Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mike Lynch, Love's Second Chance

AUTHOR:  Mike Lynch
BOOK TITLE:  Love’s Second Chance
PUBLISHER:  Ellechor Publishing

Tell me a little about your book.
All of us go through the pain of rejection, and react to it in different ways. In Dana Rogers’ case, she leaves New York City after the tragic death of her fiancé and moves to Fairhaven, a small town in Connecticut, in order to forget her problems. There she has caught the eye of Evan Johnson, a successful real estate agent and kindred spirit to Dana. But because of the pain in her heart, she can’t see it. Dana buries herself in her work, but Evan’s persistence pays off, and begins to break through her hardened shell. Everything gets thrown into chaos when the church she works at burns down in a fire, which threatens to undo everything Dana has worked to save, including the first sparks of a relationship with Evan.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I have wanted to write a novel about what life is like for those who work in a church for a long time. Many things go on behind the scenes most members of the congregation don't realize. This is also my first foray into the romance genre, and thought this would be the best way to approach this story. As an author, I have found that the most satisfying stories are ones where the reader really gets to know the characters. If I hope to improve as a writer, I thought it important to create a story that is primarily character-driven. That, in my mind, is what romance-themed books are all about.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Definitely part-time. Like most authors, we have day jobs because the number of books sold are not enough to earn a living as a full-time writer.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I think writers are born that way. I know that's true in my case since I had little interest in books or reading growing up. My interest was more in the area of movies and television. Since I'm a visual learner, that would make a lot of sense. As someone who enjoys stories, I found myself writing short stories for my own enjoyment from my earliest memories. I never had any intention of getting them published, but I believe we are all born with God-given gifts, imbedded into our personalities for the benefit of others. Shortly after high school, I suddenly had the idea I could write a novel. That was truly a surprise for me, given my background, but thought I would give it a shot. It was a science fiction story based upon the premise 1000 alien ships were headed toward Earth for the sole purpose of destroying it. With that simple idea, I spent the next several months fleshing it out. As you can imagine, it was pretty bad, and worked on it off and on for the next 28 years, honing down the story until it was in publishable shape. My perseverance paid off, and I eventually found a publisher for When the Sky Fell in 2009.  

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
It’s different for each story. In the case of Love’s Second Chance, there are two experiences I want each reader to walk away with.  The primary one is that I have written a good story that will hold a person's interest from start to finish. I believe LSC is an engaging story, with three-dimensional characters readers will care about as they navigate the different turn of events throughout the story. This book is squarely targeted at women, with relationships between the different characters being at the core of the story. Women enjoy the relationships they have in their lives, and the same goes for characters they get to know in stories. They root for them to get together, and hope they will have happy lives when they do. That is what LSC is about.

The secondary experience I want people to walk away with is the importance church plays in a person's life. In LSC, the reader sees how the spiritual health of New Covenant Church has a direct impact on the town of Fairhaven. Making a direct connection in the story to the Book of Habakkuk in the Bible, God's blessings are withheld when the town's people put themselves and other things before Him. When the people decide to put God first in their lives again, His blessings return.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I actually don't stick to one genre of writing, which I know is a big no-no for writers, but I cannot help myself. I've written stories that are based in science fiction, fantasy, historical, adventure, and romance. I'm your proverbial Jack of all trades, but master of none. I guess the reason for this is that I think of a story first, and then decide what is the best genre it should be told. What works for one doesn’t work for another. It is always my desire to have my stories touch people, and I ask myself what is the best way I can do this. Which genre I choose largely determines this. If I want action, I go the thriller or sci-fi route. If the story needs to be more character-driven, then I go more in the romance direction. It’s as simple as that for me.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
I would think most writers wished they had more time to write. As I talked about in a previous question, most writers work, which means they are allotted nights, weekends and holidays to do their writing. In my case, it’s not time, but sales of books. I have been fortunate enough to publish five novels in the past five years, for which I am extremely grateful. The problem for me is selling those same books. I knew this would be the difficult part when I first decided to become an author. On an average year, over 200,000 books are published. That’s a lot of competition, and it takes a great deal of work to set your book apart from all the others. That means doing interviews, book signings, author events, speaking engagements, writers conferences, and the like. The reward for me is when someone tells me they enjoyed my story. That’s why I got into writing in the first place.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
There’s nothing in the story that actually happened to me, however, my wife graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 1987, and worked in restaurants for years. It is not a stretch to say she loves food. She also has a passion for gardening, which she does regularly. Those are two character traits shared by a lot of people, and so I decided to include them in the story, such as interests for several characters in the story, along with a plot point or two.

How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
The main protagonist in the story is Dana Rogers, and I would say the two of us are very similar people. She tends to be an introvert, as I am. And as such, we prefer to spend our time in solitude than with other people. We both take great pride in our work, and have a mutual love of history. I think Dana is a little braver than I am, however. When the church she works at realizes there has been a steady drop in attendance, she is given the job of reaching out to the townspeople in an effort to woo them back. Despite her misgivings, Dana agrees to do this. Me, I think I would be less enthusiastic. I am not a confrontational person by nature, and don’t like to point out areas in people’s lives that are lacking in some way. She also has a love of food I don’t. I basically eat to live. She lives to eat.

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Since I generally create most of the elements in my stories from my imagination, I don’t do too much research. If, however, I touch upon a fact or actual event, or something the reader would know to be true about a person or place, then I usually go on the Internet, get the information I need, and include it in the story. The rest I make up.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Yes, they do. I have been a Christian for over 30 years, and I would much rather focus on what builds us up, not tears us down. With that said, I do touch upon the darker sides of characters as the story warrants. That is what is required of me as a writer. If I wrote only about us getting along, without any obstacles for the characters to overcome, that would be a really boring story, I have found the best way to handle violent or sexual moments is to I hint at them rather than explicitly describe them. In the end, I believe it makes for a more powerful story this way. What we imagine is usually far more intense than what I can put on the page. It’s like the old adage—less is more.

What about your book makes it special?
I believe every book I write is special. The same goes for all the other books you find in bookstores and libraries. An author had a story to tell, which is different from any other story ever told. The character you’re introduced to is not quite like any other character ever written, nor will there ever be in the future. That is what books worth reading.

What is your marketing plan?
Like any hopeful author, I tell everyone who will listen to me about my books. That has meant attending conventions, book signings, sending e-mails to friends and family, not to mention getting to know people with similar interests on websites, and doing radio interviews. It takes a lot of work getting the word out about one’s book, much more than I expected, so I appreciate the opportunity you've given me to share my stories with your audience.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
The best place to learn about me and the stories I’ve written is on my website:

Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
This may sound like a cliché, but it all comes down to good writing. Every story needs memorable characters you can connect with, and a story that is engaging. That is what hooks agents, publishers and readers. You can have the best reputation in the world, but if the story’s no good, then it won’t be published. It’s as plain as that. I also realize that every hopeful author is competing against every other hopeful author out there. You can have a story that’s really good, but if a publisher is looking at ten other books that are just as good, probably only one with be chosen. They only have so many slots open, and a lot of quality work gets rejected. It’s just the way it is. The trick is to find any way to get your work published. That can be newspaper articles, short stories, magazine articles, whatever you can do that will add to your writing resume. Be creative.  The more you set yourself apart from other authors, the easier it will be for you to get your story published.

What’s in the future for you?
I recently finished my next novel, a sci-fi story entitled, After the Sky Fell. It is a sequel to my first novel, which has been a long time coming. The publisher hasn’t indicated when it will be coming out yet, so I will have to keep you posted. I’ve been talking with another writer I know the past few months about a collaborative effort for another novel. This one will also be a sci-fi story, one we’re both very excited about. He and I have worked primarily with small publishers, which has been a good experience for us, but we’re ready to reach a wider audience. The best way to make that happen is working with a big name publisher, and our hope is that this story gets us launched on the national stage.


Everyone deserves a second chance in life, no matter how unlikely. Dana Rogers learns this powerful truth while she serves as the pastor's assistant at New Covenant Church, the center of community life in the town of Fairhaven for the past two hundred years. There she has caught the eye of Evan Johnson, a successful real estate agent and kindred spirit. But the tragic death of her fiance has wounded her so deeply she has vowed never to love another man again, including Evan.

A steady decline in church attendance in recent months has become a source of concern for Dana, which if not stopped she fears could have an adverse affect on the town. Despite Dana’s strong objections, Evan helps her work through the pain of her loss, developing a relationship with her neither of them thought possible. In a stunning turn of events, New Covenant Church suffers a devastating setback, one that threatens to undo everything Dana has worked to save, including the first sparks of a relationship with Evan.

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