn’t look good on me.
As far as music in concerned, this is a very personal thing and everyone has music that moves them and music that makes them cringe. I have varied tastes, but enjoy top 40 the most, along with classic rock, alt rock, and 80s pop. I do not enjoy rap, country, opera, big band, and absolutely despise bluegrass. Sorry to any fans of those musical genres. To each his own.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? My website is www.lyndaengler.com. I keep it updated with blog posts, news of upcoming books and events, and also have a mailing list. Sign up and get a free copy of my time travel short story “Time’s Anchor” for Kindle I have a very active presence on Facebook and Twitter. Less so on Instagram, Amazon and Goodreads. I LOVE Goodreads; I just never have the time to properly enjoy it. You can link to all my social media platforms from my website. You can also email me, or contact me through any of the social media channels. I love to hear from readers and fans.
The Forgotten Isle (MG fantasy): www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Isle-Lynda-Engler-ebook/dp/B0067CUJDS
Into the Outside (Bk 1): www.amazon.com/Into-Outside-Lynda-Engler-ebook/dp/B012UOU4KO
Into the Yellow Zone (Bk 2, coming March 31): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9ZHZUB
Time’s Anchor: www.amazon.com/Times-Anchor-Lynda-Engler-ebook/dp/B01HSX38WS
Amazon Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/L.-E.-Engler/e/B006BHJ8FO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0