Friday, July 30, 2010

Interview with Linda Andrews

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Linda Andrews. 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 Gillian. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I think the synopsis tells some key points, although it does leave out the fact that Gillian’s best friend is the Grim Reaper.

Gillian Grey knows all about men and their desire for money. Aidan Baird is just a rougher version of all her other suitors--a man willing to put up with her dubious ancestry for a share of her money.

Aidan's dream of obtaining a ranch requires a down payment in gold--gold he's willing to earn escorting his boss's daughter around the desert on a "botanical expedition." But Gilly isn't looking for flowers. She's hot on the trail of Jack the Ripper. As the body count mounts, Aidan may have to sacrifice more than money to keep her safe.

Gillian is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Not very creatively, I’m afraid. Gillian is the heroine’s name, but when my editor and I were tossing around names nothing seemed to stick.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

The Victorian era is one of my favorite periods. It saw an explosion in exploration, the foundation of many sciences, and the rise of Science Fiction. Society was in a state of flux and the industrial revolution lead to challenges in established notions. Fortunes were made and lost. Rich Americans crossed to Europe to buy titled husbands and brought back folk lore as well as raided arts and antiquities. Against this backdrop was an acceptance of ghosts, séances, and otherworldly inquiry.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I came up with the idea for the book after watching a History Channel investigation into possible identities of Jack the Ripper. One theory in particular ended on an ominous note—the suspect disappeared into the American West and was never heard from again. So, if Jack the Ripper was killing in such a vast, unpopulated area, who would notice? The only person I could come up with was the person collecting the souls. The Grim Reaper doesn’t exactly make the best hero. That’s were my heroine, Gillian comes in. Gillian has very few friends outside her family and having just publicly jilted her fiancé is looking to get out of town. Seeing her best friend’s distress, she naturally agrees to help but her father won’t let her go without an escort. Enter the hero, who agrees to take her around for a price. Gillian is used to men being around her for money, but nothing can quite prepare her for Aidan.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

My favorite books are women’s diaries and reformists books. The women’s journals give a glimpse of the day to day things that bring a story to life and the reformists paint a picture of the values and living conditions of the day

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

I loved to write Gillian who has a lot of spunk and heart but who is afraid to risk exposing her true self for fear of rejection.

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

My characters develop me; I don’t develop them. One day they just show up and say, ‘Let me tell you what really happened.” I do get to paint in the period details, but even that doesn’t always stick. Gillian hates corsets (can’t blame her) and one of the first things she does upon arriving in Yuma is to take it off. As a Victorian lady, she’s also well aware of what is expected of her. Good thing Aidan is man enough to accept her as she is.

What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?

I loved writing about trains and actually visited the Train Museum in Golden Colorado during my research, plus rode on several different trains too. One fact I made use of is that Yuma, Arizona Territory was destroyed by a flood months before the story opens, steamships used to travel up the Colorado River and carry soldiers to forts up North and their where camels roaming free when the US Army decided they no longer needed them. Gillian doesn’t really have an accent but her speech is very proper, but she cultivates an Irish accent to irritate snobs. Aidan uses traditional English swear words, but has a chip on his shoulder about being Irish. Grismsree is the spirit of a 300 year-old Scotsman and has an attitude to match his been-there-done-that longevity.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I’ve been inspired more by wonderful stories than authors, mostly because I have an impossible time remembering names. I keep a notebook full of words, phrases, savvy lines and lyrics as I read to help me capture the images/emotions when I’m writing.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Networking. Most authors are more than willing to share war stories on the promotion circuit.

What do we have to look forward next?

In September, I have a horror science fiction short story called Intelligent Design. Simply put: When corporations run the universe, life is a commodity to be bought and sold. Also that month, I have a SciFi novel titled Hiding Space. A widow, willing to go to the ends of the Earth to keep her children safe, finds her family kidnapped by aliens, one of whom wants her dead. Next year, Gillian’s sister Fiona will travel to London to find out why her late Aunt and Uncle can’t rest in peace. Of course, she be accompanied by the spirit of her deceased fiancé who is trying his spectral hand at matchmaking.

Thanks, Linda!

Thanks for having me, Kim

To celebrate her book release, Linda Andrews is offering a free book of Gillian to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal."

All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house?

Check out author’s website at



Anonymous said...

Good morning Linda. Thanks for stopping by today, your chocolate is almost ready. Linda is one of my critique partners and chapter mates, and I had the honor of reading it first (there wasn't much to critique). Another wonderful story. I love how you came up with the book and your version of the Grim Reaper is hysterical. Gillian and Aidan are the perfect match for each other. Have a fun day.

Linda Andrews said...

Thanks Kim! That means so much. Of course, having to sit through not much to critique is about as fun as lots to critique:-)

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Anonymous said...




Rosemary Simm said...

Hi Linda,
I'm just starting to read Sci-fi
fantasy and found your twist with the victorian age interesting. This is a book that I would truly love to read. Hope to see more of your writings in the future.

catslady said...

I saw the show you are talking about on Jack the Ripper - thought it was fascinating and I love your premise and where your imagination took you. I'm just getting into paranormal but I've always liked thrillers and this sounds like a bit of both. And I kind of like the title - makes me wonder :)


Anne said...

This reminds me just a little of Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody mysteries. Is there some humor in Gillian as well?

Estella said...

Sounds like a different sort of book and very interesting.

Linda Andrews said...

Thanks for the compliment Linda, but don't kill him on my account:-)

I love the SciFi/fantasy genre, Rosemary.

I watch almost everything about Jack, Catslady.

Wow Anne! I love Elizabeth Peters (and all her other names). Gillian is a bit like the Peabody mysteries, but more so her sisters Fiona (Victorian London but there are mummies) and Brianna who travels up the Nile with an Egyptian Goddess. Now that you mention it, I do see the resemblance.

Hi Estella. Gillian is definitely a different sort of book, but it's definitely a romance

Mindy said...

Hi Linda :)
Great interview!
I loved the history channel's investigation of Jack the Ripper.
The book sounds like a winner, can't wait to read it.
I love the idea of a Scottish Grim Reaper.
Mindy :)

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Linda, what a GREAT book! I hope you'll have them for sale at the next meeting; I'd love to read it.

Laurie, who'd rather buy directly from you than Amazon if there's a choice!

Chris M said...

Hi Linda,

Your book sounds like a lot of fun! I really enjoy the Victorian period, throw in a ghost and the grim reaper and I bet the mayham pursues!

Best wishes,

Chris Mead