It's my pleasure to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author, Linda Joyce to my blog with an interview and information about her Fleur de Lis series. Book #3 - Bayou Beckons has recently been published.
I was intrigued by Linda’s dossier on Amazon, which I’ll share at the end of this post. Linda's led an interesting life which makes for great stories.
Grab a cup of coffee (or beverage of choice) and read what this amazing writer has to say!
Q: Linda, I’m going to start with the standard question, how long have you been writing? I feel it gives insight into the passion that brought you to become a published author.
A: First, Jan, thank you so much for inviting me. I’m happy to share this time with you. In Louisiana, people drink coffee with chicory. My dad hates to drink anything else. Me? I’m off caffeine, so I drink decaf Rishi teas.
But about writing…I officially declared myself a writer on January 1st, 2009. I had been tossing around the idea. Dabbling. When I made my resolutions for 2009 writing topped the list. I threw myself into it. My first writing mentor said she’d never seen anyone so hungry to learn.
Even though I declared myself a writer, it took a couple of years before I truly believed it. Felt it. I think the feeling settled in when I received my first contract for a short memoir in an anthology.
Q: What have you found to be the most challenging thing about writing a series?
A: Remembering everything that’s happened in the first three books!
Time has passed, real calendar time, since I wrote the first and second books. Book three just released, so it’s still very fresh in my mind. Now, I’m working on book four, Bayou Brides—it’s a three-parter with each heroine in books one through three getting married at Fleur de Lis, just not at the same time. I finished Branna’s wedding and I’m staring on her cousin Biloxi’s special day. I’m having to consult my spreadsheet with details and actually find facts in the previously released books.
For example, Ida is a secondary character in book one. She’s a young girl, and she’s going to be the flower girl in Branna’s wedding I couldn’t remember Ida’s mother’s name, which sent me on the hunt. As they say, the Devil is in the details. I want to get them right.
I do hope readers will enjoy book four. There is drama unique to each bride. A couple of years ago, I started reading a series and when book two came out, the hero and heroine from book one were already married. I was disappointed. I so wanted an invitation to that wedding. Which is the reason I’m approaching book four in three parts. Everyone’s invited to all three weddings!
Q: Is there a particular method you found that helps you keep everything straight as you transitioned from book #1 to #2 to #3?
A: Each book has characters that carry over, but each book can also stand alone.
I do work to be as organized as possible. Each book has its own folder (in Word) and a spreadsheet where I track information: character descriptions. Their education. Places they’ve traveled, etc. Birthdays. Etc…I add in conflict questions for plotting. I save links for research. And, the fun part—I have a Pinterest Board for each book to keep me inspired. All of this to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Q: In your bio you mention your Cajun roots. Can you expand on that for our readers since your books are based in the bayou?
A: I don’t have a Cajun accent. I only speak a few words of French. But I’m a bayou girl. It’s where I fished, shrimped, and crabbed. I paddled a pirogue—it’s like a canoe. I learned to cook at my grandmother’s knee—stuffed mirlitons, gumbo, étouffée. I learned about the tides on the Rigolets, music, and partying! And on the bayou is where I received my first real kiss.
My father is Irish on his father’s side and Cajun on his mother’s side. My grandfather died when I was very young, so I only have one memory of him. He was second generation Irish born in Louisiana and a riverboat captain. In the opening scene of the movie, Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans, his riverboat chugs into the Port of New Orleans. But when you live in Louisiana for a while, you can’t help but embrace joie de vivre—the enjoyment of life.
My grandmother, she passed away in 2008, was a Guidry from Terrebonne Parrish—total Cajun country. While she was an only child, her father was one of thirteen children.
Historically, Guidrys were one of the original sixty families relocating from Arcadia—part of Canada—after the British burned them out. Arcadians—later shortened to Cajun—were invited to come to Louisiana; back before Louisiana was a U.S. Territory, before President Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase. (Yes, I LOVE the history of my home state.)
Q: Can you share a few words about the characters that have become part of the Fleur de Lis series?
A: Branna and James are wary about love. They’re the “responsible” people in their families, always trying to please everyone else.
Biloxi and Nick—he’s my book boyfriend, hot Cajun man that he is—are seeking to get beyond old grudges between their families who stand in the way of their happiness. A Romeo-and-Juliet story with a happy ending.
Party girl Camilla and Jared, the Wyoming rancher with Cajun roots—have a hurricane of chemistry…and conflict.
I believe love can change the world and when you love, you love completely, which is what my characters do.
Q: With book #3 under your belt, will there be a book #4 in the series? Or will you be working on something else in the near future?
A: I am indeed working on book 4 – Bayou Brides. The final book of the series will be Bayou Brothers.
And I’m going to be self-publishing The Sunflower series. Book one, Her Heart’s Desire is set for an August release.
As if that’s not enough—I’m working on a women’s fiction story set in New Orleans titled Secrets. It’s about three women, childhood best friends, reunited when a pivotal man in their lives dies. Now they’re the widow, sister, and ex-wife of the deceased. Each woman is at a cross roads in her life and needs the support their old friendship offered, only each has a secret, which if revealed, and threatens to tear the friendship apart forever.
Q: Do you have some words of wisdom to share for aspiring writers?
A: Something I learned very early in my writing days: Triumph comes through perseverance. That is the motto author, Jodi Thomas, instilled in me when I attended the Writer’s Academy. I am so proud to know her. I seek to exemplify the giving nature she exudes.
Q: Last question, Linda. Would you share your favorite passage from Bayou Beckons?
A: Only one? lol Remember, Camilla is a party girl, but trying to change. Here’s one passage I believe shows some of her conflict.
Whenever her thoughts drifted to Jared, tingling delight washed over her, head to toe, like silk buffing her body, which caused the imaginary devil on her shoulder to dance an Irish jig and coo, “Sensually delicious!” while the angel on the other shoulder tsked in dark disapproval.
Thank you so much for being my guest, Linda! Your books sound wonderful! Come back anytime.
About the author:
Writing in the bleachers of a mostly bare playground in Japan where girls lined up to read pages gave award-winning author Linda Joyce "writing fever." Before her foray into authorship, she graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Management, then spent her next years in corporate America. Her debut romance novel, Bayou Born is a 2014 RONE Award finalist. Her second novel, Bayou Bound won 1st Place in Romance from the Southeastern Writers Association.
Linda also writes short stories and poetry. She's most proud of Arctic Arkansas published by Missouri Writer's Guild in Storm Country: The Anthology, which raised money for the Joplin School District after a F4 tornado wiped out the town, and her poem, True American Music featured in by the Johnson County Historical Society with the Smithsonian's traveling exhibit: With New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music. She served as the Vice President of Whispering Prairie Press and the Creative Director for Kansas City Voices, a literary magazine.
Linda's Cajun roots intertwine with her Asian ones. She graduated with a business degree from the University of Florida, where she met and married her husband. They reside in Atlanta. She's an avid traveler, foodie, music fan, and dog lover with three four-legged boys, General Beauregard, Gentleman Jack and Masterpiece Renoir. Linda is a member of Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers, Atlanta Writer's Club, and Southern Writers Association. She enjoys speaking about writing and has presented workshops at the Writer's Academy at West Texas A&M University, WWP Conference and RWA Nationals.
If you’d like to follow Linda and her career:
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Joyce/e/B00BODDROS/