Friday, December 7, 2007

Interview with Linda Style

I'd like to welcome our guest today, Linda Style. It's a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called GOING FOR BROKE. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

GOING FOR BROKE is the third book in the Texas Hold 'Em continuity series about five lifelong buddies who play Texas hold 'em once a week. Dubbed "The Wild Bunch" by everyone in the small town of River Bluff, Texas, the five guys are now older and wiser...or maybe not so much. :-) Each book is about one of the guys in the poker group and while all of the heroes show up in all the books, each story stands alone. My book is Jake's story (Jake Chandler) who, after taking the rap for a crime he didn't commit, swore he'd never return to his unforgiving hometown--until his uncle's funeral brings him back...face-to-face with his past. Face-to-face with Rachel Diamonte. Not only did Rachel break his heart, she was the lone witness whose so-called evidence fifteen years earlier branded him a "barn burner." And now, the former homecoming queen--a single mom who needs help--has the nerve to ask him for a job. And, as you can imagine, Jake soon learns that when it comes to love, the stakes are high.

GOING FOR BROKE is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

All the titles in the series relate to the Texas Hold 'Em poker theme in the series. My title came up while I was playing Texas Hold 'Em with a group of friends. I liked that it fit the story, which is more than a cowboy buddy story. It's about love, redemption and forgiveness--on several levels. I wasn't sure if it was possible to love someone who betrayed you. To forgive? I wasn't sure...but I knew Jake and Rachel would have to go for broke if they wanted a future together.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

I love researching and always do a lot for each of my books. But this time, the research was a little different. I usually have research related to the suspense elements in my books, but GOING FOR BROKE is more of a straight romance. I didn't have the technical police procedural things to deal with. Instead, I had main characters with major issues, five buddies who get on each other's nerves at times, and a small Texas town that has it's own personality. I'm big on authenticity in my stories, so I also had to learn to play Texas Hold 'Em. To do that, I enlisted a group of author friends (who understand this kind of research) and we began a monthly hold 'em game. I had one of my son's teach me how to play and, at first, it was very much like the blind leading the blind. Now, even though the book has been long finished, we still play--just like the Wild Bunch in GOING FOR BROKE! I even win some times. :-}

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

My hero, Jake Chandler, of course! He's not only easy on the eyes, he's smart and doesn't need to live up to anyone's expectations but his own. He's a rebel with principles, he takes chances, he's an entrepreneur who made it big in the business. But even though he has no money worries, he's still living with a past that isn't his. Well, not entirely. He's a complicated man with a soft center, the kind of man I like.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero's shoes?

Oh, easy question. But a good one. I always picture my hero and my story as if it were a movie. Scenes come to me visually, so I have my main characters firmly envisioned before I ever start writing. If GOING FOR BROKE was made into a movie, I'd love to see Jake played by Matthew Fox (with longer hair) from Lost. Fox's character on Lost is similar to Jake. An honest guy with a turbulent past. If Matthew isn't available, my second choice would be a taller Patrick Dempsey. (from Gray's Anatomy)

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Absolutely. In fact, too many to list. Early on when I first started writing, I read all the top authors and was inspired by all of them--whether I liked a particular story or not. The authors who inspired me (and still do) are those who work hard at their art/craft and always bring to the reader the best of what they do. The authors who inspire me are those who bring a piece of their heart to their stories.

What do we have to look forward next?

I'm actually working on two books. The first book, THE WRONG MAN, (working title) is about a man who spent ten years in prison for a crime he didn't commit--and the woman whose testimony put him there.

Thanks, Linda!

Thank you for inviting me, Kim. The pleasure was mine.

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a free book of your choice from her backlist to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio: Linda Style moved from one extreme (20 below zero winters) to the other (120 degree summers) when she left Minnesota for Arizona. Since then, she's visited every ghost town in the state, explaining that she likes to seek out the unusual. "I've been to the Corn Palace in Nebraska, the Sturgis S.D. motorcycle rally, trekked the outback in Australia, hung upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone, climbed Cichen Itza in the Yucatan, and drank more than my share of ouzo in Istanbul."

She combines those adventures with her writing career, which began after graduating ASU with a degree in journalism in the early '80s. Her venture into romantic fiction came about after she took a class on writing romance novels "as a lark," in the early '90s. Recently she finished her eleventh Harlequin Superromance, which will be out in December 2007. GOING FOR BROKE is part of the new Texas Hold 'em series, for which she had great fun doing research. She started a monthly Texas Hold 'em poker game "with a bunch of crazy-fun writers," who she says continue to play even though the book is finished.

Along with writing her novels, Linda serves as editor of View Highlife Magazine. For fun, she enjoys travel, hiking and photography...and recently, she went to her first opera!

Check out author's website at

Buy GOING FOR BROKE at Just click on the book page.


Roz said...

I just bought the book yesterday. I was surprised to see the December releases out so early. I have just started Deb Salonen's book in the Texas Hold'em group so I'll have to read fast. I love redemption books.
Great interview.

Linda said...

Hi Roz,
Thanks for stopping by. I was surprised that the books are out so early, too. I think they make great stocking stuffers. :-) Don't you have a book out this month, too?


Deb Salonen said...

Hi, Linda,
-And Roz, too!!!--
Inside info about writing this 5-author series with Linda: her code name was LS. (Because our 'closer' on the series is also a Linda. Linda Warren. Her code name was LW.)

Writing with four amazingly talented authors without a net (there was no preset "bible" when we started)was exciting and energizing and a little terrifying -- nobody wanted to the be the first one to look dumb. But once you get past the fear, you toss out ideas and build on each other's great platforms and suddenly you have a saga.

Happy reading and happy holidays, all!


Linda said...

Hi Deb,

Thanks for popping by...and giving the skinny on the series. Yes, the process in the beginning was a hoot. But it truly was amazing to see how creative minds work together. As you say, energizing and terrifying all at once.

In addition to working with such talented authors, it really helped to have such a great editor to work with. Victoria was wonderfully helpful (especially in the beginning) in keeping us on the right track. :-)

If anyone has questions on writing a series, or any other writing questions, for that matter, I'll be happy to answer.


Anonymous said...

interesting interview....looking forward to reading the series.

RubyD said...

Sorry it didn't leave my name. I have a real problem with Google/Blogger. Maybe someday I will get it right.

Ellen said...

Linda - I loved the story of Jake. Actually I have loved all the stories. I just got Cynthia's book. I liked the idea that a person could forgive another for a mistake honestly made. I am really enjoying the series.

Linda said...

Hi Rubyd,

I know what you mean about having problems with google/blogger kinds of things. I can screw up some of my best messages. ;-)

But...I'm glad you stopped by, and I hope you enjoy the series stories as much as we enjoyed writing them.

Happy Holidays to you, the Texas Hold 'Em cowboys might say, Happy Trails!

Linda -- who doesn't think any of the hold 'em heroes actually talk that way, but what the heck.

Linda said...

I'm so glad you dropped in...and it's good to know you're enjoying the series. It was so much fun to research and to write.

Speaking of research, it's one of my favorite things to do, and recently while researching another story, I had the opportunity to meet Jane Seymour and had my photo taken with her. I'll be putting it up on my website blog one of these days. I'm such a fan of hers, so that made it an even more wonderful experience.

I'm curious if other writers like research as much as I do...and if so, what do you think might be the most fun thing to do in the name of research? Besides hanging out with someone like our heroes, or Antonio Bandaras. ;-p


Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,
This looks like such a great read. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Oh, a stocking stuffer. I think my kids will fo that for Mommy. :) As for research, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I just wish I knew everything because some times the research gets in the way of writing.

Anna Adams said...

Wow, Linda, talk about a conflict. I can't wait to see how you (and they) work it out! ;-) And I always love continuity stories.

The best part of research for me is traveling to a new place to get the feel of "being there."


Linda said...

Hi Kim,

I hear you on the love/hate thing. I have one of those, too, with research, only the hate part is that I can never use all the wonderfully interesting things I learn in the process. :-)


Ginny V. said...

Hi Linda, I'll be looking for your new book this weekend. I just finished your last one and loved it. I also learned more about writing a good novel. It's interesting how another author's (yours) characterization can be so on-target for someone you either know or are developing (as a writer).

With regards to research, if it always involved travel, I'd be thrilled. I LOVE to travel :-)

Best wishes, Ginny V.

Linda said...

Hi Anna,

So nice to see you! Yes, traveling in the name of research is a wonderful benefit, isn't it. It also helps lend authenticity to a story when you know the terrain.

Hmm. I wonder if I could set a Super in Italy? I'd probably have to stay awhile to learn the language, too.


Linda Warren said...

Hi Linda,
This is the closer (LW) checking in. It was such fun working together and I hope everyone reads the Texas Hold 'Em books. They're all great. And I have to say I was sweating bullets tying all the stories together for THE ENDING.
Here's to mega sales. And friendship.
LW (The closer)

Cynthia Thomason said...

Hi Everybody. Great interview Linda. I just worked with you on this series and still learned something new. I'd like to hear more about that magazine you work on.

Ellen, hope you enjoy DEAL ME IN, my contribution to the series about these five poker-playin' guys. Like Linda, I love the research. My story takes place on a thoroughbred training facility in Texas, and I got to visit with lots of beautiful horses and some experienced trainers. And I've been playing Texas Hold 'em too.

I love all these books. Wonderful sexy and fun heroes in all of them, including Linda's delightfully conflicted Jake.

Happy holidays everyone.
Cynthia Thomason

Jan said...

Hi, Linda, I haven't "spoken" to you in a long time. Life and writing has a way of keeping us busy. My son and his stepfather, my husband, play Texas Hold Em together. I admit I'm clueless about cards. Your book sounds wonderful. I can't wait to pick it up.

Carrie Weaver said...

Wonderful interview, Linda! And what a fun project the series must be. The heros were a hoot when they visited on the e-Harlequin thread. I'll have to run right out to pick up my copy!

Linda said...

Hi Ginny, Linda W (the closer), Cindy T, Jan and Carrie!

I hate to put you all together in one message, but I'm having trouble sending more than one message from the blog site for some reason...and I think my day is over. ::sniff:: This has been really fun.

Ginny, wow! Thanks for the great compliment. To have another writer say she's learned from reading one of my books is the ultimate compliment.

Linda W -- I have to say what a wonderful job you did tying all the stories and books together and still having yours stand alone. I needed tissues at the end, for more reasons than because the series came to a close. I'll miss those guys, but your story was so
emotional and compelling. They all were as far as I'm concerned, but...I might be a tad biased. :-)

Cindy, too, what a great story. And I learned so much about horses and ranching and what it means to carry a burden like Brady did. (Cindy's hero).

Jan, you're right, we haven't talked in ages. I'm going to hop right over to your site and see what you've been up to. :-)

Carrie, I'm sure you had just as much fun working on the NASCAR series, even without it being a continuity series. If all the heros are like Helio on Dancing with the Stars, I've just become a NASCAR fan. The books, I mean. ;-)

Thank you everyone for stopping by, and to Kim for inviting me. This was great fun. Hope you all enjoy GOING FOR BROKE.

Happy Holidays cheers to all.


Ellen said...

One extra comment. I just wanted to tell you that I know the area where the town is set so that while reading the books I can actually visualize the place. I think making the town real is a very important part of the story.