We had the good fortune of connecting with Kariss Lynch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kariss, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Many times over the years (and often multiple times in one day), I have contemplated what it would look like to give up writing books. The process is challenging! To write a well crafted book requires an original idea, strategy, character building (which requires knowing and understanding personalities and and natural bents of people in different circumstances), editing, marketing, a lot of vulnerability, and so much more. Most importantly, it requires time and pieces of yourself spilled onto the pages. It would be so much easier to give up, to say yes to dinners and rest and a little more simplicity. But then I think through what I would actually be giving up. I would be giving up the opportunity to create in a way that allows people to step into a different world. I would be giving up connection with readers all over the world. I would be giving up utilizing God-given dreams and talents. Only I can write the stories on my mind and heart. And so I press on. I figure out how to make this journey work for me, my family, my energy levels, and my schedule. And I keep going.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My first book, Shaken, hit the market in 2014. I didn’t set out to write a book. I was a short story writer. But the more I learned, the more the story grew. In 2015, it became two more books, Shadowed and Surrendered. Since then, the books have been rebranded and rereleased and a fourth joined the ranks in 2020, Heart’s Cry. I love the heart behind these books the most. My books are all centered around characters who have big dreams, bold hearts, and enduring hope. I think hope should mark stories. Life is challenging. It isn’t easy. And my characters shouldn’t have it easy either, but we all need to know and taste the possibility of hope. My series is also centered around a team of Navy SEALs. While the Heart of a Warrior theme might seem to apply to them, I actually intended for it to apply to my heroine the most. I want every reader to know and understand that they aren’t defined by their circumstances or their profession. Courage and kindness and growth are all marks of a person who has a warrior’s heart. These stories were challenging to write. In fact, Heart’s Cry was written during a season where I lost several family members within the span of months. The first drafts of that story were healing for me. But those drafts will never see the light of day. The last draft, the one that is now wrapped in a beautiful cover and available for whomever would read it, that story was written by a girl who wrestled and overcame. And I think the reader will see that trait in my characters, as well. And fun fact: that story is actually set in Dallas with some fun and familiar landmarks for locals to discover. As readers dive into the Heart of a Warrior and Heart of a Lion series, I want them to know that even when life is hard, it can be an adventure. We can choose to grow. And I hope they discover a God who never leaves and never wavers as they flip through the pages.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In no particular order, and because I am a loose planner who likes to leave room to go where the adventure takes us, I would take a guest to Dallas on a little tour of some of my favorite areas of the city: We would hit up White Rock Coffee and then go for a walk around the lake. One day we would head down to downtown Dallas, eat at Carmine’s Pizza (they have some of the best calzones in my opinion), and then hit up the Art Museum and Clyde Warren Park. A trip to Eataly for dinner and a little shopping would be a must. A Stars, Mavs, or Rangers game might be a possibility depending on the season. And of course, you can’t miss a trip down to the Bishop Arts District for brunch, coffee, shopping, and just people-watching.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I could not navigate any of this book journey without an incredible team of family and friends. My husband only came on the scene about two years ago, but he has made it a point to read every story and be available to talk through each element when I get stuck or just need a sounding board or a little encouragement. My parents and siblings and their spouses have been my number one cheerleaders since this journey began. My extended family continually cheers me on and shares these stories with their communities, and my husband’s family has joined the team, too. My friends are incredible. They have been my early readers, my editors, my cheerleaders, and critics. They help make my stories better. Books are never just the work of the author. They are crafted and created with the support of a whole community. And these people are the best!
Other: Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/karisslynch
Headshot image credit: Andrea Bradshaw Photography