Hey guys. I hope everyone is enjoying the shift in seasons and that nasty weather is on the decline. (We had a corker lightning storm Saturday night. Full on cracking, white light flashing in the wee hours. Lovely. But I’m weird that way.)
Meanwhile, I’m back with another author interview. Why do I do them? Because learning keeps us fresh. And the best way to learn is to glean wisdom from those who have gone before. Those who are doing what we want to do — keep writing. (Reading, too!)
So who is Lana Higginbotham? And why WRITING?
Firstly, I am Lana “Lynne” Higginbotham (Did you all catch that middle name? It’s important, but we’ll get there.) As a Speech-Language Pathologist and a writer/author, I wear two hats. My love of reading led me to writing early. During a terrible bout of scarlet fever at the age ten, my mother encouraged me to use her typewriter to decrease my boredom. It stirred stories, and I wrote, putting poems and stories in a drawer all the way through school. My high school Creative Writing teacher fanned the flames. I also participated in theater and started college in the theater department as a Communications major.
However, an unexpected college course touched my heart and led to a change in my major from Communications to Speech Pathology. I married, became a mother, graduated with three degrees: Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Education with a Speech Pathology Major and a Special Education Minor, and a Master of Education in Speech-Language Pathology.
I live with my husband in East Texas. We are empty nesters and proud grandparents. (I’ll bet your granddaughter is pretty proud, too!)
You write romance, but what’s your message, Lana?
I have always loved romance, but I believe the best ones must also involve God and family. My characters all face challenging circumstances. None of my heroes and heroines find each other on their own. I want my readers to look for God’s hand during the everyday moments, as well as during the trials, recognizing how He walks us all eternally home.
How does family/work/personal life play a role in your writing?
I treasure my family heritage. It is a legacy of faith and love. My readers can see how important family is to me. I gleaned inspiration for my post Civil War novels from the heritage of my great-grandfather who served as a 3rd lieutenant in the 4th Arkansas Infantry, CSA, but my fictional characters served in the 3rd Arkansas.
My advocacy for soldiers draws from this lineage and also from growing up during the Vietnam war. I wore an MIA bracelet until it fractured into two pieces. The soldier never returned home and is still listed as missing.
Due to my years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, I also support those who have developmental and physical disabilities. One of my characters has suffered a spinal cord injury.
So what spurred that first book? And do tell about what’s out there for us to buy!
When my daughter entered middle school, I found my pen stirring again. I had continued to write poetry and learned to oil paint throughout my life. And after unearthing the last story I had started in high school, I headed to the library to start the historical research needed for the late 1866 period of my novel. But the winding road of writing prevailed. (Isn’t that always the way? That nagging have-to that isn’t satisfied until the words come out.)
And now. . .
These are my published historical fiction novels under my pen name, Lana Lynne:
Home Always Beckons: A New Sunrise (First Publication 2009; Second Edition 2018); Trails of Change: A New Sunset (First Publication 2010; Second Edition 2018); and Sunbeams at Twilight: A Life’s Echo (First Publication 2012-first printing 2012, second printing 2014, Second Edition 2018). A Compass of Stars in Her Eyes (First Publication 2018) is my newest historical fiction romance.
My first contemporary Christian novella is Whimsy Michaels and Her Amazing Room (First publication 2018).
Other writing credits include: A creative nonfiction novel, written with a coauthor: Life Between the Letters: The Chuck and Mary Felder Story (First Publication 2014) by Lana Lynne Higginbotham and Mary K. Felder. Unfortunately, this title is now unavailable due to the closing of my previous publisher. (Amazon, however, seems to have found copies. Pricey, but that’s a matter of perspective.)
Mary is now in her nineties. She is pleased with the people the story reached. The signings and public appearances/talks we made together following the book’s release satisfied her. The book received all five star reviews while available.
In the arena of non-fiction, I am delighted to be part of the new collaboration release: Make Your Mark: Writing Tips from the authors of Winged Publications (2018).
Take us through your writing your process.
The characters come to me first. It’s like their names are whispered in my ears. The story premise soon follows and then the research process starts. I love going down that rabbit hole and the many tunnels of libraries, historical societies, newspaper archives, vintage bookstores, and internet searches. The last—internet research—is my least favorite. I’d rather visit the places and research the history of the cities, states, and surrounding areas in person. You don’t know the air, the smells, or people until you do. I’ve written from an outline and also without one, letting the story unfold on its own. Both have merits, but each story is different.
Whimsy Michaels and Her Amazing Room is my only novella. This contemporary story took me by surprise. I could feel the Lord’s leading on every page.
What has your writing journey taught you about yourself? I am a patriotic American girl with deep roots. God, family, and Country are my core. (Amen!)
What would you like other women to know/learn?
What’s next on your horizon?
My current WIP is set in the late 1930s and 1940s. It is a fictional story based on some of a family member’s real childhood escapades.(The family member wishes to remain anonymous.) I love Mark Twain’s adventure stories. I hope to honor this story-style. Due to burning the candle at both ends, I’ve taken a short break to care for family and myself. So, finishing it has slowed a bit. My critique group members were enjoying it, but understood when I took a break.
My husband and I continue to work. I am a SLP at an outpatient pediatric clinic. He teaches high school speech/theater/radio and also acts in the professional Texas Shakespeare Festival during the summers. We love time with our granddaughter and our second grandchild is due in June.
What would you recommend to new writers/established writers?
Don’t try to write like everyone else. You do need the input from critique groups, writing groups, conferences, and editors to hone your craft, but keep your individual voice. No one else can write your story the way you do.
Where can reader’s best connect with you? Social media, etc.
I am on FB-personal page and an author’s page, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon Author page, and Pinterest. (Translated: Lana is EVERYWHERE ;^)
Check out my website: http://www.lanalynne.com for links to my social media pages and other information about my books.
So there you have it. Another sit-down to tuck away and review whenever the writing journey gets you down. Thank YOU, Lana. And thank you readers. Don’t forget Lana’s sweet spirit-fused romances that will fuel your creative muse when she needs a rest. (What’s summer without a great books?)