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Interview with Lacy Williams

By day, Lacy Williams is a stay-at-home mom battling dirty diapers and dog-hair dust-bunnies. By night, she is a novelist whose books have finaled in the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards (twice), the Booksellers' Best (BBA) and the Golden Quill. She recently signed another 4-book contract to continue the Wyoming Legacy series, which starts with Roping the Wrangler.

Being an Oklahoma native, Lacy, I am sure you’ve been immersed in quite some unique history. How has your upbringing influenced the historical time periods that you write about? Why have you chosen to write within them? And what was your inspiration for your latest novel, Roping the Wrangler?
I grew up on a farm, which allowed my imagination to run a little wild. When you're reading Little House on the Prairie on a picnic blanket in the middle of a field of wildflowers, it is much easier to believe that you're right there with Laura!

I was drawn to Inspirational fiction through the Love Comes Softly books by Janette Oke, which started my love of historical romance. Also, my dad used to read Louis L'Amour books to my siblings and me at bedtime, so I think Westerns are in my blood!

The idea for Roping the Wrangler started when my editor suggested the series (a spin-off of my 2012 novel The Homesteader's Sweetheart). The Wyoming Legacy series features a bunch of adopted brothers who have banded together to make a "family by choice". Growing up without a real mother figure (until most were in their teens), they have a lot to learn about women! It has been fun to write about these clueless cowboys.

You sold your first book, Marrying Miss Marshal, out of your involvement in the ACFW Genesis contest. Contest entries can be daunting for unpublished writers. What advice would you give those who are hesitant to enter?
When I first began entering contests, I was a little overconfident of my abilities. Those first few sets of scores were a definite reality check! I worked my craft and finally on my third year of entering the Genesis, I finaled and won my category. My advice to those who want to enter is, think of it like getting critiques from writers further along in their career than you. Look at the comments the judges make and improve your writing--that's what I did, and it paid off.

How did the journey of writing your first novel begin? Was there a specific inspiration to do it?
My first novel (unfinished and in a desk drawer somewhere!) was inspired by an idea that I later discovered wasn't very unique. There are definite benefits to being a part of a writer's group like ACFW and listening to the market advice. When editors say, "we see too much of this kind of story" or "this kind of hero", it's time to listen. I worked on that novel for awhile as I learned craft techniques but ultimately moved on.

The inspiration to start writing with a serious intention of getting published was really God pushing me to do it after my husband and I graduated college. We didn't have kids at that time, and I knew there was no better time than that to start learning and trying, so I went for it.

From banking and accounting to writing fiction, how have you transitioned between these two diverse career fields? How difficult was it?
I consider banking my "get through college" job. I knew going into it that I didn't want it to be my career. Accounting was different. I liked my accounting classes in college and that led to my major and then first job as an auditor. I loved being an auditor because it was more about reviewing the numbers and thinking outside the box, and it also had a lot of writing required with the job. We also traveled to different businesses and locations, so that was perfect for my creative writing mind. I loved meeting new people and learning how their businesses worked--it definitely sparked many ideas!

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
We have three children under age four. Some days are a definite challenge just to get *any* writing time in. :) Right now, I'm really focused on not missing any of the little or big milestones in my kids' lives, so I consider writing a part-time career for myself. I don't have as much time to market or use social networking as I would like, but God has provided help and ways for me to write the books, so I am blessed to be able to do what I love even while the kids are small.

Through your homeschooling, do you think it played a hand in you wanting to become an author? Did you read a lot growing up?
Homeschooling was a blessing in that it taught me a lot about being self-motivated and keeping myself on task. I also loved the Literature and English classes and homeschooling allowed me the freedom to spend extra time studying these subjects. I read all the time growing up. We had a small town library and I would often check out six chapter books (the limit) one day, read them, and return the next day for six more. By the time I was 11, I had read every book in the children's section of the library. My husband often comments how fast I read, which helps when going through a revision of one of my drafts or critiquing for a partner.

If you could go back and give yourself advice about the publication journey, what would it be?
That we never stop learning. I thought I would get to be a published author and would know everything about writing. What a laugh! I've learned so much from my editor during these five books and also from continuing to read both novels and craft books. I think it is so important to make each book better than the last, and that's what I would tell myself earlier on in my career.

Being such a dog lover, have there been any special canine moments in your novels? If so, please tell us about your favorite one.
I have really tried to put some kind of animal in each of my books, but sometimes it just won't fit. BUT I'm really excited that my December 2013 book, Return of the Cowboy Doctor does have a little ornery, sweet mutt that I hope to bring into the series as it goes along. The dog brings the hero and heroine into an introduction scene (not the cute-meet but close) in the beginning of the book and also plays parts throughout, including right before the first kiss. I think dogs bring so much joy to our lives and just offer companionship sometimes when we're down and I was glad to be able to show that in this book (and future books, I hope!)

If you had to do a job that only men did back in the Marrying Miss Marshal time period, what would it be? Why?
Oh, goodness. I enjoy the outdoors but I'm not much for heavy lifting... so maybe an accountant or something like that. Maybe horse trainer. One of the things I have been the most thankful for during all my research for these books is living with modern conveniences like indoor bathrooms and air conditioning (especially when pregnant during the sweltering summer!), so I'm not sure I would do well actually living in the Wild West. But it's fun to write about.

Any parting words?
I'd like to let readers know that they can find Courted by a Cowboy, a novella that starts of the Wyoming Legacy series, free in ebook on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and most major e-tailers. It's a fun story about Sam Castlerock (heroine's brother from The Homesteader's Sweetheart) and how this cowboy-turned-banker finds out what's truly of worth--respect, or love?

Thanks for hosting me, I enjoyed it!

Thank you, Lacy!

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