Coffee Time Romance has the pleasure of speaking to Lauren Linwood, the author of timeless and tender romance . Thanks so much for granting us this interview.
Is there any special news that you would like to share with your readers before we get into our interview?
Thanks for hosting me today, Cherokee. I do have exciting news that I can share with CTR readers. My Soul Mate Publishing editor Debby Gilbert just bought a fifth manuscript from me! A Bit of Heaven on Earth, a medieval historical romance set during The Hundred Years’ War, will be released near the end of 2014.
Why not tell us how your day begins?
I start the day as so many women do—I head for my Keurig and a cup of coffee! My favorites to sip are hazelnut and caramel. Once I have some fuel in me, I set out for a 4-5 mile walk every morning. It’s good for the body, it melts away stress, and I get a lot of plotting done!
Now let us get to your release, A Game of Chance. Our readers are anxious to hear how you developed this story. Please tell us about Jed and Lily's western romance.
Gambler Jed Stone comes to California to avenge his best friend’s death. He winds up winning the deed to Lucky Lil’s, San Francisco’s most famous whorehouse. He falls in love with the madam’s daughter Lily, who’s always been shielded from house life. That sounds pretty straightforward, but I throw in mistaken identities that throw some curve balls to the hero and heroine, along with a ninety-year-old man and his butler that almost steal the show.
Where did you get the idea to compose this story?
I’ve always heard the phrase “separated at birth.” It intrigued me. I played with the idea of having twins separated at birth—with neither knowing that the other one existed. They were raised on separate coasts, and they became very different people. When Jed comes to California, he’s arrested for crimes that his twin committed. Once he escapes, he wonders why he so closely resembles the man pictured on the wanted poster. He winds up meeting his brother in San Francisco and determines to bring him to justice.
Another part of the story came from when I began dating my husband years ago. He had a center part, longish hair, and a moustache on that first date. I opened the door for our second date and found a really cute guy standing at my door—short hair, a side part, and clean-shaven. I wondered if I had a new neighbor coming over to introduce himself. And then he smiled. I realized it was my date! It surprised me how just a few cosmetic changes made him look like a totally different person. I then thought I could apply that to my idea about separated twins, and A Game of Chance was born!
What is your best time of the day to write?
I’m not wedded to a particular time of day. If I have the time, I’m happy to sit down at my computer. It could be anytime during the day, late at night, or even sometimes in the wee hours if I have a bout of insomnia.
While you are composing is there a certain ritual that you usually have with you, like candles, music, Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper...lol?
A vanilla or cinnamon scented candle soothes me when I write. I also like to put my noise machine on and set it to a rain shower or waves coming in and out. It acts as white noise to block out background sounds. I also have to keep a pack of gum nearby. I get caught up in my scene and will suddenly find myself chomping away for dear life on a piece of Dentyne Ice.
Can you describe your work station to the readers?
Work station? That sounds so formal for sitting in my favorite writing chair with my laptop in my lap! My chair is close to my bookshelves and file cabinets, where I’ve stockpiled all kinds of books and research to use as background. It’s also next to a window that overlooks my back yard, and I enjoy glancing out every now and then.
Do you prefer to start with an outline when you write or just go with the flow?
I actually am a 50/50 writer. I start with a very brief outline—usually less than a page—just a few phrases jotted down of events that I’d like to occur. I also do character sketches for my hero and heroine and know them really well before I start. Once I begin, though, those two often do something very unpredictable, which leads me in a new direction. I eventually can things back on track, but I enjoy the spontaneity my characters bring to the mix. They are my co-conspirators in the story and are nice enough to give me the credit of sole author on the title page.
Do you have any other books that are soon to be released that you would like to share with us?
My newest western historical romance, Written in the Cards, will be released May 21. My heroine Maggie Rutherford writes and illustrates dime novels under a man’s pen name. While she’s researching her next book, she interviews (and naturally falls in love with) cowboy Ben Morgan. Little does she know that Ben isn’t really a cowboy—he’s a gambler with a big secret.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? What do you like the least?
I have a blast creating people from scratch. I adore deciding what they look like, determining their character traits, and allowing their personalities to blossom. It’s almost criminally fun. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories and entertaining people.
My least favorite thing is having to come up with a title. I know it’s sounds crazy that I can write an entire book and then struggle over the title.
Of all the genres to read, which do you prefer to read the most?
You would think a romance writer would shout ROMANCE, but the former history teacher in me enjoys thrillers that have some historical aspect within them. Authors such as Steve Berry and Brad Meltzer do a great job weaving history and research into heart-pounding plots, and I enjoy going on the adventure with their characters.
If you could travel to any place in the world, for a week, where would you go for some rest and recreation?
Rest and recreation are two different things for me when I think about travel. If it’s pure rest, then I want to be on Kaanapali Beach on Maui. I don’t think there’s a prettier spot on Earth. For recreation, I love to go sightseeing and try new things. It’s been many years since I’ve been to London, so I think I’d like to return there and visit old haunts and see what’s changed.
What is your ideal romantic weekend getaway?
Anyplace that has great food and history and plenty of time to spend relaxing with my husband. I live in Texas, so San Antonio is a favorite escape—but New Orleans is just an hour plane ride away! I like to be able to walk and see things, stop for fun meals, and still have special alone time in a place that has charm and still has central heat and air!
If you were challenged to a cooking episode with any of the chefs on television, who would you like to go up against?
I would be scared to death, but I’d love to cook next to Gordon Ramsay. He rocks!
Where can our readers find you around the web? Do you have a blog?
I do have an author website and a blog called Write Up My Alley. Here are my contact sites, and I’d love to hear from readers:
Website Facebook Twitter Blog Amazon Author Page Goodreads Author Page About Me
Finally, any last thoughts you would like to leave with our readers?
Never let a day pass without eating dark chocolate and taking time for you. Whether it’s watching an episode of House Hunters, taking a long walk, or reading a few chapters—do something to celebrate YOU every day!
Lauren, thank you so much for sharing time with us today. I love the picture of you and your doggie on your site. I wish you the best in all your engaging books.