The Coffee Corner: A Chat with Becky Lyles
|A Touch of Relaxation|
Please welcome Becky Lyles to the Coffee Corner!
Grab your cups, ladies and gents. Gather round. The fire’s roaring and the smell of brew is in the air. Join us as we talk about writing, life and her book, Winds of Freedom.
Everyone comfortable? Good… here we go!
Hey there, Becky. Welcome to the Coffee Corner. I’m so glad you’re here. It’s not often I get to meet someone from Wyoming, especially here in Texas. I’m really excited about today.
Speaking of Wyoming, how did you decide on the setting for your book, Winds of Freedom?
The setting for the first book in the series, Winds of Wyoming, was a Wyoming guest ranch. I kept that setting and many of the characters plus added some scenes and characters in Dallas, Texas. I needed a big city somewhat close to the U.S./Mexico border with a bit of glamour and intrigue.
Cool! Sounds like a book for me. Two states I know about. Although I have to say, Dallas is a little out of my league. I’ll stick to Waco. Or at least my little slice of it. It may not be Wyoming but it is small—er.
I have to ask though, when writing your new book, did you have a favorite part?
Favorite part. Hmm. That might be the scene where a new foal is birthed or maybe when the characters revel in a winter wonderland.
It sounds like an awesome book. You wouldn’t mind sharing a small bit of Winds of Freedom with us, would you?
Of course, here you go.
Within moments, it seemed, they were standing just inside the entrance of a beautiful restaurant high atop an elegant hotel in downtown Dallas. The palatial yet intimate setting was exquisite. She’d never seen anything like it—or smelled such tempting aromas.
Thomas took off his jacket, his muscles rippling seductively under a form-fitting red silk shirt. He adjusted his tie and insisted she leave her jacket as well as her suitcase and purse with the coat clerk. “The employees at this place are so trustworthy they’re bonded. Your belongings are probably safer with them than with yourself.” He laughed at his joke as if it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard.
Was he laughing at her? Did he know she’d done time for theft?
She could barely understand the menu let alone recognize the food her escort ordered for her, but it was tasty. Delicate flaky pastries melted in her mouth. A savory sauce topped incredibly tender meat. And the buttery vegetables were steamed to perfection. She couldn’t begin to imagine what the dessert options might be.
Although she asked for iced tea, Thomas insisted she try the house specialty, a grand mimosa with raspberries. “You’ll love it. That’s what I always order for my guests.”
“I can’t go to the job interview with alcohol on my breath.”
“You seem tense. A drink would help you relax.”
She didn’t feel tense. Scrutinizing his flawless features and staring into his beautiful eyes banished all concern. If she could, she’d sit there all afternoon just ogling his perfect body. She lowered her gaze and speared a broccoli floweret—and hoped she used the right fork.
The waiter set their drinks in front of them.
Thomas stirred his and then reached over to stir hers. The tattoo undulated with the movement.
Amy stared out the window at the wide expanse of city below. Why did such a gorgeous man have to ruin his body with a snake head?
“This restaurant’s mimosas are perfect,” Thomas was saying, “except I always think they need a couple more swirls to blend in the liqueur just right.”
She nodded her gratitude and slowly chewed a bite of meat, relishing the flavor. Thomas watched her eat, but she wasn’t about to hurry. No matter how much money they paid her, she had a feeling it would be a long time before she could afford anything this expensive. She swallowed. “What?”
“What do you mean, what?”
“I get the feeling you’re waiting for me to choke or something.”
“No, not at all. Do you like what I ordered for you?”
“Everything tastes fabulous, wonderful, scrumptious. Even if I can’t pronounce the names. Thank you for bringing me here. I’ve never been to such an exotic restaurant. The view from this place is incredible.”
“Don’t thank me. It’s on the company, even the drinks.”
“You really think it’s okay for me to drink alcohol before the interview?”
He leaned forward, rested his elbows on the table and tented his long fingers. “If it’ll make you feel better, just take a couple sips. You’ll love it.”
Amy reached for the drink. “You have a much better idea of what is expected of me today than I do.”
His eyebrows rose. “You’d better believe it, baby. I’m looking forward to it.”
What was that supposed to mean?
She tilted the delicate champagne flute, sipping from the rim. It was good. She took another, longer drink and smiled at her host. “Mmm. Very nice.”
Gourmet meal number one. Two to go. She could get used to this lifestyle.
He lowered his eyelids and loosened his tie.
She set the drink down. The mimosa was delicious, but she couldn’t risk ruining the interview of a lifetime.
What an interesting story! I can’t wait to read it and I love to read as well as write. For those who may not know, writing can be fun but a challenging proposition. Becky, what’s your biggest challenge as an author?
One of my Facebook writer friends recently posted that she enjoys writing first drafts but hates rewrites. I’m the opposite. Getting the core story down on paper or into the computer is hard for me and seems to take forever. But I love the rewrite process! Editing, reorganizing and rethinking a book can be a lot of fun full of serendipitous surprises.
I have to agree. Pulling words out of my head the first time around is quite a chore. But I love the editing process. Considering I’m a fairly new writer, I guess it’s a good thing I like to edit, huh? How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
Many, many years ago, my high-school English teacher encouraged me to go into journalism; instead, I earned a Church Education degree from a Bible college. But before I had a chance to use the degree, I married my college sweetheart and we started having babies. When our first child was just beginning to walk around furniture, I saw a notice in the local paper for a community education writing class. Intrigued, I registered for the class, found a babysitter and ended up writing a couple feature articles for the newspaper, thanks to the reporter who taught the class. I’ve written articles and stories for a variety of publications over the years and published two fiction books and two nonfiction books. I also edit fiction and nonfiction for authors and publishers.
It sounds like you’re a busy lady! With all that writing, it’s a wonder you have time for anything else. I mean, I like to fish when I can. What do you do for fun and relaxation when you aren’t writing?
I like to walk, garden, camp, hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, participate in women’s Bible study groups, Skype with our grandchildren (and their parents!), hang out with writing friends, read, cook from scratch and make fun, health-promoting fermented foods like kombucha tea and sauerkraut. Area farmers raise a lot of goats, so I’m thinking of experimenting with goat-milk kefir or yogurt.
I don’t think I’ve ever had kefir or kombucha tea. I’d have to say…interesting… I’m not a sauerkraut fan but everything else sounds awesome. Well, the sun’s going down, but before we go, I have one more question.
Words present such opportunities to a new writer. How, when, where? So many new and wondrous ideas fill the mind then page. Do you have any advice to that writer, either in experience or age?
Never miss an opportunity to learn your craft and hone your writing skills. Over the years, I’ve enrolled in writing classes and seminars at community colleges, traveled to nearby cities and states for writers’ conferences and workshops, studied writers’ magazines and how-books, taken correspondence and online classes, and garnered insights from critique partners and industry newsletters as well as writing-focused websites and blogs. Also—write, write, write and read, read, read.
Thank you so much, Becky. I appreciate you coming to the Corner. Good luck with your new book, Winds of Freedom.
Thank you, Renee, for letting me visit your beautiful site!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ GIVEAWAY ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
The winner receives a signed copy of her book, Winds of Freedom. Leave a comment about the blog with your email address. In a week, I'll draw for the lucky winner.
About the Book:
Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.
About the Author:
Rebecca Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her award-winning Kate Neilson novels, Winds of Wyoming and Winds of Freedom. She and her husband, Steve, currently live in Idaho. In addition to writing fiction and nonfiction, she serves as an editor and a mentor to aspiring authors and as a transition coach for women transitioning from prison to “the outside.” Becky’s articles and stories have appeared in magazines and compilations. Her nonfiction books, It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships and On a Wing and a Prayer–Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry, are now available in ebook as well as print formats.