I'm so excited to share with you all an interview with an up and coming author, Robyn Lindsey. Robyn is a grief coach, so she has written several journaling books to help people cope with loss. She recently had her first fiction novel, Breaking Free, published. Breaking Free is about a woman who has built walls around here so high that no one can come in. Finally she realizes that when she dies, no one will be there to mourn her. Will she learn to let someone in?
The book is well written with a great story line. Robyn has a talent for bringing her characters to life, so the readers feels strong emotions during the story. If you're looking for a book that makes you stop and think, pick up a copy of Breaking Free on Amazon.
You are a very creative person. Besides writing, you are a photographer and have an Etsy shop. Have you always been creative?
When I was a young girl, my interests were many. My family owned a fireworks stand and I used to make fancy barrettes to sell in the fireworks stand. I also made many of my own skirts and tops after learning how to sew in home economics. I can't draw very well, but I used to draw fancy dresses and dream of making them. I think that yes, I've always been creative, and I've always been searching for ways to grow and express myself.
How did you get the idea for Breaking Free? Did it just come to you all at once, or did it take a long time to develop?
When I was 12, I was journaling about some pre-teen angst and wrote something about "will there be anyone to mourn me after I'm gone", not in a suicidal way, more like "I wonder if I've made any impact in anyone's life, or I wonder if I will in the future" and Breaking Free was born, the bare bones idea... then it was shelved for almost 30 years, and when I dove in to write it many details of it morphed and the story wrote itself. So yes, the concept came to me all at once, the details took more time, but details always do.
Can you tell me about your writing process? Do you dive in and write, or did you plan the book before you started writing?
I outline loosely. Meaning I write how it begins, then some details guiding the story, the middle, more details, and the ending. Then I dive in, often not referring to the outline very often. I refer to it when I feel like I've wandered off track in a bad way, and at those junctions: beginning, middle, and end.
In the book, Sam has built walls around herself so no one can get in to her life. Was it hard to write about her personal struggles?
It was difficult, but also extremely cathartic. Many of Sam's struggles were my own, but not all of them. She experiences some losses that I can't even imagine. In those cases, I researched all the details and dove in. I think the fact that I used a mixture of my experiences and research made it easier to let it all pour out.
Breaking Free raises MS awareness. Can you tell me about your experience with MS?
My mom was diagnosed with MS when I was 4. We moved from our home in Utah to her parent's house in South Texas. Mom, my two brothers, and myself. My two older sisters were both out of the house and stayed in Utah. We moved the summer before I started first grade and it was a whole lot of change for me. I cried almost daily in first grade because I just wanted to go home. By the time I was 9, my mom was bedridden. She had a feeding tube in her nose and a catheter draining her urine into a bag. I don't say that to be crude, just trying to tell you about my experiences. We had home health nurses who would come and take care of mom during the day, sponge bath, some of her feedings, catheter replacement, etc. One though, she didn't seem to want to do her job so she taught me how to change the catheter and I already knew how to do the tube feedings so I did that too. Being a 9 year old who could change her mom's catheter was one major way that MS affected me. Mom passed away when I was 14. Hers was the first funeral I had ever been to (Samantha's story in Breaking Free reflects my childhood) and her illness caused me to grow up much quicker than I would have otherwise. Mom's MS also made me want to go into caregiving, since all of the aspects of it came naturally to me. All through school, I wrote research papers on Multiple Sclerosis and have been educating myself about it my entire life.
Also, there was a time that I was mis-diagnosed with MS for 6 years. To be fair, I received the diagnosis and for several personal reasons, didn't get a second opinion for six years. Mis-diagnosis of MS is extremely rare, and given my family history and the slightly increased chances that an offspring has of having multiple sclerosis, I accepted it. So, in a sense, I lived with MS personally for six years, and came out the other side.
I've heard that you have a second book coming soon. Do you know when it will be published?
The sequel to Breaking Free should be out in the Fall and it will be titled Living Free. Samantha's story continues, and we get to see if her walls continue to crumble and how that will effect her life. Also, there is a third book in the works that will be completely different from the first two, but still about Sam. The third book will be a book of letters between Samantha and her best friend from high school, and it will let you into Sam's mind in a way that a novel won't allow.
Thank you so much for the questions and I'd love to answer any further ones that come up for you or any of your readers! Please follow me on social media to be kept abreast of future book releases (also in the works is another poetry anthology and a teen journal).