Lynda Lee Schab got her writing start in greeting cards (Blue Mountain Arts, Dayspring) and from there went on to write articles and short stories (Mature Living, Christian Home & School) and in many places online (including www.Examiner.com and www.wow-womenonwriting.com). As a freelance writer, she works behind the scenes at FaithWriters.com and is a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com. She is also the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner and the National Writing Examiner for Examiner.com and a staff writer for www.SharedSorrows.com. Mind Over Madi placed second in the 2008 ACFW Genesis contest, chick lit category, received a highly commended award in the FaithWriters Page Turner contest, and was a finalist in the 2007 RWA Get your Stiletto in the Door contest. Madily in Love was a semi-finalist in the 2011 ACFW Genesis contest. Lynda admits she has a lot in common with the character of Madi. Not only are they both addicted to ice cream, chocolate, and computer games, they struggle with the same types of insecurities and continually require a hefty dose of God’s grace. Lynda lives with her husband, Rob, and two teenagers in Michigan.
Lynda, when and how did you get interested in writing?
I’ve always loved to read, which seems to be a precursor for all writers. I don’t remember exactly when I picked up a pen and started to write, but I remember writing a story in 6th grade called The Summer I Went to Honolulu (no, I’d never been there – and still haven’t!), complete with caricature drawings. I moved on to writing plays for my cousins and me to perform for our parents, then tried my hand at poetry. In high school, it was all about poetry – some of it was pretty good, but some was very, very bad. I still love to write poetry, but prefer to create funny, rhyming poems for retirement parties, milestone birthdays, bridal or baby showers, and other fun occasions.
What was the first thing you ever had published?
Besides a little blurb in a high school newsletter, my first professionally published works were greeting cards for Blue Mountain Arts.
Who has encouraged you most on your writing journey?
Definitely my mom. She has always believed in me and encouraged me in my gift. Professionally, one of my greatest earlier cheerleaders was Deb Porter, administrator for FaithWriters.com. From the moment I joined FaithWriters in 2004, Deb spoke blessings and positivity into my life and motivated me more than she’ll probably ever know. Another organization that has blessed me so much is ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Joining was the best thing I’ve done for my writing career. A big shout-out to my fabulous critique partner, Susan Miura, who has become a wonderful friend. And another shout-out to Diane Loew, one of my besties here at home, who encourages me, supports me, and brags about me to everyone she meets.
What is the writing process like for you?
I honestly don’t have a process. I admire writers who can set word-count goals and stick to them, but that’s just not me. It really just depends on the day. Of course, deadlines are a huge motivator!
The main thing that gets me writing is knowing where I’m going with the storyline. I find that when I take the time to sit and think about what comes next, my fingers fly much more effortlessly across the keyboard. When I’m stuck, I’m much more likely to click on over to Facebook and play a few hands of Solitaire Blitz. Self-discipline doesn’t come easy for me.
Is writing your only profession or do you have a “day job?”
I am very blessed to be able to stay home and do what I love: write! I maintain several freelance jobs, all non-fiction, which sometimes takes the creative wind out of my sails, but there’s nothing I’d rather do.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?
Favorite: The creative process. Thinking a story through from beginning to end and then seeing my vision come to life through the characters and situations I create.
Least favorite: Definitely the self-discipline it requires. As I mentioned above, time management is something I’ve always struggled with. Making myself sit down and focus when I know the basement needs cleaning, laundry is piling up, my office needs to be organized, or I want to watch the episode of Survivor I missed the night before is my biggest challenge.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
That’s easy: Apply the Butt Glue and just write. In spite of my battle with discipline, that book won’t get written unless I park my behind in the chair and start typing. Even when I don’t feel like it. Even when I have a million other things to do. One of my favorite quotes on writing is “You can fix bad, but you can’t fix blank.”
What is Madily in Love about? Tell us a little about the plot.
Madi McCall is just coming out of a marital rough patch (you’ll have to read Mind over Madi for that whole story) and she’s trying to get her marriage back on track. But that’s easier said than done, especially because her mother-in-law has moved in, Madi’s recently started working again after years of being a stay-at-home-mom, and her kids seem determined to do everything they can to turn her hair even grayer than it already is. Madi attends a Revitalize Your Marriage with Romance class at church and gets some great tips…that fail miserably. All she wants is some peace among the chaos. And some quality time with her husband would be nice, too.
How is Madi’s battle with chocolate cravings and her addiction to computer Solitaire? Are those things still an issue for her or has she gotten a handle on them?
Yes, well, as long as Madi is a woman (which I don’t see changing any time soon), chocolate will always be a battle. The Solitaire addiction doesn’t come up this time around. But there are a couple of other issues that definitely require Madi to continue her counseling sessions with Sarah Price.
Your publisher tagged this series as “Delightful. Witty. Entertaining. Real. Poignant. Light-hearted Women’s Fiction at its best.” Can you expand on that at all? How does the Madi Series live up to this description?
While I certainly hope my stories are delightful, witty, entertaining, and poignant, the word in that description which I feel is most fitting of this series is, “real.” Women can relate to Madi because she battles with the same things we all do. No, not just chocolate, although that’s one of them! Madi has insecurities that affect her relationships – with her husband, her kids, her mother, her best friend, and God.
If there’s one thing I know is that we all have “stuff.” Maybe not exactly the same stuff as everyone else, but “stuff,” nonetheless. Madi helps us realize there are others out there who probably deal with their issues just as poorly as we do sometimes. But God’s grace is enough to cover our insecurities, our faults, and weaknesses, even when we mess up and our lives feel insanely out-of-control.
What do you want readers to take away from reading Madily in Love?
Although this book has to do with the importance (and fun) of adding romance to marriage, the main thing I hope readers can take away is that even though life seems unmanageable, disorderly, and chaotic, God is always in control. One of the recurring phrases throughout the book—as mentioned by Madi’s counselor—is “Embrace this place.” In other words, no matter what you’re going through, recognize that it won’t last forever. And down the road, you might just look back and see just how that “unbearable” season was essential in moving you to a place of growth and necessary change.
Are you planning another book? If so, what is the story?
I am currently working on the 3rd and final book in the Madi series, due out in the fall of 2013. It’s titled, Sylvie & Gold. Madi’s best friend Sylvie is preparing for her wedding (and if you’ve read Mind over Madi, you know who she’s marrying). With just a few weeks before the wedding, Sylvie is dealing with a lot: Her meddling and feisty soon-to-be mother-in-law, her son’s sexting issue, planning her mom’s sixtieth birthday party, and her fiance’s ex-wife, who has come back to town after a seven-year absence. Sylvie is normally pretty calm and collected. But her stress card is quickly getting maxed out. The question is whether she’ll completely lose her cool or find the happily-ever-after she longs for.
What would be your dream job if you weren’t a writer?
I would probably being doing something in the field of mental health, whether as a counselor or in research or something. Why people do what they do fascinates me and I love learning about human behavior. I’m constantly analyzing people and my husband is always telling me I should have been a psychologist. He’s probably right. In writing, I think this helps me in character development.
Or an ice cream tester. Now that would be a dream job.
Is Madily in Love based on a specific portion of scripture?
1 Corinthians 13 would be the chapter you’d expect me to respond with, right? Well, call me predictable. LoL. More specifically, Madily in Love is based on the 7th verse: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” And Madi certainly has circumstances to endure.
Do you have a favorite personal Bible verse?
My favorite verse is Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” I recite this verse often! Because my mind is always so busy and distracted, I tend to stress out a lot. I need to keep reminding myself that God is God. He’s in control. And everything will be okay.
What do you do for fun and relaxation when you’re not writing?
I escape to the movie theater with my refillable bucket of popcorn. I’m sort of a television/movie junkie, and I blame it on my need for a good story. I also enjoy just hanging out with my kids, playing board games or video games (although it’s been a while since I got crushed in Mario Kart).
Take a moment to brag about your family:
I’ve been married to Rob for over twenty-four years. He works for a dairy company (yes, that means free ice cream sometimes!) and is an all-around great guy. We have two teenagers, who both inherited my creative gene and love of reading. Zach is 18 and graduated from high school last spring. He’s taking a year off to work, but will attend college next fall. My daughter Lyndsey is a sophomore and plays the cymbals in the high school marching band drum line. She is a social butterfly and hopes to go into special education.
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