Welcome to the RPLA Showcase
2016 Unpublished Biography
The Bed I Made by Robert M. Lynch
In The Bed I Made, bravery, valor, and resilience displayed on the gruesome battlefields of Korea paled against the courage and faith Joe would muster for an improbable triumph over his five-decade battle with PTSD.
At the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, author Robert M. Lynch won First Place in the Unpublished Biography category. Each year at the RPLA Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. We’re showcasing the best of the best with our First Place winners spotlight. Not only does RPLA recognize extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.
Click the link to read a sample:
Q & A with Robert M. Lynch
Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: So far, I’ve written two books and haven’t had to worry about that. THE BED I MADE is a true
story about my father’s service in the Korean War, a fifty-two-year struggle with undiagnosed PTSD,
and an unlikely triumph in his golden years over the disorder that had left him depressed, angry, and
suicidal for most of his life. This story fell in my lap about eight years ago when he opened up and
gave me a two-hour tour of his secret life that I’d had no idea even existed. I would say that it is vital
for a writer to recognize a worthwhile story when you see it. I realized that my dad’s life was
remarkable in that he was able to, through courage and perseverance, overcome diversity in the face of
seemingly insurmountable odds. I also understood that his story was of great importance for other
sufferers of PTSD and their families. I saw in his story a message of hope that anyone would find
inspiring. The second book, REYNOSA RISING (which I actually wrote first), is a humorous crime novel set in
Reynosa, Mexico and McAllen, Texas, right across the border. I actually wrote this book on a lark
utilizing a prompt in the form of the first sentence, which was gifted to me by a close friend. That
sentence was, “Frankie (changed to “Jimbo” in honor of my friend) couldn’t remember the last time
he wasn’t the biggest guy in the room.” I typed it out and allowed my imagination to define Jimbo and
set the course for the story. I used past experience to choose the location. That location led me straight
to the Mexican drug cartels. As I introduced new characters, I allowed them to lead me through the
plot. REYNOSA RISING is currently a semi-finalist in the 2017 RPLA. I guess the message is: Start
with small ideas and see where they lead you.
Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?
A: When all is said and done, THE BED I MADE is a story of hope. You will shed a few tears, laugh,
root for a man you feel you know, and cheer him on to his courageous and unlikely triumph.
Q: Whom do you credit with inspiring your writing?
A: Favoring a verbal style of storytelling that includes rich detail of people, places, and actions, I’ve
always enjoyed capturing people’s imaginations and setting them in the moment. Of course, I’ve also
risked boring them to death. But, more often than not, my audiences have enjoyed the particular
anecdotes I’ve shared or tales I’ve conjured. If I were to choose a single person to credit with my
desire to put tale to paper and share with more than a handful of friends, it would be John Irving. I’ve
never been able to read one of his novels without wishing I could write a book. Many times, he had
me believe the impossible about myself. His words often convinced me I could write. I fail to see how
his quirky yet believable characters and vivid details of situations and places would not inspire others
to want to write. I don’t expect to master the art with the finesse of Mr. Irving, but he continues to
inspire me to try.
Q: Any tips for new writers?
A: Ha! I still consider myself a new writer, so thanks for asking. My humble advice is to write like
nobody is ever going to read your novel or short story or screenplay or whatever. Write what you
believe and don’t worry about what someone else believes. Stop trying to perfect your story before
you open your laptop and type out that first sentence. I told myself that my dad’s story was too
complex and too important for me to be able to trust myself with it. It took me three or four years to
muster the courage to call my dad and tell him “I want to tell your story.” By the time I had the first
few chapters of THE BED I MADE banged out, I was convinced I was writing a bestseller. I fell in
love with the characters in REYNOSA RISING and trusted them to guide me through plot twists. I
wrote the latter believing I’d be the only one to read it and the former thinking that, at least my family
will embrace it. Write your story through to its end, rewrite it, and take that scary step of allowing
others to read it and offer feedback. If that’s as far as you get, you’ve done more than most.
Thank you for sharing, Robert, and congratulations! Visit his website: www.tbimblog.wordpress.com
A message about supporting literacy in Florida:
If every member of FWA went to Smile.Amazon.com, chose Florida Writers Foundation, Inc. as their charity and, instead of logging into Amazon.com, logged into Smile.Amazon.com, FWF would receive 0.5% of the purchase funds. Every time.
We could significantly fund the literacy efforts of our organization. No money out of your pockets…just some invested time to set this up.
How easy for us to make a difference. To see all of our work, please read the pages of our website www.floridawritersfoundation.com. You’ll be proud.
Tom Swartz, President, FWF