interviewed on May 2, 2019
Los Angeles, California
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Lynn Miclea grew up in New York and moved to California while in her twenties. A certified hypnotherapist, Reiki master practitioner, and musician, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she has held many jobs but has always loved reading and writing stories. After retiring, she further pursued her passion for writing, and has now published 21 books with more on the way. She has published books of fiction (thrillers, suspense, paranormal, mystery, and romance), non-fiction (memoirs and self-help guided imagery), and children’s stories (fun animal stories about kindness, helping others, seeing the best in people.
She currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and two dogs.
Q. You have published over 21 books in various genres, when usually authors confine themselves to just one genre. How did you do this?
It was definitely not planned. I started with memoirs of medical issues, as those were so powerful in my life — my mom had ALS and I went through emergency open-heart surgery. Then I had some sweet and funny animal stories in my head and I started writing those and they turned into children’s books — I ended up writing ten of those. The fiction books, including thrillers, suspense, paranormal, mysteries, and romance, came from writing prompts in one of the writing groups at which I am an admin. The prompts were fun and exciting and pulled me out of my comfort zone as I tried different genres. I had no idea I could write those, but the stories flowed, and writing in different genres has helped to improve my writing, so I am very grateful for that.
Q. You are a certified Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master, with an educational background in psychology. Has all this somewhere contributed to your writing?
I think my background has helped increase my sensitivity for the human condition, including fears, doubts, and insecurities, which are common issues that many of us can relate to. I then infuse those into my characters so that they are believable and have flaws which helps the reader relate to and care about them — and that’s important in a story.
Q. When did you start writing and what motivated you to do so?
I have been writing my entire life, but I did not get serious about it until after I retired and had the time to pursue it. I was inspired to write my first book, “Ruthie: A Family’s Struggle with ALS,” by the long and heart-wrenching journey that my mom went through while suffering with ALS and by how it affected our whole family. That was such a powerful and difficult experience on many levels, and I felt compelled to share the story both to honor her memory and to help others dealing with similar issues.
Q. Which was your first book and what was it about? Tell us all!
My first book was “Ruthie: A Family’s Struggle with ALS,” and it is about my mom's experience having ALS and how it affected the family. It takes the reader on an intimate and heart-wrenching journey through her symptoms, deterioration, her losing the ability to speak and eat, and her getting weaker. It also goes into detail how one member of the family was in denial and continually tried to prevent us from helping her. It includes volatile family interactions as we fought to defy this person in order to help her. It was difficult to write, as I had to relive many painful moments, but I knew that if it made me cry, it would also make my readers cry, so I kept it very honest and true to what happened. I did not pull any punches — it is all there, real and raw, as it occurred. The book also gives advice and tips on helping people through this and would greatly benefit anyone dealing with a progressive illness.
Q. Your children's books have animals as central characters- Sammy the dog, Wish Fish and Penny the bunny. How did you choose them?
The animals actually chose me. I love dogs, and Sammy the dog was in my head with funny antics and helping people wherever he went. I specifically wanted to make him a rescue dog and be a mutt, to help teach children about rescuing dogs and not to be concerned about specific breeds. For Penny the bunny, I had a powerful urge to tell a story about a bunny and a kitten, and it was compelling and would not let me go. Wish Fish also just came to me and unfolded in my imagination, and it fits the story so well — it could not be told with any other animals.
Q. What morals do you give out through your children's books?
I want to help children to grow up feeling good about who they are. So my children’s books are uplifting animal stories about kindness, seeing the best in others, breaking through fears, believing in yourself, helping others, celebrating our differences, discovering the magnificence within all of us, and becoming more than you ever thought possible. My stories also teach looking past perceived flaws and differences, discovering your own inner worth, and valuing what’s inside all of us. I would love to help children grow up feeling empowered, loving who they are, and being the best they can be. It really needs to start when they are young, because that’s when we form our identity about who we think we are and develop our self-esteem. So I really wanted to reach out to children to help them have a happy, full, enriched life, starting with how they view themselves and others — we need to love ourselves, and we need to be kind to others.
Q. Tell us briefly about all the fiction books that you have written.
I have written thrillers, suspense, mysteries, paranormal, and romance. I focus on writing stories that are realistic and believable, with characters that have flaws and insecurities just like all of us, so that the characters are easy to relate to and care about. And I write about facing difficult, scary, or overwhelming issues, and having the characters grow and become empowered while going through it.
“Ghostly Love” is a paranormal thriller — Stephanie’s home office is icy cold, and she tries to ignore the frigid air. However, bizarre and terrifying incidents start to occur that become impossible to ignore as an entity becomes determined to get her attention — an entity that will not take no for an answer. When a friend comes over to help, a man she is falling in love with, the entity will stop at nothing to destroy them both.
“Guard Duty” is a suspense thriller — Andrea and her partner Jason are guarding the cadaver lab when they hear strange noises coming from inside the lab. No one alive could be in that room. Who or what could possibly be making those noises? When they investigate, what they discover is terrifying, and their lives are in danger. As they begin to realize their true feelings for each other, they wonder if it’s too late and if they will ever see each other alive again.
“Loving Guidance” is a paranormal romance — Bree and Micah are eternal soul mates and have been lovers through many lives together. However, Bree is now on Earth while Micah is in the spirit world as her guide. They desperately yearn for each other, and Bree convinces Micah to come to Earth so they can be together. Micah goes against advice and protocol, and he agrees to appear in physical form to be with Bree. However, when he does, it changes everything and becomes more than either of them were prepared for.
“The Diamond Murders” is a murder mystery — Detective Robert Braddock is searching for the serial killer who is tying up and murdering his victims. Just one baffling clue — a playing card in the suit of diamonds is left at each crime scene. The detective is determined to find the serial killer before the next victim is killed.
“The Sticky-Note Murders” is a murder mystery — Detective John Morelli is searching for the serial killer who is strangling and murdering innocent young women. There is just one clue left on each victim — a pink sticky note with a happy face drawn on it. The detective is determined to find and stop the serial killer before any more young women are killed.
Q. Tell us about the four book series - "Unleash your Inner Joy" and how can readers benefit from these books?
The “Unleash Your Inner Joy” series consists of four books of meditations and guided-imagery, and they are filled with visualizations to help in various areas of one's life. These can be used as personal meditations, recorded to use as self-hypnosis tapes, or simply used as self-empowering visualizations. These are based on the most successful and effective scripts from years of my hypnotherapy practice. They are easy to use and there is something in there to help anyone who would like to see improvement in some area of their life. These also are excellent books for introducing people to meditation, visualization, guided imagery, affirmations, growth, expansion, and self-love. The series supports and facilitates inner growth and helps readers tap into and unleash the deep, boundless, powerful inner joy that is our natural state of being.
Volume 1 focuses on improving daily life, and contains visualizations that include, but are not limited to, enhancing calmness and peace, increasing confidence, releasing negativity, memory improvement, test taking, public speaking, sleeping well, and loving who you are.
Volume 2 focuses on inner growth, and contains visualizations that include, but are not limited to, boosting creativity, increasing abundance and prosperity, making peace with the past, moving out of depression, forgiving, healing the inner child, reaching your goals, exercise motivation, and weight loss.
Volume 3 focuses on healing, and contains visualizations for enhancing healing of mind, body, and spirit, and include, but are not limited to, gentle healing, deep healing, clarity and balance, easing of side effects, pain reduction, and preparation for a medical procedure. These visualizations enhance and support healing on many levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Volume 4 focuses on spirituality, and contains visualizations for enhancing spiritual growth, wonder, and radiant joy, and include, but are not limited to, meeting spirit guides, discovering your life’s purpose, renewal with a shaman, being present, chakra clearing and enhancement, receiving a special message, meeting God, and transformation.
The four books in this series and the guided imagery within each book can be read and used in any order.
Q. Your murder mystery books "The Diamond Murders" and "The Sticky Note Murders" look intriguing. How are they different from other murder mysteries in the market?
I wanted my murder mysteries to be more than just finding the killer. I also wanted a human-interest story, where the reader understands and cares about the characters — the cops, the victims, and the killer. I also wanted to make the stories realistic so that the reader could picture themselves in the story and get pulled into the action and suspense.
Q. "The Ghostly Love" is about Stephanie confronting paranormal activities in her new home. How do things turn out when her friend joins in to help?
Things definitely get more intense when her friend joins in to help. Not only does the friend try to stop the ghost, but the ghost gets jealous of him and tries to destroy them both. So that really amps up the intensity of the story.
Q. You have added a paranormal aspect in two of your books, a thriller and a romance. Why is that so?
Paranormal is an aspect that is out of our control and brings up fear and anxiety in many people. So adding that to stories is a great way to grip my readers and keep them turning the pages!
Q. Out of all the protagonists that you have created in your books, who all are your favorite and why?
That is tough to answer. I truly love all the characters in my books. Each character is flawed, dealing with their own insecurities, while struggling to do their best in difficult circumstances. It makes them so relatable, real, and inspirational, and I love that. I actually fall in love with all my characters, so I’m not sure I have just one favorite.
Q. What is your vision behind writing books and what do you want to accomplish through writing?
Writing books does many things for me. I pour my heart and soul into my writing, and there’s a part of me in every book. So sharing that with the world is really a way of reaching out and sharing a piece of myself with all my readers. In addition, my stories and my characters help me face and work through various fears, insecurities, and personal struggles within myself just as the characters do, so it is cathartic and healing for me as well. And above all, I want to entertain, make people feel something, open up new worlds for my readers, empower people, help children grow up loving who they are, and help bring more love, joy, and kindness to this world. If I can do any of that, I consider my writing a success.
Q. Which genre do you enjoy writing the most?
I love exploring various genres, but I think I am most drawn to romantic suspense-thrillers. I want my characters to face difficult and terrifying circumstances, face their own fears, and become stronger and empowered through that, while taking the reader on a thrilling and exciting journey. And I love romance and happy endings, because life is difficult enough, and we all need more love and joy in our lives, so I want my readers to feel satisfied and happy at the end of my stories.
Q. What books are you writing next and how far have they progressed?
I am currently writing three stories that I hope to publish soon. One is a contemporary romance, and that is completely written and is now in editing stage. Another is a sci-fi story which is also completely written and is in editing stage. And the third is a child-abduction thriller. That story is almost complete but still needs re-writing, so that is last in line to be published. I am very excited about all these, and I have three or four more ideas in my head for additional stories — I can’t get to them fast enough!
Q. From all the books that you have written, which one is the closest to your heart?
I think my two memoirs are closest to my heart, as those were real, true-life, powerful experiences that changed how I see life. My heart and soul are in each of those.
Q. Did you incorporate any life messages in your books? If so, what are they?
I think in all my books, the underlying life messages are to love yourself, be kind to others, and to appreciate every moment.
Q. Tell us about some interesting or memorable incidents from your life.
One very memorable incident happened that spurred me to write my first book. After my mom died in 2009 from ALS, I went to a medium hoping to get a message from my mother. And I did — I received a powerful and detailed message from my mom through the medium. In fact, I was so impressed, I took a workshop with the medium to learn to become a medium myself. I was not very good at it — but at the class, three separate people who were excellent mediums themselves came to me and told me that the spirits they were talking to directed them to come to me and tell me that I needed to write “the book.” They knew nothing about me, and at the time, I wasn’t even sure what book they were talking about. About five years later, I retired and signed up for an online writing class, where I found the motivation, inspiration, and drive to pursue this. And the book that I felt compelled to write was the story of my mom’s experience with ALS and how it affected all of us — and that’s when I realized that this was “the book” that the spirits had told me I needed to write. And that actually started my writing career.
Q. Talk to us about your growing years and your home. How did all this influence your writing?
I grew up feeling somewhat different from other people, as though I didn’t fit in anywhere. This made me more withdrawn, introspective, and sensitive, and I believe all of that helped boost my creativity and imagination.
Q. What is your writing process, a typical writing day routine?
I don’t really have a typical daily writing routine — it really varies. Some days I don’t write at all, and some days I write a lot, maybe up to six hours. It depends on my schedule, time demands, and how I feel — I don’t force it. If it flows and I’m motivated, I write. And if it’s not there, I don’t. As for my writing process, I usually start with pen and paper, as that seems to allow the creativity to flow the best, and I get down as much of the story or scene as I can. Then when I type it into my computer, I edit it and re-word it as I go, so by the time a first draft or that scene is typed, it already has been through one round of editing. After that, the stories go through many hours of additional editing and re-writing. I usually know the story I want to tell, but I don’t plan every detail, and often the details surprise me as I write — I never know what will come through.
Q. What book marketing techniques have been the most effective for you?
I use everything I can to promote and market my books. That includes Facebook groups, my Facebook author page, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, Linked-in, my own blog for announcements, radio interviews, blog interviews, e-mail newsletters, and Facebook boosted posts. It is hard to tell which work better, because I don’t know which of them caused someone to buy a book. Each method reaches different people and a new audience, and I want to maximize my chances, so I continue to do them all.
Q. What do you think makes a book sell, or makes a reader buy it?
It is a combination of many factors — the cover, the title, the blurb on the back, the description, the sample pages, and good reviews. It needs a powerful, emotional grab which can hook a potential reader right away. And, of course, the first thing a potential buyer will see is the cover, so that really needs to be enticing and gripping.
Q. What’s the most moving or affecting thing a reader has said to you?
There were many favorite comments from readers, but this one, about my "Mending a Heart" book, is really memorable: “If Larry King read your book and was still on CNN with his talk show he would have had you on the show to discuss it and take calls.”
Q. What are your favourite three books, and why?
There are so many that I love, there is no way I could pick just three.
Q. Which all authors have influenced your writing the most?
My all-time favorite author is Dean Koontz, and I think he influenced me the most. In addition to gripping me from the first sentence of any of his books, I love his style, passion, creativity, subject matter, and the sensitivity, compassion, and humor with which he portrays people and animals. There is so much I admire about his writing and his style, and it makes me feel that I know him, as though he’s a good friend. I also like James Patterson, Robin Cook, John Grisham, Mitch Albom, and many others, including indie authors. When the writing is good, it influences me and I learn from it, while remaining true to my own voice and style.
Q. What all interests you apart from writing?
In addition to reading and writing, I love playing the piano. I started playing when I was three years old, and I was trained in classical music. I now mostly play popular music, and have been entertaining residents at senior facilities where I play the artists that they grew up with and that mean the most to them — artists such as Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Bobby Vinton, and Johnny Mathis. It is amazing to see the residents get excited and come alive, and that makes it so rewarding.
I also am a Reiki master practitioner, which is channeling universal life energy for healing and well-being. I truly love being able to help others on many levels.
I also love being in nature — I find it exhilarating, refreshing, and rejuvenating, and it helps me reconnect to myself and to all of life.
Q. Tell us about your publishing journey and how easy (or difficult) was it to get all your books published?
I decided to self-publish, as I am not a well-known author, and I did not want to deal with long waits or rejections from traditional publishers. For my first book, I paid CreateSpace to do everything for me. Since then, I have learned how to do my own formatting, interior design, front and back cover, marketing copy, blurb, etc., and now I do everything on my own. I self-publish through KDP, and I find it easy and fast while maintaining complete control over every aspect. I’ve been very happy with them, and I have self-published all 21 of my books.
Q. What challenges do you think are faced by writers, what’s the worst thing about the book industry according to you?
I think one challenge writers face is developing their own voice and style rather than trying to be someone else. Many writers compare themselves to other successful writers, put themselves down, and give up too soon.
Another big challenge is making sure the work is professionally edited. Many writers want to take a shortcut, and they think it is not important or that they can do it themselves. But it is very difficult to proofread and properly edit your own work. You do not want your work to be filled with errors, typos, or inconsistencies — you want your work to be the best it can be, and professional editing is the best way to get there. It really is important.
The hardest thing about the book industry is marketing and promotion. No matter how great your story is or how well written, it can be hard to get your book in front of potential readers. And even when your book sells, it is hard to get reviews.
Q. At QwertyThoughts.com, we are trying to bring authors and readers under the same roof, to connect, discuss and socialize over books. What's your take on this?
This is a wonderful idea — connecting with each other helps everyone. Readers learn about new books and can ask questions of authors. And authors make new friends, answer questions, and sell more books. It really benefits all of us.
Q. What message do you want to share with budding writers?
My best advice for budding writers is really three parts. First, read and write as much as you can — reading helps you learn what you like and don’t like and how to word and phrase things. The more you read and write, the more you improve. Second, find your own voice. No one can write exactly like you — so don’t try to be someone else, find and develop your own voice and your own style, and be proud of who you are. And third, always use a professional editor so that your work will be professional quality. You do not want a book filled with errors that could turn readers away — professional editing can help your books be the best they can be.
Buy Lynn Miclea's book here