Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Author Lindzee Armstrong

Day Thirteen: Lindzee Armstrong

1.        Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well I’m a 20-something wife and mom. J I have a fantastically supportive and amazing husband, and adorable 3 ½ year old sons. Obviously I like writing, and am an avid reader. But I also really love history. In fact, I studied history education in college and taught US and world history while student teaching. I also am really, really addicted to chocolate, as anyone who knows me can attest. It can’t be white chocolate though. That stuff is just gross.

2.        What do you do when you are not writing?
Well, I have 3 ½ year old twins, so a lot of cleaning up messes, kissing owies, breaking up fights, and saying “don’t do that!” J But when I’m not doing the mom thing or the housekeeper thing, I am a total TV junkie. I love reality television…The Bachelor and Bachelorette, Celebrity Apprentice, Survivor, Big Brother, all that good stuff. I also love really dramatic TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Vampire Diaries, and mockumentaries like The Office and Parks and Rec. And that’s pretty much all there’s time for after I squeeze in writing amongst my daily commitments. Me and my husband also love traveling so we try to do a lot of that when possible. I’ve been to Europe twice and am dying to go back.

3.        What is your favorite smell?
I really love sugar cookie scents. I have a sugar cookie scented candle that I absolutely adore. I also like anything vanilla scented.

4.        When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing as soon as I learned how to, like kindergarten. By first or second grade I was pretty serious about it, and I know for certain that by third grade I’d decided that’s what I was going to be when I grew up. I finished my first novel when I was about ten. I no longer have a digital copy of that document (it’s probably on a floppy disc somewhere) but I think it was probably somewhere around 30,000 or 40,000 words. I was an only child at the time and really wanted sibling, so it was about a girl who fell in love, got married, and had 14 kids. There were like two sets of twins and a set of triplets in that mix, and the main characters were insanely beautiful and rich. Totally realistic.

5.        If you had 24 hours to live, excluding spending time with your family, what would you do?
Oh gosh, that’s hard. My instinct is to say travel, but with 24 hours I couldn’t get very far, and I wouldn’t want to spend the time in a car or plane. I would go out to a really yummy restaurant and order dessert. Go see a fantastic movie at a really posh theater, one of those ones with recliners. Dye my hair something really fun, like pink. Be a little crazy and spontaneous.

6.        Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I think every writer does, and I’m no exception. But I don’t really have time for writer’s block anymore, so I never allow it to last long. I have fantastic writer friends that I’ll brainstorm solutions with. Sometimes I’ll throw something wacky and bizarre into the plot to get things going again, and fix or change it in edits so it makes more sense. When all else fails, I’ll set a timer and just force myself to write without stopping. Usually after a half hour or so, the block’s gone and I’m onto something.

7.        Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Definitely with an outline. For some books, it’s pretty loose, just key plot points and a general idea of how I’ll get from A to B. But with Wishing on Baby Dust, for example, I knew what would happen in every single scene in the book before I ever started writing. Some of that changed in editing, but the core part of it is all still there. I have to make the time I spend away from my family to write count, and that means I can’t afford to waste time on books I end up having to completely rewrite or plots that aren’t fleshed out enough to become a story.

8.        What is your favorite kind of cheese?
Medium cheddar. Because yum.

9.        Is there any particular author or book that influenced you growing up or as an adult?
Rachel Nunes and Josi Kipack were a big influence on me as a young author. I love their books, but they were also just awesome ladies who took time out of their busy lives to take this awkward, strange kid under their wings and encourage her to keep writing. I felt so uncomfortable and shy as a very young teenager in a very adult writing community, but they always made me feel welcome. They took time to offer advice, and give critiques. I always felt like they treated me like an adult and an equal, which I really appreciated because so many adults would pat me on the head and say “oh, isn’t that cute” when they found out I was a writer. They made me 110% believe I would one day be published. I will forever be grateful to them for that.

10.    Would I find anything growing in your refrigerator right now?
I honestly don’t know…I haven’t looked closely enough in the last few weeks to tell you. J Probably not, because my husband keeps a pretty good eye on things. Me and food have a complicated relationship. I have a disease called polycystic ovarian syndrome, and one of the ways it affects me is that I rarely have an appetite and get nauseated really easily. Because of this, my husband deals with most of the food in our house and just brings me something and forces me to eat. During the day, I open the refrigerator just long enough to grab whatever the kids want to eat, and I don’t bother looking for anything else.

11.  How would you describe yourself in three words?
Blunt. Loyal. Ambitious.

12.    Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Oh my book is almost entirely based on real-life experiences! Almost everything that happens in Wishing on Baby Dust I have personal experience with. The characters and situations are fictitious, but a lot of the events are based on real things that happened to me.

13.    Who is your favorite author? Since most of you will probably say me ;) please tell me then, who is your second favorite author?
That is such a loaded question, Sherry! I adore Janette Rallison if I’m looking for a funny, light-hearted romance. JK Rowling amazes me because her plots are brilliant, and her voice is so solid. I love Margaret Mitchell because Gone With the Wind has such a heartbreakingly perfect ending. I could go on for hours. I don’t really have a single favorite, because it depends on what I’m looking for in a book at that moment.  

14.    What was your favorite part of writing and why?
I really enjoy editing. First drafts are really hard for me, but editing is where I get to find the gems and make them shine. I love taking the raw book and molding and perfecting it into something I’m proud of.

15.    Chocolate or Brussels sprouts?
Chocolate wins over pretty much ANYTHING. Especially a vegetable (although really, Brussel sprouts aren’t bad as far as vegetables go. I don’t know why they get such a bad rap).

16.    What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Someone told me once that my story was irredeemable and I should stop working on it. I love constructive criticism, because I love perfecting my work and applying feedback. But that really hurt and I don’t think it was constructive. I put that book away and two years later I’m just barely returning to it. That remains the one and only time in my life I’ve had my feelings hurt by a critique.

17.    What has been the best compliment given to you as an author?
I just got a review where someone said “if you like Nicholas Sparks you’ll like this book.” I’ll take it!

18.    What is your least favorite smell?
Puke. Yuck! My twins have always been (and still are) pretty big pukers. They still throw up at least once a month. It is the most vile smell. I especially hate it when they throw up in the car and we’re stuck with the smell for an entire vacation.

19.    Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I think the best advice I can give to any writer is learn how to take constructive criticism graciously, weed through it, and apply what needs to be applied. But there are other things too. Go to conferences. Read books on writing. Listen to what those with more knowledge and experience have to say. Read like crazy in the genre you write, and figure out why those books are popular and selling. But, above all, write. Because you’ll never improve if you don’t keep putting words to paper regularly.

20.      Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for your support! It still amazes me that people take time out of their lives to spend time with a story I’ve created. You guys make my dream come true every time you pick up one of my books and start reading, and I can’t say thank you enough for that.

Author Bio:

Lindzee decided in first grade that she’d grow up to be three things—a mom, a teacher, and a writer. She’s lucky enough to have accomplished all three tasks. Lindzee received her bachelor’s in history education from Utah Valley University. Soon after leaving her teaching career behind, she became a mother to adorable twin boys, who guarantee her life is never dull. 
Lindzee is married to the most supportive man in the world. He regularly takes care of the twins and cooks dinner so she can escape with her laptop to chase her dream of being a writer. When she has time for hobbies, Lindzee is a reality TV junkie, loves to cross-stitch, and sometimes even finds time to play the piano. She eats way too much chocolate and wishes she liked things like running or yoga.
Lindzee writes national fiction under her own name, and fiction with an LDS theme under the pen name Lydia Winters. 
Lindzee's links
Thanks for stopping by!
Sherry Gammon

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