My friend – Lynda Lee Schab – Answers Questions About Writing and Her Debut Novel, Mind Over Madi
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 cheerleaders has been 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. The members, many of them published authors, have served as mentors to me and some have become fabulous friends.
What is the writing process like for you?
Honestly, I don’t have a typical process. As this is my debut novel, I’m on a learning curve. While writing MIND OVER MADI, I basically wrote when I felt like it, with no set schedule. Now that I have contracts for the next two books in the series, which my editor wants to publish 6-9 months apart, I’m doing everything I can to learn how to organize my time effectively. But I do tend to work better on a deadline, so hopefully that will work out for me. We’ll see!
Is writing your only profession or do you have a “day job?”
I do freelance work, but I also work in a warehouse as part of a pricing group for Meijer. It doesn’t sound all that glamorous (and it’s not!) but I actually enjoy the physical work. It’s a nice change from the mental strain that freelancing and creativity can cause. If I got a couple of additional regular writing gigs, though, I wouldn’t mind staying home full time to do what I love to do most.
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. 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. Discipline has never been my biggest strength, but 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 Mind over Madi about? Tell us a little about the plot.
Madi McCall is a 38-year-old mom of three whose insecurities are destroying her marriage. When she suspects her husband Rich is cheating with the mother of one of his fourth grade students, she kicks him out of the house and he moves in with his bachelor brother. Madi is then forced to take a deeper look at herself and her insecurities. She does this with the help of a counselor, her best friend Sylvie, and a few cartons of Edy’s Dibs. At a 20-year get-together with former high school classmates, Madi runs into “the other woman” and things come to a head. It’s a lighthearted story about taking a true look at ourselves and accepting God’s grace when we think and do dumb things.
Which character is most like you, and why?
There is a lot of me in Madi. Insecurity is something I’ve always struggled with. As a child, I was very shy. As a teenager, I was insecure about everything, which resulted in a lot of rebelling and contributed to hundreds of my mom’s migraines, I’m sure. As an adult, early in my marriage I experienced some of the insecurities Madi deals with, regarding her husband and his faithfulness. That isn’t something I deal with anymore today, but I still have similar insecurities about what others think of me, as well as doubts about God’s love for me. Other ways I’m like Madi is that we share bad eating habits, a love for coffee, a tendency to waste hours of time playing computer games, and an insane fear of spiders.
On the cover photo, “Madi” is wearing a tiara. What is the significance in that?
Madi’s therapist challenges her to think of herself as a princess – the daughter of the King. Madi has never thought of herself this way, and throughout the story, there are references to various Disney princesses as Madi tries to figure out which one she most relates to. I had fun with the theme, even giving “the other woman” the fairy tale-ish name of Fawn Witchburn.
What do you want readers to take away from reading Madi’s story?
An understanding of just how infinite God’s love is. That no matter what we’ve done, God will never stop pursuing our hearts or desiring a relationship with us. His mercies are new every morning and His grace covers our weaknesses, our mistakes, our ignorance.
Are you planning another book? If so, what is the story?
I am currently working on book #2 in the Madi series, titled, Madily in Love. Now that Madi and Rich are working things out, she attends a class at church to try to put the romance back into her marriage. But with her mother-in-law living with them, Madi’s new job, and issues with her kids, things don’t exactly go as planned. It’s a fun book that will look at finding peace –and romance – in the middle of chaos.
There will also be a book #3. I have the title and the premise, but I’ll save the details for later, when I have the plot worked out.
BIO INFO – UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Take a moment to brag about your family:
I’ve been married to Rob for over twenty-three 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. Zach is almost 18 and will be graduating from high school this year. He will be going into film – editing and directing – and he’s also a talented artist. My daughter Lyndsey is a freshman and plays the cymbals in the high school marching band drum line. She loves to read and is an excellent photographer.
How can readers connect with you?