Saturday, October 4, 2014

Interview with Linda Caroll-Bradd

Linda Caroll-Bradd, Author

As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.
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What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?  In 1978, I left my family, friends, and hometown behind and moved to Oregon with the man who would become my husband. As a native Californian, I wanted to live in a different state. We ended up on 2-2/12 acres, had goats, chickens and a huge garden and our first child was born there.
What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem? We just bought a small RV, and I’d love to take a cross-country trip visiting national parks. We’ll have to wait until my husband retires for that one but I love getting away for 2-3 day trips.
Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them?  Jill Shalvis, Kristen Higgins, Sharon Sala, Debra Holland. I like the universal themes of self-acceptance and small town settings common to many of their stories.
I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?  Purple
If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently? I would start creating fiction stories earlier than my 40-th birthday, when I gifted myself with a 1-day class on writing romance.  What would you do again? Have home-births for my three children.
What is your writing process from conception to finished MS? Are you a planner, panster or both? I used to be total plotter needing to every bit of the story worked out—for one novel, I even picked out furniture types for the heroine’s apartment. Now that I have lots of titles to my credit, I give myself a framework of beginning to middle to end and trust my process to allow for diversions down a different path than I might have planned.
How did you research for your book?  When I lived in Texas, I visited lots of small town museums featuring exhibits of the start of the community. These are always great for showing the basic elements of a town, and then as the population grows, multiple businesses migrate to the town. I also did some research on the Texas Rangers and how this protective service was developed. Then I just put my characters across from each other and had them start talking.
What is your all-time favorite movie?  TV show? Movie—Last of the Mohicans, TV Show was Longmire (until A&E cancelled it)
How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer? For me, very important. I became a writer by tackling and learning each craft skill one at a time. I’m so glad my work history included lots of secretarial jobs so basic grammar. spelling and punctuation weren’t a problem. But I attended lots of workshops in person in the early years and have taken my share of online courses.
If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be? Landscape Photography. I really like looking at pictures on the stock image sites and wish I could capture some of those beautiful places myself.
If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be? Cancer Research—we’ve lost several family members to various types
What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer? Read at least twenty books in your target genre to get a feel for what types of plots are being bought. Doing this research lets you know the type of action, language, violence, sensuality levels that are the “norm” in that genre. Then write the story that is in your heart and head, keeping true to your own vision. Your story may still fit in your targeted genre or you may have established a new cross-genre. Enjoy the process of creation.
Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?  Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career. For this answer, I have to give credit to all the Romance Writers of America chapters I’ve belonged to. From each I learned aspects of craft, promotion, marketing, etc., and I’m still learning and adapting to the new world of indie publishing.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? “Know the rules of writing before you break them.” Because I have a solid base in English skills, I know (and can defend to an editor) when I’m intentionally using sentence fragments or assonance to structure my story.
If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier) Ireland. We visited in May and I feel in love with the green fields and all the history.
Where do you write?  At a PC in small space (5’x7’) in the 2nd floor of our 750 s.f. cabin. I create pages there but do many of my additions and revisions on hard copy while at other places in the cabin (rocker, sofa).
How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off? I am lucky enough to be a full-time author and freelance editor. I’m also a deadline writer and tend to procrastinate, which means I may work 8 hours solid three days in a row to finish a project. So I might do promotion in the morning for an hour or so, then write for a couple hours (hoping for 1-2K words) and work on edits in the evening.
What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try? Cozy mystery
Is there anything you would like readers to know about you? One of my other passions (in the winter time) is crochet.
CONTEST ALERT!! Linda will be giving away an ebook copy of Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico, Vol. 1 to a commenter. Be sure to enter your email address in your comment to enter.

Linda’s contribution: Wander, Come Home
Author:  Linda Carroll-Bradd and Lorrie Farrelly, Cher’ley Grogg, Tanya Hanson, Shayna Matthews, Sarah McNeal
Publisher:  Prairie Rose Publications

Will a justice-seeking wanderer find solace on a ranch with a widow determined to protect what is hers?
Widow Vevina Bernhard sees mysterious lights at night and believes her Texas ranch is haunted. She needs protection for herself and her 4-year old son but the town’s sheriff offers no help. Ex-Ranger Kell Hawksen hires on as a farrier but still tracks clues on a stagecoach robbery. On Samhain, fire erupts and Vevina and Kell battle both the danger and the depth of their feelings.

Muscles tense, Kell pressed his lips tight to hold back a protest. What kind of sheriff expected this treatment from a widow? Not one who was on the up and up. Maybe he didn’t need to introduce himself yet. Better to wait and see how this plays out. He stepped out onto the boardwalk and, with quick strides, moved to his saddlebags and grabbed the carving stick he liked to whittle. From his pocket, he pulled a jackknife and settled into a chair in front of the hitching rail. In his experience, people were more ready to start up a conversation with someone otherwise occupied than with a stranger sitting and staring at passersby.
To his right, the doorknob rattled and the door opened, increasing the volume of the conversation.
“I expect ye to do yer job and check me fields, sheriff. I’m not promising ye’ll be allowed entry farther than me front porch.” The door shut with a bang, and Mrs. Bernhard breathed out a sigh. “Blasted lazy man. Oh now, Timmy. Don’t ye be using that bad word.”
“As cuss words go, that’s one not too bad.” Kell stood and lifted a finger to the brim of his hat. The sweet scent of lilacs teased his nose. “Ma’am, I couldn’t help but overhear what you said inside.”
She turned and gazed upward. “I suppose our voices were a bit loud.”
The woman was just a mite of a thing, had to be eight or nine inches shorter than him. But she apparently had the heart of a lioness. “Name’s Kell Hawksen, and I’m new in town.”
“Mr. Hawksen.” She bobbed her chin, making her bonnet strings bounce. “I’m Vevina Bernhard and this is my son, Timothy. With such a big name for a little boy, he’s known as Timmy.”
The boy gazed upward, his eyes a perfect match to his mother’s.
“Since you live around here, maybe you can point out a good hotel.” He hadn’t seen one on his ride in but he wanted to keep her talking. Her face was alight with intelligence surrounded by strawberry-blonde wisps of hair at the edge of her bonnet.
“Of course.” She twisted and pointed with her free hand. “No hotel, but I’ve heard of a good rooming house operated by Mrs. Treadwell. Go to that corner, turn right and it’s the third house down.” She turned and glanced at the full length of his body then squinted at his face. “Ye being here in Comfort on business?”
“Looking for work, actually.” And getting to the bottom of your mysterious lights might be quite entertaining. “I’ve served as a sleuth and a guard, I’m handy with a hammer and know my way around horses and cattle.”
“Oh, be ye a farrier, by chance?” Her eyes widened and she leaned forward. “Several of me horses need tending, and the new blacksmith doesn’t travel to outlying ranches.”
Outlying? He wondered how far outside of town the ranch was. “Not by profession, but I’ve always cared for my own horses.” He watched several emotions cross her expressive face as she considered his statement. Interest changed to caution and then to resignation.
After a long look at her son’s face and a few strokes of his shiny straight hair, Mrs. Bernhard dipped her chin then lifted her gaze to meet his. “I can offer ye room and board plus twenty dollars a month. Ye’d be rooming in the bunkhouse with two cowhands who are wintering over following this fall’s cattle drive.”
“No foreman?” His preferred job.
“He and his wife have their own small house. Right now, he’s laid up with a broken leg.”
“I thank you for the job offer and accept, ma’am. How far outside of town is your ranch?”
“Shady Oaks is about three miles on the westerly road. I need to shop at the mercantile before heading back. But if ye’d like—”
Lifting a staying hand, he shook his head.
Mrs. Bernhard tilted her head and pressed her lips together.
“I’ll accompany you, if that’s all right. Maybe help with carrying your purchases.” No better way to check out a town than to linger a while in the general store.



Sarah J. McNeal said...

Why Linda, I believe you were a Hippy.
An RV to roam the hills and valleys of America's national parks sounds like a terrific adventure to me. Maybe you'll even see Big Foot out there in the wilds somewhere. Taking pictures of the places you visit would be so much fun. I know you and your husband are going to have some great times.
Your little cabin sounds so cozy. I've been watching Tiny House Nation and enjoying all the little houses they create. I even went to Pinterest and pinned a bunch of really cute ones. My house isn't as small as yours, but it's certainly not big either. I love my little cracker box.
I haven't read your story in the vol. 1 anthology Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico yet, but I sure am looking forward to it.
I wish you every success and happiness, Linda.

Unknown said...

Good Morning Linda,
As a RWA student of yours, I can say that your self-editing class changed the way I look at my writing. It was an excellent class, and you are a wonderful teacher.
I agree that anyone trying to break into this business needs to learn the ropes before they decide to ignore them. I'm still learning.

I look forward to reading volume 1 and your short story. Best of luck to you.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Linda, what a great interview! I always love to learn more about my fellow authors, and you've sure had an interesting life! I've often thought I'd like to get an RV and travel some, too, but our big ol' dog wouldn't adapt, I'm afraid.

I loved Wanderer, Come Home. Your characters were so real to me, and I loved that story. I hope we'll see more from you at Prairie Rose Publications!


Sarah J. McNeal said...

Connie, thank you so much for coming to support, Linda. I'm certain she appreciates your very kind words.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Cheryl, thank you for taking time from your very busy day to encourage Linda with your lovely comment.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Does having my three kids by homebirths count as being a hippie? Now the term sounds like a dig at my physique. :)
Thanks for commenting. I may check out Tiny House Nation and get some storage tips.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Why thanks for those kind words about my class. I'm getting ready to teach it again starting tomorrow. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

Renaissance Women said...

Your story sounds so fascinating. Looking forward to reading it. Love that you are following your passion. Continued success. Doris

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Wonderful to get to know you Linda! I love "Last of the Mohicans" as well. :-)

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Doris, Thanks for the kind words and I'm making the most of this opportunity to write fulltime that began a little over 2 years ago when we moved back to CA.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

Unknown said...

Hello Linda,
That was a great interview. It's great to get to know authors through such interviews.
Love your approach to "Learning the rules before deciding to break them". As a French-Canadian, English is a second language for me but one I fell in love with years ago. So much so in fact that it's in English that I write fanfiction. Nowadays, I only write in French when I review my youngest daughter's university assignments (mind you, she writes extremely well, she only needs a second eye to spot the silly mistakes she makes when she's too tired). I love editing, be it in French or in English.
I'm looking forward to read your short story and the other stories that are part of this anthology.