Thursday, October 11, 2012




In this week's Author Spotlight, I'm pleased to welcome fellow Champagne Books author, Linda Swift.




1.  Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Linda Swift and I’ve been married to the same wonderful man forever. We make our home in our native Kentucky and the West Coast of Florida. Our children live in Nashville which makes for convenient (for us) visits as we trek back and forth between states. I’ve been a digital author since 2008. I write contemporary and historical fiction, suspense, short stories and poetry and currently have ten books and five short stories available from the publishers, Amazon, and other distributors. Two additional books and one short story will also be released this year.

2. Every author I’ve met has their own unique story of how they found their way into writing. What path led you to become an author?

I began writing poems at ten, in my teens wrote my first romance novel, later short stories for my children, then took a long hiatus while I went to college and worked in public education as a teacher, counselor and psychometrist. I began writing seriously in the 80s and had poetry, articles, and short stories published in numerous periodicals. In the early 90s I sold three romance books to Kensington, then came another hiatus as the market for mid-list authors shrank. Finally I found my niche in digital publishing and I’m living happily ever after.

3.  What aspect of the writing process to you enjoy the most? What part of the process do you dread?

Creating the story on paper, watching the characters come to life is the most gratifying part of the writing process for me. Working with an editor to make the story better before publication is also a pleasure. I’ve been blessed with wonderful editors for the most part. For me, the thing I dread is writing blurbs. The reason may be that so much is riding on getting a lot said in a few words that will make the reader want to buy the book. A dry-as-toast blurb can kill even a good book. I always want to include the subplots and minor characters in a blurb and have to force myself to ignore both and focus on the H&H to the exclusion of all else.

4.  Are you a plotter or a pantser in terms of your writing style? Describe your writing space.

I am most definitely a pantser. Writing down what each character prefers for breakfast and what color sox they wear seems a waste of time for me. If this information is needed, it will come out in the writing of the book.  They already know these things and if I know the characters and allow them to tell their stories, this sort of trivia will appear naturally in the telling. Sometimes things appear in a story that I hadn’t expected but I’ve learned not to question it because later on the reason will be made clear.  For example, in Winner Take All, Billy Ray went upstairs and found an old pair of his tennis shoes and took them downstairs. Later he put them on to go outside and that decision cost him his life, but I didn’t plan it to happen.  It just did.

5.  Which author has most influenced or inspired you?

Different authors at different times have influenced and inspired  me, depending on my state of development. At the moment, Philippa Gregory’s books are favorite reads because she weaves real historical characters into every book and I’ve done that with a couple of short historicals myself. She, as most historical authors, uses modern dialogue and spends little time describing clothing or other period details. In this respect, I lean toward the books by Valerie Wood who does use the dialect and accent of the times written about. Perhaps because I’ve lived in the area of England where most of Valerie’s books are set and am acquainted with her, I enjoy all of her stories. Both of these authors write books that draw me into the story and don’t let me go until the last page. I usually wait to begin a book like this until I have some blocks of time to spend with them and still find myself sitting up until all hours when I should be sleeping.

6.  Of all of your published books, which one story or character is your favorite and why?

The answer to both parts of this question can be found in one book, This Time Forever, a Civil War saga. I have always been fascinated by this tragic war and life in the “old South.” This book shows the war from both North and South, black and white perspectives and weaves a story of love and honor as well as hate and depravity.

My favorite character is Philip Burke, a Yankee surgeon who becomes a prisoner of war and barters his medical skills to avoid prison. He loves his family and his fianc√© and has his life all planned …until he meets Clarissa Wakefield. She is a Rebel, wife and mother, and becomes a caring and competent nurse. Philip has to make hard decisions that will hurt the people he loves and he does so with great regret. One reader said that from the first page she knew that Philip was a good man and truly good men are rare. I couldn’t ask for a better description of my favorite character.

7.  Would you tell us a little about your latest book?

My latest book is also an historical. Mistress of Huntleigh Hall is the sequel to Maid of the Midlands and the main character is the daughter of Matilda and Jondalar of the first book. This story is set in England in 1605 and involves the Gunpowder Plot. One of the supporting characters is Guido Fawkes who is a cousin of Lord Talbot, elderly husband of Alice. Although both of these books are classified as sweet, and suitable for readers of all ages, this book deals with a few more adult issues such as an unwed pregnant secondary character. Anyone who enjoys Regencies, will like these stories which have a Regency flavor with more seriousness and in an earlier time period.

8.  What can readers expect in the coming months? What are you working on now?

I’m getting together a collection of five speculative short stories which have been published as ebooks for  99cents to be released soon as a print book. Then I plan to get an ebook ready for print release with a new publisher and a new cover. After that I want to put a book back together that I had to chop in half to be published as a “pure’ romance. I think the subplots add a lot to the story and I did it an injustice to cut it. Then…next year I want to write the sequel to my Civil War book, set during the Reconstruction Period that followed. I think I need a nap just talking about this!

9.  What interview question have you never been asked that you’re dying to answer? Answer it.

I think I’ve been asked everything I know and answered a lot of questions with things I probably didn’t know very well. I can’t think of anything more I’m dying to tell anyone.

10.  Where can you be found on the web? (web site, blogs, social network links)

I have a website at www.lindaswift.net.  I have a facebook page and a twitter account, both as Linda Swift. And I’m very happy to announce an author’s page on a new blog, Once Upon A Word, Publishing by Rebecca J Vickery. Find me here:

                                     Amazon.com
              

I am also a frequent guest on blogs that will be announced on various loops so you can find me talking about a variety of subjects from time to time if you watch for promo announcements. All of my e-books (also available in print) and short novellas can be found on Amazon and several other distributors by typing in Linda Swift.

Thank you so much for having me here as your guest, Linda. I hope our readers have found something of interest and will leave their own comments which I promise to respond to.




30 comments:

Cathy Coburn said...

Very nice to here a little bit more about yet another. Nice interview

Cathy Coburn said...

I meant nice to hear not here

Linda Swift said...

Hi Cathy. It's good to know I'm not the only one who proofs AFTER sending! I'm so sorry to be answering your comment this late. I've had a problem accessing the blog. I'm computer illiterate. Thank you for reading this interview and I hope you'll check out one of my books. or two.

Linda Swift said...

Good morning, Linda. I'd like to tell your readers that Take Five, my collection of five short stories of Speculative Fiction is now avaible on Amazon as an ebook and in print. And Mistress of Huntleigh Hall, sequel to Maid of the Midlands, has also been released.

Miriam Newman said...

Good interview, ladies. Speculative fiction is a very interesting genre and I look forward to reading more of it.

J.A. Garland said...

I too hate writing blurbs. Heck, while we're at it, taglines aren't very fun, either! I'm very impressed with your list of writing accomplishments.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I enjoyed reading Maid of the Midlands. Wonderful story.
You're right about the importance of a good blurb. I write the blurb first to get the story theme fixed in my mind and then I write the synopsis and use it as my outline. They're so hard to write so I like to get them done first. It's a big relief.
Lovely interview, Linda. i wish you every success.

Tina Pinson said...

Take heart, Linda

Blurbs are tough for me as well. I want them to entice, and draw readers to my stories, but it's a proper mix that I can't seem to get always either.

Nice interview.

Patty Froese said...

So nice to learn a little more about you, Linda! I love that you've been married to the same guy forever. :) R

January Bain said...

I enjoyed learning more about you! Thanks! Best, January

Linda Swift said...

Miriam, it was so nice of you to leave your coomments.It is always gratifying with fellow-authors "heed the call." I am guilty of not doing this as often as I should. Time has a way of stealing all of my good intentions. And in case, you missed it, I have a blog on Speculative Fiction at this link. (I'm fourth down the page) http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/

Linda Swift said...

J.A. the list of my accomplishments that you mentioned is nothing more than keeping on "keeping on" with dogged determination. I'm glad to know blurbs are the bane of other writers' existence also.

Linda Swift said...

Sarah, what a great idea to write these things first so you can stop worrying about them. But I don't think I could ever do this. I have a problem with them even after I've finished the story and know what the story is about. My idea of a perfect editor is one who writes the blurb for me. They always seem to do it perfectly.

Jude Johnson said...

Lovely interview, Lindas! ;-)

Loving history as well, Ms. Swift, I agree with you that a little colloquial and era-appropriate dialogue is what helps pull the reader deeper into the story. I admire your diversity and look forward to reading your work soon.

Wonderful interview questions, Ms. Rettstatt.

~Jude
http://jude-johnson.com

Linda Swift said...

Tina, you are so right. The proper mix is necessary. I always want to tell too much and spoil the story for the reader. In one blurb, the editor/publisher said I had focused on too much negative stuff in the story. And yes, I had listed all the problems the H&H faced! I guess readers don't like being hit with all of someone else's woes when they read to get away from their own.

Linda Swift said...

Patty, I'm so glad you stopped and thank you for your comments. Yes, I'm planning on keeping this guy till the end of time. Who wouldn't? He helps me with all things technical and for the last year, he (an accomplished musician) has been playing easy listening music for all of my group book signings. We'd done four and now he is going to play guitar with another group of musicians at a music/crafts/book fair Dec. 1st. Oh, and did I mention that he bakes wonderful sourdough bread?

Linda Swift said...

January, I see that you also have done a guest blog with Linda R. a few days ago. I am going to read it later today. This is my first time on her site and I am impressed with it and want to read more of it. Thanks for commenting.

Linda Swift said...

Jude, thank you for visiting and for your comments. I suppose there is a fine line between too much colloquial dialect and not enough. Many say it slows them down and they will stop reading a book heavy on this. I guess it comes down to a matter of personal taste. And I suppose we shoud remember
"whatever sells."

Ute Carbone said...

Great interview Linda & Linda. I started in poetry, too. And I hate writing blurbs. Does anyone like writing them?

Gloria Clover said...

Nice chat, Linda. Sounds as if you are doing a lot of great stuff. My Sunday afternoon thought on blurbs: If I wanted to write copy I would have become an ad copy writer. There are actually people who have that talent. So, yes, Ute, there are people who like writing blurbs, 99% aren't novelists. :-)

Allison Knight said...

Loved the interview. Always great to learn about other authors.

Linda Swift said...

Ute, thank you for your nice comment. I feel intimidated by blurbs because we are told so much is riding on them to draw a reader in make them want to buy our books.

Linda Swift said...

Gloria, I loved your thoughts on blurbs and ad copy editors! Good point. So why can't we leave it to those who are qualified to do this???

Linda Swift said...

Allison, thank you for visiting. And yes, I love to learn about other writers in a publishers circle. Some are so quiet we almost never get to know them. And a few seem to live on the loops. Wish I had their time and talent to do this.

Celia Yeary said...

Hello, Linda S...and Linda R.
LS--now I know the exact way to write a good blurb. Mine usually come out pretty well, and I have been asked to help with writing a blurb. But if asked, I couldn't have said the main thing is info about the H/H....not much else. One publisher I had required a tag line, a very short blurb, and a longer blurb. That did tax my brain.

You're a truly eclectic writer. That is one thing of many I admire about you.

LR--I really like your interview questions. Well done.

Linda Swift said...

Celia, I wrote a response to you and it got lost in Cyberspace so I'll try again. I'm not surprised that you write a superb blurb.You speak and write concisely and cut straight to the chase while I wander around in circles.Thank you for the compliments. And thank you for visiting, dear friend.

Tanya Hanson said...

Blurbs are okay. I don't mind writing them, and I'm more likely to read others than an excerpt. I like the idea of short stories!

Linda Swift said...

Tanya, thanks for visiting and for your comments. I think people with concise minds write blurbs best. I tend to wander. And short stories are great. But I didn't find a digital market for mine early on. Now I have a publisher who releases them as ebooks for 99cents and also as a collection in print. The best of both worlds. Just released in Oct. is Take Five: Stories of Speculative Fiction. And I have a guest blog about what that is at this link:
http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/2012/10/author-spotlight-linda-swift.html#comment-form

Paula Martin said...

Great interview, Linda and Linda! Having just completed my current WIP, I'm struggling right now with the blurb. It's so hard to find the fine line between too little and too much!
Like you, I couldn't write about my characters' likes and dislikes beforehand. I think they reveal these things as you write their story. It's similar to getting to know people in real life. You don't know much about them when you first meet, but gradually get to know them.

Linda Swift said...

Hi Paula, I almost missed your post. I think a synopsis is almost as difficult to write as a blurb. Confession: I have often waited to write it when the book is finished! One editor gave me a useful hint about writing the synopsis. He said "Remember, just the facts, ma'am." We are trying to give a busy editor a quick overall view of what our story is about. When I realized that, my synopses got better!