Kay Lyons - Heartwarming Romance
Kay Lyons always wanted to be a writer. Through the years her stories have changed but one characteristic stayed true— they were all romances. Each and every one of her manuscripts included a love story. As our Author of the Day, Lyons reveals how her work has changed through the years and talks about her latest novel, Not by Sight.
Please give us a short introduction to what Not by Sight is about.
Not By Sight is about a blind woman who is hired to tutor a recently blinded Navy SEAL in exchange for the $50,000 paycheck his brother offers. The catch is that she can't quit no matter how awful the hero reacts to her attempts. Throw in romance, an amusing assortment of girlfriends and hunky men, LOTS of dogs, and a stalker, and it's one of my favorite books.
What inspired you to write this book?
Honestly? An article I read years ago about a soldier blinded in the war. I can't quote the article now, but his story was so inspiring I felt the need to write my version.
Tell us more about your journey as an author, and how much you have grown since releasing your very first novel.
Oh, my. My journey has been a chaotic one at best. I sold to Harlequin Enterprises in 2005 and wrote fourteen books for them and one for Berkley. I took a long break because of burnout and then decided my next book would be indie because of my daughter's issues with depression and high school. Going indie gave me the flexibility I needed. That said, I wrote a handful of stories but life threw curveball after curveball with health issues, our daughter's ongoing mental health issues (she's very open about her depression and anxiety issues so I'm not sharing secrets), and then an empty-nest divorce that is still ongoing after nearly 3 years. I've moved twice--and evacuated from a hurricane. Did I mention chaos? Writing has had to take a backseat to life but I'm hoping things will calm down soon. I'm currently staying at a writer friend's house in VA unable to get home to Wilmington, NC, and very grateful I have such wonderful friends willing to shelter me and my dog, Harley. While the dogs play, we've brainstormed stories and planned some fun stuff for the future.
Not by Sight is a so-called "clean" romance. Why did you take this approach?
Not By Sight is what I call a "mirror book." In 2014 I decided I needed a change of direction with my writing. I found myself reading novels that were considered "clean" and enjoying them immensely. I loved the STORY and the emotional connection between the characters. That's romance to me. While pondering that, chaos continued and I found myself struggling to write anything. Within two years I filed for divorce (something I never, ever thought I'd consider, much less do after 25 years of marriage) and realized that writing happily-ever-after during divorce is next to impossible. To try to encourage my writer brain, I began retooling my previous novels for "clean" romance. I dug into the words and stories to really pull out the emotions of my books. Thus, Not By Sight and the rest of the Stone River Series were born.
Your female protagonist is blind - why did you give her this disability?
Ian's character is a contentious one. He's a man's man, used to doing whatever he wanted because he was able to both physically and mentally as a SEAL. I knew one of the first things he would argue was a sighted person's ability to see as a negative from a teaching standpoint for not being able to understand his point of view. Not only did his brother hire a woman to tutor him but a blind one to boot, and one who'd lost her sight at a young age. He couldn't argue with her because she wouldn't allow it. Emma is tough because she's had to be.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Hmmm.... Well, I draw stick people (no joke) but put a paint brush in my hand and I'm fairly decent. I love crafty things so painting, cake decorating, sewing etc are all things I've tried and enjoyed.
You wrote the book from different perspectives. Why?
Because to tell the story we have to know both sides. There is always more to our thoughts than we let on or allow others to see so that internal dialogue is very important in writing.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Oh, that's a can of worms I don't want to give voice to! LOL Hindsight is always 20/20, right?
What's an aspect of being a writer that you didn't know about going in?
Marketing and promotion. Writers, for the most part, just want to write but in this age of social media, marketing is key. Especially for indie writers. If you have writers you enjoy reading, please support them by sharing their posts and news about their books. It will mean the world to them, trust me.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
I wrote my first book at the age of 7 or 8 when I rewrote a Charlie Brown book because I didn't like how mean they were to him. I've always been writing in some way. There are people who are called to be doctors or nurses because they want to heal people. I believe my calling is to be a writer/storyteller. It's all I've ever wanted to do.
As for writing giving me clarity about myself or thoughts, yes, definitely. I've forced myself to write characters I didn't necessarily like so that I could dig into the reasons why they're the way they are. Doing so helps me understand people in my life who've done things I may not understand or agree with. The old adage about walking a mile in someone else's shoes really does hold weight.
Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?
The most challenging character I've written to date is Jolie from Through The Valley. I can't say much without giving spoilers away but she deals with some very hefty issues from her past, and writing her journey through them was very hard for me.
What are you working on right now?
LOL Well, I'm attempting to finish Secret Santa 2 amid cross-country moves and hurricane evacuations. At this point I'm afraid my deadline will have to be extended into 2019. I'm also in the planning stages of a new series set amongst the beaches close to my new home in Wilmington.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My books are available online wherever books are sold or ask for them at local bookstores. You can also find me at the following:
Kay Lyons Author (Facebook)
Kay Lyons, Author (Pinterest)
or contact me at [email protected].