By Amy Lignor
Romantic Suspense is the genre that this amazing author is a part of. With inspirational plots and extremely fast-moving action—with a touch of love thrown in—Lynette Eason writes the characters that readers love and want to see time and time again. But not only is this a great writer, she’s also a true inspiration in more ways than one. Now, let’s meet the lady who claims the title of “plantser.”
At the core of your writing, fans and readers can see that “inspirational” path you take. Is it important to you to make sure that your characters follow that path when telling their tales?
That’s an interesting question. I actually write for the inspirational market for a lot of different reasons. I try to write true-to-life characters; ones who are true to themselves and their personalities. Since I write “faith based” stories for a mostly faith-based audience, my characters reflect that. No matter what religion a person follows, I think he or she would agree that their faith is a big part of their lives. I simply try to show that in my characters by having them think about and react in ways that reflect their faith.
What is your favorite genre?
My favorite genre is the one I write in: Romantic Suspense. And, truthfully, I’m not really all that romantic. I have to work to get that part in. I’m more interested in the suspense/action part. It’s funny, because I have a lot of male readers. One of my FBI buddies who critiques my stuff even said: “You don’t write like a girl.” I still laugh at that.
Is there any genre you have not yet touched that you would like to try in the future?
I really don’t think so. I adore suspense/thrillers and will probably stay right where I am.
What first brought you into the writing realm? Was writing/storytelling always a part of your life growing up, or was it something you “found” at a certain point?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. (As a child, my parents called it lying. Of all the nerve, right?) Seriously, I remember trying to go to sleep at night, but didn’t want to say good night to my imaginary friends. I made up stories in my head all the time and read voraciously. Eventually, I tried to write my first book in eighth grade. It was hand written in a spiral bound notebook. I found myself drawn to it rather than to the discussion in my classes. I grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden and the Boxcar Children. When I became an adult, I inhaled stories by Dee Henderson (who wound up being my mentor), Terri Blackstock, Brandilyn Collins, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Gardner, Kathy Reichs, and James Patterson. I read across the CBA to the ABA and back. So when I decided to start writing in 1999, I think it was only natural that I was drawn to the suspense genre.
Where do the ideas come from? And are you a plotter or pantser?
My ideas come from everywhere. I drive my family crazy. I can watch TV or go to the movies and something will spark an idea. Newspaper headlines, a snippet of overheard (yes, I eavesdrop occasionally) conversation at a local restaurant—I’m always on the prowl for the next idea.
I would say that my style is somewhat in between a “plotter” and a “pantser” (the writer who just sits down and writes by the seat of her pants), which makes me a “plantser.” I like to have an idea of the opening, a few scenes in the middle, and how it all ends. I also do a character sketch to get to know them. So once I have that, I can sit down, write the opening scene, and hope the rest comes. Occasionally, I also do some brainstorming with a group of writer buddies which is always an incredible help. Sometimes the ping-ponging of ideas will spark something else that takes the story in a whole new direction.
On your website, you have information on “music” as well as your work with Vacation Bible School. Could you tell readers a bit about these areas and how they play a role in your life and writing?
My husband is big into music. He’s written/co-written many songs and I used the lyrics of one in my book, No One to Trust. We decided if a reader was interested in downloading the song, it would be available on my website, with all proceeds going to support Cups of Cold Water, a ministry located in Sosua, Dominican Republic.
Each summer, my husband takes a team of volunteers to Sosua to work with this ministry. We do a Vacation Bible School with the children of the villages and the orphanages. You see, the girls in Sosua are expected to be born “pretty” so that when they grow up, a rich man from Europe or America will marry her and she’ll be able to send money back to her family. This fairytale is just that. What usually occurs is human trafficking. (*Dominican Republic is number four in the world for this). Children live on the streets there with no hope for a future, and we want to bring that hope to those caught in this seemingly endless cycle. We take vitamin soup and fresh cold water to the Haitian refugees who live at the city dump. The politics of the Dominican government when it comes to their view and treatment of Haitians is something we all should learn about so we can help. “Cups of Cold Water” has started a sewing ministry for the girls so they will learn a skill and be able to make money, without bringing harm to themselves. And with the money raised through various fundraisers, the organization has built homes for the homeless, community centers, a pregnancy center, basketball courts in the villages for the boys to have something to do and stay out of trouble, and the list goes on. My family and I have been given so much; we are blessed beyond measure, and we just want to give back to those who haven’t had the good fortune to be born in a first world country.
What is the biggest gift you want readers to get from your books, and the biggest gift that writing provides you?
I want my readers to finish the book and go: “Wow!” My first priority is to tell a rockin’ good story that keeps the readers on the edge of their seats. I want them to miss the characters and wish the story wasn’t over. I think writing’s biggest gift to me has been an outlet for my creativity, an escape when I’m lonely or sad or frustrated or, or, or…you get the point. Writing gives me so much. Although, I will say, it hasn’t done much for my waist line. Writing anywhere from eight to sixteen hours a day, neglecting to eat right and exercise, is not a good thing. I’m working on that, though.
With your new novel, NO PLACE TO HIDE, can you give readers a peek at what’s in store for them?
NO PLACE TO HIDE was a fun book to write. It’s about a woman who works for Operation Refuge, an agency set up in Book 1 of the series (No One to Trust). Jackie Sellers sees her childhood friend’s, Ian Lockwood, picture on the news. He’s accused of being a terrorist, and she knows without a doubt that he’s innocent and sets out to help him prove it. Unfortunately, they can’t go to the police and they’re on the run from the bad guys who want them both dead. They have “no place to hide” and very few people to turn to for help. When they discover the plot and who’s behind it, it’s a race against time to save the citizens of New York from a terrorist attack—and to clear their names so they can have a life and a future together.
Do you have a favorite character in literature? If so, who is it and why?
I love Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. She’s strong, she’s bold, she is a brat, but she knows what she wants and she goes after it. I admire that.
I always end with this question: If you were allowed to have lunch with one writer (living or dead), who would it be and what would you want to know about them?
Ooooooh, this is a toughie. Just one? I would love to sit down with Jeffery Deaver and pick his brain on how he plots his stories. He is truly a master plotter and I wish I knew his system.
There you have it. A writer, a humorist—Lynette Eason not only offers the world cool stories that keep them reading far into the night, but she also offers a huge dose of hope for those who desperately need it.
Lynette Eason is a CBA best-selling award winning author of several romantic suspense novels, including the Women of Justice series and When the Smoke Clears. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. A wife and the mother of two, she has a master’s degree in education and lives in South Carolina.
To learn more about Lynette, please visit her website.