Lynda Hilburn Interview

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Lynda Hilburn. Thanks for being here today Lynda, welcome to FAR!
Thanks so much, Tammy! I'm very happy to be interviewed by FAR!

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current book Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker?
I wrote Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker for possible inclusion in an anthology (which wound up not happening). The anthology wanted stories about paranormal beings who were "unique" in some way. I had been reading a lot of vampire stories (I just can't seem to get enough vampire stories!) about vampires who felt evil or bad or in need of redemption. I just wondered what it would be like to write a story about a vampire who not only loved being a vampire, but who had lived for so long that most normal human emotions no longer applied to her. Zara, the main character, is a little -- let's say -- self-absorbed. But, she sees the world in a humorous way, and isn't shy about saying what's on her mind. She's equally driven by the need for blood and for sex, which makes for some interesting situations! I plan to write more stories in Zara's world.

Iíve learned from your website that along with writing nonfiction for the last 20 years, youíre also a Licensed Psychotherapist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Professional Intuitive and Psychotherapy Group Facilitator. I just have to ask the obvious here, where do you find time to write?
HA! Yes, it does seem like that would be quite a lot to do! Working for myself (mostly) means that I never know how many clients I'm going to have. Since I don't belong to any insurance panels anymore (too much paperwork and problems with confidentiality that I don't agree with), all my clients are "self-pay." That means I utilize a sliding scale for sessions, and for the last 6 years or so, people haven't had as much extra money to spend on things like psychotherapy (although I am sensing a shift for the better). So, like many self-employed people, I do lots of different things to keep multiple streams of income flowing in.

I actually have lots of time for writing! Since I'm divorced and my son is grown and living on his own (and I'd much rather write than clean anything!), I have ample opportunity to sit in front of the computer. Now, if I could only stop checking emails, surfing and reading online and get down to work!

You host email workshops along with many other classes, workshops and seminars. Could you tell us more about a few of these workshops and what they entail?
The email workshop I offer right now is called "Healing Through Writing: Becoming a Main Character in Your Own Life." It's an excellent way to explore writing and psychotherapy in the privacy of your own home. The workshop has several different levels, and the first level consists of six assignments covering various time periods in the participant's life. I ask for several rough drafts, each one from a different POV. For example, the first draft might be in 3rd person -- the more distant, observer mode. Then, when the participant sends that to me, I'll interject lots of questions and requests for more/deeper information and ask that the next draft be done in 1st person, which is immediately more intimate, etc. The feedback I've gotten over the years I've been offering the workshop has been exciting. The workshop seems to "rock the boat" of the inner world regardless of how much previous personal growth exploration the person has done. And I love reading them and playing devil's advocate!

What is your favorite part of a book to write?
The beginning, definitely! Ideas seem to emerge from my brain like flood water slamming over a dam, and I can barely make my fingers fly on the keyboard fast enough to keep up with the words. That usually lasts for several chapters (which is why I think I write short stories, as well as longer books), and then the flow slows to a trickle, and I actually have to start thinking about where I want the story to go. I tend to be a pantzer (I never know where a story is going to end up. I start with a character I want to write, rather than an outer situation.) And I'm often the last to know what a character is going to do or say! Then I rally for the ending! It's like when I was pregnant with my son (which feels like a hundred years ago). The beginning of the pregnancy was grand. I had so much energy, so much excitement! Then being pregnant in the heat of the summer wore me down and I sort of slogged through that portion. Then the last few weeks were amazing again!

Of all things you have accomplished, is there one accomplishment you are most proud of?
I don't know if he qualifies as an accomplishment, but raising my son would have to be the most challenging thing I've ever done. I was mostly a single mom and it was a joyful and terrifying experience!! In a lighter vein, I think getting through college and graduate school as a single mom was my other great accomplishment. Then meeting the requirements for licensure and opening my own hypnotherapy training school was a continuation of that goal. I've always been persistent and stubborn -- qualities that I think will help me as a writer, too!! I've already (even in the 3 years I've been writing fiction) experienced the glacial slowness of anything to do with the publishing industry!! Hurry up and wait!

Do you have any bad writing habits?
Yes! I put off writing. So many of my writer friends and acquaintances seem driven. Focused. Disciplined. My attention often wanders off to the newest vampire book I just got from the library, and before I know it, I'm sitting on the couch, reading! But I will say that I do well under pressure. When someone asks for more of something I'm writing, I can put pedal to the metal! That's how I got my first novel done in 14 months. I sent out query letters, then the requested partials and had to get motivated to finish the whole thing when two agents asked for the full! I was a madwoman. Smoke came off my fingers!

What was the first story you ever wrote?
Hmmm. That was a very long time ago. It was about my imaginary friend (who stayed with me for years as a child). I wish I still had a copy of it. I'm sure it would make me smile. The first story I ever got printed was a one-paragraph description of an event for the high school newspaper.

What is the best advice that anyone ever gave you?
The best writing advice came from seasoned authors who told me to use "the rules" if they work for me, and to ignore them if they don't. They said it's more important to write the story you want to write, rather than trying to fit your style, etc. into some kind of pre-existing box. It took me a while to give myself permission to follow that advice, but it was truly excellent. In general, the best advice is, "Never Give Up!"

Who has influenced you the most in terms of developing your personal writing?
I think my years of reading/writing nonfiction have greatly influenced me. That's why I usually write in first person. The strange and wonderful fiction of Richard Bach, Carlos Casteneda, and Tom Robbins. Quirky, clever stories. I've been reading paranormals since I was a kid, and books like "Dracula" and Anne Rice's work have been major influences. I'm comfortable writing emotions and using a flow-of-consciousness style to tease out interesting dialog. Since I'm a counselor/psychotherapist, I tend to focus on the inner world of the characters more than the outer world.

What can your fans look forward to in the next twelve months from you?
My agent has been offering my novel (about a Denver psychologist who gets pulled into the vampire/vampire-wannabe underground) and is in negotiations with a publishing house as we speak. It would be great to see that book -- the first of a series -- in print. I've also written a couple of erotic short stories under the pen name Hera St. Aubyn, which were purchased by The Wild Rose Press, and Hera is finishing up a novella which will hopefully be sold soon. So, I'll be working on the second book in my vampire psychologist series and probably completing another chapter in the ongoing adventures of Zara (from "Diary"). Then there are all those OTHER ideas dancing in my head!!

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I really appreciate how great FAR has been! What a wonderful resource for readers and writers! I'd love to hear from anyone about anything I do -- any of my books/stories -- or anything else. I'm happy to connect! I have a couple of blogs, if anyone would like to stop by and comment:

Thanks again, Tammy!! It was great to be here!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us today Lynda! Readers can learn more about Lynda on her website.

Interviewed by: Tammy