This week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing T. Lynn Adams, author of Lair Of The Serpent. T. Lynn is a fantastic author and a friend of mine. I loved getting to know her better through this interview, and I am so amazed with all her adventures in writing (that sounds familiar). She's had so many exciting life experiences that led her into writing, and her novel has even been optioned for a movie! Enjoy the interview and excerpt from Lair of The Serpent!
I've always written for my own pleasure but I started my paid career when I was fifteen. I walked into a newspaper office, told the editor I would like to see a series of articles written on a certain subject and he challenged me to write them. I did, he paid me and ran that series and that started my career as a writer.
Your book was optioned by Hollywood, tell us about that exciting experience!
That was exciting. Hollywood producer Kevin Buxbaum saw an article about my first book, Tombs of Terror. The article intrigued him so he ordered the book and read. He loved it enough to track me down himself and option the movie rights. He is best known for the Academy Award-winning Life of Pi and Avatar. It's been fun to visit with him about the process of turning a book into a movie. We've also shared some ideas for an entirely different movie concept and that has been exciting, too.
What’s your ideal movie cast for your novel?
Everyone asks me that but I really don't have any ideas. I've worked with editors for so many years that I absolutely trust the ideas of others and I feel that same way about Kevin Buxbaum.
What else are you working on right now?
I'm working on a great new YA series that blends fantasy and reality in a way I've never seen before. It requires intense research to make sure everything is accurate. Accuracy is important to me. So far the beta readers are loving it and I love the way it really digs into a world that is hidden all around us. How was Lair Of The Serpent influenced by your time spent in Peru? The orphan Chey is a composite of the many street orphans I knew in Peru. I am gratified that so many readers connect with Chey. If they every come across a street orphan in their life I want them to see a Chey-like potential in every one and do their best to help.
What advice would you give for aspiring writers?
Write what you love. Weave your passions into your writing. It makes it easier to write and your readers will feel the emotion that you've invested.
You are the editor for a regional agriculture newspaper, how has that influenced your writing?
A lot! After spending hours each day writing articles for them I sometimes don't feel like I want or should spent more time writing on my own projects. It's a balance between work and family and passions that so many writers face.
When do you like to write?
As my family knows, I could write 24/7. I love to write.
Favorite snack while you write?
I don't snack when I'm writing but I do like to keep a glass of ice water nearby. Add some sliced fruit to the water and I'm in heaven.
You have a big family, how have they influenced your writing?
My husband is my go-to expert for anything outdoors. My teenagers are brutally honest about what works and what does, even about the dialogue; and my younger children always keep me coming up with new bedtimes stories that I'd like to illustrate and sell one day.
Would you be willing to share an excerpt with us from Lair Of The Serpent?
You bet. Here is an excerpt with Chey and Jonathon the first morning after Delia has been kidnapped.
Excerpt from Lair of the Serpent
by T. Lynn Adams
He left the room and made his way down the hallway to the staircase. This time, instead of going down, he followed them up to the rooftop. There, in a corner of the roof and away from everyone, he sagged to the dirty cement, his body braced against the retaining wall. Slow and anguished, he drew up his legs, his knees bent. “Oh, Delia,” he moaned. “Why did this happen? Where are you?”
Unable to answer either question, his hands locked behind his head and his forearms pressed against his temples. He doubled over and tried to stop the trembling in his stomach, tried to retain control.
But the questions haunted him with increasing resonance until he could only cry out his frustration and let tears roll down his face. Rage, helplessness, and sorrow unlike any he had ever before experienced ﬂowed out of him as he rocked on the roof beneath the Cambodian dawn.
He did not hear movement across the cement, only saw the dirty feet surrounded by sandals made from discarded tires.
“I sad for Delia too.”
Startled and embarrassed, Jonathon pushed away the tears and looked toward the voice and the sunrise. “What are you doing here, Chey? How did you get up here?”
The orphan pointed toward the wall. “I climbed.”
“Last night. Good to sleep here and not on street.” Chey crouched down in front of Jonathon. “My maè, my mother, said tears always mean good heart. Bad hearts no have tears.”
Jonathon clenched his jaw. “Right now tears mean a broken heart.”
“Good hearts get broken sometimes.”
The teenager wiped his upper lip, trying to stay in control. Still watching, Chey ventured forward. “Delia liked letters you send. I saw her here, reading them many times after work.”
The announcement made Jonathon breathe out an exclamation of hurt, and he pushed to his feet. “I have to go.”
“Go where?” Chey straightened, moving after him.
“I don’t know. I just have to go . . . run . . . somewhere, anywhere.”
Ready to follow him, Chey descended the stairwell a step behind the American. “I run too.”
Not able to argue, not wanting to think, Jonathon did not protest. As he exited onto the street, he pushed his broken body to move and forced it to run. He would concentrate on the pain, relish every biting step, because it would drive away everything else that hurt worse.
But it didn’t work. Silent tears still wet his face in the cool morning.
Chey ran in silence beside him, his rubber sandals slapping the earth beside Jonathon’s shoes.