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Please welcome Lynn Romaine who has come to talk to us at Coffee Time Romance about her newly released suspense book Leave No Trace that is published by Wings ePress.

Now Lynn could you tell us about Leave No Trace and the inspiration behind it?

As some of you may know, Leave No Trace is romantic suspense with a background setting of ecoterrorism (terrorism based in a premise that the environment is being destroyed by particular types of activities, such as logging, and particular groups of people, such as those who make Hummers and SUV's). I live in a small town in southern Indiana where there have been ecoterrorist activities for the past ten years.  I had just begun writing RS fiction, and when reading the newspaper one morning, I got interested in how ecoterrorism could be woven into the story. Then, of course, like all writers, the lead character's problems in life are loosely based on my own character's problems in dealing with the world.

How long did it take you to write Leave No Trace and how long does it usually take you to write any book?

It only took four months for this book, I wrote it starting with one scene and then went back and wrote chronologically after that - the editing took another two months. My 2nd book took about the same - six months but I'm noticing that the entire process including getting the ideas is taking me closer to a year. I'm now at work my third book and have been writing a bit longer on it.

Do you plan on using any of the characters from Leave No Trace in any future books you write?

I like to use new characters each time, but someone who recently read my book suggested I write a sequel where I go back and follow up on the lead characters a couple of years later - perhaps ensnaring the female again in some undercover plot.

Do you have the characters plotted out or do they come to you as you write the book?

I spend a few writing sessions detailing the background of my lead characters so that they become real people to me -perhaps 3-4 pages of description of their history and behavior.  

Was there any research involved while you wrote Leave No Trace?

Yes. I went to the Ozarks are the book was set, spent a couple of days getting the feel of the people in small towns there, as well as photographing some of the areas for descriptive purposes in my book. I also called the Michigan Department of Natural Resources main office and spent an hour and a half talking with a woman who does firearms training for the DNR. She gave me a great deal of suggestions and advice as well as specifics about standard issue for the DNR firearms in my book. I also took a one day gun education course that included going to a firing range and firing the types of weapons used in my story.

When you start a new book, which comes first, the characters or the plot?

The plot comes first for me.  I see a scene actually and get interested in what's happening there. The characters seem to already be in the scene though, as if they just showed up there.

Is there a downside to your success?

As someone who has always labeled herself an introvert, I find it a little disconcerting that I'm being invited to speak at book clubs and libraries.  I don't think it's a downside, exactly, since my writing is pulling me out into the world and giving me what I secretly always wanted (and maybe most of us want this) - to be known in the world.  

What or who was the influence behind your starting to write?

I've always written nonfiction - essays, journals, even some academic writing. But a few years ago I mentioned to some friends that I have a secret fantasy life that's been around since I was five years old.  They urged me to write it down - the outcome being my 1st book.

What is the best and worst advice you’ve ever received?

Around writing, the worst advice is that it takes inborn talent and that it should be easy if you're meant to be a writer. The best advice is "Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing" - Bonnie Friedman.

Do you have any upcoming projects in the works at the moment, if so, could you tell us a bit about them?

My second book, also romantic suspense with an ecoterrorism theme, Blind Spot, is due out July of 2006. It's urban ecoterrorism, about a single mother, feminist bookstore owner who has a little girl being stalked.  She calls in the unsuspecting father, a bomb squad cop, to protect their daughter.  

My 3rd book, and work in progress, takes place in Nevada, is about a former ecoterrorist who has gone underground, hiding, for ten years. The FBI send the hero to catch her, which he does and they use her for bait to catch the group she was formerly involved with.  It's about intimacy and betrayal as well as reconciliation.

What do you think is your greatest achievement in writing?

Creating a game around writing and having it be fun - not being significant about it but just keep writing, and keep looking for ways to get it out into the world. I guess bottom line, it's finding what I'm passionate about in life - FINALLY! - after searching many years for something that lights me up.

What advice would you give to people who are just starting to write?

Just write - create a practice of it - like brushing your teeth. Make it a practice to sit down in front for a certain amount of time each day - no matter what comes in the way - even if it's a 10 minute practice - and write something, anything. Start with what you love - a scene, a story, a character - anything that inspires you and just write. The only thing that can happen is that you'll keep getting better at it!

I would like to thank you Lynn for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit us at Coffee Time Romance and for giving me your answers to my questions. All the best from us here at Coffee Time Romance on your upcoming endeavors.

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