Trigger warning. The following is Lynessa Layne's unorthodox bio.
Girl next door meets the Smoking Man from the X-Files, Lynessa is a self-professed combination of everything she loves mixed with a controversial open mind, wrapped in the appearance package of a Bible-thumping contradiction. Though genuinely sweet, she's anything but simple. Scratch the surface and you'll find a woman wise through foolish trial-and-error who conveys hope for the best even in the direst circumstances. She enjoys meeting people from all walks of life, deep researching what if conspiracy theories and philosophies, sleuthing, binging podcasts, and takes nothing at face-value.
She writes characters with human hypocrisies bursting to life when pit against high stakes. "I love raw, flawed characters who appear to have beautiful lives but, inside, their worlds are messy. Many times, throughout my life, I've had people tell me that my life looked perfect, or that I was blessed, or lucky, even wished to have the life I had with no idea what my life was truly like."
Lynessa is a true survivor, overcoming major trauma including gun violence, rape, molestation, domestic violence, postpartum depression, and surviving a suicide attempt. Not in that order, save for the suicide. "Fiction is what we wish life could be or what we're grateful life isn't. I enjoy twisting those together and asking myself what would I do while also cursing a character's stupidity, because if I'm cursing, someone got a rise out of me, which means I'm invested."
She believes in forgiveness, redemption, and contentment instead of happily ever after. "Long before I was a writer, I was a youth leader for 8 years. I didn't have the khaki-wearing wholesome kids. I had the kids from the wrong sides of the tracks and/or the boonies where I grew up. It's a tricky balance leading a good, upright life when you've seen or experienced darkness in the world that your sheltered peers haven't. Find a seedy Christian, you'll find wisdom from the frowned-upon, down-trodden characters. When Happily Ever After skipped them, they chose contentment and forgiveness through Christ instead. These are my heroes and heroines.
"If you cannot understand a seedy person, you cannot understand who the savior you claim to love is, because He came for them, too. Not only the upright. Though I try to be, I'm not a righteous person. I'm a hot mess writing hotter messes grateful to be loved in spite of my gross imperfections. I've been through hell on Earth. No way I'm graduating to hell beyond here. I've felt the shadow of death breathing down my neck while lying on a bathroom floor saying goodbye because I couldn't see a way to live with the physical ache of agony.
"My advice is, if you're a Christian, maybe don't pick up my work because it's not for you. I never want to cause anyone to stumble off their path. Disclaimer: my series has violence, sex, murder, and a lot of sin. The events unfold organically and I'm not into sugar-coating. Don't Close Your Eyes follows a Christian whose life is upended when she falls in love with a killer and at the same time falls for the undercover cop trying to bring the killer to justice. What ensues makes her question herself and everything she has always known, including her faith, because I did the same after my life was upended. It's ugly and easy to judge from the outside. It's very hard to be the embodiment of others' expectations and the higher they rise, the further they fall, but the happier the outsiders are to watch the carnage. I write that struggle, because I face(d) that struggle. I know I'm not alone in that."
Lynessa says, "I sometimes piss off people of faith, Christians, because I write true confusion and distortions of Christianity through my work. You know, how people (ab)use scripture to justify sin or pick verses to believe while leaving others out. Stupid persecution or misunderstandings, hypocrites, etc., they're all in there, because they're all out there, too. Among us. And I'm one of them."