Monday, July 29, 2013

Interview with historical romance author DL Larson

Today I have an interview with historical romance author DL Larson as she tours her novel Promises My Love.
As part of her tour, DL will be awarding a copy of one of her previously published books, hardback (US only) or e-book format, to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. To be entered to win, leave a comment below. To increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

DL Larson always thought she’d be a city girl, but instead, she has spent the last 40 years surrounded by corn fields. She lives in northern Illinois and enjoys the outdoors, especially gardening, and hanging out with her family that continues to grow.

Reading is a big part of DL’s life, both professionally as a writer and as a Children’s Librarian. She likes being in the know, seeing firsthand what folks like to read. Going back to school as an adult rejuvenated her desire to become a novelist. The writing awards she received lifted her up and reinforced her drive to tell the best story she could. Her second novel, Promises To Keep was a 2008 Reader’s Choice Recipient.

DL is a WindyCity member of RWA. She blogs each Thursday at
Visit DL Larson at
DL's books are also available on
Email DL through Facebook at:

Welcome, DL. Please tell us about your current release.
Promises My Love is a love story and family saga, set in 1840s Kentucky. Francis Frailey's tortured past leaves him not knowing how to love his young family. His past rears its ugly head and he no longer worries over his family as he aches for revenge. It takes his wife Christine, his brother-in-law Joe and his father to help him see he can have a future full of love and hope if he will only let go of his past.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I worked at Northern Illinois University in the Dept. of Children and Family Services, we sponsored educational classes and symposiums for professionals in the DCFS field. I was writing my historical series at the time. One of my characters was not very forthcoming and I wrote around him for quite awhile. As time went on, I listened to the many professionals talk of family abuse at these classes, and I realized my character, Francis Frailey, was an abused child. It was the key I'd needed to understand him and from there he has not stopped talking to me.

A thousand images raced through his mind, all too many of his uncle. Then those of his wife, hurt because of him when he’d lost control several years ago. His own senseless cruelty had harmed the one person he adored. And now, just two days past, his temper had lashed out again and Christine had been the one to pay for his lack of restraint. Self-hate filled his aching lungs as his fists clinched with the need to hurt himself for such a despicable crime.
"Son?" Jonathon’s voice cracked with concern.
His father’s words drew him to the present misery and he shivered. “Don't call me that," he croaked as weariness washed over him.
"You're my son. I've always been proud to call you my son."
Francis swished a hand through his hair. "That doesn't matter."
"Of course it matters. Just as it matters that you want your uncle to rot in hell. Why?"
"It's not important any more," Francis muttered before he gave his father his back.
"The hell you say," Jonathon said. "If it's not important, then tell me."
Francis walked to the door that would let him escape his uncle’s stench.
"Don't run away again. Damn it, Francis, talk to me."
He paused at the threshold. "I've nothing to say."
"How's my grandson?" Heavy-lidded eyes flooded with a need to hear about family.
"Fine." He shrugged.
"The baby?" Misery mingled with hope settled on the old man’s face.
Francis nodded, barely. It was all he could do.
"And that lovely little wife of yours, how's she?" Jonathon inquired softly.
The words were too much. Francis slipped out the door without saying anything about Christine. He made it down the long dimly lit hall, fell on the bed where he and Christine had stayed the one and only time they had visited. Only one small lamp on the mirrored bureau kept the room from being closed in by the dark of night. He hoped oblivion would come as he stared at the ceiling. It was a useless thought, sleep was impossible as long as Edwin remained in the house. Bile burned his throat. His collar restricted his muscles as he gagged. Yet he refused to throw up his fear. The bastard wasn't going to win, but he always did, and the sour contents of his stomach rolled back up. Francis stumbled to the chamber pot he’d set by the open window.
Too many hours had been spent hanging over a bucket. Too many days were lost to useless fear he couldn’t shrug away. His past life mocked him, made him shake as if he was once more a little boy locked away and the only way out was through the arms of a demented uncle. Sweat soaked his shirt as he slumped against the wall, the cold plaster a balm against his back. The inside of his eyelids danced a collage of swirling colors, blocking out the images of his past. The dampness of his shirt stuck to his ribs as he forced air from his lungs.
His muscles tightened stiff as death. Someone stood watching, the feeling grew all too familiar. He'd kill the sonofabitch. His eyes opened, and his father stared back at him from the open doorway. The light in the hallway behind him cast black shadows across the dim floor.
Jonathon hobbled in and settled on the edge of a chest at the foot of the bed. His hands clasped the tip of his cane as pity twisted his wrinkles. "You're drenched in sweat," he rasped. Apprehension filled his father’s eyes as they assessed him sitting in a heap on the floor.
"Fear," Francis corrected quietly. The pain behind his eyes flashed bright, worse than lightening on a dark night. It left him breathless and nearly blind in the faint light.
"You've surely faced death before," Jonathon decided with his simple logic.
“Prayed for it even," he croaked which brought a perplexed look to his father's face.
"You wished yourself dead?" The feeble voice rose in concern.
"On occasion." His eyes came up enough to see Jonathon rock with anxiety.
"But why? For God's sake, why?" Jonathon shook his head. "You have a lovely family, a wife who adores you." Francis sneered and his father leaned closer. "She does love you, I can tell from your letters."
"When she's not afraid of me," he mumbled.
"Afraid of you? Why would she be afraid of you?" Uncertainty mixed with hesitancy filled Jonathon’s voice.
"The usual reasons," he said. Disbelief crept across his father’s face. "Don't believe me? Ask Edwin about my temper when and if he ever wakes up." His forehead throbbed and he massaged it, hoping to ease the pounding in his head. "He could tell you a thing or two about that."
"I want to hear it from you."
Francis clamored to his feet, feeling awkward at his father’s staring. Restless hands moved through his hair as he dismissed the fact Jonathon wanted to converse with him. An apologetic forlornness creased his features before he left the room.
Jonathon followed him back to Edwin's death bed.
"Rot in hell, you bastard," Francis hissed again and stumbled away.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm working on book three of my werewolf series - where the werewolf and his soldiers are in league with the Almighty. Their job, their mission and way of life is to cleanse the universe of evilness. While on Earth they suffer from memory loss, which is no big deal since they rely on instinct to solve any problems that come up. Except when a human reporter figures out Wade Axelman, the protector to the werewolf prince, is an alien. Fun and absurdity ensues with a good dose of excitement, evil fighting and romance that is not supposed to happen. The first book is called: The Warrior Priest, The Werewolf Prince and The Trials of the Black Universe. (as you probably guessed it's a three part book!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My first inkling was in fourth grade when my teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, had a reading chart for us. It was her way to encourage reading and although I was quite a tomboy, I enjoyed reading. For every review we wrote on the books we read, we received a star on the reading chart. It didn't take long to realize I was a fast reader and had more stars than anyone else.
Then in fifth grade, Mrs. Mattan, also did a reading chart and I excelled as before, but what I didn't realize, but she did, was I critiqued the books instead of writing what happened. I remember once writing how I didn't think the ending was very good and told how I thought the story would improve if rewritten to include my ideas. She wrote back, 'someday maybe you will write your own stories.'

It took another twenty years for me to get started on that!

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 used to write every morning, but my schedule no longer allows me to do that. Or I've just gotten lazy and prefer to sleep in before I leave for work. I write in chunks mostly. I'm a goal setter, write in scenes sequence and when that is finished, even roughly, I feel I've reached my goal. Then I move on, setting another goal. I do the same thing when I edit.

As for finding time to write - it has become harder over time because my family has grown and free time never stops to visit me anymore. I steal time now. I'm stealing time right now. I need to have lunch, run at least a few of the dozen errands I have. I have two meetings tonight to prepare for, but wanted to finish this, so I'm stealing time I allotted for something else. I've become a pretty nifty thief. Readers beware!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write free hand for the first draft. That's not so unusual, but I need 6 sharpened #2 pencils, and prefer yellow notepad paper, but will settle for white. I become distracted when my last pencil grows dull. Mostly I hate the dent it puts in my finger, but if I write on the computer, I sound like a secretary taking notes, which is exactly what I was for years, so I stick to my pencils the first time around.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not what, but who - Lois Lane, of course. I believe it was my two worlds colliding even then. I wanted to write, but not about ordinary things. I believe my werewolf series came from my Lois Lane fetish. And I just couldn't give up on my character Francis until I figured out his secret.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Stop by and visit me. Don't be afraid to write what is on your soul. I never dreamed I would write about child abuse - I had a pretty ordinary upbringing, but long ago I asked God to give me a story with grit. So be careful what you ask for!

Thanks so much for having me as a guest blogger.

My pleasure, DL. Readers, don't forget about the giveaways! Leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

thank you for hosting

Deb Larson said...

Hello Lisa ~
Thank you so much for hosting me today. Do your followers enjoy real life drama over sci-fi? Or is it a good story that keeps everyone reading??

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