Virtual Book Tour Guest: Interview with Lauren Linwood, author of Leave Yesterday Behind

As a child, Lauren Linwood gathered her neighborhood friends together and made up stories for them to act out, her first venture into creating memorable characters. Following her passion for history and love of learning, she became a teacher who began writing on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones.
Lauren’s historical novels focus on two of her favorite eras—medieval times and the American Old West. History is the backdrop that places her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grows into the treasured gift of love. She also writes romantic suspense, where modern heroes and heroines unite to defeat a strong antagonist and discover a deep, abiding love during their journey.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for House Hunters addicts—as soon as she finishes her next piece of dark chocolate.
Her recent book is the romantic suspense, Leave Yesterday Behind.
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About the Book:

Callie Chennault vaulted to fame on the nighttime soap Sumner Falls, but after a decade of playing
the same role, she is ready for a new acting challenge. When Callie is attacked by a stalker on the streets of New York, she takes a leave of absence from the show and returns to her roots in Aurora, Louisiana, to heal both physically and emotionally and determine her next career move.

Former professional baseball pitcher Nick La Chappelle has also come to Aurora to lick his own wounds after a messy divorce. A Cy Young winner and one-time ESPN broadcaster, Nick longs for the quiet of a small town in order to write murder mysteries under a pen name.

Sparks fly when Callie believes Nick is taking advantage of her great-aunt’s hospitality, but they resolve their differences—and surprise themselves by falling in love. Their bond is tested when both Nick and Callie become the focus of a serial killer nicknamed Lipstick Larry. Can they outwit a murderer bent on seeing them dead and survive to build a lasting relationship?

Please paste a short book excerpt here.  This may be needed for promotional purposes.  If you can include the whole first chapter, there are special promotions for this.  If not, a one or two page excerpt from the beginning of your book will work fine.

For More Information

  • Leave Yesterday Behind is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

A: I’d already published six historical romances and was looking for a new challenge. I gobble up romantic suspense from authors such as Julie Garwood, Karen Robards, and Jayne Ann Krentz each time they have a new book out—so I decided to try my hand at writing one. Leave Yesterday Behind is the result.

In brainstorming ideas, I decided I wanted a serial killer on the loose that would be after both my hero and heroine. I love watching Nashville (Yes, my husband knows that I would run away with Deacon Claybourne), so I decided heroine Callie Chennault would be the star of a similar nighttime soap. She’s at a crossroads (much as her creator was in her writing career), having played the same character for a decade and ready to stretch her acting muscles in a new direction. She’s attacked on the streets of New York and takes a leave-of-absence from Sumner Falls, her TV show, retreating to her small town of Aurora, Louisiana, to heal physically and mentally.

I decided that Callie would meet hero Nick La Chappelle, a former baseball pitcher who’s come home to lick his wounds after a messy divorce. I borrowed a little from the world of sports (Nick is a Cy Young winner, and my former student Corey Kluber won this same award just last year, plus my husband works in sports television). Putting all of that together, I stirred the pot and then let the action and characters take me where they wanted, which turned out to be a wild ride!

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

A: I don’t have a magic formula for writing a book, which is hard work even on the days my creative juices are flowing. I do have two tips that help me keep things straight, and I’d recommend using them to other novelists.

The first is to keep a cast list and brief description of every character that appears. It gives you easy access to everyone populating your book. You don’t accidentally change a minor character’s last name or occupation. This list allows you to keep track of every name you’ve used, not only for that book, but for future books you may write.

Another reference document I use is keeping a bullet-pointed chapter summary. I list what events occur in each chapter, and I also make a note of what is revealed in that chapter. I use this when I think of something that needs to be back sprinkled into a certain scene, so it makes locating that scene easy. It also helps me see my pacing. In my next romantic suspense due next year, I had several scenes of the serial killer, either observing future victims or showing him in action. I tried to balance those scenes and have the same number of chapters pass before the reader gained a new glimpse into his evil soul. Having my chapter summary list at hand made that easy to see at a glance.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

A: I’m currently with Soul Mate Publishing. I met my editor, Debby Gilbert, at a conference. I got a random email from the Northwest Houston RWA chapter that advertised their upcoming conference. I live outside Dallas, had never attended even one of this chapter’s meetings, and have no idea how that email found its way into my inbox—other than it being fate.

The conference topics appealed to me, and I would have a chance to pitch in person to an editor. Although I’m pretty darn shy, I threw caution to the wind and signed up for the conference, though I wouldn’t know a soul. I pitched Debby a medieval historical romance about the only woman troubadour in all of England, and she bought Music For My Soul two weeks later.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

A: It did surprise me that I had quite a bit of input into my cover. I’d read at most houses an author received the cover and that was that. At Soul Mate, I filled out a thorough information sheet that let me describe everything from hair color, length, and texture to height and body frames for my hero and heroine. It included significant objects in my storyline and allowed me to suggest ideas for backgrounds. Once I received numerous mock-ups, I worked with Covers by Ramona directly on font type and size, backgrounds, poses, and even the color of the clothing my couple wore. Seeing my people brought to life is an indescribable experience, and the cover art is still one of my favorite parts of the entire publishing process.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

A: My next medieval historical romance, A Knight for Kallen, comes out in November. It’s the tale of a Kallen de Mangeron, a woman who sees auras of color around people, which helps her discern their true nature and personality. King Edward II’s bastard brother wants to use her as a political pawn to get insight on others as he tries to capture the throne in a treasonous rebellion. Griffith Sommersby is the knight who has fallen in love with Kallen and will protect her at all costs.

Illusions of Death, my second romantic suspense novel, releases in March 2016. Set in a small Southern town, it has best-selling suspense writer Karlyn Campbell teaming with Police Chief Logan Warner to track down the escalating Rainbow Killer and end his murder spree.

I’ve also finished up the manuscript of a third romantic suspense, as well as a western historical, and I’m hard at work wrapping up a new medieval historical. My goal is to alternate releasing historicals with romantic suspense novels.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

A: I’m a Facebook fan! I’m not always clever enough to say what I want in 140 characters on Twitter (Okay, so sue me—I’m a writer—I love words and don’t appreciate Twitter wanting to cut me off). I find it easier to engage one-on-one on FB and have a back and forth conversation with a friend or a fan.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

A: The beauty about writing romance is that readers get that happily ever after ending every time. No matter what conflicts my characters experience, I try to show that they are better people for knowing and loving one another, both individually and as a team.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I appreciate spending time with the readers of The Writer’s Life! As an author, I’m writing for you and hope you enjoy the hours you spend with my people.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:44 AM

    Hats off to The Writer's Life for hosting me today!


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