Monday, July 30, 2018

Interview with author Linda Nielsen

Novelist Linda Nielsen joins me today to chat about her new humorous romantic suspense, Because I’m Worth It.

Welcome, Linda. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My characters have been influenced by years of work and play. I'm now retired and live on top of a mountain in the Sierra Foothills with my husband and seven furry critters. 

Please tell us about your current release.
Because I’m Worth it is a fictional, multi-generational saga that will have you laughing out loud with the idea of a proposed marriage of convenience. The silly, but obnoxious character of Terri Sue Ellen Covington, an alcoholic southern belle, who is the mother-in-law-to-be, uses her annoying, but hilarious mannerisms in an attempt to control two families.

Polar opposites meet when Skye Topple’s Big Sur relatives, a group of people who enjoy a creative and meaningful life style, try to understand his obsession for wealth and his choice of Delaney Covington for his bride-to-be.

With witty dialogue and a hefty dose of humor the characters engage each other on many levels, setting free a roller coaster of emotions. A secret emerges changing everyone’s life so that a baby’s future, a grandmother’s love and a man’s career hang in the balance.
How far will people go to get what they want?

Because I’m Worth It expresses the human condition through hilarious parody.” –Kimberly Coghlan, Coghlan Professional Writing

What inspired you to write this book?
Inspiration came from years of interactions with folks in all walks of life. Let’s face it, people have some unusual notions. It’s part of what makes life interesting. I usually have a new example every week that I can share. In the grocery store parking lot, I saw a woman carefully beep the locks on her car but leave the windows down. Now the question was; do I tell her or not? I did and she thanked me and told me she had her keys in her purse and the windows were lowered to keep her car cool. I knew there was no more to be said.

In Because I’m Worth It, I created several characters, introducing them as family members with different values. Some were up to the challenge; they actually jumped out in front, while others preferred the background.

I originally had an experienced angel and a dysfunctional angel directing the two families in a humorous way on how to make better decisions with their lives but after the first draft, when I had associates read the work, it seemed that the families had enough personality quirks going on that they could hold their own. I decided to save the angels for another idea.

I tried a couple more drafts where I turned the characters loose to see how they would behave. They were all over the pages and needed to be reined in. I added a story board to keep the plot on point and created separate outlines for each character’s traits. I’m a big fan of bullet points and stick ‘em notes for clear focus. With those tasks complete, I reorganized the story line and got back to work.

Many, many drafts later I had a book that was fun and functional with families who would be remembered.

Excerpt from Because I’m Worth It:
Monterey, California
The private jet taxied to the terminal. Charles breathed a sigh of relief when Terri Sue Ellen surrendered her drink.
“Are we finally here? Thank goodness! Now ah can deal in person with this hodgepodge calamity that ah have been sucked into. Call for the car. Ah want to visit this stone castle as quickly as possible.”
“It’s a house,” Charles replied patiently.
“Whatever. Bring my bottle of Stolichnaya Celebrated. I can’t imagine that a family living in a stone shed would have anything decent to drink.” She brushed peanut shells off her blouse. “Lookee here, mah fingers are all salty. Someone get me a tidy-up.”
“I’ll be driving us, so you can’t approach the counter with me to rent the car. Your breath is...”
Ruth arrived with a warm towel, and Terri Sue Ellen wiped her hands then faced her husband. “Now help me up.”
“Are you alright, sugar?” He pulled hard, and she popped out of the seat, dropping the towel as she tottered down the aisle. Glancing at her feet, he held her arm and asked, “Aren’t you going to put your shoes on?”
“Of course, ah am! Do you think ah was born in a barn?” She pulled loose. “Call the flight worker to shove mah feet into ‘em.”
Ruth appeared and bent over while Terry Sue Ellen sat down and pushed. “See there. Fit as a fiddle. Thank you so much, Lorraine.” She nodded at the young woman who looked up at her.
“My name is Ruth.”
“Well then, you’d best print it out and stick it on your uniform. And while you’re thinkin’ about doing that, pick up the dirty towel ah left and see to it that it’s laundered.” Raising her wrist in a dramatic gesture, she placed it on her forehead. “Oh! What a burden ah bear...always tellin’ others how best to do their jobs. Where was ah? Oh yes. Ah think ah’ll wait in a chair inside the airport and coordinate my thoughts. Ah’m tellin’ ya, Chucky, all this waddle’ around a surprise baby has made a jumble of mah life. And do note, ah am a finely organized person.”
She opened her crocodile handbag. “You there, Lorraine, put the rest of the peanuts in mah Hermes purse. Be careful ‘cause it’s expensive. Chuck, help me down the steps and be so kind as to point me in the direction of where ah’m goin’.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
There’s a possibility of a sequel that challenges the characters and their self-created dilemmas, inserts new dimensions and introduces fresh people who add positive impact to the future.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My mother was a writer but kept it a secret. She wrote fanciful tales of faires in the garden who rode on butterflies and frogs who could sing country songs and cats who had tea parties. I recall how she would open a cardboard bound book and select a story to read. After she passed away, I found that book in a bottom drawer in her bedroom and realized the stories were in her own hand writing! I was astonished.

She always encouraged me to write and I started in the 6th grade and have never stopped even though I had to get a “real” job to earn a living. I’ve always felt good telling a tale plus I find people to be fascinating.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full time but, even when I’m engaged in other activities, I find that ideas pop up and I’m a big note taker. When I am writing a book, I am full time at the computer. When I’m promoting a book, well, that’s like a full time job.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My computer is in the laundry room. One of my cats, I have several of them, will sit in a drawer next to me by the keyboard and I will talk out loud to him/her about dialog, ideas, cat nip mice, readers thoughts, cat treats, just about anything that comes to mind. My husband usually quietly closes the door so others can’t hear me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A dancer, a writer, an artist . . . I was open. One day I would want to live in the big city and run a company; the next I wanted to live on a farm and feed chickens. My parents encouraged everything so I felt no limits. But eventually life settled in around me and I got a job. It was dull so I moved to California and founded a company and met a man with shoulder length silver hair who had designed many homes in the area. My girlfriends held an intervention and told me he had a reputation for being fast with the ladies. I thought I hope so ‘cause I’m not getting any younger. After a few years we got married, semi-retired and moved to an old gold mining town in the Sierra Foothills.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope my story will take you away from daily cares, allow you to experience the lives of other families, good and bad, serious and amusing and give you reason to laugh. Happy reading!


Thanks for joining me today!


Unknown said...

Hi Lisa,

I realize there are many writers out there so thanks for asking me to do your Author Interview!

Happy Reading all summer long!

Linda Nielsen

Unknown said...

The book is delightful! Being from the Monterey Bay area, I have met and want to stay around many of the people in the book! We are all a little "crazy at times, but as long as our crazy is out of love and hope for a better future - more power to us.

Linda captures all of it! May you keep writing for years to come!

Gael Gallant Owens