Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Interview with Linn B. Halton

I’m delighted to welcome Linn B. Halton to the Blog today. Linn writes contemporary women's love stories that reflect life for Sapphire Star. Linn is an editor and featured author on loveahappyending.com. Tell us something of the genre in which you write. What is it’s special appeal for you?

My tag line is ‘life, love and beyond… but it’s ALWAYS about the romance, simply because I find categorising really difficult. Romance as a genre covers a wide spectrum and the way I write about it is more in terms of the eternal struggle to find happiness. Contemporary women’s romance is probably a better description, because I write about the baggage we all carry with us. Each one of us is unique, the one thing we share is that we all have problems.

What would you say are the major influences upon your work.

I have read and loved so many authors over the years, reading way above my age level from the age of eleven and upwards. Stephen King (who terrified me) and Sergeanne Golon, as well as the classics by Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen. I think the librarians always assumed I was taking books home for my parents. Marriage, raising a family and a full-time career meant ideas for stories went into a journal for the day I could sit down to write. I then read authors like Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly, Freya North, Anna Barrie, Sophie Kinsella, Judie Astley and continued to read old favourites like Ian Fleming and Ken Follett, to name but a few.

Being an avid reader inspired two main aims for my own writing style. The first that the reader should feel each character is ‘real’ and I often write about a character from more than one point of view. I also wanted the reader to feel I was sitting next to them, telling them the story and that whatever lessons life was going to teach the characters, the ending would always be uplifting.

Some writers need silence, others prefer music playing, or the bustle of a coffee shop.What is your favourite mode of working?

I can write in silence, or have background music playing as long as it’s an artist I like. My taste is eclectic. However, I don’t like TV noise or radio and I prefer not to have interruptions. I often write late into the night; I love it when the house is quiet and everyone else is in bed. Usually my cat, Mr Tiggs, sits with me. He’s no respecter of ‘being in the zone’. If he wants me to stop and sit with him whilst he eats, he doesn’t give up until I join him!

What is the best piece of craft advice you ever had?

Two stand out. One is to write what you know, or have experienced. Of course one’s imagination will then take over and that’s where research can then take it that bit further, but I know my limitations. The second was to accept that you can’t please everyone all the time. In THE RESTAURANT @ THE MILL there is a cameo appearance by a spirit named Sarah who wanders the mill and dips in and out of the story. One reviewer couldn’t see the point of including this character and yet someone else absolutely loved it. I respect every reader and reviewer’s comments and celebrate the fact that everyone has a different viewpoint. The wonderful thing is that feedback like this is golden for a new writer like me.

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

My latest release is NEVER ALONE, officially launches tomorrow. It didn’t start with a character, but a real-life experience. I took a part-time job showing houses to prospective purchasers to give me a break for a couple of days during renovation work on an old cottage! I had the most awful experience in one of the houses I had to show, to the extent that I found myself unable to go inside. Rather difficult when you have a busy Saturday and eight couples booked in at half-hourly intervals.

It was the trigger for the story, the idea being that Holly Elizabeth Atherton has the perfect life until it all begins to unravel after one unfortunate psychic experience. I thought what if that incident makes her realise that it’s happened before and she’s chosen to ignore her psychic sensitivity? As her life falls apart her ‘perfect’ man, Will, is there beside her, but does he understand and what if the path she’s on in life isn’t the one she’s supposed to be following? What do you do when the going gets tough? Work harder. Work is a cure-all; being productive leaves you feeling positive and it’s uplifting to know you haven’t wasted time. Time is precious and life is too short to fritter it away. If life was plain sailing it would be boring, wouldn’t it?

Which temptation do you find the hardest to resist?

Chocolate and coffee when I’m under pressure. Two essentials and I’ve yet to find a healthy substitute.

Can you tell us something of what you are working on now?

I’ve started a complicated story called THE GLASS WALL, which is about a woman who has two soul-mates. I’m about twenty per cent in, when a chance ‘live’ Twitter conversation with two readers of THE QUINTESSENTIAL GEMINI, stopped me in my tracks. They wanted to know when the sequel was coming out and both indicated they interpreted the ending in two very different ways. It taught me not to make assumptions when you end a book with a question mark, and it made me laugh. Then I thought, I’d better ask the main character… and found the question mark was there for a reason. So I’m working on THE QUINTESSENTIAL ASTROLOGER right now. I hate loose ends!

“It’s a gift to be shown something that allows you to make a difference and alter the outcome of someone else’s life. However, the weight of the responsibility that goes along with that is huge and what about the ethics? The thing I have to ask myself is how did my actions change the future?” 

Holly is the envy of all her friends, she has lived with the gorgeous Will for five years and supported him every step of the way. His IT business is about to go global and they are on the verge of having all their dreams come true! A life split between homes in the UK and Los Angeles beckons, offering them a glamorous and exciting lifestyle they will both fit into quite perfectly. So when Will pops the question, why won’t Holly say ‘yes’? 

A series of terrifying encounters unleashes an inherited psychic connection within Holly. Her ‘perfect’ life is turned upside down as she struggles with the reality of her ‘gift’. Help comes from a chance meeting with medium Peter Shaw and she discovers that she is also being given healing and protection by the spirits of two people. One of them is her best friend’s brother, Nick, who died suddenly in tragic circumstances. Holly finds herself confiding in him in an attempt to sort out her own life. 

She begins to sense that the path she’s on isn’t the one she’s destined for, but is it too late to change things? The thought of hurting the people she loves the most causes her to bury her emotions, until fate takes a hand. Life is all about the choices we make … 

Thank you for sparing the time to talk to us today. Find out more about Linn here: http://loveahappyending.com
Twitter: @LinnBHalton 
Facebook: Linn B Halton

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: freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk 


Linn B Halton and Lucy Coleman said...

Thank you for some lovely questions Freda, I'm delighted to be here today!

Sheryl Browne said...

Ooh,I agree. I totally hate loose ends. I'm currently have two WIPs and I feel pulled in different directions on a daily basis (it's those pesky characters!). I'm sure the strongest one will win me over. I loved THE RESTAURANT @ THE MILL. Sarah definitely played a part for me. If she was 'sensed', she was there, right? Good luck with the book launch, Linn! :) xx

Linn B Halton and Lucy Coleman said...

It's the first time I've had two WIPs so I might be emailing you for tips on how to manage my time! Thanks for dropping by Sheryl and good luck with your own launch on Valentine's day!

Nicky Wells said...

I'm with you on the chocolate and coffee! And for the record ~ I loved Sarah!! Fabulous interview and great to see you here. Good luck with tomorrow's launch: can't wait for the party. XX

Mandy said...

Wow! I am really excited to hear there is going to be a sequel to The Quintessential Gemini! That's made my day! Great article Linn and it's nice to know I'm not the only one tempted by chocolate!


Janice said...

I'm in awe of your productivity, Linn, and also thrilled that there will be a follow on novel to The Quintessential Gemini. I really enjoy your books because they are so totally unique. I'm into astrology and a sceptic about the afterlife but your themes make me think and certainly stir my imagination. Good luck with the launch of Never Alone - which sounds like my next 'must read'!

Janice xx

Linn B Halton and Lucy Coleman said...

Ah, thank you lovely ladies - a great bunch of authors and wonderfully supportive! You've been with me every step of the way and I've learnt such a lot from you all. Lxx

Emma Calin said...

Linn you are a powerhouse and an inspiration to all of us who know and work with you. The very BEST of luck with your book launch and much success!
Emma x

Bonnie Trachtenberg said...

What an insightful interview, Linn! Very much enjoyed reading it. You are absolutely correct about not fretting when you can't please everyone all the time. Things some people criticize in a book are often someone else's favorite parts. Your new book sounds wonderful. Right up my alley. Looking forward to reading it and best of luck!

Linn B Halton and Lucy Coleman said...

Thank you so much for paying a visit Emma and Bonnie. With such wonderful author friends to learn from, it's allowed me cut a lot of corners! You've all shared your experiences on the learning curve and your generosity and friendship mean so much to me. Time is too precious to waste reinventing wheels - and I treasure each moment you've saved me. It won't stop me making mistakes of course ... and I've probably made them all (at least once)! Lxx

Anonymous said...

Great post, Linn. I've enjoyed all your books and am amazed at how you keep on turning out more. You must be very organized to find time to write along with everything else you do.

Kit Domino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kit Domino said...

Great Post. I'm a great fan of Linn's work, she has such a unique voice and great stories. I'm right there with the coffee and chocolate!

Melanie said...

Good luck with your launch, Linn! I thoroughly enjoyed this interview and have some of your books on my iPad - waiting impatiently for me to get to them.

Linn B Halton and Lucy Coleman said...

Thank you Anneli, how lovely! I am a bit of an organiser! 20 years in finance taught me very strict disciplines and how to stick to rigid deadlines!

Kit - thank you and next time we share a coffee I'll bring the chocolate...

Linn B Halton and Lucy Coleman said...

Thank you Melanie! I have A Shadow In The Past on my Kindle Fire and can't wait to read that! Would love to take a few days off and curl up in a chair to read - hope I get that chance really soon!

Unknown said...

Good luck with your launch Linn. An author of the highest standard!