Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sporlight Interview with Linda Swift and Giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. She has worked in public education as a teacher, counselor, and psychometrist. These days she enjoys dancing and Tai Chi.

Her first books were published by Kensington. She currently has available six ebooks (two in print),one short story and a book of prose poems. She has two books of fiction, a Haiku collection, and three short stories to be released later in 2011. Linda's latest books are TO THOSE WHO WAIT, contemporary mainstream, Whiskey Creek Press; and SUMMER LOVE, Desert Breeze Publishing. Watch for announcements of later books by visiting her website at www.lindaswift.net.

Get a FREE Book!


Linda will be giving away one copy of SUMMER LOVE,in e-book format, to a lucky winner. To be entered in the drawing, just post a comment. Please be sure to include your email address in the comment so I can contact you should you be the winner. You do not have to be a follower to win though I do appreciate it.   
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Laurie:  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

Linda:  I was most surprised to learn in the process of writing that characters can "come alive" and take charge of their words and actions. It is an amazing thing when it happens and the plot often goes in a different direction than I had intended. I remember one despicable character who was supposed to have a minor role in the story but he kept asserting himself and he turned out to be a major character who was unforgettable.  His short story is being published this year and the editors have asked me to write a sequel to let readers know what happened after Jake Elrod married the school librarian.

Laurie:  That’s so cool!  Sounds like he is a particularly intriguing creation.  I can’t wait to read his story.  Who are your books published with?

Linda:  Currently, I have books available with The Wild Rose Press, Awe-Struck/Mundania, Willow Moon Publishing, Whiskey Creek Press, and Desert Breeze Publishing. Other work will also be released by Champagne Books and Whimsical Publications as well as Willow Moon later this year. My books are both contemporary and historical women's fiction, romance, mainstream, poetry and short stories. 

Laurie:  That’s a diverse cross-section of publishers.   About your books – are you a Plotter or Pantser?

Linda:  I am definitely a Pantser. I have a "loose" idea of the plot and characters and setting. But when I get the characters talking to each other, the story takes on a life of its own and I become mainly a recorder. I like to write a story with subplots and interesting minor characters and sometimes these people become such strong personalities that they almost overshadow the main characters.

Laurie:  Do you use a pen name?  How did you come up with it?

Linda:  Yes, Linda Swift was my maiden name and I use Swift for writing for several reasons. First, I am the only child of an only child and my branch of the family tree dies with me. My dad and paternal grandmother wrote stories so this is a kind of tribute to their genes. Second, my agent advised me to use a short name because it can be larger on the book cover and easier to remember.

Laurie: Makes sense and seems like good advice.  Do you have any other suggestions for beginning writers?

Linda:  I think the most important thing is to set your mind to being published and work toward that goal consistently. Find your own voice and try to write the stories you want to tell instead of following the current trends. Have faith in yourself. It may not be easy to reach your goal but if you work hard enough, long enough, you can achieve it. I have heard it said that three things make a successful writer. Talent, luck, and hard work. And you only need two of these to succeed.

Laurie:  I really like that particular formula for success. It sounds logical and is easy to remember. OK, moving forward, are you a morning person or a night person? How do you determine that?

Linda:  Neither. I am an afternoon person. Mornings are when I engage in creative procrastination. I will do almost anything to distract myself from working. Nights I find myself exhausted by the day's activities. But from early afternoon until about seven or eight, I am really at my best. Problem is, I like to do everything at that time, take a long walk, use the pool, read, write, visit, and even clean house. I once had a job working 3-11 and I loved it.

Laurie:  Really?  About mid-afternoon, my favorite thing to do is to take a nap. LOL.  Do you have a short excerpt you can share with us?

Linda:  Sure!  Here’s an excerpt from my contemporary romance novel Summer Love. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a free copy in e-book format.
    
The jukebox in the corner blared out an old country-western hit, the sound reverberating to make the salt and pepper shakers tremble on the tabletop.

"That one is too good to waste." Todd looked at Sharon. "Want to dance?"

When she nodded, he took another long draw from his mug and stood up, pulling her toward the tiny dance floor near the jukebox.

"Want to join them?" Derek asked Paula. She shook her head, suddenly overcome with a wave of sadness that threatened to make her cry. Quent made this kind of music and in a club somewhere a woman called Bootsie sang the love songs he played. But she had no right to him. It wasn't fair. Quent was her husband, divorce or no divorce.

Derek took her hand. "It gets better. Let the ghosts go and come dance with me."


This time Paula allowed herself to be led to the other side of the room. Derek pulled her into his arms and began moving to the music. He held her possessively close, not socially correct as Greg had done, and she could feel the hardness of his lean body as the music pulsated between them. He danced well as she had known he would, leading her effortlessly so that they moved as one. It felt good to be held in a man's arms this way. He wasn't her husband to be sure, but Quent was gone and he wasn't coming back to her. And she needed something -- someone -- to fill that void.


The song ended, and another began. Todd and Sharon moved slowly by, arms around each other, Sharon's head resting on Todd's broad shoulder. It made her heart ache to see them. Young love, raging hormones calling out to each other, fragile dreams.


"The bubble bursts too soon, doesn't it?" Derek whispered near her ear.


She nodded, tears stinging her eyes.


"I wouldn't trade places with them for the world. Not unless I could do some things a hell of a lot different."


"Me either," Paula whispered.


"You're my kind of lady," Derek said and brought her hand to his cheek then brushed her palm with his lips sending a wave of longing coursing through her veins.


No, I'm not, Paula told him silently. You are foot loose and fancy free and likely to stay that way. And I'm just a wife without a husband.

-----------end of excerpt-----------

Laurie:  That excerpt seems so believable to me.  I think it would resonate with any woman who has been divorced and wonders how she can  fill that void that seems to want to consume you.  I’m so glad you shared it with us.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Linda:  In my dreams! I would want to go back to England where my husband and I lived a few years ago. I would want to stay at least six months, rent a car, and explore all the places I haven't been and return to most of those I've already seen. Then for good measure, I'd take side trips to Ireland and Scotland while in the British Isles.

Laurie:  That sounds wonderful! Any other parting remarks for your readers?

Linda:  I would like to thank all who have read my work and especially the readers who have let me know how they felt about my books. I hope my characters have "lived" for them as they have for me. And I hope they remember them long after they have closed my books. Then I would feel my time and efforts writing books had been well spent.

Laurie:  Thank you so much for the chance to find out a bit about you.  I enjoyed chatting with you.  I am looking forward to stalking you and watching as new successes find you!

Linda:  It was fun, Laurie. Thanks!



Linda is a multi-published author with books, stories and poetry to her credit.  Read more about her writing and career on her website.  Blurbs for Ms. Swift's two most recent releases are provided below.  Remember to leave a comment, including your email address to enter the Giveaway.  :-)

                                   
                                    TO THOSE WHO WAIT
Leah's husband lives in a locked ward for the mentally ill. Scott and his wife live together in an empty marriage. Day after day as counselor and principal of a small town high school, Leah and Scott forge a bond of love based on respect and common goals. When Leah's son turns from star athlete to using drugs and Scot's daughter gets pregnant by the school board chairman's son, they are forced to choose between their family obligations and desire.      Contemporary Romance
Buy it in Trade Paperback To Those Who Wait


SUMMER LOVE
When Paula's husband leaves her to "find himself" after years of a good marriage, she is devastated. Adding to her hurt and anger, he joins a band and dates the band's sexy young singer. Forced to start over again in the job market, she goes back to school for a degree in Special Education.

Here she meets Derek, a retired naval officer, back in college to qualify for a second career. As Paula learns to cope in a whole new world, she is surprised to "find herself" falling in love again. And starting over proves to be better than she could have ever imagined.   Contemporary Romance
   
Buy it in Kindle format Summer Love
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