Friday, August 14, 2009

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 “THE PROMISE HE MADE.” Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

THE PROMISE HE MADE is really about second chances. When Cole St. Germaine left Spirit Creek, Arizona, in the wake of a tragedy, he never expected to return. He never expected he’d have to face the people whose lives he’d changed forever. Serena Matlock had hoped she’d never see her former fiancé again. But in such a small town, it’s almost impossible not to run into each other. The real heartbreak, though, is that she still loves Cole. But can they move beyond the events of the past, or will Cole always be a reminder of the life-altering decision she had to make?

“THE PROMISE HE MADE” is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It comes from the book -- a promise the hero made to the heroine 13 years earlier, and which sets the stage for the rest of the story. The title is also in keeping with my last book, “THE MISTAKE SHE MADE” which was out this last April. Both books are set in the same town of Spirit Creek, Arizona, with recurring characters in both books.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve been writing Superromance novels (laced with a bit of mystery and suspense) since my first book ten years ago. This book, however, has less suspense and is more home and hearth than some of my other books.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea evolved from my last book, which features one of three women who are best friends, and as the characters developed, it seemed natural to go on and tell the other friends’ stories as well. I’m writing the 3rd book as we speak.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

Generally, I have a beginning and an idea of how the story will end. I usually have major plot points as well. The details and other events come as I write the story. Sometimes I outline a bit more than others, but I haven’t written a story yet in which I wasn’t surprised by the unusual turns the stories take and things always happen that I didn’t plan on. Even though I know the end, the story dictates the events that happen in the middle.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I love to research and learn new things, and I always do more than is necessary. And usually, the research sparks ideas for other stories as well. I don’t have any favorite sites for research because each book is different. I have certain sites that I keep on my favorites list that I know I might be using…like the FBI, some police sites and cop speak. I have several books on police procedure, but every state is different and every department is different. That’s nice in a way as it allows a writer to take liberties in some areas. I also have several crime reference books.

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

I always like both my heroes and heroines. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect by any means. Serena and Cole are likeable, but they’re all too human with faults and insecurities along with the good stuff. I really like Serena Matlock, the heroine in the upcoming book because she has grit. She continues on in the face of adversity and doesn’t wallow in self-pity. She copes as best she can with her problems—her twin brother being one of them—and the hero who’s returned after 13 years. Sometimes she gets in her own way and has a lot to learn about herself, but she’s strong and up for the challenge.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character charts, interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I do character charts with all the details, physical and otherwise. But by far, the most important thing I do is to create an emotional history for my characters. I find the point/event in their lives that makes them decide how they will act in the world at large, and usually that person is different than the person inside. We all have discovery points in our lives where we say, this isn’t working, so I’m going to act another way because it gets me what I want. What we/the characters show the world is the façade. It’s not the real person. I like to get deep inside and gradually reveal the real person.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, my gosh. There are so many, I can’t begin to name them. I’ve always been a reader, so I guess you could say I’ve been inspired since I opened my first book. At a very young age, I found a box of old books that had belonged to my father and I started secretly reading them. In the box were novels, complete sets, by Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kipling, Hemingway and Steinbeck. I also read Mary Stewart and Pearl S. Buck. Then I graduated to current contemporary fiction. No Nancy Drew for me. I also went through a comic book stage, which may have inspired me to write strong heroines. ☺

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
I do booksignings because I like to connect with the fans, but I think the Internet is probably the most effective.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m really excited to be working on the next Spirit Creek book with Natalia Sokoloff, the third friend from my last two books. She’s so different from the other two heroines that she’s proving to be quite a handful--and I love the challenge. I’m also starting a psychological suspense, something much bigger and more complex than anything I’ve written before…and that’s even more challenging, but exciting as well.

Thanks, Linda!

To celebrate her book release, “THE PROMISE HE MADE”, Linda is offering a copy of her last release “THE MISTAKE SHE MADE,” which received a 4.5 Star Top Pick from Romantic Times, 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... (Please check the blog late Monday nigh to see who won)

Bio. Linda Style always dreamed of becoming a novelist, but it took a while before she saw her dream come true. Her journey began at the University of Minnesota where she studied behavioral science and photography. A move with her family to Arizona, changed her perspective. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Communication at Arizona State University with a degree in journalism, but along the way, she also completed programs in behavioral science, and organizational management.

She’s worked as a photographer, a freelance writer, a caseworker, an internal investigator, the manager of a state program for the mentally ill, and a Management Consultant for the State of Arizona’s Department of Behavioral Health Services—all, she says, a training ground for what she really wanted to do—write stories about people.

Linda left all her earlier careers to write full-time in 1998, and after meeting an editor from Harlequin Superromance at the Romance Writers of America national conference in Chicago in 1999, Linda quickly saw the release of her debut novel, HER SISTER'S SECRET in June 2000. Since then, her books have been nominated for several awards and have won The Daphne du Maurier Award for best long contemporary of the year and The Orange Rose best long contemporary of the year. Linda's books are sold worldwide and in many foreign languages.

Now living her long ago dream, Linda finds it amazing that someone actually pays her to have so much fun! When not writing, Linda enjoys her family of four sons, two daughters-in-law, and three awesome grandkidlets. Researching her stories gives Linda the perfect excuse to indulge her passions for travel, photography and uncovering family history. Among many exotic travel adventures, she's ridden a camel in Morocco, kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland, climbed Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, trekked the outback in Australia and celebrated the Millennium in Paris.

Check out author’s website at


Anonymous said...

Good morning, Linda. Thanks for joining us again. Enjoy your day. With such an impressive career behind you, are there any words of wisdom you'd like to share with newer writers? How about readers? Thanks.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Linda. Great interview. The Promise He Made sounds good. I like the cover.

Estella said...

Hi Linda,
I enjoy your books.
Do you do blog tours to promote your books, or just a blog here and there?

Carol Webb said...

Hi, Linda. Thanks for stopping by. Your book, The Promise He Made, sounds really good.

I've also heard your workshops are fantastic. One of these days soon I hope to sign up.

Carolyn Matkowsky said...


I really enjoyed your blog. I especially liked your comment about digging into your characters's emotional history. I love AZ also and hope someday to move there myself. I love books set in AZ.

Tia Dani said...

Hi Linda,
Enjoyed your interview. Looking forward to reading your new book. I've always been a fan of your super romances.

dogmom2six said...

Great Interview. Sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it.


liana laverentz said...

Welcome, Linda. Enjoyed reading about your travels. How do you keep all your characters straight from book to book?

Tina LaVon said...

Great interview, Linda!
I am always impressed by your writing. Can't wait to read this book.

Donna Hatch said...

Hi Linda,
I can appreciate that there are things about your own book that will take you by surprise. That happens to me every time. And that's cool that you have a Cole, too! It's just a great name, isn't it?