April 2022
Bitten by the Bug
Local author Bill Lynam is going nonstop

Twenty years ago Bill Lynam and his wife Maria moved to Prescott from upstate New York. Retired as an instructor in adult education, Bill had written many instructor booklets, textbooks, video scripts and lesson plans. A voracious reader, he had also studied writing, both fiction and nonfiction. Now able to focus on his own ideas, he leaned into the task of writing with new fervor.

He shortly joined Professional Writers of Prescott, a group of creative wordsmiths from a broad variety of backgrounds, and made new friends and contacts.

His deep interest in history took him to Sharlot Hall Museum, and with the archivist there he edited and wrote “Days Past” articles for The Daily Courier. The story of one of his true adventures, “Skunkology, or How to Talk to Skunks,” became a favorite tale among readers. In more recent years he has taken on bigger projects.

Bill’s books are genre-bending. He has written nonfiction, fiction, children’s books, been featured in collaborative anthologies, and recently tried his hand at playwriting. His first book, Footloose Pilgrims from 2014, is a journal of travels he and his brother took throughout Europe, North Africa and South and Central America in the late ‘50s, and is very popular with adventurers who take similar trips, or wish they could.

He followed that in 2017 with a young-adult entry, Steampunk Mashup: A Collection of  Victorian Adventures. For the cover and illustrations he chose local cartoonist Russ Miller, who has also been a contributor to 5enses for many years (see p. 27), and Russ has illustrated every one of Bill’s books since.

Next Bill focused on children’s literature. Lucky Foxes originated from handwritten manuscripts by Eleanor Maroney, his grandmother. He edited and used her original stories as the basis for the tales.

His second children’s book, Bernie, the Flying Squirrel, was published in both English (2018) and Spanish/English (2019) versions. He has received letters from parents of children who were not reading until they encountered Bernie. Grandparents wrote that Bernie is their grandchildren’s favorite bedtime reading. Bill says, “I don’t think I can get a better review than that.” Wearing his cape and sling, Bernie accompanies Bill on his presentations and book sales.

Bill’s publishing imprint is the Puyup Publishing Company, a home operation, and Maria and their son assist with editing and proofreading. Prescott friend Maria-Elena Dunn translated the Spanish version of Bernie, la ardillita voladora. Jennifer Longworth of Longworth Creative assists with formatting and social media.

In 2021 the Arizona Author’s Association honored Bill’s latest book, Shorty, Alien Dog, with its Best in Children’s Literature Award. He will table at the Tucson Book Festival’s children’s-book pavilion this month. On June 4 he’ll participate in the Desert Foothills Book Festival.

A community of writers

In 2021 PWP reorganized to become Central Arizona Writers (CAW). Many members felt the advances in self-publishing, interest in memoir, and the rise of print-on-demand opened opportunities for anyone interested in writing, not just “serious” writers. The new name expresses the group’s commitment to being more inclusive and accessible.

Bill’s long association with CAW has helped build his background in the many aspects of writing. He also credits his instructors at Yavapai College and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for inspiring him to keep writing. He successfully completed its Creative Writing Certificate.

In addition he has joined various informal writing groups over the years, finding that critique groups and the varied viewpoints of other writers enhance his writing. Other CAW members have given him encouragement and advice., as have the classes and presentations given by the Prescott Public Library.

Currently Bill is working on a novel set during the Civil War, based on the life of his Canadian two-times-great-uncle, who rafted down the Mississippi River from Iowa to Louisiana. For background he’s done extensive genealogical and historical research, including trips to the South. He explains, “Writing historical fiction is time-consuming and slows you down. You must know as much as you can about the period before writing about it.”

“My main character is a self-made man who later made his fortune in the lumber industry and married a woman of the South, a wealthy widow who had a plantation and bought and sold slaves, while he became an officer in the Confederate Army.

To find Bill Lynam’s books, search Amazon and Kindle. He’s on Facebook, and his website is puyuppublishing.com.

CAW welcomes new members, both working writers and those in search of knowledge and understanding of the process of writing and publishing. It hosts monthly presentations on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Prescott Public Library. Email caw86302@gmail.com to join the mailing list for alerts on presentations and events.

CAW is having its inaugural Local Authors Book Sale on Saturday April 9 at the Adult Center of Prescott, 1280 E Rosser St., 10am-1pm in the ballroom. Local authors will be offering books across the genre spectrum, fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. CAW writers will also be at Touchmark at the Ranch, 3180 Touchmark Blvd. on Saturday May 14, 10am-1pm in The Finn restaurant.

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