Saturday, December 12, 2015

Interview with Author, Jill Lynn

Heidi here. I met Jill Lynn at a recent ACFW conference and loved her immediately. Today she's on our blog, yay!

Jill Lynn, congratulations on the release of Just Show Up and thank you for stopping by to visit with us today to talk about writing. Take a minute and tell us a little bit about yourself!

Thanks for having me! I am a mama of two elementary aged kiddos. They are stubborn and wonderful. (I think they get the stubborn from my husband.) Okay, maybe a little from me too. I write books and read books. Can you tell I love books? I am also a bookkeeper for our family business. I drive carpool, laugh a lot, and I love warm weather and sunshine. That’s about it!

Just Show Up: backcover copy:
While your heart might be in the right place, it is not unusual to feel uncomfortable or insecure when you're around loved ones who are in the midst of a trial. The temptation to back away can be strong; after all, couldn't they use some space? You don't want to be a burden. Is that ever the right choice though? Is there something both of you can gain from friendship in the midst of suffering?
Bestselling author Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn answer those questions in the new book Just Show Up: the Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together. With grace and practical advice, the friends wrote about what relationships look like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry and even Tippetts' battle with cancer, which she tragically lost on March 22, 2015.
Jill, I read Falling for Texas and absolutely loved it! Your writing voice is so active, it kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen with Cash and Olivia. So, I wasn’t surprised when Just Show Up came out to see your non-fiction writing voice is exactly the same. Just Show Up is a book you wrote with Kara Tippetts about walking with one another through suffering. Can you tell us the most difficult part about writing this book?

I’m so glad you enjoyed Falling for Texas! Writing Just Show Up was tough because Kara had
breast cancer at the time we were writing it and her diagnosis was terminal at that point. She was actually in hospice care while we wrote. We didn’t have a lot of time to write the book, and I also had the emotion of Kara fading while we were writing. It was HARD. A lot of people prayed the book into existence.

I have a local friend who followed Kara's blog ~ I saw her post one day on Facebook and began following MundaneFaithfulness myself. Though the posts were emotionally difficult to read, Kara had such joy in the midst of her suffering. I'm sure many people are thrilled that you and Kara wrote this book to help them in their trials as well. Kara also wrote The Hardest Peace, another awesome read on moving from fear to peace. 

Jill, what’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities (wife, mother to young kids, and all that entails)?

I really struggle with finding the time to write. Life is definitely busy and if I don’t have a schedule or a deadline, things don’t get done. I took a break after Just Show Up to let myself grieve and regroup. (Kara, my co-author, passed away in March.) But I usually make deadlines for myself in terms of getting a book drafted. This helps me remember to treat it as a job and to determine the word count I need in order to finish by a certain date.

That's a good point, small chunks are much easier to schedule. Okay, let’s move to fiction. I love plotting and am always looking for tips. How do you plot a novel? How close to the final version does the first draft read?

I plot by knowing three things: the backstory that affects my hero and heroine’s decisions, the current conflict that’s keeping them apart, and the black moment—the thing that will tear them apart. Usually once I have these three things down, I outline scenes. Once I have the scene ideas done, I start a rough draft of the story. Things usually change a little along the way as I learn who my characters are and weave everything together, but often those first three things remain the same.

So you are a pantster AND a plotter, interesting! I agree with the backstory, the characters have to have something to overcome! Time for a fun question . . . Imagine that you could take a plane to ONE place, where would you go? If you could bring one person with you, who would it be? And if you could eat only one kind of food during your trip, what would that be?

Definitely a beach. St. Thomas, Bermuda, Maui. Okay that’s three, but you see where I’m headed. Ocean and sand are my friends. I would take my husband. And I would eat pizza. Lots of pizza.

Oh, a beach, nice to think about in December (though today was in the 70's in North Carolina...)! What advice can you give to aspiring novelists to produce a sound novel that’ll sell?

Make sure you have conflict. Without it, there’s nothing to keep the pages turning! I like to give my characters opposing goals or attitudes. Anything that keeps sparks flying and wedges them apart. I also like to know exactly what is keeping them apart. Can I say it in a sentence? In Falling for Texas, Cash makes a vow not to date while raising his younger sister. In Her Texas Family (May 2016) Graham believes he’s already had the love of his life and never plans to marry again. Right away, we know exactly why they shouldn’t get together. And then we get to enjoy the journey of them falling for each other anyway. Once you have the building blocks of the book, let your voice shine through. That’s what makes your writing unique.

Conflict, conflict, conflict. Good advice! Tell us about future books planned.

Her Texas Family is the second Love Inspired book I wrote and it will be out in May 2016. I LOVE this story. Is that okay to say? The heroine, Lucy, was a delight to write. She’s quite the opposite of me and I loved dreaming up her escapades.

I can't wait to get my hands on Her Texas Family, sounds awesome! Jill, thank you for your time today, it was fun! And congratulations again on Just Show Up.

Thanks for having me!


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  2. After reading the description of Jill and Kara's book, I can see it as being a wonderful tool to help someone going through an illness or dealing with the loss of a friend or loved one. The older I get, more abd more people I know and love have had to face these events but it certainly is not age related!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Connie,
      You are welcome. I know what you mean about aging and having loved ones go through trials, ourselves included! Resources like Jill Lynn and Kara Tippett's book are life changing!

  3. Thanks for having me! It was fun to be here. :)

  4. Thanks for having me! It was fun to be here. :)