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, award-winning author Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor and a bit of sass from her home in the southern California mountains.
To start the new year, we’re spending time with author Linda Carroll-Bradd, who will talk with us about her latest story and more.
Linda: I absolutely love doing the research for a historical story because I always include ethnic elements for at least one of the protagonists. The time period in which I write is the second half of the 19th century, which was such a melting pot time in America. I also rely heavily on my own ethnic makeup of Scandinavian/Irish as a way of exploring my ancestry and those customs.
Linda: Before I became an author, I always spent the month of December reading only Harlequin Christmas stories. When I had less time for reading, I watched Hallmark holiday movies. An opportunity arose to write a contemporary in a multi-author series. Almost from the moment I agreed to write the novella, an idea started building, and it came together so fast because I had a smaller amount of research to accumulate.
Linda: Jada received an infertility diagnosis and just wanted to get through the holidays avoiding children. She rents a cottage in a Colorado resort town and believes she’ll find joy again by working through assignments from a self-help book. Fulfilling her first exercise, she encounters the hero who turns out to be a single parent. Graham has already had one bad experience by getting involved with a tourist in his hometown and doesn’t want to repeat that mistake. But being in a small town meant they kept running into one another. In a way, both characters had to work past their prejudices to give the other one a chance. As I wrote, I kept in mind all those Hallmark movies, as well as my favorite book Pride and Prejudice, and I balanced high moments with low ones. I actually teared up a couple times as I created scenes, which hasn’t happened often as an author.
Linda: I felt honored to be invited to contribute a story to Debra Holland’s Sweetwater Springs Christmas anthology in 2013. I’d been editing Debra’s stories for a couple years before being invited to participate in the Montana Sky Kindle World. Writing in a story world that I was familiar with encouraged me to create my eight-book series, “Entertainers of the West.” That first invitation is what sent me on the path of writing thirty-three historical novellas (plus five contemporary ones) since 2015.
Linda: Each is special in its own way, but the first one, Laced by Love, set up the backgrounds for three vaudeville troupe members who ended up being the heroines of the first three titles. The Laced by Love heroine, Cinnia, makes a decision that ends up affecting the lives of her sister, Nola, and friend, Dorrie. Also, that first book establishes the hero, his two brothers, and introduces the hero of the second story. I hoped the initial story would spark others but never thought the total would be eight with another story plotted.
Linda: My next novella to be released in February 2021 is a historical and part of the “Cupids and Cowboys” series. Amata, who was an infant in Grayson, from the “Bachelors and Babies” series, is all grown up, and her romance is initiated by a child who brings together the hero and heroine. The setting is Cheyenne, WY, and Amata helped run her lawyer father, Grayson’s, campaign for state senator then went to teacher’s college to learn how to help her brother who suffers from a learning disability. The rancher hero’s son has a similar problem and the boy’s the one who contrives to get the two adults together.
Linda: Throughout my writing years, I’ve kept on track by the need to submit to a critique group. For several years, my daughter, Shenoa, my husband, and Sheila Hansberger met two Tuesdays a month at a Panera Bread restaurant. With COVID, we switched to Zoom, went to weekly sessions, and usually averaged three per month. I might have only created five pages but the group created a deadline. I also participate in an online group where I submit new pages on Friday night or revised and enlarged versions of the Tuesday critique pages. But when I’m in crunch writing time, the groups might see only the first two chapters of a story before I finish and release it.
Linda: During the first five months of this year, I wrote 4 novellas and then just stopped. The COVID restrictions kept me from being with family and prevented any vacation to look forward to–both just blocked my creative energy. I did a whole lot of crocheting as an outlet. I usually start plotting the next project when I’m halfway done writing the current story, but I just couldn’t. So over the summer, I read–mysteries, romances, thrillers, non-fiction writing craft books. The next story on my schedule was to be a love triangle plot, and I’d never written one, which I think was part of the block. Then practicality set in. I checked my preorder deadline, divided the word count by the remaining days, and sat at the computer to start with those daily word requirements in mind. Sheer determination pounded out that first chapter, and the block broke.
Linda: I took a career evaluation test in the eighth grade that scored Librarian as the job most suited to my abilities. At the time, I didn’t connect with that profession and focused on business classes in high school then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. I went on to work in administrative support positions for many years in the educational field and then in a land survey business. When we moved back to California after a dozen years in Texas, I organized the books on our shelves by the Dewey Decimal system…just because I could. I’m happy with being a freelance editor and not looking for a new profession, but the shelves in my office burst with non-fiction books I’ve read as background for stories I’ve written.
Jann: Thank you Linda for being with us today on A Slice of Orange. Snowflake Cottage is a wonderful holiday story. You also had two historical releases in 2020–Between Two Beaus and A Promise for Christmas, which are also great. We’ll be looking forward to your historical release in February. Have a wonderful 2021!!
(Click on the covers for buy links.)
This has been a year of challenges for me, since I started seriously indie publishing. I’ve learned it’s a lot harder to do everything myself, even though it has been rewarding. The one thing that has got me through it is the support and camaraderie from the romance community, including OCC.
Two of the challenges and rewards have involved group projects. Being part of the Romance Super Bundle brought me together with a group of wonderful indie authors: Amy Gamet, Dale Mayer, Donna Marie Rogers, Edie Ramer, Kate Kelly, Pamela Fryer, Lois Winston, Barbara Phinney and Wendy Ely. I’ve learned a lot about marketing and promotion from these ladies, including my first ever Facebook Launch Party.
Monday, Nov. 18, is the Facebook launch party for the other project. I was honored when Debra Holland invited me to be part of her second holiday anthology: Sweetwater Springs Christmas: A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology (Montana Sky Series) by Debra Holland and Friends, namely E. Ayers, Linda Carroll-Bradd, MJ Fredrick, Paty Jager, Jill Marie Landis, Trish Milburn, Linda McLaughlin, Bev Pettersen, Tori Scott, and Cynthia Woolf.
Writing my story, The Best Present, was both challenging and rewarding. It’s not easy to write in another author’s story world, plus I was unfamiliar with Montana in 1895 (or any other time.) Some research was required. (That was okay since I love research.)
For once, I shed my romance persona and wrote about a ten-year-old girl having the worst Christmas of her young life. I drew on some personal experiences, including my memories of my tenth Christmas, which took place two weeks after the death of my grandmother. Allison’s story has a different ending than mine did, but it’s the most personal work I’ve ever written, and it was an emotional experience. I was reminded of the old saw about opening a vein.
Sweetwater Springs Christmas: A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology releases Nov. 18 on Amazon but is available for pre-order now.
I hope some of you will join us on Monday to celebrate the release of the anthology at Facebook. It runs from 9AM to 6PM, Pacific time, and I will be there alone (gulp) from 10-11AM.
Happy Thanksgiving and happy writing!
I’m also getting kind of excited about marketing for the first time. It doesn’t seem so daunting to ask other blog owners if I can write a guest post for them. I’ve got some fun ideas, too. (Hint: one is about chocolate.) I’ll let you know when I start leaving my comfort zone and getting out there more.
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novels, Love at the Fluff and Fold and Unexpected Superhero, will be released in 2013.
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