15 February 2011

An interview with romance author Linda Morris

Today, it's my pleasure to welcome fellow The Wild Rose Press author, Linda Morris.  Thank you for joining us today, Linda.

Please will you tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest book?
Sure. First off, thanks for having me. My novella, Montana Belle, has just been released as an ebook by the Wild Rose Press. It tells the story of Augusta Springer, whose father summons her back to their Montana ranch and orders her to marry a childhood friend, Joshua Bradley. Augusta, never at home in her father's world, has been making a life of her own at school in Boston and isn't eager to return.

What is your favourite colour and why? 
Red. It's flattering and always cheers me up.

Words have power, few people would argue with that, but do you believe numbers carry the same power influence? 
I don't think so. Words have moved me, made me laugh, made me think . . . that's a tall order for numbers to live up to!

Do you find your job as a technical writer makes creative writing fiction easier?It's a whole different ballgame. Actually, the ability to shift gears and exercise a whole different part of my brain is part of why I love writing fiction. (And the ability it gives me to pay bills is part of why I write technical materials!)

Does your job as an editor of technical writing help you when it comes to editing your own work?
Sometimes, because grammar and punctuation are the same no matter what you're writing. The concerns of fiction editing are very different though and much more demanding. With fiction, accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation are just the beginning of what you need to worry about during editing. You also need to eliminate weak sentence construction, overused words, dialogue tags, etc. With a technical work, clarity is the most important thing. You don't have to worry about pacing or keeping the reader from getting bored--the reader will keep reading because they need to know how this programming language works or whatever. And nobody ever scolded me for "showing instead of telling" in a book about computer programming! 

Do you have a writing routine?
I write each morning after getting my son off to school, usually for about 1 or 1 1/2 hours. After that, I have to move on to my "day job."  

Do you have a special writing spot?
I'm lucky enough to have a home office overlooking the pond outside our backyard. In the summertime, I love to listen to the birds and bullfrogs while I write. 

 Do you enjoy cooking, and if so, what is your favourite recipe? Will you share it with us?
I do love to cook, although I'm better at baking and entertaining than I am at everyday cooking. I get a bit bored with putting supper on the table every day. I fall back on soups a lot, especially in winter. They can simmer away downstairs while I'm writing and they make the whole house smell wonderful!
I've included a recipe for minestrone:-
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 cups potatoes, chopped small
Salt and pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups green beans
1 16-oz can beans (such as kidney, cannellini, white, or chickpeas)
1/2 to 1 cup small pasta such as orzo
1 tsp minced garlic
Grated parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
Put 3 Tbs. olive oil in a Dutch over and heat over medium. When hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock and the tomato. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Add the green beans, canned beans, parsley, and pasta. Increase heat if necessary to maintain a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes more. Stir in chopped garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining olive oil and serve with grated parmesan cheese.
My mouth is watering, I'm gong to try this out tomorrow.  

Who, or what, has been the biggest influence in your writing?
I love Jane Austen--she's my favorite writer--but my biggest influences were probably the writers I read when I was a little girl: Louisa May Alcott, Carolyn Keene, Margaret Mitchell. And Kathleen Woodiwiss's "Ashes in the Wind" got me addicted to romance.

Do you base you characters on friends or family? And if so, do they know and what is their reaction?
No, not really. Oddly, none of my friends are a good fit for a romance novel heroine from the Old West! (Or hero, darn it.)

How long did it take you to write Montana Belle?
About three months (it's only a novella), but that was only the beginning. I got interest from the second editor I sent it to, but she wanted some changes. I had to go through several rounds of revision before finally making the sale. That process took longer than the initial writing.

Please will you share the blurb and an excerpt from Montana Belle?

Sent to Boston for a proper education after her mother's death, Augusta Springer loves her cultured life there, helping the headmistress and planning a teaching career. But when her brother dies unexpectedly, she is summoned home by her headstrong father and ordered to marry the only man for whom she has ever cared— Joshua Bradley.
Joshua has planned for years to win Augusta's heart. Building a life to share with her has been his ultimate goal, but she has learned to despise ranch life and all that goes with it. Can he persuade this independent woman to stay and share the dreams he has for both of them?

Here's an excerpt:
drink I might be ever so slightly...thunk,” Augusta confided, laboring to pronounce every word correctly, and then giggled when she realized her mistake. She struggled to regain a serious mien. Miss Levon denounced giggling as unladylike.
Joshua reached to pull her wineglass away from her. “You’ve had enough,” he said, his gaze warm. “We have a long ride back in the dark, so you’d better keep your head. Of course, you’re welcome to spend the night here, if you like.” He made the outrageous offer calmly, as if it were quite unexceptionable.
Augusta, well aware of the impropriety of his offer, fixed him with a stare. “I am an adult, and not totally inex-, inexper-...I have drunk spirits before,” she corrected herself finally, with careful enunciation. She reached to pull her glass back, and her hand brushed against his on the stem. His palm, warm and roughened, sent a thrill of awareness up her arm—for a businessman, he still spent a good deal of time outdoors. His hand bore the marks of sun, wind, and leather.
“A regular tippler, are you?” he asked with a smile, his eyes lingering for a moment on the daring d√©colletage of her gown, and she felt a surge of warmth through her body that had nothing to do with alcohol. She tried to pull the glass toward her, but somehow found that her hand caught in his.
“Miss Levon believes that young girls should experience all of the social graces,” she said faintly, awed by the gleam of his dark eyes. He wanted her. She could not doubt it. Shockingly, she wanted him very much in return.

You can buy Montana Belle at the Wild Rose Press Web site -- http://tinyurl.com/5tadfcs -- or Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/4cx7qcj.

Do you have any other books coming out?
Yes, I have a romantic suspense novel called Forget-Me-Not to be published on Feb. 18th, in print and ebook. It's about a heroine trying to regroup in a remote cabin after a personal and professional disaster, and the mysterious man who seeks her out there. When he suffers memory loss after a head injury, they work together to find out who is and why he has come looking for her.
It will also be available at Amazon.com 

Here is a very short teaser from my forthcoming romantic suspense, Forget-Me-Not, available on Feb. 18th from the Wild Rose Press. 

Lara Crosby moves to a remote cabin in the Minnesota wilderness to regroup after a personal and professional disaster. One night during a violent storm, she begins to fear her past may be catching up to her:

Lara hadn't had to use this generator yet during the year she'd been living up here. She only hoped it still worked, and that she still remembered how to start it. Lara had just found the pull start on the generator when a noise she hadn't been aware of before reached her. The sound was alien in these deserted woods. It wasn't from an animal, and it wasn't a lingering sound of the storm as it petered out. It was definitely manmade.


Sarah Grimm said...

Great interview, Linda! I'm looking forward to Forget-Me-Not's release.

Jannine Gallant said...

Forget-Me_Not sounds like my type of book. I love making soup - I'll try your recipe.