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!