The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Missy Lyons, whose work ranges from sweet to erotic and who has several books published with multiple publishers. She also has several more projects in progress. One of those, Paris Bites, is for her Dark Secrets vampire series and is about a century old French vampire who encounters a thief on the streets of Paris. "I get to practice my rusty French in the book," she said.
Missy came from a family of storytellers, but said her father deserves the credit for her love of writing.
"As an avid reader and a writer himself," she explained, "he encouraged the love of the written word with me. Often taking me to the library and encouraging me to read beyond my reading level, pushing me to try something new and different. He writes inspirational screenplays now and I look up to him as a role model."
I asked Missy what inspired her to write her first book.
"I was just accepted to Nursing school and found the perfect part time job that would work with my schedule," she said. "I had the time and way too much energy. So I began to read and when I ran out of books to read, I began to write. It wasn’t long before I was hooked and after one year, I finished my first novel, Dragon Heat." Dragon Heat was published by Red Rose in 2008.
Before Missy starts to write a book, it already has a direction. She knows where she wants to end up when the story is finished. "There may be a few surprises in there, but I usually know what I want to write, I just need to make the time and write it down," she told me. "When I have writer’s bock, it’s not usually because I don’t know what to write. It’s because my characters might be facing something terribly traumatic and I don’t want to put them through it (or myself). The torture scene in Blood Ties was difficult for me to get past before I could really enjoy writing the story."
It's this same detail that makes for good writing. For Missy, one of the elements of good writing is seen in books that are emotionally compelling and filled with vivid details about the people and places.
"I like plots that contain unexpected twists and surprises that I can enjoy and not know how the characters might manage to escape," she said. "When I can predict what will happen next, I tend to get bored quickly."
I wondered which aspect of a book came first with Missy, the plot or the characters.
"For me, this changes with every book that I write," she told me. "Most of the time, I hear the characters in my head telling me about their story. That is when I have to begin to write it down. (Right now I have really cranky vampire slayer in my head complaining about his crappy car and wondering why the vampires get all the cool expensive cars.) Sometimes, I am trying to write for a specific line, like the heatsheets at Phaze. Within these books, I try to develop the storyline first and then decide on the characters that will make the best fit."
She tried writing on a schedule, but found that it didn't really work for her. She's a full time mommy and has found that what works best for her is carrying a notebook with her wherever she goes and writing as she's inspired.
"Then I type up the results as I have time, between making dinner and shufflign the kids off to school or other activities," she explained.
Having children around also influences the saying she uses a lot. Currently it's "Crackers!" "I'm trying to substitute simple sweet words for slang or swear words," she admitted.
On a personal note, her favorite animal is deer. "I feel they are absolutely beautiful to watch, and I am always excited to see them," she said. "Unless they are running in front of my minivan, trying to play suicide on the road. Then, I am not so happy."
Whether she is a morning person or a night person depends on how much caffeine she's had. "With the little one," she told me, "it seems I am both a night and a morning person. Since I was up to 1AM the other night and back up at 5 AM the next morning. Someday soon, I hope to sleep again."
Her favorite pizza is Hawaiian style (pepperoni and pineapple) and she can tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke. "Pepsi is much sweeter than Coke," she explained. "I didn't care which one I drank until I got married, but now I'm a Pepsi girl all the way."
"Do you like thunderstorms?" I asked.
"I love them! The beauty, the power and the sound of the rain is music for my soul. The desert rainstorms are my favorite kinds, where you only had to worry about flooding and lightning. Currently I live in Tennessee, and the tornados add a new element of danger to the storms that I am not sure I like."
She said she used to be able to multi-task, before she had kids. "Now I'm lucky to get one task done at a time," she said. "I am one of those nerdy people who always have to do lists and just keep going at it until I can check them all off. But, it works for me."
She laughed when I asked her if she could unwrap a Starburst with her tongue. "I am not that talented and just a little klutzy. I am the kind of girl that can fall just by standing up. Walks into poles, walls, and anything you stick in front of me. With or without my glasses. If I tried to do that, I would probably begin to choke and need CPR within minutes."
Finally, I asked Missy, "If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?"
"Hmm…this is difficult," she answered. "Perhaps, I should wish for my personal collection of muscle bound, shirtless slave boys who are dedicated to serve my every waking desire. Just kidding.
"Honestly, I have most everything I need or want. I would wish for a more perfect world, and my family’s health and happiness."
You can keep up with Missy on her blog, http://missylyons.blogspot.com