Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our seventeenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Chris Ann Yim to ILRB! 😀
Marie Lavender: Hello, Chris. Please have a seat.
Author Chris Ann Yim: Hi, Marie!
Marie: Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Chris: I am a former history teacher turned military romance author. I LOVE writing in this genre. I have to say, the more I write the better I become. Reading and learning from other authors has been tremendously beneficial to me as well.
Marie: Wow, that’s awesome! 😀
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Chris: I am married to an Army veteran who treats me like a queen. He provides for our family, allowing me to write full-time from home. We were both only children and have an only child cat.
Marie: Wonderful! I have fur babies too. 😉
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Chris: I grew up in a suburban ranch home with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Dad added a second bathroom when I was in middle school, and we got central air when I was twelve. Harvest gold kitchen from 1969 with knotty pine cabinets. It was full of love, and there was an RV in the backyard. I wouldn’t trade my years there for anything.
Marie: Nice! 😉
Do you have any hobbies, Chris? What do you enjoy doing?
Chris: Writing used to be my hobby. Now that I write full time, photography has become my biggest hobby. I enjoy capturing the essence of Southern American culture, whether it be muggy sunsets, cornbread, or old cemetery headstones.
And what is your greatest dream?
Chris: At this point in my life, my greatest dream is to raise a healthy, well-adjusted family with the love of my life.
Marie: Sounds like a plan. 😀
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Chris: The one thing that I haven’t perfected is being patient. However, if I were still in my twenties, I’d tell you that I want to become the person that I am today. My thirties have been extremely enlightening. After finishing school, finding my husband, changing careers, and all of the other tedious steps that I took to get to age 31, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I just have to hone my craft of writing. I think that comes with time.
Marie: True. I wish I could be a little more patient as well.
So…who was your first love?
Chris: My father was my first love. He is a strong man who’s been seasoned by life’s many trials and experiences. He also has a love of muscle cars and America like I do. He has really affected my outlook on life, and I am very thankful.
Marie: Aww! ♥
With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Chris: When I broke up with my college boyfriend, after three and a half years of dating, I would have told you that it was the most terrible thing that ever happened to me. That was tragedy to my twenty-two year old brain. Two years later, when I got broken up with from my first G.I. Joe, I knew my life was over because he was my dream man. I know now that my life was just beginning.
I’ve lost a best friend. I’ve battled not being able to use a limb after major surgery. I’ve struggled with depression. My husband and I struggled with infertility. But, I feel like every ‘tough’ experience I’ve ever gone through has made me stronger. It’s forged my steel. I’ve gone through some rough times, but nothing screams ‘terrible.’ Thanks to the good Lord, I’m incredibly blessed.
Marie: Yikes, so many things! 😕
But what an incredibly inspiring outlook to have. How admirable! 😉
Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Chris: My dream growing up was to be a psychiatrist, but the Lord changed my path in the middle of organic chemistry lab, junior year of college. I know that it was divine intervention. Thinking about it now, I would still be in an incredible amount of debt from medical school, and I have a habit of shouldering people’s problems. My brain would be racked with worry because I honestly care too much.
So, when that didn’t pan out, my next dream was to be a history teacher. Did that. Then, I quit that profession to start a family and write novels. Working on that now. Bette Davis said it best, “Success only breeds a new goal.”
Marie: So true!
Well, let’s try something else…
Who is your role model, Chris?
Chris: All praise to my mother. She did it all; school, work, family, cooking, cleaning, helping others. She never cracked, either. At least, not in front of me. She is the strongest woman I know. If I even manage to somehow be half of the woman she is, I will have succeeded. She’s just that amazing.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Chris: I don’t think it’s possible to like everything about everyone. I have people that I completely dislike, but I pray for them…sometimes. I try to be nice. I know some people don’t like me. I don’t even like everything about myself. So, overall, no.
Marie: (Chuckles.) Okay.
Let’s do something different.
What is your deepest desire?
Chris: Unconditional love. Also, warm summer nights riding around in my Mustang. Drinking a chocolate malt. Listening to Junior Kimbrough with my man by my side. I’m not complicated in my desires. I value my Southland, my family, and my faith more than anything.
Marie: They sound like great goals to me! 😉
And what is your greatest fear?
Chris: Losing everything due to something unforeseen or uncontrollable. Losing my family or my home. I just have to keep on believing that won’t happen and be thankful because…I have it all. I truly have it all. And, I don’t mean that in a prideful way. I just know that the Lord has gotten me this far. He’s not going to forsake me now.
Let’s switch gears for a second.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.
Chris: If we can forgo practical things like shelter, showers, and basic food, I would NEED an air conditioner, a bible, a radio, and a full service BBQ restaurant. Sweet tea included…of course.
All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.
We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jackson Lee of Palmer Lake, Colorado. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Chris: Jackson is an engineering sergeant with the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group. He is a highly trained builder and demolitions expert. He grew up on a horse ranch outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and values the simple things in life like his team and his family.
And what are Jackson’s greatest strengths?
Chris: Jackson is great at solving problems and tackling just about anything that comes his way. He is also a good judge of character.
Marie: Any weaknesses?
Chris: Jackson gets in his own way sometimes. He lets his mind overthink what his heart needs.
Marie: (Nods.) I think a lot of people do that.
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are Jackson’s favorite foods?
Chris: He loves a rare steak and a good beer.
Marie: All right.
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Chris: Jackson has a way of making those around him feel safe. He is very intelligent, but sees himself as an ordinary guy.
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Chris: Readers will like Jackson more and more as the book progresses. He is a good-looking guy who doesn’t know it, and he gets slightly nervous when a woman takes an interest in him. He is innocently adorable, despite the fact that he works on a team of trained killers.
Now that we have a real taste of Jackson, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for Liaison in Lyudinovo?
For the heart of the story, I looked to my personal experiences. I adore Fort Carson, Colorado. I spent a considerable portion of my life there and know it like the back of my hand. That became my secondary setting. After meeting so many soldiers during my life, finding a team of guys to carry out the mission in the story was easy. They are a conglomerate of friends and acquaintances.
My heroine, Sam, was a completely new creation. She shares some qualities with me, but really has a lot of qualities that I’d like to have. It took a bit of research to create her.
It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Chris? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Chris: I’m both. I start out as a panster. I get an idea, run with it, and then plot along the way.
Marie: (Laughs.) That sounds like me! 😉
So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Liaison in Lyudinovo or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Chris: I wouldn’t do a thing differently. Writing is a process, and there is not one, single formula that can accurately tell all authors how to go about making their careers successful. Authors are all unique, and success is relative.
Writing the book was the first hurdle. Liaison is the third novel I’ve written. It took the writing of the first two to show me who my characters would be in this novel, now the first in the series. I got attached to the characters in my other novels and had to force myself to create new ones. Once I got rolling, I fell in love with these characters just as much. Point being, you have to write and write…and write some more to be able to find your niche.
Editing was the second hurdle. I can edit my manuscripts all day long, but quickly learned the value of a professional editor. The editing process was incredibly beneficial. It forced me to go back and rethink plotlines, deepen characters, and improve my writing skills.
Publishing was the third hurdle. I’d already pitched my first novel to an agent from L.A. That was only because he was at a writer’s conference that I attended. It’s not like he answered one of my 86 query letters that I sent all over the United States. He told me after one minute of me describing my southern book to him to get out of the south and travel the world. He said I should come back when I had lived more life. WHOO BOY. What he didn’t realize was that I already was a world traveler with three college degrees. I had lived all over the country, not just in the south. I was a woman of thirty years with a bevy of unique experiences under my belt that he couldn’t possibly comprehend. And, the book I was pitching was written about THE SOUTH. So, at first, I was mad. He didn’t know me. How could he say that to me? In my mother-in-law’s words, “Hasn’t he ever read Gone with the Wind or heard of Harper Lee?” Well, I was still bummed. HUGELY BUMMED. Was I missing something? Were my life experiences not adequate enough content for me to consider myself an author? I felt defeated. So, I almost gave up.
I thought traditional publishing was the only way to go because that’s what the agent told me. He quickly shot down mine and other author’s questions about self-publishing. Well, now that I think about it, that makes sense. He was in the traditional publishing world. But, I sat on that glorious, southern novel that I was so proud of, traveled the globe some more, then met some fantastic, supportive writers in my local community. TURNING POINT OF MY CAREER. You have to network and make friends. This is something that can be difficult for introverted writers. Some in the group were self-published authors and some were traditionally published, but they all told me to do what worked for me. So, I quickly realized, SELF-PUBLISHING IS A THING! And, not only that, it’s okay. I had been told my whole writing life that you had to have an agent, you had to have a New York publishing house behind you, and you had to do this ‘writing thing’ a certain way. NOT SO.
So, the moral of this story is, DO NOT get discouraged! The important thing to know as a writer is that you have to keep on writing, keep on reading, and keep on keeping on. True writers don’t write for the fame. They write with their hearts and souls about the things they love. If you hear back from a publisher, FANTASTIC. You’ve beat me at that game. If you don’t hear back, you CAN do it on your own. If you need help, message me, I’ll help you. We have to support each other because our chosen path as writers is quite solitary. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of us. We are just individually out there in our cozy little spaces, pouring our hearts out into stories.
Marie: Such sound advice! 😀
Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world. But I’m glad you figured it out.
It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Liaison in Lyudinovo appears to be… ♥
Title: Liaison in Lyudinovo
Genre: Military Romance
Publication date: August 6, 2019
Here is the blurb:
Sam Browning is a feisty and romantically jaded young CIA case officer who has uncovered a problem involving one of the Agency’s own. But she doesn’t have the evidence to expose the man she assumes to be a traitor working for the Russian government.
That was six years ago. Now she has what she needs to take the operative down and a skilled team of unique men working alongside her. Can they bring an end to a deadly operation and two high-value targets in defense of the United States? Then this life of government espionage will be behind her. But not before she discovers an unexpected bond with an untrusting, reserved member of the team.
Will this group of men teach Sam the final lesson of her career? Will the end of this case mean the end of Sam’s life? Just how strong can a bond be between those who defend the land of the free?
Chris is giving us a peek at the story…
He smiled. “You okay, killer?”
She darted her eyes back and forth. “Well, I sort of need a little help in here.”
Jackson un-propped himself and went through the partially cracked bedroom door. He put his back to it and shut it behind him, looking at Sam in her dress.
Sam’s eyes trailed up his built, sophisticated form, taking in the wide-eyed expression on his face. He looked different without his beard. Younger.
“Too much?” she asked, looking back over herself.
“Uh.” Jackson shook his head. “Uh…no.” He blinked several times. “No, ma’am.”
“It’s red,” she said, hesitantly.
Jackson nodded, slowly, taking in every inch of her body under that red fabric. “I can see that.”
About a mile from the cabin, Jackson pulled off onto a side road.
“What are you doing?” Sam asked, pushing the cuticles back on her fingernails.
He smiled. “Samantha Browning, have you ever driven a stick shift?”
Sam hesitated and looked away from him at the sky like a spaceship could land at any second. “Why?”
“Because the only reason you didn’t drive today is the car is a manual.”
She continued her fake search of the skies for anything to keep her eyes off him. “How do you know—”
“Come on now, Officer Browning,” he said to her as if he were trying to get a kid to fess up to a lie. “Your V8 Mustang is an automatic. You obviously like power, but you don’t know how to handle it.”
Well, that got her fired up. “Listen, Jackson Lee, I can handle power just fine. My Daddy tried to teach me once, but I just…I just…” She clenched her fists.
“You want to know a secret?”
“O…kay?” She shrugged.
“You know that you can try again, right? Some humans do that when they fail at something. Don’t let the secret out, though.”
She rolled her eyes. “Now? You want me to try now?”
“Now,” he repeated as he glared at her. “Do you and the guys have some sort of quilting contest going on back at the cabin, or do you want to learn?”
“Jackson Lee, we are not in a country where we can be distracted from the mission, shooting off on back roads for the enemy to find us. This is not the place to—”
“Do you trust me?” Jackson interrupted her.
She eyed him and shrugged. “This has nothing to do with—”
“Do you trust me?” he asked again, more firmly this time.
She hesitated but nodded. She didn’t like not knowing how to drive a stick shift, but she got frustrated easily with this particular skill.
“Did the Agency not require that you know how?” Jackson asked her.
Sam hem-hawed around at the question. “Well, yes-ish. I took the test.”
Jackson stared into her eyes, waiting on the rest of the story.
“I didn’t really pass the test, but to be fair, I tried. And, I’ve never had trouble since. I’m very thankful for that. And, I know it could have gone pretty bad in some situations, but…”
Jackson’s eyes were narrowing in question. “Do I even want to know how any of that went down, the not passing and yet surviving in foreign lands with foreign vehicles?”
Sam rubbed her forehead. “Eh?”
“Fine. Another day,” Jackson said, “but today, you’re learning.”
Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3kpYkN
Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47551036-liaison-in-lyudinovo
What are people saying about Liaison in Lyudinovo?
“Spy and romance – what more could you want? This book is amazingly written. You feel you are there. Gets intense and you are right there feeling it. Love this brilliant writer!!!” – Connie King, Amazon
“Romance with military special ops. Author has researched the proper tactics, language and weapons for authenticity. Loved the romance part also.” – Deborah Palmer, Amazon
“What a fun, suspenseful read!” – Robert G. Karcher, Amazon
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this military romance! ♥♥♥
About Chris Ann Yim
Chris Ann Yim is a historian and author of the new novel Liaison in Lyudinovo. As the wife of an Army veteran, she holds an appreciation for the relationships between military service members and their families. With a background in the social sciences, she has spent the majority of her life researching military leadership, the psychology of war, and the development of culture in societal groups. Chris is a cat mom who enjoys Blues Rock and Big Band music, drag racing, and photography. She lives and works out of her home on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, and spends her vacations eating good food and traveling the globe with her husband. Her claim to fame was once being chosen as a contestant on ‘The Price is Right’, and in the future she aspires to go an entire week without tripping over her own feet or spilling a glass of sweet tea down her shirt.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Chris Ann yim, here are some author links…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Ann-Yim/e/B07STLJM2X/
Once again, I want to thank Chris Ann Yim, the brilliant author of this military romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥