Thursday, February 10, 2011

Author Interview - Linda Boulanger - Inspirational Romance Author




Thank you for stopping in to join us. I'm pleased to introduce you to Romance Author, Linda Boulanger and her busy life as a writer, editor, publisher, wife and mother! She has her own publishing company but I'd rather let her tell you about this. Grab your cup of coffee and enjoy today's interview.

Hi Deanna!  Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.  I’ve been here numerous times on the other side – as a reader, and have in fact, actually won in some of the giveaways.  I’m always enticed by your FaceBook invitations and am thrilled to join you now from the interview seat.
      In my current release, “Arms of an Angel”, the main character, Claire, lives in a historic downtown building called The Grange.  Its apartments are extremely hard to come by and the reader will learn something a bit shocking about the one Claire now occupies.  
      Claire’s favorite room in the apartment is a spacious corner room she calls the sunroom.  It has floor to ceiling windows that allow the light to flood into the room.  She ends up in the room after a long, tearful shower – the tears brought on by the realization that, had she not met Garrett, she would have ended her life the night before.  The room had always been a haven of sorts for her in her youth and she’d closed it off for many years because of the pain of her past that haunted her.
      While we don’t have access to a lovely sunroom in an upper story of a historic building, I’m pleased to join Deanna from a plant-filled, finely decorated, windowed seating area in the Marriot Hotel in Rochester, Minnesota.  I actually live in Bartlesville, OK (the mid-west at its finest), though we have traveled 12 plus hours North for my 16 year old daughter to have surgery at the Mayo Clinic.  I have to say, we’ve been treated as if we were residence of The Grange and it’s actually a fantastic place for an interview.  Thank you for having me, Deanna!

Deanna:  Love the window seat, Linda! Great choice for our interview! Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.

Linda: Not only am I an author, I also own my own publishing company ~ set up because I wanted to help other authors with a desire to get their writings into the hands of potential readers.  With the handful of new authors we are currently negotiating with new works by our current shelf of authors, we are nearing our capacity for the year already and have some great books preparing for release.  It’s an exciting profession that couples together nicely with my authoring.
      I am also the mother of 4 very busy children who are wonderful subjects for dramatic character studies.

Deanna:  What made you want to become a writer?

Linda: A common answer, I’m sure – I can’t remember a time I didn’t write in some capacity.  As a child, I told elaborate stories. My mom used to dread me going to the movies because I’d come home and retell it in such great detail.  I also used to lay in bed “writing” stories in my head (and I still do!). Over the years, I began to write down some of them and a couple of years ago when I reconnected with old High School friends, one of them asked in a conversation what my life’s dream was.  I said I wanted to write a book.  His answer: Let’s do it.  And we did.  We co-wrote and released “Time Out on a Roller Coaster” – a collection of fun and light short stories.  It was great fun and I was hooked.  A dream I’d put away for career and early motherhood was revived and I can’t imagine anything else I would rather do.

Deanna:  Do you write under a pen name?

Linda: I debated about using a pen name, however, I decided to use my own.  There may be a time in the future that I will use one should I choose to deviate from my chosen genre.  I have a friend who jokes that I already have too many identities to keep up with and, considering the entities I have connected with the publishing, I’m pretty sure he’s right!

Deanna: As authors, we love all of our characters. Is there a certain type of character that is easier to write than another?

Linda: I find it easier to write extremely passionate characters with depth (and I’m not talking about the bedroom type of passion).  I like to take an emotional journey when I read, and therefore, like to write that way.  If a reader doesn’t laugh, cry, sigh, and get mad at some point when reading my work then I haven’t done my job.  I want a reader to “feel” my characters.  A couple of things you will always find in my books are turmoil – an issue that requires a “save the cat” character, and the realization that the characters are going to get their happy ever after.

Deanna:  Do you read in the same genre that you write in?

Linda: I write romance – currently “sweet romance” with plenty of tension without blatant expression.  I read all genres – especially as a publisher, but I love 'love' and romance will always be my genre of choice for reading and writing.

Deanna:  Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Linda: My typical day starts anywhere from 3:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.  Especially as I get into a story, I sleep less and less J  If I get up before 6:00, I usually set up at the kitchen table – the farthest point from the sleeping family – where I am joined by my 2 cats.  I’ll write until time to put on my mom hat to get myself and the children ready to head out.  After I get everyone to school (the husband is pretty good about getting himself off to work on his own), I put on my publisher hat, spend too long answering emails and socializing on FaceBook, and then get busy with any number of things that goes into publishing - from editing to page layout to formatting (print and/or ebook), and so on. I try to start winding things down by 5:00 p.m.  It doesn’t always work that way, but I do try – which does not mean my day ends, by any means – just the publisher part.  Unless I am in intense writing mode, I usually write only in the wee hours of the morning or in the evening during the children’s bath times and right before bed (which can often lead to midnight writing sessions!).

Deanna:  Most of us have pretty vivid imaginations when it comes to story lines. Where do your story ideas come from?

Linda: My story ideas seem to come from little snippets of information. It can be something someone says, the way they say it, from something I see or hear.  I’ll get a little scene flash in my head or a line that I just know is going to become a story.  From those snippets, a character will begin to form or a scene from a story will start to take place.  My current release “Arms of an Angel” began with the first sentence just popping into my head.  That sentence is “Claire wasn’t exactly the type of girl a guy would normally choose to take home to meet Mamma.”  Shortly thereafter, I could vividly see this woman sitting in the passenger seat of the guy’s car, but that’s all I got until later in the day when the dots began to connect.  I will tell you, however, that I often don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in a story.  I don’t use an outline.  The characters dictate their story as I write, though quite often I will know the ending well before I get there – sometimes I will go ahead and write the ending and then write from where I am to that.

Deanna: Love the cover for "Arms of an Angel"  - Jaimey did a fantastic job! Many authors struggle with dialogue. How well do you feel that you handle it?

Linda: Thank you and yes, Jaimey did a great job. I actually enjoy writing dialogue.  I believe it is a necessary way of giving depth and character to the characters.  The way someone says something or the explanation of body language or facial expressions used when it is said, can say so much more than merely describing it.  There’s a lot of dialogue in my books.  I’ve heard it said that the use of dialogue can bring a book to life and leave a reader feeling almost as if he/she has watched a movie.  I visualize scenes and conversations and write what I see, so perhaps that is the answer.

Deanna: Since you are a publisher as well, please give the readers a bit of insight into what goes into getting a book ready for them to read.

Linda: Editing and rewrites would come first, once it hits publishing status.  As all of this is happening, a cover is being designed, the book trim size is being chosen, paper color picked out, fonts sampled, etc. The polished manuscript is then formatted to the book trim size in a document that is sent to the printers who will print out an exact replica of the book or a proof.  We look that over very carefully and either submit changes or approve and…a hold-in-your-hand book is born!  Additional formatting or changes go into preparation for ebook publication.

Deanna: Is “Arms of an Angel” your first book?

Linda: I actually have one co-written short story collection that I mentioned above, as well as a collection of faith-based short stories, and a children’s book that have all been published.  I have two more children’s books in the illustration phase, two full-length novels in editing, one that I am writing (okay, 3, but 1 in particular that has been keeping me up at night!), and numerous others in various stages of completion.  The plan is to release “A Marriage of Necessity” and “When Love Whispers” both this year, although my current work in progress is tugging every bit as strongly as “Arms of an Angel” did.  Angel was not due for release until after the two full-length novels!

Deanna:  You mentioned “full-length” when referring to the other two.  What is “Arms of an Angel” considered?

Linda: Angel is actually a novella, weighing in at around 25,000 power-filled words.  I tormented myself over its length, but to have added more would have been to add mere fluff without needed substance.  I didn’t want that.  My mom once told me that a story should take as many words to be told as it needs…sometimes that will be 125,000.  Others will take only 25,000.  Angel is a complete and full story that, from the reviews, is captivating readers from beginning to end and, because of the length, they can indulge their inability to put it down.

Deanna: You also talked about a couple of things a reader would find in your books.  One of them was: turmoil – an issue that requires a “save the cat” character.  What is a “save the cat” character?

Linda: My “Time Out on a Roller Coaster” co-writer was working on a screenplay when we first began talking about writing.  He recommended a book by Blake Snyder called “Save the Cat” and, in the book, the author mentions that every movie needs that make-it-all-better character – the one who will fix everything by climbing into the tree to save the cat (poorly paraphrased, I’m sure).  Much of what he says about screenplays applies to story writing as well…for me, at least.  My save the cat characters are usually the male main character in the stories BUT it almost always ends up that he’s got his own cat that needs saving somehow and that job goes to the female main character.

Deanna: Do you have a desire to write screenplays then?  

Linda: I have several books that I think would make awesome movies (don’t we all?!!).  Now, do I want to write them into a screenplay?  Difficult question.  At this moment in life I don’t feel that I have the time to learn the language of screenplay writing and it is definitely something that a body would need to learn.  Now, if someone wanted to do it for me….

Deanna:  How important do you believe social media networking is to selling books?

Linda: I don’t know that I can honestly say that social media networking actually sells that many books.  It can alert potential readers that a book is available and/or allow authors to talk a bit more in depth about what’s inside the book.  I love it because it allows me to get to know my readers.  I’ve become good friends with many of them and love, love, love the input of all.  I have my author website, my blog, FaceBook: The Shelf Life of Linda Boulanger and even welcome readers to my personal page.  They’re fun ways to interact and if I do happen to interest someone in one of my books…I figure it’s a win-win for both of us.
 
Deanna:  I think you have info on a contest for our viewers, am I correct?

Linda:  I do. I will pick one commenter on Saturday as my winner so join me in a bit of chatter here. Let's do a copy of Arms of an Angel and Becoming (a collection of faith-based short stories) and they can have their choice of ebook or paperback.

Deanna:  Readers, please feel free to leave a comment or question for Linda and she'll be around to answer them until Saturday. Linda, our prayers go out to you and your daughter. God bless! *hugs* Please be sure to visit and bookmark Linda's websites! Good luck to all on the contest!


28 comments:

  1. Welcome Linda! I'm excited to see several have already stopped in to read. Thank you readers!

    Be sure to leave a comment to get in the drawing with Linda to win both her books in the format of your choice.

    Linda, our prayers are with you and your daughter today that all goes well.

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  2. Deanna, thank you so much for this great interview with Linda Boulanger. It brought me to your site and now I am a follower.:-)

    Hi Linda, it was very uplifting to read that you and I share some of the very same approaches to story ideas and writing craft. I, too, believe in letting the story tell itself. A very natural way to progress, in my humble opinion. I have read all of your published works and must say that I have never been disappointed. I always come away with a feeling of well-being. Maybe, because of the purging of emotions that are brought about.

    I was surprised to read that sometimes, you write the end of a story and then from where you are, up to it. I always learn something new about the craft of writing from you and you make it seem effortless.

    I have a silly question for you......don't laugh, OK?
    What does the "J" at the end of some sentences, mean here in your interview. Is this something I should know and should I be embarrassed for asking?:-)(shrugging shoulders right now)

    One last thing, but certainly the most important....my thoughts and prayers are with you for Katherine.
    (((Hugs)))

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  3. What I love about you Linda is how consistent you are as a writer...a publisher...a reader...a commenter...and now as an interviewee. You make it easy for people to get to know you...and once we know you...we cannot help but to love you! As much as I thought I knew about you, I am grateful for this interview and the layering that happens for me when I read more of your writing. I am slow...but incredibly interested in getting my hands on Arms of an Angel (give the free one away to someone else) I am off to get it ordered right now!

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  4. I apologize for running out this morning - we ended up with an added, unexpected procedure with our daughter. It is so cold here, we ended up handing around the hospital until the next procedure! It has already been a full day and it isn't over yet!!!

    Cindy - laughing because the Js were actually smileys when I wrote the piece - must not have converted correctly.

    I'm glad the interview is proving informative and enjoyable and I will continue to check in as time allows. :-) (working smiley!!!)

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  5. Great interview Aunt Linda!! My thoughts and prayers are with you and Katherine today.

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  6. Great Interview with neato frito insights into your daily world, Linda.

    Looking forward to working with you soon...

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  7. Great interview! I already read "Arms of an Angel" and have to say it was a great story! ...and yes it made me cry. So Linda, you should feel good about that.

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  8. Great interview! You are a very talented writer even in interview form. Praying for Katherine and you and Walt again today. Love you.

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  9. Sorry for the 'J's ladies, will get that taken care of. I wasn't sure if they meant something special so I left them! LOL

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  10. Hi Ms. Linda,

    I enjoyed the interview and can wholeheartedly relate with your primary writing time- the "blessed" 3 am till 6 am window- before parenthood kicks back into full mode.

    Thanks also for your inspiration: in your care for your fellow authors, and with what you've been through with your daughter.

    Blessings,

    Teric Darken
    <><+><>

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  11. Loved your interview and am eager for you to get your works-in-progress finished and in print. We know this is a hard time for you but you know our prayers and thoughts are with Katherine, you and Walt also the children and Gran at home. Be so glad when tomorrow is over and Kat is on the road to complete recovery. Love, Hugs and Kisses....

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  12. I followed Linda here also. Great interview!
    I love the cover of this book.
    I am going crazy waiting to see my own cover :)

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  13. I appreciated seeing Linda come alive as an author in this blog, Deanna. It is fun to see inside that world! I found it interesting that you enjoy writing conversation, Linda. I detest writing it-I can speak it, but putting it on paper is so very hard! Is there a site or book or something somewhere that can help with that problem?

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  14. Kazul...my greatest advice for writing conversation is....write it :-) It does take time and sometimes you will have to go back and rework it several times to get it to flow but, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Think of it as a comment run on FaceBook. You're very good at that so, in a sense, you are already writing dialogue...well, half of it anyway!

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  15. Great interview, Linda. I'm so proud of you! I know what a challenge it was, balancing your job as a publisher with being a mother, with writing your own book. I admire your determination. Not sure I could have done it!

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  16. Good luck with your book, Linda. I love to see how other authors manage to cram everything into their hectic lives. It's a tough juggling act, especially when you are editing other people's work as well as your own. Do ideas for your stories ever invade your sleep? I never seem to be able to switch off in the day and my thoughts invade my sleep all the time. Fortunately for you, writing romance, they'd likely be sweet dreams. For me, writing mysteries, they are usually nightmares.

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  17. Great interview sounds like a great book will put it on my to read list
    Candy

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  18. Thank you, Drew. You know that means a lot - coming from a bestselling author (and good friend). For those who haven't read his While The Savage Sleeps...do it! But, not right before bedtime!!! And I can imagine yours would lead to scary dreams too, Jenny (on my tbr list). I have to say I don't dream about what I'm writing so much (at night anyway!) but I tend to wake up at odd times with thoughts running through my head. I've found it's easier to just go ahead and get up and write it down...hence the 3 a.m. writing!!!

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  19. Your words inspire me, Aunt Linda! You have a way of drawing a reader in so they not only fall in love with your characters but also with you. The passion you show when it comes to your writing reminds me of when I was little. I loved watching you because you lived with such exuberance and filled everyone around you with joy. You were my ray of sunshine. You still are. I love you and my thoughts are with you and Kat!

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  20. Great interview! I loved your book,Linda. It was the sweetest story I've read in a very long time. And thank you for telling me ahead of time to have the tissues handy.
    I have to say I admire you,too. I remember how hard it was to juggle everything with 2 kids. I can't imagine doing it with 4!

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  21. Linda, what a great interview! I have as yet to read any of your books but they sound just fabulous. You are a wonderful, caring person and I'm glad I got to learn more about you! :)

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  22. I'm back! 1-I didn't realise it would post me as Kazul (my blog name..and a FAVORITE character in a series!). 2-I do talk a lot and the part I have the most problem with in writing it is the punctuation. I don't generally talk with quotes. Well, ok, maybe I do! Love you!

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  23. Thank you for the interview!!! Linda, you are one amazing woman! I am so pleased to have you as my publisher! Great job!

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  24. Great interview! I can't wait to get one of your books :)

    Liz ^_^
    www.vampyrekisses.com

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  25. Good morning everyone! Do we all have refills on our coffee? There's a bottle of Irish Creme hidden behind that plant in the corner there, help yourself! I think we're in for yet another busy day of viewers dropping by!

    Linda, you have recd 100 hits on this interview since it posted yesterday! Congrats!! Wow! We'll try to keep you occupied today while you're there waiting so....

    Do any of your books have sequels or are any planned?

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  26. Hi Linda, great interview. I pray that all goes well for you and your daughter... I hear it is a great hospital. I live about halfway between OK and Minn and know some people that have been there.

    -Brandy
    brandyzbooks@yahoo.com

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  27. Wow! Our 9:30 report time turned into surgery just beginning at 4:45 so it has been a loooooong day of waiting. Her surgeon is world renowned so that, coupled with the fact that we felt lead to him, has us feeling quite confident. At ease? Uhm...well, she's still our baby (even at 16) :-)

    Deanna asked about sequels. While I don't have sequels planned I do have characters from one book that will appear in others. In fact, a young couple will deliver horses to Claire and Garrett a few years down the road so readers will get to see how their lives are going. I also have a series of books that are not completely finished yet that intertwine a particular beach town so characters will make appearances from book to book. Those, I have to say, will not be released until a bit further down the line. First I MUST get A Marriage of Necessity and When Love Whispers onto the shelves. Now if I could just get all these people in my head to quiet down so I could get them done!!! Everyone wants their chance to find life on a piece of paper, it seems :-)

    Deanna, I have so enjoyed this Q&A time, even in the midst of this life trial. Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you.

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  28. Linda, I love the that you're bringing back past characters into a new book so readers can keep track of what's happening with them. What a wonderful idea. It appears your readers are anxious for the next books to hit and that you have several others in the works. I wish you the best!

    Thank you for the FB update on your daughter and we pray she continues to improve! When you get time, we will let you draw a contest winner. Post the name here and I'll add it to the top of the blog!

    Happy Valentine's Day weekend everyone! Spend it with those you love!

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