I’d like to welcome debut author Lynne Tagawa. In the next four weeks we’ll learn about Lynne and her novel.
Lynne, tell us about yourself. How did you begin the journey to writing and publication?
My sister was always the writer in the family. In ninth grade, she wrote an essay entitled, “How to Make Toast,” which amazed me. She made an ordinary process sound fascinating.
I could carve out a class paper just fine. I was the nerdy type, and wrote nerdy stuff well. My twelfth grade research paper tackled the physics of the production of sound in the flute, the instrument I played in band. But the literary types in high school seemed a bit odd to me.
Fast forward to married with kids. I was now a secondary science teacher in a small Christian school. Our principal wanted my opinion on a possible textbook for Texas History. I’d never taught social studies or history, but it was clear that the book was boring. Then I started reading primary source materials, and long story short, Sam Houston’s Republic was born.
Now, people consider me a writer. That label still feels misplaced, as if I’m playing a part or wearing a mask. But one night, I was unable to sleep and started imagining a fictional storyline. People say to “write what you know.” Well, I’m a biology teacher in South Texas, so the story in my head was about a rogue virus in my neighborhood. It took a while to write, though. My rough draft was rough. Knowing grammar and spelling doesn’t prepare you for the subtle rules of fiction.
My husband encouraged me by setting a deadline, which I met a week late. That was a year ago. I’ve spent an entire year on and off editing A Twisted Strand. Having critique partners at ACFW really helped. In fact, I feel as though I’ve been through a year’s worth of college-level writing classes.
A Twisted Strand isn’t perfect. I’m sure it’s clunky in places yet. But I’m releasing my baby, knowing that I had a reason for writing that goes beyond the mechanics of writing, and I hope at least some of my readers will benefit as a result.