Becky Lyles book, Winds of Wyoming, was great in so many ways that I wanted to know more about her. One question I took away from the book was how she was able to write about so many different scenarios that played in the book. So to get this question and many others answered, I met Becky for lunch this week and this is what I learned:
Becky and her husband are native to the West, having lived in Wyoming most their years, before her husband’s job transferred them to Idaho. They are the parents of three adult children (plus, she informed me, grandparents of three exceptionally brilliant and beautiful little ones). During her years as a stay-at-home mom, she wrote magazine articles and short stories. Later she worked as an administrative assistant in various offices.
Becky came to writing through a labyrinth of jobs that allowed her to use her creative writing skills. In one job, as the church secretary, she interviewed church members about their lives. Realizing that “everyone has a story” led her to help her hairdresser write down his accounts of God working in friendships, which ultimately leading to the publication of It’s a God Thing. Following God Thing, she interviewed individuals incarcerated in prisons, jails and halfway houses for a book titled On a Wing and a Prayer. She has since helped many friends produce their books by co-writing, editing and critiquing. Her husband nicknamed her the perpeditor, a play on perpetually editing, because she cannot stop writing. Everything she sees and experiences works their way into her stories.
I had wondered how she accumulated the research for Winds of Wyoming, because it had a variety of scenarios ranging from prison life to raising bison. In our conversation I discovered that she is a dedicated volunteer and had tucked away the information she gained volunteering with Prison Ministry Fellowship in Colorado to flesh out her leading character. She did admit that she had to do additional research on bison, as she had no previous experience with the beasts on which to draw.
In the way of many new writers, Winds of Wyoming was begun over a decade ago. A true work-in-progress, she entered it in contests, joined critique groups, and took writing classes, pouring everything she learned into producing a first class book.
Her normal day begins with her Bible devotions then she goes into her office to write. She is currently working on a sequel to Winds of Wyoming, titled Winds of Freedom, plus remaining involved in local writing groups. She is the president of IdaHope, a Christian writing group here in the valley. She still volunteers with Chrysalis Women’s Transitional Living, a program for women transitioning from prison and jail back into society.
A few other facts to pique your interest: Becky doesn’t own an e-Reader, but has hinted enough to her family for them to know she wishes to own one. Asked “Which author, living or dead, would you like to co-write a book with?” confesses she doesn’t believe she could co-write with someone as her perfectionism would drive them crazy. For leisure reading, she enjoys books by Charles Martin and Kristin Hannah.
I wish her the very best future in writing.