I’m very excited to welcome Author Josephine Blake to The Book Corner. I’m so thankful that she took time out from her busy, busy schedule to do an interview with me. I admit I just recently discovered Josephine through the group she admins on facebook called The Rumor Mill, and that led me to her books. ;) I just recently finished Dianna, which is the first installment of her excellent series The Brittler Sisters, and I have to say, I’m now completely hooked on Josephine’s books!
Josephine recently released the third installment in The Brittler Sisters series, Charlotte earlier this month. I was excited to be able to interview Josephine in honor of her new release to ask her a few questions about the new book, her writing process, her favorite holiday, and more…
Me- Hi Josephine! I’m sooo excited that you’re here! To get things started, tell us where you were raised and where you live now.
Josephine Blake- Thank you so much, Liz. I’m honored to be here! Well, I was born and raised in Oregon City, OR. It’s a small town in the Portland Metro area that often gets overlooked. My parents lived on this perfect little plot of land, close enough to the city to be convenient, but far enough away to give it a homey, country feel. There used to be this huge, beautiful vineyard across the street. I remember waiting for the bus at the end of the driveway and looking out over the vines.
My husband and I both grew up in OC, and when we got married, neither of us had any desire to move away. We bought a house on a dead end street beside a massive green space. I used to think I wanted to move farther out into the country, but the longer we’ve lived here, the more I’ve settled in. Now, I don't think you could pry me away from our little house with a wedge. :)
Me- What’s your favorite thing about Oregon, do you have a favorite spot or activity?
Josephine Blake- I love everything about Oregon. Granted, Portland itself might be a bit outlandish for my tastes, but the food there is spectacular. One of my all time favorite things to do is to go caving. It’s like hiking (also a favorite) but underground in the pitch black. It’s just the right amount of thrilling and exerting. We usually have to travel a bit and hunt backroads to find the caves. Bend is the perfect place for it. But I also enjoy wine tasting with my husband. Oregon Pinot Noir is phenomenal, but maybe I’m a little prejudice.
Me- I find that really cool, because I think a lot of us, when we think about Oregon, we tend to think it doesn’t have a whole lot to offer (except interesting history), so to know that it actually offers a wide range of activities is pretty cool! I’ll have to add it to my bucket list. ;)
As someone who has always loved to write, I always want to ask authors, have you always loved to write or did the passion develop over time?
Josephine- I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember.
Me- Believe it or not, out of the handful of authors I’ve interviewed/spoken to, you’re the first to say that you’ve always loved to write!
So taking that fact into account, when did you first start writing stories/novels? I imagine it was fairly early.
Josephine- Around second grade was when things became a little more concrete. I wrote a series of adventure stories about a pencil with extraordinary powers if I recall correctly. :)
Me- Wow! That’s incredible! Second grade… Gosh I’m not sure I was really into writing at that point, I think mine developed more towards 5th to 6th. :)
How did you get started as an author?
Josephine- For a long time I had settled into the idea that it wasn't possible. Then my older brother started a business that let him follow his dreams. He’s very musical, my brother. I’m very proud of him. I watched— and listened— to him growing, and the enthusiasm with which he spoke of his passionate schemes, and something clicked into place. The old feeling…. If he can do it, why can't I?? He’s helped me so much. From tiny, piddly things like helping me figure out a newsletter, to marketing strategies and encouragement.
I started writing, small articles at first on a freelance basis, and then short stories. Before I knew it, I was writing my own. I wouldn’t change the way I got into this, because starting small allowed me to get a grasp of the industry, and pick up things from the people I worked for. Many of my clients were kind enough to add help and advice. I watched how they created storylines for me to work from, and it gave me a foundation on which I could build.
Me- Your story and mine are fairly similar in that we both started out small, freelancing and working our way up through the business. Of course the difference is that I haven’t graduated to writing novels yet. ;)
How many books have you written so far?
Josephine- I just published my sixth. I have a collection of short stories and novellas, and I’m working on completing my first series.
Me- As a writer myself, I’m always curious about how authors go about writing. Could you tell me a bit about your writing process? Do you outline your stories or do you just start writing? Do you model your characters after real-life people (either in your own life or maybe an actor?) Do you listen to certain music? Do you write at a certain time (like mornings or nights)?
Josephine- My writing process is a little of this and that. Half the time, when I draw up a plot line, my characters grab hold of it and yank me in another direction. I try to start with some sort of outline, but mostly, I just write and go where the story takes me.
My characters aren't based on real people. In fact, they are rather… themselves. Sometimes, I’ll overhear or see someone in a crowd and think to myself: “That reminds me of Dianna.” or Charlotte. Even Little Rose. Samantha Brittler is a tough cookie. I see her in everyone. My characters tend to invent themselves. They are already present before I see their qualities in someone else.
I often listen to a combination of classical and rock music, preferring instrumentals for the quieter bits of story. Occasionally, the flow of the words will change pace with the music.
At the moment, I write whenever I have time. I’m a busy girl. I don't do well standing still. I seem to feel my best when I’ve an overflowing plate of tasks to accomplish.
Me- I love what you just said about your characters being themselves, and not inspired or based on anyone. I’m currently working on my first book and I feel the same way about my two main characters so far. They are definitely their own personalities, existing all on their own.
Another question I really love to ask authors is about their love of reading. Have you always loved reading or did you learn to over time?
Josephine- I’ve always loved to read. My dad used to read to us out of this giant book called “Uncle Remus Stories.” He’d do all the voices. I loved it. My mom and my brother read to me too. My mom was always a reader. Still is. Reading was big in our family when I grew up. I’ve always had a book in my hand.
Me- What author has had the most influence/impact on you as a writer?
Josephine- Oh man, that’s a toughy. Well, all of the authors that I’ve met, whether in person, or online, they’ve been supportive, wonderful people, especially the other authors of The Rumor Mill. They’re always ready to jump onboard whatever crazy project I’m coming up with. In all honesty though, I love J.K. Rowling. I listen to the Harry Potter books on audio almost daily.
Me- Lol, I have to make a confession: I have never read the Harry Potter books, and I’m not even sure why because they were HUGE when I was in school!
What are a few of your favorite authors?
Josephine- Agh! Don't tell me that. HP is amazing! Favorite authors? Well, J.K. Rowling. But, generally my favorite is whoever I’m reading at the time. The same goes for my favorite books. ;)
Me- What are you currently reading? Any recommendations? ;)
Josephine- Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You. It’s great so far. As for recommendations, I highly recommend any of the authors in The Rumor Mill. I love those ladies.
You recently released your third book in your excellent The Brittler Sisters series, Charlotte, on March 1st. I admit that I’ve come late to the series and just finished Dianna (the 1st in the series), but I have the rest of the series and am currently working my way to Charlotte!
Can you tell us a bit about the book?
Josephine- Well, Charlotte wrote her own story. I felt like I was just along for the ride. She prides herself on being levelheaded, and quite different from her elder sister, Dianna. Come to find out, she inadvertently finds herself in the midst of chaos, and decides she rather likes it.
Her beau though… you’ll have to decide for yourself. Forget reformed rake. Try to reform the son of a con artist.
Me- Oh boy, sounds like it’s going to be another page turner! ;) I can’t wait to read it!
What made you decide to write this series?
Josephine- Well, again, with blatant honesty, I’d had enough of writing for other people. I had this one idea locked away in my head since I was about… oh, I don't know.. fifteen? Boom. Dianna was conjured into existence.
Me- What was the inspiration, if any?
Josephine- My dad and grandpa, they’re the cowboys in my life. Rough and tumble types. My husband, he’s the overprotective sweetheart who takes me on adventures. He’s also my encouragement, my brain, and the influence for the love in all my books. I didn’t know love until I found him. I’d seen it, between my parents, my grandparents, even my older brother and his wife, but the good kind of love is the kind that is your own. Trust me, without him, I’d be writing horror novels.
Me- Lol now THAT’S an interesting thought…. Dianna with a horror twist ;)
Could you tell us a bit about the process of creating and developing the characters?
Josephine- Yeah, maybe Dianna and zombies?! ;) As far as character development, like I said, they do that on their own, at least for me. :) Sometimes I’ll look up a certain skin tone so that I don't get their coloring wrong in my head. Ex: olive tone. Lol. But other than that, my heroines and heroes, and even the side characters, they pop into being as they are. I’m convinced that I have very little to do with it.
Me- Was the development process easier this time around due to the fact that this is the third in a series, therefore some of the characters and background details have already been introduced in earlier installments?
Josephine- Maybe in a way, but I still had to battle my way through the storyline. Re-capping is really not my favorite way to write.
Me- I would imagine trying to recap enough so that the reader isn’t lost but not too much so you’re not retelling the whole story could be a bit tedious.
I HAVE to ask, will there be more installments in The Brittler Sisters series?
Josephine- Definitely, I've got three more books planned for these girls. I can’t leave stories untold.
You’ve been a busy lady! On top of releasing Charlotte, continuing that series, you also recently released a Valentine’s Day novella titled Two Hearts One Stone, which by the way, has an absolutely beautiful cover! Given that both Charlotte and Two Hearts One Stone were released around the same time, with only a few weeks in between, I assume they overlapped in the writing stage. Did they indeed overlap?
Josephine- Not exactly, I waited until Charlotte was in the editing stages before I let myself jump into writing Two Hearts One Stone.
Me- How did the novella come to life?
Josephine- I love Valentine's Day. I LOVE it. What can be more fun to celebrate than love? It doesn't have to be between you and your significant other either. My parents and I exchange Valentine’s gifts. There’s not a thing wrong with reaching out to those around you and telling them how much you care. So I took my love of Valentine’s Day and I let it explode into a town called Churchgrove, and as I started writing, Henry sidled into the frame and scowled. The rest is history. ;)
Me- I also love Valentine’s Day but for a different reason. Though I do agree that it’s not just a day for couples, but for celebrating all kinds of love, my main reason for loving the holiday is because it happens to be the day I got my fur-baby, Sophia (she’s a rescue). So for the last 5 years I’ve called it Sophia Day. ;)
Was it tricky writing two different stories around the same time?
Josephine- The only difficult part about writing so much is that occasionally my fingers will type the wrong person’s name. I still type DIANNA sometimes on accident.
Me- Tell me a bit about Two Hearts One Stone.
Josephine- I love this story so much. The idea of this grouchy ‘ole guy being tossed into the middle of one of the most frivolous celebrations ever. Man, Henry was a hoot. I loved writing him. I never knew what was going to come out of his mouth next. The dinner scene with Miss Hadisham, I thought she might have to tell him to stuff a sock in it.
Me- Lol that sounds hilarious! I can’t wait to read it!
Now for a Few Fun questions from the fans ;)
I also really liked What if, V for Vendetta. How to be Single. I’m obsessed with Downton Abbey. Although I know that’s a show, not a movie. I can watch any period drama and fall apart at the seams. I love them. Pride and Prejudice. Becoming Jane. Reign…. Really if it's Historical, I’m gonna watch it. I could go on forever, too hard to pick favorites.
Me- Well, I suppose I have to bring this to an end at some point, lol. But I do have one last question for you. As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working on my first novel, and the heroine’s name is actually Josephine, but everyone calls her Joey. So I was wondering, do you have any nicknames? :)
Josephine- Nicknames. Hmm. Occasionally, I get Jo or Jojo. Sometimes people just abbreviate my name. “Hey, J.” Lol.
Me- I’ve had a blast! I’m so glad and thankful that you agreed to this interview! I truly appreciate it! Do you have any last words to add before we sign off?
Josephine: Only that I’m incredibly excited for you!! I can't wait to read your first book, and if you ever have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out! Thank you so much for having me here!!!
I want to thank Josephine one last time for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview with me. Y’all be sure to check her latest release, Charlotte, along with the rest of her catalogue. ;)
Keep up with Josephine Blake through her website: http://www.awordfromjosephineblake.com/
Also check out The Rumor Mill on Facebook!: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Finest.Historical.Romance.TheRumorMill/?ref=bookmarks&qsefr=1
This was the first book by Kay P Dawson that I’ve read and I enjoyed it immensely. Audrey’s Awakening is actually the second book in Dawson’s Oregon Sky series, but all of the books in the series can be read as a stand-alone as well as together. The book was an easy, enjoyable read with a well developed plot and wonderfully relatable characters. Dawson worked enough background info into the story so that I (as a reader who hasn’t read the first book) was able to follow the plot without feeling lost. I enjoyed Dawson’s writing style and was immediately hooked, reading the book in one day.
After losing her husband on the Oregon Trail, Audrey is being forced home to marry a man her father has chosen. Still grieving her husband, and not wanting to leave her new home in Oregon, she makes the decision to marry a man who needs her help looking after his daughter. He makes it clear that it would be a marriage in name only. Reid Wallace lost his wife during childbirth and has been raising his two year old daughter alone. His heart died with his wife, and he has vowed to never love again. The new couple will go up against a father determined to have the marriage annulled and take her home. Illness, insecurity, and guilt as their hearts struggle with the new feelings they are uncovering will threaten to destroy everything they have. Will these two be able to help each other healthier hearts?
I highly recommend this book. It’s a delightful, inspiring read, one that will keep you hooked until the end. I’m very interested in reading the next book in the series, Ella’s Embrace! ;)
When it comes to writing top-notch stories, Linda Ellen doesn’t disappoint. She already has one series under her belt, The Cherished Memories series, and is currently working on her third book in her new Soldiers of Swing series. Her Blue-Eyed Corporal is the sequel to Her Blue-Eyed Sergeant and it is as wonderfully written as the first! Taking place in Louisville, Kentucky and Charlestown, Indiana, this story follows Mary June and Corporal Steve Wheeler, who were featured in Her Blue-Eyed Sergeant as Viv’s best friend and Gene’s identical brother, respectively. Ms. Ellen takes the reader through the courtship of Mary June, a bank teller who moonlights as a USO Junior Hostess, and Steve Wheeler, a Corporal stationed at the Indiana Army Ammunition plant. On the outside, Mary June and Steve appear to be an odd match, but as the story develops the reader discovers that Mary June and Steve are actually a perfect match for each other, whether they know it or not…
I love Linda Ellen’s writing style. When reading one of her stories, you actually feel like you’ve stepped into the book and are living right alongside the characters. She expertly weaves a story that not only has an interesting and entertaining plot, but also well developed relatable characters. She draws the reader in immediately and keeps them hooked until the very end. Mrs. Ellen also includes historical details and facts within each of her stories which not only adds depth to the plot, but also helps the reader get a better understanding of the time period and the characters themselves. Her Blue-Eyed Corporal is a beautiful read, one that will take your heart on an adventure. It’s a book you don’t want to miss out on.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome Indie Author Linda Ellen to The Book Corner. I’m honored that she took time out from publishing and promoting her latest release AND writing her next book to do an interview with me. I’ve known Linda for a little over 3 years now. We met through a mutual love for the TV show Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and have been friends ever since. ;) I was blessed enough to be able to act as a beta-reader for Linda’s latest release, Her Blue-Eyed Corporal, and loved every moment of it!
Today marks the release of Linda’s 5th book, Her Blue-Eyed Corporal, which is the second book in her delightful Soldiers of Swing series. I was excited to be able to interview Linda in honor of her new release to ask her a few questions about the new book, her writing process, and more…
Me- Hi Linda! To get things started, can you tell us where you were raised and where you live now?
Linda Ellen- That’s easy. I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where I still reside. Louisville is a rather large city (The mayor says we are the 16th largest in the nation), and yet in some ways it has the charm of a small town. I’ve lived in quite a few neighborhoods over the years, from the east end to the south end and back again. Our ‘neighborhoods’ vary almost as widely as LA’s from the slums of the west end to antebellum homes downtown to million dollar homes in the east, lol.
Me- After reading your books, both your Cherished Memories series and your current Soldiers of Swing series, I really want to visit Kentucky! I feel like I’ve already been to Louisville, after reading your vivid descriptions. Ironically enough, my dog was born in Kentucky, but I have yet to visit the state! Haha, pretty bad when your dog has been to more places than you, eh?
Linda- That’s funny about your dog! Come on down to Kentucky for a visit, we’ll pull up a chair and have a glass of sweet tea. :)
Me- I just might one of these days! That sounds lovely and I would absolutely love getting to chat with you in person! ;)
So what’s your favorite thing about Kentucky, do you have favorite spot or activity?
Linda- Wow, that’s a hard question, because Kentucky has so much beauty – and I haven’t even seen it all. I love the hills of Eastern Kentucky, especially a place called Natural Bridge, which is a large rock, shaped like a bridge that is only accessible by sky lift (or a very difficult uphill hike). Once you are standing on the bridge, the view of the surrounding miles of trees and land goes on and on as far as the eye can see and is simply breathtaking. The State of Kentucky is rich in history dealing with figures like Daniel Boone, Stephen Foster, George Rogers Clark, and even President Lincoln. Then there are the interesting one-of-a-kinds, like the Louisville Slugger factory, outside of which stands the world’s largest baseball bat (120 ft. tall!), the Corvette factory and museum in Bowling Green, Mammoth Cave in Cave City—one of the largest cave systems in the world, the Kentucky Derby, and Thunder over Louisville which launches “Derby Week”—the largest fireworks show in the world. One thing I enjoy is taking a cruise on the Belle of Louisville—Louisville’s very own last-of-her-kind river steamboat. Other than those, I enjoy spending time with my family and of course – writing!
Me- Wow, your answer just makes me want to visit Kentucky even more! It sounds wonderful.
As someone who has always loved to write, I always like to ask authors: have you always loved to write?
Linda- Not really, although I tried my hand at writing a novel 30 years ago, I wrote 200 pages—on a typewriter (using liquid whiteout!), but stalled after a setback and never finished.
Me- Gosh, I’ve never used a typewriter, but I have a hard enough time dealing with a computer, hehe, so I can’t imagine trying to use a typewriter successfully!
Linda- Never used a typewriter? LOL I feel old. I learned to type on a manual typewriter- the kind that the harder you hit the keys, the darker the print. Also, the ‘a’ and ‘;’ were usually fainter than the rest, being they are the pinkie keys, but I managed a 70 wpm, imagine that! ;)
Me- Lol holy cow! Now that’s skill. ;)
When did you first start writing stories/novels?
Linda- My breakout year was 2009, beginning with four full-length novels and 28 short stories in Dr. Quinn fan fiction. I worked as hard on them as I do now on my novels.
Me- I’ve read a few of your DQ fan fiction and enjoyed them, though I’m still working on catching up on all of them. You put a 100% into everything that you do, that’s one thing I admire about you.
How did you get started as an author?
Linda- I met some great people during my fan fiction days, wonderful writers and entrepreneurs who taught me a lot – like Audrey Caudill, Leanne Ford, Kate Lapage, Venessa Vargas, Heather D’Agostino, and many others, with whom I’m still friends. Heather has gone on to have a very prolific career with 25 books (and counting) since 2014, and she was my mentor, teaching me the ins and outs of self-publishing.
Me- This is the point where I usually ask the author how many books they’ve written so far, but of course I already know you currently have 5 under your belt counting Her Blue-Eyed Corporal. ;)
Linda- LOL that’s right and I’ve started the 3rd for that series – Her Blue-Eyed Lieutenant.
Me- I was so excited when I found out you were going to do a 3rd installment! I loved the first two and was looking forward to reading more about the brothers and the lovely ladies by their sides.
Linda- Thanks so much! That is music to my ears. I wish I had the third one out now, lol. But the research for it is going well. I have a great research assistant that I met in a facebook group called Louisville’s Past, and she’s helped me a great deal, praise God.
Me- Technology is truly wonderful! It’s amazing the people you meet and the connections you make that really make a difference in your life or work… or both!
As a writer myself, I’m always interested in an author’s writing process. Could you tell me a bit about your writing process? Do you outline your stories or do you just start writing? Do you model your characters after real-life people (either in your own life or maybe an actor?) Do you listen to certain music? Do you write at a certain time (like mornings or nights)?
Linda- LOL all of the above. I don’t do storyboards or a full, typed-out outline, but I have a note .doc file for each story where I plop in ideas, pictures, quotes, period slang, and anything else that might help, and I refer to it as I’m writing. I usually start with a basic plot and have ideas for major scenes, pivotal points, the conclusion, etc. Then as I write, sometimes the characters drive it along and sometimes in my research I find delicious little tidbits that provide fodder for a bump in the road or a downright detour. As for modeling the characters—for my first series, almost all of the characters were fashioned after real people. Then with Her Blue-Eyed Sergeant, I modeled my heroine after a dear friend at work, and my hero from my dream guy (tall, dark and handsome, lol). My hero in the current book I fashioned after my husband! :) As far as music, I’ve used that many times to get into the ‘swing of things’ (a little 40’s pun there) and give me the atmosphere I need to put myself in the scene and then write about it. As for a certain time, I write the most on the weekends, when I can immerse myself into my book’s world and timeframe, although I do tweaking and editing in the evenings or mornings before work.
Me- That’s fascinating! Hehe ‘swing of things’! I also enjoy 40s music, especially Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. ;)
Linda- Ahh yes, and Perry Como and Doris Day….
Me- What do you hope people take with them after reading one of your books?
Linda- I hope my stories impact readers in a positive way. Although I don’t put my books in the Christian Fiction or even inspirational genres, I hope that truths are gently planted in the reader for the good. Truths that will bless them, like: God is always there and He loves us. He’s a forgiving God (you just need to ask) and lets a person come back to Him even if they’ve walked away, made bad choices, or messed up somehow. I try to ride that line between too much “God stuff” and not enough, lol. I don’t want to be “preachy,” but I want to impact people for the good and leave them, hopefully, with nuggets, as well as characters, and scenes that they’ll never forget.
Me- You’ve certainly achieve those goals with your last 5 books. They’re beautifully written with enough Truth to touch the heart and soul without making those that aren’t into it uncomfortable.
As someone who didn’t actually like reading when I was younger, but who turned into a rabid reader (For me it was ultimately just a matter of finding the right books to interest me), I always wonder about others. Have you always loved reading or did you develop the passion for it over time?
Linda- Yes, I’ve always loved to read. As a child, my mom read to me and I remember the expressions and nuances she would use as she read aloud. The stories came alive as she read. As a youngster, I would ride my bike five blocks to the library and check out books. I read a lot of Harlequin as a teen, and in my twenties, I amassed a collection of over 500 historical romance novels—so many that my husband built me special shelves to house them all, lol. I love reading fiction, but also biographies, history, and Christian books.
Me- Our tastes in books run along the same lines. ;) I also enjoy historical and western fiction, along with biographies/autobiographies, history, educational, and Christian.
One question I always have to ask when speaking to an author is: What author has had the most influence/impact on you as a writer?
Linda- Oh wow, another hard one! Again, Heather D’Agostino comes to mind—her work ethic, determination, and commitment to excellence in her field. Barbara Goss is another who has influenced me, with her never-ending wellspring of ideas for plots and her way of turning a phrase. There are many more great indie authors that have influenced or impacted me, I can’t even name them all. As for famous authors, I loved the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Earl Hamner (The Waltons), and a Christian writer from decades past, Catherine Marshall (Christy)—she wrote a book called Julie, where the heroine miraculously survives a sweeping flash flood caused by a dam breaking up stream from their town. That long, brilliantly written scene has stuck in my mind for years, and I think I try to make my action scenes as riveting and memorable as that—I don’t know if I succeed, but I give it a whack.
Me- One reason for this question is that I often learn about authors that I haven’t read yet! ;) I also love Barbara Goss’ books and am proud to call her a friend. I, too, love the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder, along with Louisa May Alcott, LM Montgomery, and Jane Austen for classics. Well I can certainly lay that wonderment to rest. The flood scenes from your first book in the Cherished Memories series, Once in a While, are still fresh in my mind. They were riveting and moving, made me feel like I was right there in the thick of things with the characters.
What are a few of your favorite authors?
Linda- The ones I have listed, as well as many others in the historical romance genre such as Sarah Sundin, Becky Wade, Karen Witemeyer, Kit Morgan, Liz Isaacson...the list goes on and on, lol. But those ladies wrote books that impacted me in a positive way and have scenes and themes that I remember and cherish.
Me- I would also count Karen Witemeyer and Kit Morgan on my list of favorite authors. I’ll have to check out the others as I haven’t read them.
Now comes the hard question: What are a few of your favorite books?
Linda- LoL so many. First, would be The Bible. I’ve read it through 6 or 7 times, but it’s a book that never gets ‘old’, there is always something fresh and new to learn each time you open it. Other than that, I’ll mention a few that impacted me in one way or another-- Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin, Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden, and many more.
Me- I agree about the Bible, it is timeless and never gets old. It always seems to offer something new every time I open it.
What are you currently reading?
Linda- In my kindle right now is Texas Lonesome by Caroline Fyffe (I’m reading my way through the McCutcheons, lol)
Me- So your latest release, Her Blue-Eyed Corporal is out TODAY! It is the second book in your already fabulous Soldiers of Swing series. Can you tell us a bit about the book?
Linda- This one involves the best friend and brother of the characters who fell in love in Her Blue-Eyed Sergeant. Now, we follow Mary June and Steve as they navigate a bit of a bumpy romance. He’s a corporal in the army, stationed at what was known as the Charlestown Army Ammunition Plant (sadly, it no longer exists). Readers will be amazed at the incredible facts about the facility that I bring out throughout the story. There are several exciting scenes of attempted sabotage and drunken sailors, as well as romantic rides on a riverboat and our couple getting stranded together on a stormy night. Don’t want to tell more, you’ll just have to read and find out! ;)
Me- Haha I can attest to it being an awesome read, one y’all won’t want to miss out on. I think it has something for everyone in it. Once you start reading, you won’t want to put it down.
After reading a series like this one, I always wonder what made the author decide to write it. What made you write this one?
Linda- I was looking for a way to showcase local famous landmarks and places. I settled on WWII and I wanted to do a little bragging about Fort Knox—which has become a household word, lol (and which, of course, includes the world famous Gold Vault), and our local USO (I found out that the War Department used ours as the model for all of the USO’s after representatives made a trip here and toured it!). I started researching and came across so many interesting details and anecdotes; they made the story just flow right along. Then, for the second book, the Charlestown plant, WOW, what a fascinating place! The third book will center on an army air force flier stationed at our local Bowman Field and I can’t wait to dig into that and find delicious, little-known nuggets. :)
Me- That IS fascinating! I always love reading background information and historical details included in your books, it really brings the time period alive for the reader.
Linda- Oh me too! It’s one of the things I love about historical romance, when it’s done right. I love to learn a historical tidbit that is woven into the plot. I once read a time travel book where the hero helped thwart an assassination plot against George Washington, and it was great.
Me- Wow! That sounds really interesting!
What was the inspiration behind your book, if any?
Linda- Probably my mother and all of the other wonderful people I’ve known in my life who were part of the Greatest Generation—hearing their stories and dreaming about that era – and I love watching WWII movies on Turner Classics, lol. I grew up on those.
Me- I love watching the old movies too. The Golden Age of Hollywood was indeed the best as far as movie output. I mean John Wayne, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart.. What more could you ask for? ;)
Linda- Ain’t it the truth ;)
Me- lol! Could you tell us a bit about the process of creating and developing the characters?
Linda- Hmm, well, for this series, I first planned my three guys and decided early on what their differences would be. I started with Gene (in the Sergeant book) and wanted him to be an all-around good guy, handsome (but not, as he says, Tyrone Power handsome), and the kind of man any woman would want. I decided on his temperament and personality, how he would react to things, etc. Then, I modeled Viv after my friend Verna Powell, and tried to emulate how she would react and speak. The other characters, like their friends, I kind of modeled after people I know or even family members (like I said, in the new book, the hero is a lot like my husband—teasing, silly at times, but hard working and serious when need be). Sometimes I get an actor/actress in mind for what they look like (especially, for my genre, actors of the Golden age of movies, like Tyrone Power, Gregory Peck, Bette Grable, Lana Turner, etc).
Me- Was the development process easier this time around due to the fact that the majority of the characters had already been introduced in the first book, Her Blue-Eyed Sergeant?
Linda- Yes definitely.
Me- All of 5 of your books have taken place in Kentucky and around the same time period/era. What about that particular era (30s/40s/50s) interests you/draws you in?
Linda- I think because it was a simpler time. People were more patriotic, loyal and hard working, decent, and more stick-it-out-for-the-long-haul, so to speak. Also, I adore the music back then—Swing music—I think it was wonderful and I grew up listening to my mom’s old records (along with modern stuff like the Beatles and Donny Osmond, lol). The 40’s particularly seems romantic to me. I love the cars, the clothes (especially the shoes!), the hairstyles, the makeup, the radio programs, the movies on the ‘big screen’ (i.e. Casablanca), and the lingo—some of it is hilarious—like if you really like something, it’s the “Killer-Diller”. :) As for them being based in Kentucky, I decided that will be my ‘flavor’, and every book I write will be centered around Kentucky, if not Louisville, and in various decades.
Me- Oh that’ll be interesting, to keep the theme of location going! Will there be a third book in the series?
Linda- Oh sure, it will be Her Blue-Eyed Lieutenant, and I’m aiming for a June of 2017 release.
Me- Oh boy! That’s exciting AND not too far away! Won’t have to wait too long, which I as a totally impatient reader, appreciate! Hehe ;)
Looking to the future: Do you have any plans to write another novel/series? Or are you planning to just take a break and see what happens?
Linda- You bet! I take a few weeks off between books, but I already have in mind a series that has the possibility of multiple books (like 8 or 9 or more). I stumbled upon some information that screamed for use in plots, lol. Then I want to do a series in Louisville at the turn of the century – Louisville has one of the largest sections of historic houses in the nation! Some of them built in the latter part of the 1800’s, large, beautiful mansions. We have the river traffic, and so many other things that can work into plots. Beyond that, I’d like to do a 1950’s series, showcasing music and cars from that era. A Flapper book or series is a possibility. An 1800’s book or series with people coming from the east before they venture out west. A Civil War series would be doable, in that Kentucky was half Confederate, half Union, think of the possibilities there, lol. If I run out of historical plots, I could always do a modern series. The ideas are endless—I wish I could type faster! LOL. I don’t plan on ever stopping, lol.
Me- Thank God for that! ;) Those ideas all sound excellent. I like the idea of a Flapper book, I’ve been binge watching Downton Abbey, so I’m all in the 20s mood lol ;) A Civil War series also sounds very interesting, especially due to the fact, as you stated, Kentucky was half and half. :) I look forward to reading many more from you!
Linda- Thank you so much Liz. It’s fans like you, with comments like that, that keep me writing!
Well, I suppose I have to bring this to an end at some point, lol. I’ve had a blast! I’m so glad and thankful that you agreed to this interview! I truly appreciate it! Do you have any last words to add before we sign off?
Linda- LOL I think I exhausted the subjects, didn’t I? ;) But seriously, thank YOU, Liz, for asking me to do an interview. I’m honored that you and your readers are interested in little old me, haha. Blessings to all.
Be Sure to Grab Linda's new release, out today!, Her Blue-Eyed Corporal- https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Eyed-Corporal-Soldiers-Swing-Book-ebook/dp/B06XCV3F3X/
Stay up-to-date with Linda Ellen through her website and social media, links below!
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Ellen/e/B00QDAXSSW/
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....