Lynn Painter’s latest book starts right after the heroine accidentally burns down her apartment building.
It was just one of the many incidents to befall Olivia Marshall in the delightful and funny romance “Mr. Wrong Number.” Painter’s editor even questioned if one of them was a little over the top.
“No,” Painter told her.
“It was something that happened to me,” she said.
Painter said she’s often a mess, just like Olivia, and recounted the time one of her tires fell off while she was driving. But the Omaha mother is organized enough to hold a full-time job, raise five kids and faithfully write on the weekends.
She’s already published a young adult novel, “Better Than the Movies.” Her third book, in the same genre, comes out in December. A sequel to “Mr. Wrong Number” is slated for next March.
With so many kids of her own, it’s no stretch when she writes about teen angst. Ideas have just seeped in after being around them for what she jokingly said seems like a billion years.
Her books are all romantic comedies, she said, a good antidote for a too-serious world. She just has to find the perfect marriage of what she likes and what will sell.
“I’m just a silly sarcastic person. I can’t imagine something serious,” she said. “I don’t think I have the plotting brain to write a thriller. It’s what I love to watch and love to read. It’s kind of my thing.”
Not that it’s easy.
She’d often thought about writing but didn’t become serious until Kate was born. Some of her first efforts were terrible, she said, but she continued to write as her daughter took her afternoon naps and immediately after she went to bed.
Her busy schedule has actually helped her to be more focused.
“Most of my production is Saturday and Sunday and Friday nights,” she said. “I have friends who left their day jobs and write full time. They struggle a lot when writing all day. I know when I sit down, I have to shut out the world and buckle down and do it.”
It was a thrill when her first book was published, and “Mr. Wrong Number” was recently selected as one of Amazon Books’ “Best Books of March.”
Like all of her books, it’s based in Omaha. She moved here in grade school when her father was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. But because Painter writes under a pseudonym, none of her neighbors in southwest Omaha even know she’s an author.
Although supportive of her efforts, none of her kids have read her latest work. She hasn’t pushed her husband to read it, either.
“If for some reason he didn’t like it, I think it would crush me,” she said. “I value his opinion too much.”
For the record, he said he loved her first book.
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“The Mothers” (Riverhead Books) by Brit Bennett
“I Loved You More” (Hawthorne Books) by Tom Spanbauer
“More Than Words” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) by Jill Santopolo
“The Marriage Plot” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) by Jeffrey Eugenides
“One Day in December” (Ballantine Books) by Josie Silver
“This is Not How it Ends” (Lake Union Publishing) by Rochelle B. Weinstein
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