An Interview with Linda Goodnight
My most recent interview was such a blessing and a help to me in my writing career. Linda Goodnight is a RITA award winner, and winner of the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and many other industry awards. She is, without a doubt, a powerhouse in her genre.
I'm sure the following interview with Mrs. Goodnight will inspire authors everywhere to keep pressing on.
Me: Does your inspiration for your books come from real life people and places? Or are they purely fictional?
LG: Mostly my books are fiction. That’s not to say that I don’t get inspiration from the world around me. I do. A phrase, a news story, a unique person I see walking past in the mall can all spark an idea. I do try to write about real places but again, I twist those places to suit the story. For instance, in new book The Rain Sparrow, (releases March 1) the town of Honey Ridge and the antebellum mansion turned bed and breakfast are fictitious but loosely based on places in middle Tennessee that I’ve visited. I took bits and pieces of several homes and towns, added my own thoughts, and created the places you’ll meet in the series of Honey Ridge Novels.
Me: Of all the books you've written, which was your favorite and why?
LG: That’s like asking a mother which child she loves best! I have books that I especially enjoyed writing or that spoke to me deeply in some way such as my February paperback release, The Memory House. I love it because it not only resonated with me and my own heartache and loss, but I’ve heard from so many readers that they found such hope, as well as entertainment, in the story. It thrills me to see The Memory House published in so many formats now, including print, ebook, and audio book.
Me: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
LG: I’ve been a published author for many years and have been blessed to have my books win awards and even hit bestseller lists, so I have no complaints. My strongest desire is to continue writing stories readers love. Pleasing readers is my main goal always. And, though I have no control of the process, I would dearly love seeing one of my books made into a movie. Now, that’s a big ambition!
Me: Do you work from an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
LG: Early in my career, I was a complete “out of the mist” writer who simply took an idea and ran with it. I still do that to some degree but now, because of deadlines and to avoid heavy rewrites, I work from a fairly lengthy synopsis which I turn into a very loose outline. Everything is fluid and changeable so that I can still be surprised by a character or if something unexpected appears on the page. I love when that happens.
Me: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
LG: Gone with the Wind because of its staying power, and also because the ending has driven me crazy since I first read the book as a teenager. I often say it was the book that inspired me to be a romance author so I never had to read another unhappy ending. Is anyone with me on that?
Me: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
LG: You would think after fifteen years in the business, writing would get easier. It does not. If anything, it becomes more difficult because a writer never wants to grow stagnant. What sold ten years ago may not work today. Additionally, I want each book to be better, stronger, deeper than the last. So I continue to be challenged to create fresh, new approaches to telling a clean, romantic story that readers will love and I can be proud of. That sounds easy, but it isn’t.
Me: Can you tell us what you're working on right now?
LG: Currently, I am in the middle of book three of the Honey Ridge Novels and the follow up to The Rain Sparrow. The working title is “The Butterfly Song” but I suspect editorial will change that. This is the story of Valery, co-owner of The Peach Orchard Inn who hides her secret guilt, pain and deepest desire behind a flamboyant smile and often, a bottle of bourbon. Enter Grayson, with ghosts of his own, who wants to turn the old grist mill into a restaurant. Then a skeleton is found and both Grayson and Valery begin the journey to the inn’s secret past and to their own personal healings. And of course, there’s a love story in there, too.
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