1 December 2010

Linda Banche is my Guest today :-)

Hi Linda, Welcome to The Heart Of Romance, thank you for joining us today.

Hi Sherry, thanks for having me.

Please will you share a little bit about yourself with the readers?
I’m an American romance author who writes Regencies. I live in New England, where the winters can be very cold and snowy, and the summers very hot and humid. I like birds, especially ducks. Actually, I’m a duck fanatic. My house is full of duck stuff—my excuse is, my husband bought some of it. And turkeys come to my bird feeder. Gobble, gobble.

Why writing?
I love romances and especially Regency romances. I’ve always read a few and been happy. But then, one day I went on a romance reading binge. I went to the library twice a week. I took out tons of romances. All the librarians knew me. I had a wonderful time wallowing in romance.
And then the unthinkable happened—I ran out. Panic! Where could I find my romance fix? My favourite authors can write only so fast, and I didn’t like the second string. So, I wrote my own. Which may or may not be a happy ending, depending on whether or not anyone likes my books.
LOL, I know just what you mean about running out of choices in the library, as for folk for not liking your books, two Epic finals kinda contradict that :-)

If you couldn’t write, what would you like to do?
Read romances! If I didn’t write my own, I would spend the rest of my life ferreting out romance authors I like and gorging on their books. Especially now, since my favourite authors are uploading their backlists to the web. Drowning in romance—ah, what a life.

Do you enjoy cooking, and what’s your favourite recipe?
Cook, me? Are you kidding? I can boil water. I love tea, so boiling water is a necessity, but about all I can cook is spaghetti (the boiling water motif again). My husband is the cook in the family. He can cook Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska. Ah, heaven. Thank you, dear.

Have you always been interested in history?
I’m not so much interested in history as that I’m trying to escape the present. Tuning out the real world is very difficult for me and I need something that will take me far, far away. Fantasy is one way to leave the real world behind. So is the past. And, of course, romance is a necessity.
That's an unusual and facsinating concept, and in your case, very fortunate for your readers.

What is it about the regency period that attracts you?
Whatever I read, I want to recognize part of that book’s world. The Regency, at two hundred years ago, is far enough in the past for fantasy, but not so distant as to have a completely different world outlook. I also like my romances set in foreign lands, but not too foreign. Both British people and Americans speak English. Although some might disagree. *g*
I will admit 'translating' into American English for publication does give pause for thought!

Do you consider humour is an integral part of your novels?
Oh, sure. My tag line is “Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!” My stories tend to be wacked out and I’m not quite sure why. I suppose I could be serious if I tried, and my stories do contain serious themes. But they’re cloaked in a veil of laughter.

Have you ever written a main character who insisted on being glum? And if so, how did you cope?
I have a hero named Ernest, and that’s what he is—earnest. I’m going to have to work hard to get humour into that story. 

Are you a pantser or plotter?
Pantser am I, no two ways about it. I get an idea and write a general outline. Once I have a few pages, I start the story by filling in detail to the events in the outline. Then, I add more scenes as I need them and the story grows. I can understand why the alternate, or to some, preferred name for “pantser” is “organic writer”.

Do you do a lot of research for your books? If you are a pantser, do you research as you progress with your story, or must you have all –or as much as possible- done before you start writing?

The idea comes first. Then I’ll write what I can of the story. I’ve been researching the Regency for several years now, so I know a lot of the general stuff. If I need something more detailed, I google. I google a lot. Google is my friend.

How many books do you write in twelve months?
At this point, me output is pretty meagre. I find, what with all the promo, I’m down to about one novella a year. Gotta find what promo works and concentrate on that. And, of course, the day job really cuts into my writing time.

How did you feel when you finalled for an Epic award this year?
WOW is too small a word to describe my feelings. I’ve never finalled in a contest before. Grant you, I haven't entered many, either. Of the few I entered, I received some very high scores and some not so high ones.
And now I've finalled in not one, but TWO contests. Lady of the Stars, my first EPIC contest finalist, started out as a loser (natch) in a time travel contest run by The Wild Rose Press. But they told me how to fix the story and said to resubmit. I did, and Lady of the Stars, my time travel back to the Regency, finalled in the 2010 EPIC EBook Competition in Science Fiction Romance. My second entry, Pumpkinnapper, finalled this year in the 2011 EPIC EBook Competition in the Historical Romance category.
I'm two for two now. I've entered the EPIC contest twice, and I've finalled twice. Will I win? I'd love to, but who knows?
Congratulations, and best wishes on the outcome.

Many aspiring authors have big dreams and when they don’t materialise immediately may feel like giving up. Do you have any advice for them?
Hey, I’m one of them. I just received a rejection on a manuscript that I thought was a sure thing. I think the editor’s comments were valid and I’ll incorporate them into my story. She said to resubmit and I will, but the work is so hard, especially with all the promo, that I often wonder why I’m doing it.
But then, you have to try, and try hard. No one gets anywhere without a lot of effort, whether we’re talking about writing or your local aerobics class. I see a lot of people dropping out of aerobics once they find out how difficult it is. Tell me about it. I’ve been going for fourteen years.

Your book Mistletoe Everywhere came out on November 3rd, please will you tell us something about it and where we can get it?
I was researching Christmas legends (I love Christmas) and I was reading up on mistletoe. Everyone knows about kissing under the mistletoe, but mistletoe is also the plant of peace. In medieval times, two enemies meeting under the mistletoe had to lay down their arms and declare a truce for twenty-four hours. Hopefully, they used the time to talk out their differences instead of planning yet another way to kill each other. Mistletoe’s plant of peace legend fit right into Mistletoe Everywhere's story of two estranged lovers.

Please will you entice us with a blurb and excerpt for Mistletoe Everywhere? BLURB:
A man who sees mistletoe everywhere is mad--or in love.
Charles sees mistletoe. Not surprising, since he's spending Christmas at Mistletoe Manor. But why does no one else see it? And why does it always appear above Penelope, the despised lady who jilted him after their last meeting?
Penelope wants nothing to do with the faithless Charles, the man who cried off after she accepted his marriage proposal. But he still stirs her heart--and he stares at her all the time. Or rather, he stares at the empty ceiling over her head…What does he see? According to folklore, mistletoe is the plant of peace. Can Penelope and Charles, so full of hurt and anger, heed the mistletoe's message and make peace?

After Charles had heaped his plate with more food than he wanted, he took one of the empty chairs at the table bottom, as far from Penelope as possible.
His tensed muscles eased as he joked with his friends. Smythe made a comment and Charles turned to answer. He caught sight of Penelope…and a monstrous bunch of mistletoe above her.
"Gordon? What is it?" Smythe swiveled in the direction Charles was staring. He looked up and down, and from one side to the other. "I say, with your mouth hanging open like that, you must see something spectacular, but damned if I know what it is."
With an audible click, Charles clamped his jaw shut. "I thought I saw…" He forced his gaze back to his companion. "Nothing. I imagined I saw mistletoe."
Smythe's eyebrows rose. "Mistletoe?"
"Yes. The house is named 'Mistletoe Manor', so the place is filled with mistletoe decorations. Pictures, wall hangings, ceiling trim, whatnot."
"Indeed." Smythe's eyebrows rose higher. "That 'mistletoe' you saw is over that Miss Lawrence. Lovely little filly." His lips curved into a knowing grin. "My jaw dropped the first time I saw her, too."
Charles stiffened. "I was not looking at Miss Lawrence. I believed I saw mistletoe over her."
"'Mistletoe'." Symthe's grin widened. "Of course."

Mistletoe Everywhere Buy link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/mistletoe-everywhere-p-4295.html
Lady of the Stars Buy Link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/lady-of-the-stars-p-1111.html
Pumpkinnapper Buy Link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/pumpkinnapper-p-3685.html
Linda's Website: http://www.lindabanche.com 
Blog: http://lindabanche.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaBanche
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LindaBanche
Thank you Linda  for talking to us about your books and your writing.  Best wishes with all of them and your Epic result. :-) 


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda,
Congratulations on being an EPIC finalist not once but twice. My novel finaled in the historical section too, so I guess some might consider us rivals, but I'd prefer to think that we are just friendly competitors. I think everyone enjoys Christmas stories,but I just love them.



Megan Johns said...

Hi Linda,
My congrats, too, on being an EPIC finalist. I love the Regency period - it's so inherently romantic.

lastnerve said...

Congrats on being Epic finalist! Mistletoe Everywhere looks really good.


Adelle Laudan said...

Congrats on your EPIC victories. I wish you al the best!
Thanks for the glimpse into your life.
Great interview Sherry

Happy Holidays!
Adelle Laudan

Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--I love your humor. I wish I had more of it, and could write funny stories. The best I can do is put in something that MIGHT make someone smile, or be sarcastic.
Congratulations on your success--Celia

Linda Banche said...

Hi Margaret, thanks. And congrats on your final, too. Of course, we'd both like to win the EPIC. Let's see how it goes.

Thanks, Megan. I agree, the Regency era is dripping with romance. Sigh.

Hi Val, and thanks.Mistletoe Everywhere is funny, if I do say so myself.

Thanks, Adelle, and Happy Holidays to you, too.

Celia, thanks. And you write what you write. There's plenty of room for all kinds of stories.

Sassy Brit said...

Hi Sherry!

Hi Linda, lovely to meet you and congratulations - good luck. :)

Great interview.

Sassy Brit

Caroline Clemmons said...

Linda, I'm so glad it's the holidays. I've been saving Pumkinnapper and Mistletoe Everywhere as my stress relievers for the hective time from Dec 1st to 24th. Now I can dig in.

LK Hunsaker said...

Linda, I like the term 'organic writer' much better than pantser. ;-)

Linda Banche said...

Sassy, thanks for your kind words.

Hi Caroline. Thanks for your confidence in my stories. I can guarantee you'll laugh. Enjoy!

LK, I agree. "Organic writer" does sound better.

jean hart stewart said...

Lots of EPIC finalists answering today, including me. I write some Regency and love to read it. Have a new one coming out in January, although mostly I write about Druids. Love the new fact about mistletoe being a peace symbol. Jean

Linda Banche said...

Congrats on your final, Jean. And thanks for coming over.