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Kat: I’m excited you’ve agreed to sit down and join me for a heart to heart talk about you, your writing, and your new books Dear Heart and Sweet Heart.

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: I’m thrilled to be talking with you about my books.  I honestly can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.

Kat: Dear Heart is such a beautiful love story. It’s unique because even though Deirdre and Lee were separated for nearly forty years, their love for each other, and their desire, never waned. How did you come about writing such a riveting romance?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: I awoke on the morning of my fortieth wedding anniversary thinking about all of the ups and downs my husband and I had survived, and about how love had changed for us as we weathered the bad times and the challenges of day-to-day living. Then — and this is where the magic came in, I began to wonder how life would have been if romantic love had lasted forever. The next thing I knew, I was sitting at my lap top, writing the first chapter of Dear Heart.   Since I couldn’t see how romance could survive the daily assault of pressures and problems, I knew when I started that the main characters would be separated for a long period of time, but would ultimately get back together because, well, when I read a love story, I want there to be a happily ever after.

Kat: Fascinating. Dear Heart and Sweet Heart are exquisitely romantic and beautifully written. Hope this isn’t too personal, but some of your prose drove it home. Wow! So… here’s my question. Did you bring your own experiences to your work?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: For Dear Heart, I drew on a relationship I knew about that grew out of an intense physical attraction and developed into a passionate affair.  That relationship didn’t last, but what I knew about the beginnings of it was enough to form the cornerstone of the relationship between Deirdre and Lee.  Everything else between them was purely a figment of my imagination.

As for the prose, well, it’s really all about the voice of the characters, isn’t it?  I don’t know where that comes from, and that’s especially true for Dear Heart because Deirdre’s voice is nothing like mine.

Kat: We have to draw from somewhere, and it’s always interesting to hear where a particularly potent section of writing came from… so thank you for sharing. Because I love your writing voice, I’m curious about some of your other writings. Could you give your readers examples?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: I started out writing short stories. Two were published years ago and I may submit them to Solstice at some point in the future if they meet the minimum word requirement.   They’re both very light in tone and are in an epistolary format.   Then I took a break from writing to build a career in public service. When I got back to writing, about five years ago, I was all over the map. I started working on a mystery that went nowhere, and then outlined a book about labor unions. Both of these were dark pieces and I think the stories failed because when I was writing them I had more of an ax to grind rather than a story to tell. Then I got the idea for Dear Heart and things just seemed to fall into place.

Originally, I thought Dear Heart would be the first of a trilogy of romances. The second, which I’m working on now, is called Interoffice Romance and it’s about a young man who falls in love with his boss. It’s very light and upbeat and just an over-all fun book. The third is called Change of Heart, and it’s about a couple who divorce after 30 years of marriage.  Change of Heart has a more serious tone, but there are funny moments in it, or at least I hope there will be, I’m still working that out.  Anyway, when I wrote Sweet Heart, it disrupted the whole trilogy idea, or at least it does for the purist. Me?  I like to think of Sweet Heart as an extension of Dear Heart and not really a stand-alone book, so I can delude myself that I’m still on the trilogy track.

Kat: I’m excited to read the Interoffice Romance. Let me know how it’s going. What’s the toughest part of your job?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: Hands down, the writing.   I hear a lot of complaints about how hard it is to promote but, for me, promoting is a walk in the park compared to writing.

Kat: Have you ever thought of combining your writing career with marketing for others? I’ve seen it done. What do you like most about your job?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: Coming up with new ideas on how to promote the books.

Kat: Is there anything you wish non-writers could understand about the world of writers?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: That we’re introverts and more comfortable behind the scenes and in our own worlds than out in front of a crowd, basking in the limelight.

Kat: No truer words spoken. We communicate the best way we can. If you could go anywhere in the world where would that be and why?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: Maine.  I’ve always loved the idea of living in a cooler climate by the ocean.   In my perfect world, I’d live in a cottage overlooking the ocean or on the top floor of a General Store, which I owned and ran – overlooking the ocean.

Kat: Love the vision. I drove through Maine once in fall and it was spectacular. What were you like as a child?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: I was headstrong and a risk taker. My father was a disciplinarian, but we knew what the rules were and what the consequences were for breaking them. I was the one most likely to break the rules – not to see if I could get away with anything, but just because I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and if I had to accept a punishment for that, so be it.  I got a lot of punishments, but they were all deserved. I bless my father every day for being strict because I learned that actions have consequences. If I hadn’t had those lessons, I would have probably ended up in jail.

Kat: Sounds just like someone I know (not me), although every inch a pleasure. If you weren’t an author, what would you like to be?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: A sloth.  That’s not as ludicrous as it may sound.   I worked like a banshee for 40 years, and was dog-tired when I retired.  If I hadn’t stumbled into a writing career, I’d probably spend my days shopping and watching television.

Kat: Chuckle. You probably could’ve done well as a comedian too. Is there anything you would hope your readers get out of reading your book?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: Primarily, I hope readers fall in love with Deirdre and Lee and their story.  And if they only get one thing out of the books, I hope it’s this: no matter how bad things are, there is always hope.

Kat: I for one fell in love with Deirdre and Lee, and their story. I was wowed, time and again as I read. Do you have any writing tips you can give to other writers?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: I do. First:  when it’s time to call it a day, don’t stop writing at the end of a paragraph or the end of a chapter. Stop writing in the middle of a sentence. It will be easier to pick up where you left off when you come back to your manuscript.

Second, assuming you’re in the mood to write, when the right words won’t come, write anything.  Don’t worry about grammar, timber, voice, pacing or vocabulary. Just get the raw thought down on paper. In the first place, it will be better than you thought it would be, and in the second place, it’s a lot easier to edit than it is to start from scratch.

Third, know what your end game is and keep your eye on that ball. Don’t let yourself get distracted by what everyone else is doing because their end game may be different from yours. 

And finally, realize that you’re not in competition with other authors, your only competition is yourself.

Kat: These are great tips. Thank you. Do you have a ritual you follow when writing?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: Not really.  I only write when the spirit moves me to write, and then as long as I have coffee and cigarettes, I’m good.

Kat: What are fun facts about you?

AUTHOR, Linda Lingle: I’m a total introvert.  I write better than I speak.  I smoke like a dragon and swear like a sailor.  And even though I’d like to be twenty pounds thinner – who wouldn’t? I’m totally comfortable in my own skin and don’t mind being alone.

Kat: Well, Linda. I love you just the way you are. You’re great, and so is your writing. I’m a fan. I’m looking forward to reading much more of your writings.

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