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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Welcome, Linda Swift!

Oh, Linda, I am so very glad you decided to come back and visit with me! I can't tell you how much our first chat did to lift my spirits. At my age the small things, like spending time with a special friend, mean so much. I enjoyed our last visit; now that we're "old pals" I'm sure we'll have even more fun.

My lemon bundt cake has taken blue ribbons at the county fair a time or two. I don't mean to shine a light on my own shoes, but I pondered long and hard, trying to decide what you would most enjoy sharing with me and I finally chose the lemon bundt. I baked it this morning--ooh, don't you just love the scent of lemons in the air?

I'm so glad you invited me back, Miz Elinor. And thanks for sending those delicious oatmeal-raisin cookies home with me. My husband agrees they were the best he's ever eaten. And my mouth is watering at the thought of sampling your lemon bundt cake when we take tea today.

Oh, I'm so glad your husband took to the cookies! What is it about cookies that just seem to bring out the boy in any man? Goodness, but that surely is the truth, isn't it? And, just between us, I baked a spare bundt for you to take with you when you leave. I thought your darling man might just enjoy a slice...or two or three!

Maybe I should explain why I called you Miz Elinor. In the South that is a term of respect for anyone older than we are and really doesn't mean Ms. as Women's Lib used the word.

You are a dear! Thank you for being so kind!

Now, why don't we settle in and get to introducing you to the folks peeking in on our chat? But first, let me pour you a cup of tea. And here, a slice of cake.

All right, now we're ready. So, does your family support your writing career? How?

Absolutely. One hundred percent. My husband helped me build my website and he helps me with all things too technical for me to understand. Both he and my son, daughter, and son-in-law give me encouragement, praise, and support. And my daughter established Facebook and MySpace for me and keeps them updated.

It's lovely that you've got help with all of that. It sounds like they free your time up so you can devote yourself to writing. I like that, a supportive family. Nice, very nice.

Any advice for an author just starting out on the writer's journey?

Don't try to keep up with trends and make your writing fit the cookie cutter mold. Develop your own voice and listen to it and it will not lead you in the wrong direction.

Expect rejections. Learn from them. A professor once told my class the only difference between published and unpublished authors is "lunatic persistence." I've proved that. I qualify on both counts!

Have you gotten any piece of writing advice that has been particularly helpful?

I began a short story in a university writing class and shared it with the teacher and he advised me to always narrate a story at the level of the main characters. I change the narrator's voice and the story won a Fiction Skills scholarship at the Indiana U. Writers' Conference that year.

Do you have a role model?

I've had many through the years but my current one is Miz Ivy, an almost 96-years-young English lady who lives alone, walks to church, has tea every Wednesday (really lunch) for anyone who wants to pop in (there's always a roomful). She always wins at Scrabble, works crossword puzzles, reads voraciously, and writes me long newsy letters. She is interested in people and events worldwide and takes pleasure in living. You would enjoy her company, Miz Elinor.

What a wonderful relationship, both for you and Miz Ivy! You are right, dear. I would definitely enjoy her company.

What do you love most about being an author?

When a reader tells me they enjoyed my book, that it touched their heart, that they want to read more about the characters.

Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?

Maeve Benchey. Every book she has written and I have collected all of them. She writes about ordinary people and places and everyday events in an extraordinary way. She has a gift of touching the emotions that are common to us all.

Ooh, you've chosen one of my favorite authors. That woman can tell a story, can't she? And it seems perfect that the traits you admire in her writing are ones yours possesses, as well. Sarita told me that one of the things she liked best about your Let Nothing You Dismay was the warm-hearted feeling the story left her with.

What kind of food do you like best?

Desserts. Candy, pie, cake, cookies, pastries, ice cream. You name it, and if it's sweet, I like it.

Do you have a recipe you would care to share with us today?

Certainly. And it will be a dessert, of course, pretend it's lowfat and enjoy.

FUDGE PIE

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 unbeaten eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Vanilla cream or Cool Whip

Melt together butter and chocolate. Mix in sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla flavoring and nuts. Pour into greased and floured pie pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Cool.
Top with ice cream or Cool Whip and serve.

Now this sounds like my kind of pie! Simple to prepare, and with two of my favorite ingredients, chocolate and nuts. Yes, I'll be giving this one a try. Thank you for sharing!

You have just won a million dollars. What would you do with it?

First, I'd invest most of it for my family's security. Then I'd take what I'm comfortable spending and travel to places I'd like to see...Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, the Greek Isles, and all over England and Scotland for a year or two. I'd be frugal and travel with National Holidays in the latter two countries.

Do you collect anything?

I collect bookends, coffee table books on England, trios (matching cup, saucer, and dessert plate), tea sets, pitchers, and trays. Someone has pointed out to me that all my collections are objects that hold something. I don't know if this is significant, do you?

What an insightful observation...it's true. I wonder... Now you'll have me thinking on this all afternoon. My first thought was that I'd love to sometime see your collection of tea sets. I admit I've got a fondness for those myself, especially pretty cups and saucers. Oh, yes, I do like my tea...

I hate to see our visit draw to a close but I know you must be so busy with your writing and your family that I know you'll have to run. I would keep you here all day if I could, but I know I shouldn't monopolize your time, Linda.

Just one more question, if you'll indulge an old woman.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Since I visited before Let Nothing You Dismay was voted Readers' Pick of the Month at http://findagreatromance.blogspot.com and I was interviewed at Between The Lines where you can read about my trip "To Hull and Back." http://blog.lyndacoker.net

And Circle of Love, my second book with The Wild Rose Press released on March 13th. So I have brought along a picture of the beautiful cover and blurb and a little excerpt to share with you. To learn more about this book and two more coming out this year, visit my website at www.lindaswift.net.

I've enjoyed our visit so much, Miz Elinor. The cake was delicious and I hope you'll share your recipes for the cake and those yummy oatmeal-raisin cookies, too. It's all low fat, isn't it?

You know it is, my friend. All low fat, and low calorie, too. I think that any treat shared between friends and over a nice pot of tea must be healthy, don't you?

I do hope you will come back and visit with me again sometime soon. Maybe when it's not quite so chilly we'll be able to take our tea on the front porch.

I'll look forward to seeing you again when the weather is warmer.

I'll hold you to that. Thank you for visiting with me today, Linda.

Readers, Linda has been gracious enough to offer a copy of her new book, Circle of Love, to one lucky commenter today. Check back later in the week to see if your name has been randomly drawn.



CIRCLE OF LOVE by Linda Swift
Available March 13th from The Wild Rose Press
www.thewildrosepress.com
E-book: $6. Print: $11.99

And now, a small bit of Circle of Love:

Blurb:

Joanna returns to a small Missouri town for her high school reunion and comes face to face with Pete, the love of her life. A college professor in Tennessee. She has never married and Pete, a prosperous farmer, is now a widower with five children. Their attraction is as strong as it was on graduation night when Pete was leaving for boot camp. He never knew that Joanna had his child and gave her up for adoption. And Joanna doesn't know that her baby girl, Beth, is now married and has begin a search for her birth parents. Will Beth find what she is looking for? And will Pete and Joanna, despite their diverse lives, rediscover a love that has come full circle?

Excerpt:

They danced in silence, each acutely aware of the other in every step they took together, in every place their bodies touched.
"I've missed you, Joanna." Her name was a caress on his tongue.
"Don't," she said, feeling the pleasure-pain in every cell in her body.
"Have you missed me?"
"I've missed you."
"Why didn't you answer my letters?"
She drew a quick breath as she thought of finding Pete's letters in a locked drawer in her father's study after his sudden death. Letters with a familiar looped scrawl that bore foreign stamps, now faded with time. She felt again the sharp pain his words of love and promise had brought. The frustration that caused her to pound her father's immaculate desk in a screaming rage that bruised her doubled fists.
"It doesn't matter now."
"Maybe not," His words sounded unconvinced.
The night, the music, the man who held her seemed unreal to Joanna but the intense aching inside was very real.
The band began to play a haunting Elvis tune.
"Joanna," his voice was muffled against her ear. She looked at him and saw his longing. "Let's get out of here."
She nodded wordlessly. Yesterday was gone and who could know what tomorrow would hold? But she had tonight. She was here with Pete again and there was magic between them as there had always been. She wouldn't think about consequences now. Just for tonight, she would listen to her heart instead of her head.
"Come on." Still holding her hand, he led her across the crowded floor and out to the dark lot where his car was parked.
In the shadows of the gnarled pear tree, he gathered her into his arms and kissed her without restraint.

It was graduation night all over again. Blooms of silver-white formed a scented canopy that enclosed their moonlit world. Tomorrow Pete would be gone; there was only tonight. How could she tell him how much she loved him when words were not enough? Of its own volition her body found a way.

The long kiss ended. In the awed silence that followed, they held each other once again, the long undreamed of separation over.

10 comments:

Jess said...

What a fabulous interview! I love visiting with Elinor and she obviously loves Linda! Recipe sounds yummy also.

Have a nice day!!

Celia Yeary said...

Dear Linda--as usual, your writing soothed me just when I needed it. when I read about your life, I wonder why mine seems so bland and simple. From all your travels, you should have about a million stories to tell.I understand the term "Miz", because I, too, am a Southern girl--if you count Texas as part of the south. That's always confused me, and at my age, I don't need anything else to confuse me.Don't you love Sarita's blogspot page? Now, I'm even more interested in having my own private blog. Since I have nothing else to do, why I'll just set up a blog. I love pink. Take care, and good luck on your new release. Your friend, Celia

Dru said...

I enjoyed this interview.

Mary said...

Fantastic interview! Linda you sound like you've got an interesting life and that translates into your writing. Wonderful excerpt. I am psyched to read this book. Congratulations on it's release!

Sarita, I want to hug Miz Elinor. Snowdance will always be one of my favorite books!!!

Judy said...

I really enjoyed the interview. It made me feel like I was there with you. Lemon is also my favorite flavor, and I could actually smell the lemon aroma from the bundt cake. She sounds like me in the collecting aspect. Over the years, I have started collecting so many different items.

I really thought the cover was great and loved the blurb and excerpt. Thank you for so much fun.

lainey bancroft said...

I want lemon bundt cake!


(Sorry. Great interview!) =)

Danielle Thorne said...

Being Southern, I know that fudge pie recipe ROCKS, and being an admirer of Linda's fiction, I'm sure the new release will, too. Love the excerpt--a good window into Linda's writing and romantic style!

Anonymous said...

What a nice interview. Enjoyed the excerpt and might use the recipe. Thanks!

Pam

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Linda, I really enjoyed the interview and am going to have to try that pie (minus the nuts-I'm one of the few people I know who don't like them in dessert).

Hope you have a great release month!

elaine cantrell said...

Oh, why did Miz Elinor share that recipe! I'm trying to cut back, but now...