In the spring of 2007, back when I was a fresh, young blogger, I dug into the latest issue of the delicious ezine Knitty, as I do every quarter. Doing so, I found this lovely article. Go read it; I'll wait.
As I'm sure you noticed, Annette's bio for the piece reads as follows:
Annette Lyon’s three greatest addictions are knitting, writing, and chocolate. Her life has been run by all three for most of her life, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.Ooh, she's a writer! I thought, and immediately clicked on the link to her website. To my great delight, I then realized that not only was she a fanatical knitter, a novelist, and a chocoholic, she was also LDS. We had everything important in common; I overcame my habitual shyness and wrote her a fannish email at once.
In addition to her freelance writing and editing work, she writes novels and couldn’t resist working a character knitting socks into one of them.
Annette graciously replied, and a friendship was born. We met for lunch that summer when I was out in Utah; we had as good a time in person as we did via e-correspondence. Since then, she has provided constructive critiques on my writing, helpful advice regarding manuscript submission, and a listening ear during my ongoing search for an agent. So when she asked whether I'd like to be a stop on the blog tour for her new book, Tower of Strength, I jumped at the chance. I'm so glad I did, since it meant I got my hands on a copy before most of the rest of the world.
Annette is a gifted writer and a meticulous researcher; reading her endnotes is almost as satisfying as reading the story itself. Her characters feel like people you meet every day, natural and approachable. Annette makes her settings accessible; the reader can easily picture herself in the shoes of the main character. The main story is a classic tale of overcoming loss to find new love, and suspenseful subplots add spice and depth to the narrative.
I never give spoilers, but I'll warn you: sit close to a tissue box once you get to the last chapter. For everyone who likes a little romance with their history (or vice versa), I highly recommend Tower of Strength as well as the earlier volumes in Annette's "Temple" series.
(Knitters, a hand-knit cabled pullover makes a cameo appearance in this book; maybe one day Annette will publish a book of patterns as a companion to her novels. Pretty please, Annette?)
After reading the book, I had a few questions for the author. Here they are, along with her replies:
1) In Tower of Strength, your two main characters don't meet one another for several chapters. This is unusual, at least in my experience of reading romantic stories, and serves to build quite a bit of suspense for the reader. Was this a conscious plot device, or did the story evolve organically in this way?
For this book, the biggest challenge was doing horse research and getting the horse scenes right. Those were rewritten over and over again. I think I might have shaved a few years off my life from banging my head against the keyboard so many times over them!
6) What's your best piece of advice for a writer hoping to break into the LDS fiction market?
Thank you, Annette! It has been an honor!