Southern-kissed historical romance is Debbie Lynne Costello’s genre of choice. Her favorite setting is the romantic city of Charleston, South Carolina. Debbie Lynne is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray.
Clover, South Carolina is the small town Debbie Lynne calls home. She and her husband have four children, two shelties, a cat, a miniature donkey, and an Arabian horse. She is finding out how wonderful it is to be a grandparent with the birth of their first grandbaby. Debbie Lynne studied journalism in college before choosing to become a wife and a stay-at-home mom.
Two things Debbie Lynne gave up shortly before starting her writing career were coaching cheerleading, and showing Shetland Sheepdogs. She still enjoys going to and judging cheerleading competitions. Although she isn’t showing shelties anymore, she has a litter due in February and thoroughly enjoys playing with the puppies. One of her favorite things to do is load up the fifth wheel and go camping at the beach with their boys. She reads while they fish. Debbie Lynne might write southern historical, but if you step into her house you would guess she writes westerns. She loves the modern conveniences but likes to surround herself with pieces of the past from the Old West.
Debbie Lynne’s Journey Begins
•When did your love of romance compel you to start your first story? Did you give in right away, or were you hesitant to put down those first words?
Three years ago this coming March I wrote the first words of my story. It depends on what you call right away. I’d been homeschooling for seven years and my boys were older and didn’t need near the help they did when they were younger, but I had to stay in the schoolroom with them to keep them on track. My husband suggested I write a book. I mulled it over for about a week and then sat down at my computer and started. Four months later I had my first 117,000 word manuscript finished.
•You’ve written three historical romances in three years, which is a great accomplishment. Why did you gravitate to the historical genre?
It was just natural for me. I loved to read historical romance. My library is proof of that. So when I started writing, the story that came to me was set in the past.
•You spent some time in college studying journalism. How has that experience enhanced your fiction writing?
I went to a Christian College and one of the things we had to write was an eye witness account of Lazarus being raised from the dead. If that doesn’t make you use your imagination nothing will!
Debbie Lynne’s High Points
•Since you’ve been writing three years, I’m sure there have been some memorable moments along the way. Please tell us about some of them.
One would have to be when I wrote the last word of my first manuscript. It was a sit back, wipe your brow, and say, “wow! I really did it” kind of moment. When I had started the story four months earlier I had no idea the doors that would open and the people I would meet.
Another has to do with one of those people I met during that time. I joined a crit group through the American Christian Fiction Writers. They connected you with 4 other people. Only one person of that group continued past two weeks. We became crit partners. But what is really neat is the way God hand chose us and put us together. Kathy Maher is not only my crit partner, but my best friend. Sometimes I think she understands my writing better than I do.
•One of your mountaintop experiences took place this past October when you received The Agent Call. How did your offer of representation come about? What was your response? Stunned silence? Tears? Incoherent babbling? Or did you startle the neighbors with your shouting?
I had stopped by our church to drop off some things for the church yard sale and couldn’t resist browsing through the tables. It had been a crazy busy day and my phone had rung off the hook. I was looking at baby things for the soon to come grandbaby when my phone rang again. I was thinking Oh my gosh people, give me a break! I debated on even answering it.
When I did, Tamela tells me who she is and that she’d like to send my manuscript out to such and such publishers. I was shocked and really couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say. She was so sweet and seemed to understand and did all the talking so I didn’t have to say much.
When she finished talking she asked me if I had any questions. I did. Just one. “Does this mean you are going to represent me?” Oh my goodness. Poor Tamela was probably questioning making the phone call. Once again she was very sweet and patient and said she’d like to. I walked out of church to do my happy dance. 🙂
Debbie Lynne: Fact Finder
•Since you write historicals, there are lots of details to nail down. Do you usually perform your research up front, or do you verify facts as-needed?
That depends. If my story is about a gentleman who owns a cotton farm then I do some research before I start. Then as I go along I’ll have questions about certain things and have to research some more. So I really do a little of both.
•What are some interesting facts you’ve discovered through your research? Have any of them found their way into your stories?
There are so many interesting things out there. I’m always finding something that grabs my attention. I’ve always heard people used to be shorter in medieval times. But that wasn’t always the case. Before the cities grew large and over crowded, there was plenty of food and people ate well. Sanitation wasn’t an issue. During this time men were an average of 6 foot tall.
Another interesting fact is that John Wycliff and his followers, the Lollards, preached salvation by grace and went from town to town in an effort of getting the gospel to the people. What’s so interesting about that is that this was in the 1300s, BEFORE the reformation.
Debbie Lynne: Promotion Pro
•You’re a strong believer in platform. What have you done to establish yours?
Yes, I’m a believer in a good platform. I started CROWN with my crit partner, a marketing group for authors of American historical. We promote each others’ work by networking, handing out bookmarks, blogging, FB, reviews, etc. I joined HEWN another marketing group. I started a Civilwar loop, again with my crit partner.
I’m a member of several loops and try to participate on them. It helps to get your name out there, and helping answer a question you know the answer to is a great way. I think most authors these days realize you have to have a Facebook presence.
I own a blog and do author interviews and book giveaways. The giveaways seem to be a bit controversial, but I will say my blog continues to grow in followers. I am also a member of a group blog that is debuting this month! I am super excited about this new blog. It’s for readers and we are kicking it off with a serial story written by all the authors of the blog.
Partners on Debbie Lynne’s Journey
•Who are the charter members of the Debbie Lynne Costello Fan Club, those wonderful people who happy dance with you when good things happen, lend a shoulder or an ear when the news is less than ideal, and give you a shove to get you going again when doubt or discouragement pay a visit?
I’ve had several wonderful ladies who helped me get started. The first person I met was MaryLu Tyndall. I was halfway through my first manuscript and I had just finished reading one of her pirate stories. She emailed me back, got me connected with ACFW and a great editor, Susan Loher. She answered all my newbie questions and looked over some of my writing. She is a great encourager and friend.
Again my crit partner, Kathy Maher. She catches all my crazy mistakes and lets me bounce ideas off her. She has become one of the best friends I’ve ever had.
Susan Loher who thought she was just taking an editing job and ended up taking on a teaching session. She has taught me more than ten books! I would not be where I am in writing without her. We both became grandmas at the same time, too!
Linore Burkard and Melanie Dickerson and I have become friends and prayer partners. They are always there to pray for me. And recently Laurie Alice Eakes became my mentor. She has blessed me in many ways. Not just her friendship but with her wise advice and showing me how to polish up my manuscripts. I would like to say that besides each of these ladies’ friendships I treasure the prayers they send up for me.
Debbie Lynne’s Journey Continues
•What are you working on at this point? Are any new characters begging you to tell their stories?
I’m finishing up my third manuscript now. I’m working on two different novella proposals. Oh my goodness yes! Rachel’s sister, Nellie is chomping at the bit to get into the spot light along with…hmmm maybe I’ll wait to tell you that.
Five Fun Questions for Debbie Lynne
•If your life were literally flashing before your eyes, what are three moments or scenes from your past that you would expect to stand out?
First and foremost the day of my salvation. Second would probably be one of the many times my husband has wrapped his arms around me to give me comfort. My third is pretty easy since I have four children so obviously I can’t say the birth of my child. So it would be when Tamela Hancock Murray called me and offered to represent me.
•If snow could fall in any flavor, which would you choose?
•What is your all-time favorite scene from a book or movie?
I loved the scene when Rhett Butler popped up from laying on the couch after Scarlett O’Hara poured her heart out to Ashley. I loved the twinkle in Rhett’s eyes and the fire in Scarlett’s. The fireworks were great!
•If I arranged for you to meet an author for lunch, who would you choose?
Wow that really is a hard question. So many great authors out there. I met several at ACFW conference this year, so that scratches out a few. I think I would have to choose Gilbert Morris.
I had been so busy with a husband, raising four children, building a house, coaching, showing dogs, etc. that I never had time to read. We were taking a 14 hour trip and I was driving and my daughter read me “The Sword of Truth” by Gilbert Morris. I fell in love with the time period, the setting, the characters and couldn’t wait to read the next book. He really brought me back to my love for books which eventually brought me back to my love of writing.
•Besides your real birthday, what is one other date on the calendar you think would have been a great day to be born?
I am super patriotic. So I think I would choose the fourth of July.
•If your husband were asked to describe you in three words, which would he choose? Would you pick the same words or different ones?
I cheated and asked him. He said Ambitious, Creative, Faithful
Those are fairly accurate words for me. I think I might be to the point of driven and that can sometimes be bad when you can’t put things aside until they are done.
Debbie Lynne’s Questions for You
I love book series. One of my all time favorites is by Gilbert Morris. The Wakefield Dynasty Series. Seven books. I’d like to know do you like series and what’s a good number? Is there ever a number that is just too many?
Debbie Lynne’s Drawing
Debbie Lynne has generously offered to give away a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Debbie Lynne by midnight February 7th (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)
On February 8th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)
Congratulations to Amanda, winner of the B&N gift card.
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Learn More About Debbie Lynne
Visit her website ~ Debbie Lynne Costello
Visit her personal blog ~ The Sword and Spirit
Visit her group blog ~ Belles and Buckskins
Friend her on Facebook ~ Debbie Lynne Costello