FOR A CHANCE TO WIN
A SIGNED COPY OF
LIN STEPP'S LATEST BOOK:
MEET LIN IN PERSON AT THE ASHEVILLE
MALL, BARNES AND NOBLE,
SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2-4
Lin's books are available in bookstores, libraries, or online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Books-A-Million.
Welcome, Lin. We are honored you could stop by for a visit.
Tell our readers a little about yourself.
Most of my readers don’t know that I am a native Tennessean and genealogically linked to First Families of Tennessee. My early relatives helped to settle this east Tennessee area, and my roots go back to this region’s earliest days before Tennessee even became a state. As a girl, I loved to hear my mother’s stories about her life with a big farm family of twelve children and to listen to my Aunt Clara tell me stories about my early ancestors. Although I don’t write historical books, I bring that knowledge of the people of Appalachia and my love and heart for this region into my stories.
How and when did you begin to write?
My season as an author didn’t begin until midlife. I grew up in South Knoxville in an idyllic rural suburban setting, always a child with a rich imagination. I dreamed of writing and illustrating books as a girl, with artistic gifts in both areas, but few academic majors existed in those fields when I headed off to college, so I ended up in education with bachelors, masters and eventually doctorate work. For the last eighteen years I’ve been on faculty at Tusculum College’s Knoxville branch teaching psychology and research classes, while also helping with my husband’s and my business and working part-time in educational sales jobs.
Through the years, while working and raising my children, I held on to the idea of being a writer in my heart … and finally, when the children were grown and gone, the time for it finally came. The ideas for my Smoky Mountain novels came while J.L. and I were exploring hiking trails in the mountains and working on our hiking guide THE AFTERNOON HIKER. In visiting small shops and bookstores around the Smokies, I couldn’t readily find contemporary novels set in the area, the kind of books I was hungry to read. Talking to a bookstore owner one day I asked, “Where are your contemporary novels set here in the mountains… you know, good stories with a little romance or suspense?” He shook his head and replied, “Ma’am I don’t have any. This is the most visited national park in America; you’d think someone would write some.”… And so I did.
How did you first become a published writer?
I had actually written several books set in the Smoky Mountains and was working on another when my daughter came home one Christmas and said, “Mother, you’ve got to do something with these books. They’re wonderful and you need to get them published and share them.” That started my journey looking for a publisher. I contracted with Canterbury Publishing, then an imprint of John F. Blair Publishing of Winston Salem, NC, for my first five Smoky Mountain novels. My next four books were published by Kensington Publishing of New York. I also published a short novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies, and my husband’s and my hiking guide was published in 2014. I’m still at it and my new book, and tenth Smoky Mountains novel, DADDY’S GIRL, just released in April.
Can you give our readers a short description of your latest book DADDY’S GIRL?
All of my Smoky Mountain books are Stand-Alone novels—each with its own new set of characters and unique story. Every book also takes readers visiting to a different part of the Smoky Mountains. My latest book DADDY’S GIRL is set in the charming small town of Bryson City, North Carolina, on the southern side of the Smoky Mountains. We discovered this quiet mountain town while working on our hiking guide and exploring the trails out of the beautiful Deep Creek Campground behind Bryson City. I fell in love with Bryson City—with its cute shops and colorful local restaurants, the train depot in the middle of town, its picturesque parks, buildings, churches, and old cemeteries. I knew as soon as we visited that I wanted to take my readers there in a book.
Playing on the “small town” idea … my main character Olivia Benton owns a cute florist shop downtown and has always lived in the Bryson city area. I had fun playing with the concepts of both the problems and joys inherent with long-time friends, as well as the positives and negatives of high school peer groups and their resulting impacts, bullying as a growing societal problem, and the mystery of an unknown vandal inciting fears and creating problems around town. The book is full of surprises, twists and turns, like all my novels with several mysteries unfolding as the book progresses toward its conclusion.
A brief synopsis on the back of the book reads: “Set amid the charm of Bryson City, North Carolina, in the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, Lin Stepp’s DADDY’S GIRL, is a warm-hearted, small town story proving you can go home again—and that it’s never too late to leave behind painful memories of the past.”
What are you working on now?
I am admittedly a multi-tasker…. And that shows in my writing as in other areas of my life. I am in editing stages with my next Smoky Mountain novel, scheduled to publish in April 2018. This new book LOST INHERITANCE is set in downtown Gatlinburg, a familiar tourist town in the Smokies. … I am also currently writing a new trilogy of books set on Edisto Island. My family has visited at Edisto nearly every summer since the 1980s, so it is a place I know well and love. I think readers will have fun following me down to the beach for a couple of books around continuing to enjoy my ongoing Smoky Mountain novels.
Because my husband and I had such fun hiking the Smoky Mountain trails together and collaborating on our hiking guidebook THE AFTERNOON HIKER, we’re now working on another new book together. This one DISCOVERING TENNESSEE STATE PARKS will include descriptions and photos of all Tennessee’s 56 state parks … and we’re having a blast traveling to all the parks and exploring them. This book is also scheduled to publish next April in conjunction with my Smoky Mountain novel.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Here are my tips for beginning writers:
(1) Read extensively before you begin to write, particularly in the genre you hope to write in. Most all highly successful authors were first avid readers.
(2) Write because you love it and want to share that love with others.
(3) Don’t write because you hope to get rich and want an easy job to do at home.
(4) Write what you know and love about, letting your own unique voice shine through.
(5) For your book idea to become a published reality, as Carolyn Jourdan once advised, you need to: “Start your book, write a whole lot, and finish your book.” A dream in your head and a bunch of ideas will never get you published. Only a finished book will.
(6) Writing is an entrepreneurial job, which means you have to organize the business of writing and manage your own time by yourself. You alone must take the initiative to see that the work is done consistently every day in order to grow the enterprise, and you will get little encouragement in the early stages of building that new business.
(7) After your book publishes, the real work begins—of marketing, publicity, book signings, social media, interviews, speaking events, and a vast array of ongoing promotions. Your book is your business and you must work hard after your book is published, even with a big name New York publisher, to make it a success. At the same time, amidst all this marketing, you need to keep writing to produce more books for your readers to enjoy. They’ll be looking for them right away!
(8) Becoming an author is not a career for the faint-hearted or the undisciplined. But the rewards of sharing your work with others will outweigh any of the problems.
Do you have a Bible verse that is especially dear to you? If so, can you share why you chose this one?
One of my favorite scriptures is: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” [II Timothy 2: 15] … I believe strongly in being a lifelong learner in every area of life … continuing to try to learn and grown and strengthen yourself in the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. We are either growing every day or we are stagnant. I like the concept of being an ambassador of God, mentioned in the Bible several places like in II Corinthians 5:18-20. To me that means I represent God in every aspect of my life and so, like a good ambassador, I need to consciously try to represent Him well in all the things I do and in every aspect of every day. One of my favorite quotes is an Erma Bombeck one: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”
Where is your favorite writing space? If you could design the perfect place, what would it look like & where would it be located? What time of day are you most productive?
Virginia Woolf once wrote: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Continuing to work while I wrote provided a little of the former … and I am lucky to have a dedicated office and a “room of my own” in which to write. My study is my academic and writing room. It is filled with bookshelves and books, a huge desk that spreads around one corner of the room, a few file cabinets and storage spaces, and a cozy little easy chair to read in. All my writing is done here at a big 27-inch desktop MAC with my work ideas spread out around me in files and piles and with inspirational photos for my current book pasted up on my office bulletin board. When I come in this room and sit down at my computer, I work.
If I could design a perfect office, I’d design it bigger—with space for more file cabinets, more books, and more storage. There is never enough storage when your work is built around books and paper! … Ideally, I’d add more windows to that perfect office, too—looking on a beautiful and inspirational outdoor vista. I have a window behind my computer work area now, which I cherish, and while “thinking out a next scene” I love to look out my window to see the seasons change, the flowers bloom and later fade, to enjoy the little birds popping onto my window sill to entertain me with a little song or two, and to watch the children play on our quiet cul-de-sac, enjoying those sweet, young days of imaginative innocence. I am truly an idealist and romantic at heart, so it’s a good thing I write romance books--always with a happy ending!
How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
One of my greatest joys as a writer has been getting to meet my readers in person and on Facebook … and in becoming friends with many. Who would have thought I’d have so many kindred spirits out in the world, so much like me!
I hope new potential readers will look for my Smoky Mountain novels and read one or two—and maybe all of them! My books are available in print and eBook versions. They can be found, or ordered if not on shelf, at bookstores around America, in many libraries, and online through Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and other booksellers. My books are also available on Amazon, and you can read about all my different book titles on my Amazon author book page.
Every day I post to my Facebook pages and on Twitter … so come look for me on these social media sites as a way to keep in touch and to enjoy my daily ramblings, writings, and doings. You can read more about me and my books on my Author’s Website, where I also write a short monthly blog, usually stuffed full of photos. Recent blog entries talked about trips to Bryson City where DADDY’S GIRL is set, about our book launch, and about how J.L. and I started hiking in the Smoky Mountains.
You will find my contact information for all these sites below:
DR. LIN STEPP
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Best Selling International Author
AMAZON PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Lin-Stepp/e/B0028OJMPA
AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGE: www.facebook.com/Lin-Stepp/715932788428635
My FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/linstepp
I know you are on Book Tour right now for your new book DADDY’S GIRL. Where are your next events scheduled?
This coming Saturday, May 13th, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm, I will be in Asheville, North Carolina at the beautiful two-storied BARNES & NOBLE store at the Asheville Mall on Tunnel Road. I’d love for anyone in the Asheville, Waynesville or Hendersonville area to come to meet me there! … The store will have not only my latest book DADDY’S GIRL but a few of my past titles, including my previous book WELCOME BACK, set in western North Carolina in Maggie Valley. I just received notification this week that this book is one of three finalists for a Selah Award in the Contemporary Romance area—a lovely honor.
After my Asheville event, I have upcoming signings in the Atlanta area at the Barnes & Noble store in Marietta at Towne Center Prado on May 20th, 2-4 pm,, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee over the Memorial Day weekend, Sat May 27, 2-4 pm at the fun Moon Pie and Book Warehouse store, and on Saturday, June3rd, 12-3, in downtown Bryson City, North Carolina, where DADDY’S GIRL is set at O’Neill’s Shop on the Corner and Bookstore. Details and specific addresses of these and all my upcoming signing events can be found on the Appearances page of my author’s website at: www.linstepp.com