Southern Writer Spotlight: Lynn Cahoon
Name: Lynn Cahoon
Book(s): "A Medium Fate"
Hometown: Boise, Idaho originally but now, Del Rio, Tennessee. We are on the edge of the Cherokee Forest.
Gives us a brief description of your book(s).
"A Medium Fate" is the first book in a four-book novella series – A Haunted Life.
I see ghosts, but I do my best to ignore them.
When Eddie Casey returned home to New Orleans from her carefully built Seattle life, it’s not just for her grandmother’s funeral. She’s home to stay. More to the point, now that she’s broken it off with the almost fiancé and quit her corporate junior designer position over one too many trainings on how to run a copier, she has no reason to return to the Northwest.
With the money she’ll receive in her inheritance, she can finally open the antique store she’s always dreamed of – that as long as her ability to see ghosts stays dormant. In Seattle, her gift had dwindled down to seeing the occasional ghost during her morning runs in her Queen Anne neighborhood. But here? New Orleans is filled with the visitors, as her grandmother always called them. And now, they are finding Eddie and want to chat. Especially about the murder.
Can Eddi carve out a real life here among the spirit world?
I also write The Tourist Trap series, The Cat Latimer series (a writers’ retreat), The Farm to Fork series, and starting this year, The Survivors’ Book Club series, set in Sedona, Arizona, where a breast cancer survivor opens a bookstore and starts a book club that turns into a sleuthing club.
What brought you to write these stories?
I started writing seriously when I got divorced in my 40s and took classes in the MFA program. It was a great way to get the stories out of my head and onto paper. Then I put the writing away when I started dating my current husband. Fast forward six years and I went through breast cancer. As I was contemplating my future (or lack of it), I realized that being a writer was important to me. I started writing again. I sold three essays that year. But it took until 2012 and a lot of writing and learning before I sold my first novel ("The Bull Rider’s Brother" by Lynn Collins). After that, it started snowballing and in 2013 I sold the first of my cozy mystery series — three books for the Tourist Trap series that was released in 2014. Now I have four current series and will be releasing a fifth in 2022.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I’m never short of ideas. I describe being a writer as being a magpie. We pick up bits and pieces here and there, names, plot lines, mysteries, objects, settings – then at some point, they mix together into a story. Or a start of a story since I’m a gardener.
Where dothe stories take place?
How does setting play in the telling of the story?
Setting is why this story exists. I was visiting New Orleans for a writers’ conference several years ago and stayed on Royal Street. I fell in love with the antique shops they have there and wanted to work at or own one. Which is how a lot of my stories start. What job would I loved to have???
What do you think makes a good story/book?
Characters that are realistic and you can see yourself in their actions. I love stories that end if not happy, at least positive.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I started reviewing college programs. None of them said ‘author’ as an end goal. There was English or Journalism. I’m pretty practical and even then I thought, if I’m spending all this money on school, I want a degree that could get me a job. When I divorced, I found the MFA programs and realized I could be an author.
When did you write your first book? And how was that experience?
I started a lot of books after taking that leap into the MFA program (which I didn’t finish), but the first book I finished was a Seattle set dating after divorce romance. I didn’t sell that one, but I did sell The Bull Rider’s Brother and that was the start of my career.
Is writing your primary job or do you have another career?
As of March 4, 2022, writing is my primary job. Cue the bands!
What does your family think of your writing?
After I started making money at it, my husband became really supportive of my writing. LOL He treats it as a job (as I do) but my relatives are very excited to have a ‘writer’ in the family.
What was the most surprising thing you have learned writing your stories?
How much it is like a job. You have a deadline – even if you don’t feel the urge to write. You have people commenting on and reviewing your work. And it’s a joint endeavor, especially if you sell to a traditional publisher. You have that same involvement when you self-publish, but then ALL the decisions, good or bad, fall on your shoulders.
Did writing your book(s) lead you to other things?
More travel. I enjoy seeing new places and imagining what it would be like to live there.
What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
Write a book. A full book. Then a second one. Then learn all you can about the business. There’s a lot of work to make actual money in the business, but if you treat the writing as a business where you continue to learn and grow, you can be successful.
How can readers find and purchase your books?
The easiest way to find me (and a list of my books) is at www.lynncahoon.com.
The Haunted Life series will be published on Amazon first, then go wide. You can find the first book, "A Medium Fate," here.