Friday, February 29, 2008

Linda Sole and the Stud

Sometimes at the Diaries we like to step back and allow someone else’s voice to be heard. This marks the first of our almost guest interviews. Guest interview, you say? Yes but don’t expect a big name, or even a little name you may have heard of. We saved that for our interviewee.

The Diaries is proud to welcome a woman who is a virtual Charlie’s Angels of authors wrapped into one hot package. Whether you know her as Anne Herries, Linda Sole, or Anne Ireland, one fact is set in stone, her books will drive you to the edge of passion and beyond. Which begs the question, why did she agree to this guest chat?

Out of the way, Jmo. Because she knew I was the doing the probing questions!

Now that I’ve got the lightweights out of the room, allow me to introduce myself. This is the one, the only, the hotter than Tarzan in a see-through loin cloth, Stud Lee Monkey. Before we move on to my sweetums, uh I mean Linda, let me hit you with my bonefides. Not only am I the author and star of Mis-Staked: A Comedy of Vampiric Proportions coming to you soon from the fabulous people at Champagne Books, but I am also the only chimpanzee with a pending Green Card wedding with the woman you’re about to meet. Let England try to keep me out now!

TMD: Sit down, Linda. Don’t be afraid, I told you no funny business til after the ceremony.

Linda: Oh, Studs! Ever since I read all that fantastic work you've been doing I have been dying to meet you. (Bats eyelids) I know why JMO tries to keep you hidden. You have a wonderful body.

TMD: Why don’t you tell us a little about those marvelous books of yours, while Jmo gets you a nice cup of tea?

Linda: Yes please. (Jmo leaves the room) Anything to get him out of the room so that we can be alone! (Studs looks nervous) You really want to know about the books? Oh well, all right, I suppose I can wait for a little longer. (sighs) My hero!

I started off writing for Mills & Boon. You know them on your side of the pond as Harlequin Historicals. Well, I wrote such a fantastic unforgettable manuscript that they lost it, couldn't recall receiving it. (Studs looks suitably shocked). I can't understand it either, but maybe it was for the best. Anyway, the next book was published by Robert Hale, a hardback publisher in England. It was called The Witch Child/Lynne Granville, and I started with the ending and then wrote the rest. Set in the English Civil War, it was about a woman who did whatever she had to do to protect her family, and that included sleeping with the enemy.

After writing three more books for Hale I sent another, very nervously, to M&B and they took it. I wrote another eleven for M&B at that time. I was then head hunted by an agent to do mainstream. My first book for Century was Lovers & Sinners back in 1990. It was very different to the books I had been writing and they called it successful. Unfortunately, it didn't quite get into the top ten. I wrote two more for Century, but the others didn't sell quite as well. I think maybe I was trying too hard, and the fourth book was dropped. However, after a brief flirtation with Piatkus (Studs, stop making eyes at me! I can't think when you do that!) I sold Flame Child to Severn House and I have been happily working with them ever since. I also went back to M&B and have now had getting on for forty books published with M& B. They go all over the place and are translated into several languages. Recently, I have been flirting with ebooks, but the jury is out on that one.

Stud: Oh, boy, some tea pronto and none of that crud you serve to the regular people. I want the good stuff.

Linda: (Jmo enters with the tea just in time! What are you up to Studs? Never mind, perhaps you had better not say.)

TMD: Your books cover all the romance genres. Is there a particular genre you enjoy writing?

Linda: I have always loved romance of all kinds. I am a very romantic lady. I love historical because you can leave reality behind for a while and let your mind fly. I think authors who do fantasy are terrific and I find them fun to read, even if all sorts of dire things are happening to the heroine. All good stuff, chopping heads off and carrying off reluctant maidens to ravish them! (Keep calm, Studs. Just remember Jmo is serving the tea).

Stud: No, give her the cup not me. Sorry luv, but good help is so hard to find.

Linda: I know – with your intellect it must be awfully difficult to find staff of the right calibre.

Stud: You know it, babe.

TMD: Like many authors, you do both print and ebook. How do you feel the two sides of the industry complement each other?

Linda: I am pretty new to ebooks and maybe not as well known in that format as in print. I do believe that they are going to be big in the future, though I think we need other ways of selling them other than download. Kindle seems to be a good idea, easier because it is just wired to your reader. However, it should be available in stores so that people don't have to use a computer. I feel if sales are going to go through the roof, there will need to be a method that means you can pick up an ebook with your coffee. I like the principle of the thing, because you don't have to cut down trees and you can store so many books in a small place. We shall have to see what the future brings.

TMD: You write under a few different nom de plumes. Why the different names? I just want to make sure whose name is going to be on the marriage certificate. I don’t want to be marrying Sybil Jr.

Linda: I wanted to use my own name for M&B but they didn't like it so I came up with Anne Herries. Anne is a favourite name and Herries came from the Rogue Herries books by Walpole. When I started mainstream, I was allowed to use my own name. I have used Emma Quincey. Piatkus came up with that one, because it suited the books I was writing for them, and they wanted to do one Linda Sole and one EQ a year. These days they often publish two of the same author in the same year, but at the time print publishers felt you couldn't do that many – not if they were any good. When I came to ebooks I started writing something different. Some of them were slightly erotic and I used different names because I thought it best to keep them separate. However, for the books I am doing for Red Rose Publishing at the moment I am using my own name again.

TMD: A lot of authors have specific regimes they follow when they sit down to writing. Are you a plot first, characters first or a seat of your pants writer? To throw in a double whammy, how much research do you put into books?

Linda: I am usually plot first and then characters. I normally find that the heroines are fairly easy to bring to life, but it is the hero who gives the spark to a romance. Once I have him set in my mind I often go back and start the book again with a scene from him. At least, that is what I do for romance. When writing crime or sagas it is a bit different. In the Sarah Beaufort Mysteries, it is Sarah who leads the story, though I often begin with a crime. Sagas are very much heroine led. The male leads are probably not truly heroes.

As far as research goes, it depends on the book. Regency is a period I love so I only need to do a bit for those as a rule. Sagas will normally need far more, and crime needs a certain amount – dates and whether or not they could pick up fingerprints in the time period, that kind of thing. What I don't do is read loads of stuff because I tried that and started writing a historical list rather than a story. So, just as much as I need.

TMD: Speaking of characters. Who comes first, the hero or the heroine? And which do you feel closer to?

Linda: Although the hero is crucial in romance, I nearly always begin with the heroine, though, as I said earlier, I go back and do a piece from the hero because I think that is often what catches the reader's imagination. In a saga I feel closer to the heroine. In romance I have to make the relationship spark so I suppose I need to get inside my hero's head to do that. (I said head Studs!)

TMD: A lot of authors develop a very devoted fan base. How important is the relationship between you and your readers?

Linda: I am developing a very rewarding relationship with readers through the Internet. Writing has been good to me so I run regular competitions to give something back. I get quite a few nice emails and I have had some letters. When I get a letter though the post I always send a book. It is good to know that people enjoy what you write. (You have to know that, Studs! I am sure you get a lot of groupies!)

TMD: Jmo cover your ears! Now, my dear, a question solely for my benefit. What do you like your macho chimps to wear, boxers or thongs?

Linda: Oh, I think thongs in your case Studs. With a physique like that who needs clothes?

TMD: Not that you’ll ever have this problem with me, but what is the most frustrating aspect of being an author?

Linda: Rejections with no explanations or just rejections in general. Especially if I thought the book was okay.

TMD: A lot of authors live or die by reviews. How much impact do you really think reviews have on readers when they’re looking at prospective purchases?

Linda: Good reviews make you feel good, bad ones either make you spitting mad (recommended) or make you want to curl up and die. I think some people take notice but not everyone. If it is a professional magazine used by publishers and the trade it can do a lot of good. A starred review in Booklist can mean that your sales to the libraries shoot up and your publisher has to reprint.

TMD: Before we bring this to a close and we head off to the Hilton for some pre-honeymoon hi-jinks, would you let all our readers know what the future has to hold for you? Also let everyone know where they can find out about you on the web.

Linda: I have just finished a dreaded revision for M&B. It is one of a Regency trilogy and I have another in house being read. I have the third to do soon. I also have the third in the Upstairs,Downstairs, trilogy for Severn House. The first two have been well received so I want to make a good job of that, and I may write another mystery later this year. However, I have a special project on the go. It is a book for mainstream. An agent /friend has been nagging me to have another go. I wrote just over a hundred pages and sent her and she thinks it has more promise than anything else she has read recently. It is a matter of a lot of work and fingers crossed so we shall just have to wait and see. In the meantime I have those contracts to finish. I have one book out with an ebook company that I am waiting for results on, but I really want to try and write this special book.

TMD: Linda thanks for joining us today. I am sorry Jmo kept spilling tea on you but what to you expect from Homo Sapiens. Now let’s get going. I’m renting this room by the hour.

Linda: Oh, Studs, I think I should tell you that I am married. No, Studs, don't cry. I hate to see a grown monkey cry and I do love you, really I do. Imagine the scene in one of those romantic films. Brief Encounter! It is the forbidden love: she has to return to her husband and leave the love of her life. She sobs and walks into the sunset, music playing. Don't you just love it? Studs…where are you going? Hey, Studs, wait for me…Stud: Mommie!!!!!!

TMD: As our guest interviewer runs sobbing off into the sunset, we would like to thank both Linda and Stud for joining us today. We promise next time to screen our hired guns or at least keep them hopped up on Prozac til the thing’s over.


lrwirum said...

Hi Linda

Loved the interview. I love your books. :-)


Savannah Chase said...

oh this has to be one of the best interviews, I love it...

Linda is a truly amazing and talented author