la·gniappe (lnyp, ln-yp) n.
Chiefly Southern Louisiana & Mississippi
1. A small gift presented by a storeowner to a customer with the customer's purchase.
2. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit.
I hope these entries give you a little something extra with posts about this southern gal living in the north, about writing, author interviews, new releases, and occasional photos from my photography sojourns.
Thanks for reading!
Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe
Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains
Monday, November 21, 2016
Fay Lamb - Everybody's Broken
Good Monday Morning Readers!
visits Lagniappe to discuss her latest release,
book 3 in the
Amazing Grace Series.
Tell us a little about Everybody’s Broken.
The walls have
ears … and voices. Voices that threaten …
Carmichael's husband, Beau, has been murdered. She begins to realize that the
man she loved was never who he seemed. Beau's secrets endanger Abra, their twin
sons, and everyone who loved him. When Abra's life and the lives of their boys
are threatened, she flees to Amazing Grace, North Carolina, and to Beau's
family--people she never knew existed until the day of Beau's funeral.
For six years
Shane Browne, an award-winning songwriter had both wished for and dreaded the
return of his cousin. Beau's departure from their small hometown left behind
his family and his inheritance, a grand Victorian with its legend of secret
passages, which lay empty. Empty until Abra moves to Amazing Grace, into the
house Beau willed to her only weeks before his death. Shane finds himself
deeply drawn to Abra and her sons, desiring a future with them and his
daughter. But the danger follows Abra to the peacefulness of the North Carolina
Abra and Shane
are both threatened, and Abra claims to hear noises deep within the walls of
the old home. Shane will do everything possible to keep Abra and her boys safe,
even if that means revealing secrets of his own that will completely shatter
Abra's already broken heart and destroy his relationship with everyone he
Most treasured possession?
A portrait of my grandmother when she was a small little girl with the most beautiful white hair.
Celeb you enjoy watching the most?
Hands down, Andrew Lee Potts. And now everyone asks, “Who?”
Celeb who annoys you the most?
Every host of The View.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. All writers should watch this movie to see how the elements of story are drawn together.
More important: Plot or Characters? Characters with great plots surrounding them.
Y’all or You Guys? Y’all
Grits or Hash Brown Potatoes? Grits
Plotter, Pantser, or Planser? Extreme Panster
Sweet Tea or Unsweetened Tea? Sweet Tea, more specifically from our local Moonlight Drive-In.
What were some of the
challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) you faced in
bringing this story to life?
The characters in Everybody’s
Broken were like naughty children. I spent most of my time trying to corral
them. They kept doing things that had me scratching my head, and they were
doing them behind my back. I had no idea what was going on, who was doing what.
Everything they did pointed toward a villain, and at one point that villain
stepped to the edge of the stage of my imagination and bellowed, “I’m not that
stupid. That’s not me doing those things. What? Do you think I’m going to
announce, ‘Hey, I’m the bad guy’?” After a terse discussion in which I admitted
I wondered if he was dumber than I actually thought he was, I had to agree with
him. I didn’t like him being right because he was blowing my plot to
That’s when, one by one, the other characters who knew what
was going on approached. “Psst … I did that. Here’s why.” Then another one
would say, “Yeah, sorry. That was me, but here’s what I want you to do with
it.” Then one stepped up and said, “Oh, by the way, the idiot over there. He’s
not the only villain in the story. You have another one.”
At that point, I began to tear out my hair. You see, I
really am pretty much a seat-of-the-pants writer, and no matter what we claim,
we’re not being honest with ourselves or with our readers if we try to pretend
that this mode of operation isn’t the hardest way to write a story. But often
the hardest way to do something turns out to be the most rewarding.
In the end, the twists and turns were complex, and when you
live in your storyland for as long as I had with this one (three years), you
can’t tell if everything makes sense to the reader. Obviously, and hopefully,
by the end of the story, the writer knows what’s going on, but we always wonder
if we covered all the bases with our plots and our twists. Does it smoothly connect
the reader from one point to another.
I had several wonderful beta readers, but one was
specifically asked to pick apart my plot. Kristen Hoegrefe did a great job, and
after a lot of hair pulling and at least five personal reads by me, my beta
readers’ advice, and the advice of my publisher, I was never so glad to let a
story go, and although I was afraid that the second villain was too obvious, I
am glad to report that my readers are telling me they didn’t catch on to him
despite the hints I left throughout the story. Thank You, Lord!
you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any
advice on how to deal with the bad?
I have to answer this one because it requires some honesty from
me. I do like to read my reviews. I could never claim that a bad review doesn’t
bother me, but I recently received a 5-star review for Everybody’s Broken that at first hurt me to the core. She mentioned
typos. I was undone, not by the reviewer but because of my nature. I work so
hard to hand my editor the best product I can, and as my long-winded answer
above shows, I worked really hard on editing this one. So did my beta readers
and my editor. I hurt so badly because I felt I let my readers down. I have an
excellent publisher, and I went diva on her and with grace and mercy she began
to review the story again, knowing I was almost catatonic in despair, and she
has corrected the errors.
Now for the rest of the story: That devastating 5-star review
was a blessing in disguise. As I pondered ending my career over typos, the Lord
gently showed me that I had come undone. Not because of a few typographical
errors in a book that has otherwise been perceived by readers as “excellent,”
including the reviewer who mentioned the errors. No, God had been calling me to
stop and to breathe for a long time. You see, even with the added burden of a
loved one with Alzheimer’s whose condition has worsened daily, I continued to
plug along every day trying to make life flow normally for everyone around me.
But keeping life normal for everyone else my life had daily become a four-stage
Groundhog Day: I woke up. I got what I could do done before the inevitable
mishap of the day; I handled the inevitable mishap—some easier than others, and
then I went to bed honestly hoping I wouldn’t wake up the next day to the same
thing. But I always did. My OCD makes me a consistent person. Dealing with
Alzheimer’s takes the consistency in your life away from you. There is no set
time to write or to edit or to clean house. I was already on shaky ground, and
I wasn’t willing to drop anything in my overloaded hands because I thought I
was helping people, or I had to keep the balls in the air … That review taught
me that I needed to let go of things in my life that were stealing my joy. I’m
glad God didn’t tell me writing was one of those things I needed to give up.
And just so the person who wrote that review knows, I love her tremendously.
She helped me greatly.
So, my thought on reviews, bad or otherwise, is this: I love to
see a good review, but I’m a woman. Catch me on a good day with a bad review,
and I can laugh it off; catch me on a terrible day, and I’ll beat myself up
over it. The advice I have given other writers, though, is that if you are
consistently getting bad reviews from good sources, perhaps you need to take
heed in much the same way you need to listen to your editor or your critique
partners. If you have great reviews from good resources and a few bad reviews
pop up, don’t think evil thoughts about the persons who gave you the bad reviews.
Here’s what I realized. A lot of 5-star reviews make readers believe they are
canned reviews. They don’t hold much weight. We love ‘em, yes, but readers
sometimes think we’re pulling a trick on them even if we aren’t. I never ask
for a review even though I love to get them because I want the readers to like
the story so much that they want to give me a review. If some bad reviews get
thrown into the mix, this isn’t the end of the world. What it has done is
create a curiosity factor for a potential reader. “Hmm … this reader says they
couldn’t put it down. This one gave it a less than glowing remarks. I’d like to
find out what I think of it.”
is the most awkward situation you've ever put your character(s) into?
I happen to love humorous situations. I don’t write them on
purpose. They always seem to come up when the characters are facing devastation
or danger. Everybody’s Broken has
several such moments from one character learning something that makes her cough
her coffee all over another character, to a “screaming” situation and a comment
about eight-legged creatures, to a usually suave attorney dressed in a chicken
suit that somehow reminded me and the heroine of the story how much God loves
us—without one word being sermonized.
can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
As I indicated, I have never asked a reader to give me a review.
I’m always delighted to receive them. A review is like a “thank you.” A short,
I enjoyed the story can mean so much to a writer, but readers may not know
this. The best promotion for a book doesn’t come from a publisher (so little of
that happens these days anyway). A review is a great promotion, but word of
mouth, telling someone, “I just read this awesome story, and you should buy it
and read it. You’ll love it, too …” If those words are honest and from the
heart, there is no amount of promotional dollars that can top a heart-felt,
“You need to read this one …” And let others purchase the book. Readers often
forget that writers, though they love what they do, deserve to be paid for a
well-written product. While I am always open to donating books to church
libraries, and I have given books away to readers I know simply couldn’t afford
the price of a book, sales are the one thing that show a writer’s value in this
market, and making this come full circle, those sales are gotten mostly by a
you give us a brief summary of your writing process from idea to holding a
published book or a download onto your eReader.
My imagination is a very populated place. Many characters live
there. While the characters do intermingle because they are personable, they have
their own stories. Right now, I have contracts. Everybody’s Broken was not supposed to be my newest release, but
the characters would not leave me alone. So, I do allow the characters to
direct me. I have to work on the contract work first, but the other characters
in the myriad of other tales try to interfere all the time.
To answer the question, though, I sit down at my computer and I
pour the story out. The story has been in my head for a long while. In fact, several
stories at a time might vie for my attention. I let my brain tell my fingers
where to go. That type of writing does get me in trouble, as noted with the
complexity of Everybody’s Broken but
it makes my writing life exciting for me. I will stop and read preceding
chapters once in a while, and I will realize, “Oh, this happened in chapter
four, I need to layer something about it here in chapter two. As I write, I
layer. Then when the story is complete, I spend a lot of time rereading and
continuing to layer to bring in the surprises. Sometimes it’s as simple as
learning the connection two characters might share. In Everybody’s Broken, I brought out one relationship that I hope
surprises the reader. I also like to layer for readers of the entire series
things that will have them saying, “Ah-ha” when they read while readers who
haven’t read the entire series will not miss the “ah-ha” moment at all, but if
they read another story, they will pick it up. All of the stories in the
Amazing Grace series center on the town and seasons of the town. Only one
character has a reoccurring role in each of the stories. Those who read the
series will have several “ah-ha” moments, especially as they come to the last
story in the series that tells the reoccurring character’s story through the
life of someone he loves more than life.
Writing for me would not be worth the challenge if I could not
surprise myself each day that I write.
What can we expect from you in the
I’m currently working on my next novel in The Ties that Bind
series, which is romance without the suspense. The next title is Hope. Hope was the antagonist of the
last story in the series, which was entitled, Libby. After Hope’s story is told, I get to write the story of one
of my favorite characters in that series, Judge Delilah. I’ve also almost
completed the last story in the Amazing Grace series, entitled Frozen Notes. After those arecompleted, I have several stories in
various stages of draft and revision that I look forward to writing.
Fay's question for readers:
What is the one technique an author might use that drives you crazy?