This post was first published as an interview with Linda Rae Blair on her blog Linda Rae Blair, Author, April 20, 2013 and subsequently on Book Junkies Journal , April 21, 2013
I was born, grew up, married, raised my kids, and currently live in Wyoming. Most of the Western states are colored radical red on political maps, but I try to give equal time to different viewpoints in my writing. I’m interested in the mythology of the West, the cowboys and lawmen, the iconic animals and ideals. My fiction is contemporary, so the settings and the characters are completely modern and struggle with today’s issues. But the men and women in my writing leave a big footprint, because their personalities and their solutions to problems hark back to the iconic days which really don’t exist anymore. My characters truly live by the Code of the West.
I’ve always been a big reader, and liked writing. But when it came time for college, I couldn’t figure out how a woman who would probably never be a literary giant went about making a living from writing. Beyond journalism, that is, which didn’t interest me at all. So I put off writing formally until I returned to school at the age of 39. Then I churned out several manuscripts in quick succession but couldn’t get anyone interested in publishing them. When the age of Internet publishing exploded all of a sudden publishers were interested in my stories, perhaps because so many writers who would have been submitting to them were instead self-pubbing. Or maybe the stars were aligned correctly, or it was meant for me to look to where my roots are. At any rate, an opportunity to publish with Whiskey Creek Press/Torrid Books, a Wyoming publisher, developed for me when they offered a contract for Take a Chance on Love.
I write sensual contemporary romance. The stories started out plain contemporary, but I had to heat them up in order to sell.
[I am a] pantser. I really hate outlining. I will do it after the story’s written, if I have to submit an outline or long synopsis along with the manuscript. But I never write from an outline.
I’m fascinated by those few writers consistently good enough to continue to make a living from their work. I like suspense/detective best, which seems odd for a romance writer but there you are. The best inspiration for me as far as romance goes was and continues to be LaVyrle Spencer, even though it has been many years since she published anything. There was always a place in her books where I had to pull out the tissues, and it seemed to me that was a sign of powerful reader involvement in the writing.
Well, of course at the moment, my favorite [of my books] is Take a Chance on Love. It’s my first published contemporary. But I have to admit, I’ve always been a little in love with Micah. And I’m jealous of Chancie for setting eyes on him first.
I do a lot of research into a job that I might like to have. Then as I think about what personality traits the work would require, a female character just appears to start doing that job. The story unrolls like a movie, and I have to type like mad to get it all written down.
The best [experience as a writer] so far is getting that acceptance e-mail. The worst is the expectation that a writer has to promote, promote, promote. And working around the limitations of social media is frustrating and exhausting, especially when the rules keep changing.
The worst advice I ever got was to stop writing romance and write only literary/mainstream. Several of my college writing teachers looked down their noses at genre fiction, so I had to persist in spite of their obvious distaste for what I was handing in. The best advice was from other instructors and writers who took the time to critique my early efforts: Just keep trying.
My new book is Take a Chance on Love. It’s the story of Western business woman Chancie de Leur, who decides sexy highway patrol trooper Micah Taylor is the man for her the instant she first sees him. But besides the obvious differences between her and Micah—shockingly, Chancie’s never ridden a horse despite being a Wyoming girl through and through!—they have to contend with strenuous and rather devious objections to their growing love from Chancie’s young son.
I do have another sensual contemporary romance in the works. This one concerns a woman coal mine employee who becomes the target of an environmental demonstration, and the handsome Wyoming county sheriff who does his best to protect her in his official capacity—while he tries to keep his private attraction to her separate.
[I would like readers to know that] I just want to bring memorable characters and situations to life for their enjoyment. I hope readers like my stories enough to remember them and to recommend them to others. Writing and selling a novel is only one part of a two-way transaction; the reader is the other half of the process and every bit as important as the writer.
[As far as something readers might not know about me] I can’t think of anything. If readers want to know more about me, I would love to hear from them. My e-mail link is on my blog, and they can message me on Facebook.
Author page: https://www.facebook.com/writerchristi
Twitter: @WriterChristi https://twitter.com/WriterChristi
Links to Perilous Promises:
Whiskey Creek Press/Torrid Kindle Nook
Links to Clay's Quest:
Whiskey Creek Press Kindle Nook Smashwords ARe