Lynessa Layne’s love of books and writing began in Plantersville, Texas, where if you weren’t a rancher or a farmer, there wasn’t much else to do as a kid. Starting out with R.L. Stein’s ‘FEAR STREET’ series, her progression as a reader grew into more genre fiction, including Lois Duncan, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, and a wayward foray into her Gram’s romance novel collection. In her Young Adult phase, her reading bounced between the Bible, Shakespeare and any poets’ collections she could get her hands on. It was at this point she began writing her own poetry and prose born of teen angst and rebellion. Discouraged by her family reading her personal journal/diary without permission at the dinner table, Lynessa took a long break from writing, and it would take a decade before she entertained the idea of putting pen to paper again. At 25, Kresley Cole, Charlaine Harris, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephanie Meyer, Jamie Alden, Megan Hart and Dannika Dark helped bring back Layne’s creative spark. As a 30th birthday goal, Lynessa wanted to see if she could write a novel. She did. In fact, she started what would end up as a 10-book series you know today as DCYE. Though she pulled the entire series from publication during a particularly difficult time in her life, in 2017, following copy editor certification and winning 20th place out of over 5,000 entrants in the 17th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition, she brushed the dust off of DCYE to give it another go. After two and a half years of re-writing DCYE to query agents, she did just that, meeting with three agents who ALL wanted her series. The only catch? They wanted to change and re-imagine the story Lynessa had poured her heart and soul into. As a writer, she had done what so many dream of doing by earning a simple “yes” from not one, not two, but all three she queried. However, Layne ultimately gracefully turned them down in favor of keeping her story true to her style. “What I thought was my dream could mean actually killing my dream.” Says Layne of turning down the ‘Big Six’, “I always set out to publish for the one other person in the world who might love the story as much as I do. A reader who wanted something different from the formula. It was never to get rich or famous. Rather, it was the love of the read that I was after.” Though she’s leaving the door open to agents and publishers for stand-alone novels, DCYE was too important to her to hand over to be turned into something unrecognizable. So, when you read DCYE novels in the series today, you know the story of how they came to be, and if you see them on the shelf of your local bookstore, give her a try. You might just find that you’re that ‘one reader’ she wrote for.