Friday, October 19, 2012

Interview with Linda Sole

I’m delighted to welcome Linda Sole to the RNA Blog today. Born in Swindon, her family moved to Ely in Cambridgeshire when she was nine. Linda married at eighteen and ran her own hairdressing business for some years before she started writing in 1976, combining this with helping her husband to run his antique shop. Writing as Anne Herries, Linda won the 2004 RNA Romance Award and the Betty Neels Trophy. As an established author writing under several names, tell us about your first success and if it changed your life?

Writing was something that I was bound to do sooner or later. I had always made up stories in my head, but like many others it was a while before I put some of my ideas down on paper and sought an outlet for them. Yes, being accepted first by Robert Hale as Lynn Granville for the WITCH CHILD and then as Anne Herries for Mills and Boon, for DEVIL'S KIND, did change my life. It gave me an absorbing interest, one that is as passionate today as it was from the very first. So tell us about these different identities, and how you manage to juggle them all. I started with Lynn Granville but then I wanted to try for Mills and Boon and so I chose another identity because, should I be accepted, I didn’t want the books to clash. It was possible to write for two publishers at the same time but did not seem fair or viable to use the same name.

Because I’ve always been prolific, I’ve carried this on into my ebooks. In more recent years I came up with the name Anne Ireland, because Anne is my favourite Christian name and Ireland is my maiden name. I also write as Linda Sole, because when LOVERS & SINNERS was born my agent wanted me to use a different name. One of my publishers suggested the Emma Quincey name, because they wanted two books a year from me but under different names - I suppose it is all down to marketing.

What inspires you most, people or places?

I think for a start places. Atmosphere comes from a place you’ve seen and felt in your soul and it is this source you draw on when creating your locations, even if they are fictional. Think of the famous words from a wonderful singer - a walk in the forest and filling your senses - and this song always inspires me. I think it is called Annie’s Song.

I know that you are very involved in reviewing other writers’ work, does this help or hinder your own writing?

I started my reviewing to help young authors who were struggling to get a foothold on the ladder. It was particularly intended for ebook writers as at that time I felt they often got a raw deal, few sales and not much money for weeks of work. These days the situation is better. It is now possible to make a lot of money from ebooks, though the high pay days still I think come from the mainstream publishers, but even the smaller ones are doing better. It is just a case of getting your name out there. I also have a site where I meet various authors and they tell me about their work. I feel I’ve been lucky and if I can squeeze the time to give a little back, I do.

What tips would you offer to any aspiring writer wishing to write a regency? 

First of all you need to read a lot of Georgette Heyer to get the feeling for the period. Research it well and then decide whether you’re going for the sexy stuff or the traditional. I personally prefer the traditional and my favourite of other people’s regency books are the funny ones. Linda Banche does some that make me giggle. Heyer is the Bible but you need a slightly different stance for M&B. Just as with the modern stories the heroine and hero need to be in an intense relationship with lots of things and people trying to pull them apart. I still want to see the regency background coming through in the style but you need to keep it concise and not get bogged down by your research.

The essence of regency I think is the banter. If you can get a good patter going that sounds right you’re halfway there - but think of your market, because the English style regency and the American regency are very different. Some English authors feel the Americans are not accurate enough, but they do have a very strong style and format all their own. If you want to sell regency in mainstream - a few publishers still do it - you probably need more mystery, more period detail and mannerisms, but that won’t get you published in M&B. So choose your market or you’ll waste your own time and that of the editors - and you’ll be disappointed. 

How did you devise the hero and heroine for your latest book?

It’s always difficult for me to decide which is my latest book because by the time one comes out I’ve written perhaps three or four more. The Regency I’m working on from a desire to put a little mystery into the plot and I’ve started with something a little shocking - a murder that actually happens on screen rather than in the past. The hero had to be made of stern stuff, because he needs to discover who killed someone dear to him and he also has to save his estate from ruin. So I gave him a military background, an uncertain childhood and made him proud. He doesn’t want to do what his friends do and seek out a rich bride to save him.

The heroine of this piece is a very calm young woman. When someone is shot and fatally wounded in front of her, she doesn’t scream or faint, she gets on and looks after the ladies who do. She believes herself to be poor at first and thinks she is attracted to Adam - she knows he must marry an heiress - but when she discovers she is rich how can she tell him without hurting his pride.
With the increasing popularity of ebooks, how do you think digitisation has helped or changed your own career as a writer? Have you self published anything? 

The jury is still out on this one. While my ebooks are getting strong sales now I think the paperbacks have fallen off a little but this won’t be proved until a few more statements come in. I think ebooks are wonderful and read them all the time myself - but I would hate to kill off the paperbacks, because there is nothing like holding a copy in your hands.

What was your most memorable Christmas?

I think the best ones for me were years ago when both our parents were alive. These days we are usually at home after visiting the family in the run up to the big day. I always look forward to Christmas and enjoy it, but we had some big parties years ago and they were huge fun. However, I still like my parcels under the tree and sharing a drink with my husband. I always listen to the carols from Kings College every year - so really every christmas is a good one.

I have a lovely Christmas Story coming out with another author in November so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will do well for us both, Candlelight Kisses...

Which authors do you choose to read for pleasure? 

Oh, lots, I am forever buying books and have over 160 on my kindle, a lot of which I haven’t had time to read yet. I love Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follet - particularly his Medieval books. Wonderful. I usually go for historical rather than modern, but my choice can vary from a short fairly sexy read to huge tomes filled with lots of history. I’m reading Lindsay Townsend at the moment. She writes both historical and modern mysteries and this is one of the latter - intriguing! Heyer is still one of my favourites though and I love Paul Marshall and her books.

So what next? Can you tell us a little about your work in progress?

I have written a couple of huge Medieval books that are still looking for a publisher - one was almost taken by a big mainstream editor but some of her team said no. I have also written a big saga, which I have hopes for. However, I am currently working on a five book contract for HMB and very much enjoying it. The truth is I would go on writing even if no one took my books because it is in my blood.

"A passionate drama in the Family Feud series from a well-loved storyteller. - "1887. When farmer's daughter Carrie Blake announces that she has been ravished by Squire Thornton, it sets off a train of tragic events. Her elder brother Dick challenges the squire - and both end up dead. Her father turns to drink, leaving Carrie's mother and her surviving brother, Tom, to carry the load of the farm. The two families become bitter enemies thereon. So when Tom and Roz, the squire's daughter, discover a mutual attraction, they know that it can never be. But their fates are entwined, and bitterness soon threatens to tear their lives apart . . .

Published by Severn House
27 September

Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today Linda. I’m thoroughly impressed by your output and wish you continuing success. 
Best wishes, Freda  

To discover more about Linda and her many personas, you can find her here: http// 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me:

1 comment:

Liz Hanbury said...

I'm also thoroughly impressed with your output and range, Linda! Great interview :)