Stolen Moments with Two Famous Authors
I am a writer. A romance writer. But long before I began penning my stories, I was a reader. I don’t remember a time I couldn’t—or didn’t—read. I gobble up everything from biographies to thrillers, mysteries to romances, enjoying authors such as Lee Child, Joseph Finder, Karen Robards, and Julia Quinn. When I decided to take the plunge and share the voices in my head and their stories, I knew it was important to learn my craft. I began attending workshops to hone my writing.
Two authors I met at different conferences inspired me from short, simple conversations we shared together.
The first was Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I loved her characters because they were so relatable. Her heroines showed spunk. Plus, she always threw in a dash of humor that brought a smile to my face and made a great book even better. I entered the room where her seminar would be held, early, as always. I have a driving need to be situated, in a great seat, and ready to rock and roll when a speaker begins.
And I found Ms. Phillips the only person in the room, twenty minutes before “Show Time.” Preparing. Setting up. Mentally walking through things. When she completed her tasks, she turned and smiled at me. This incredibly well-known author proved to be the easiest person to talk with—funny, unpretentious, and charming. We discovered not only did we both like to be early and fully prepared, but we both were teachers. Rather, she had been a teacher before becoming wildly successful and quitting her day job to write full-time. In the minutes we spent together, we shared a few laughs over school stories and talked about the process of writing. I walked out that day understanding that yes, writers are still people, too. Although a best-selling novelist, this woman was a normal person who took a few minutes and graciously spoke with a novice. Her kind words and encouragement helped me push myself to one day publish a book of my own.
At another workshop, I met a favorite historical romance author. Maggie Osborne was sitting with a gentleman at a table before the conference began. No one was within ten tables of them, quaking in the presence of greatness. I recognized her from her book jackets and though I didn’t want to gush like a teenager with a crush, I marched over to tell her how much I admired her work and aspired to write and publish my own historical romances someday. She asked me to join her and her husband.
So we chatted for about twenty minutes as the tables filled in around us and the chapter president finally stood and introduced Maggie. Yes, by then we were on a first-name basis, and she seemed a little miffed that our conversation had been interrupted. But I left that day with wonderful advice from her. She told me they lived in a small town in Colorado, and it took over half an hour just to drive into a larger one to stock up on groceries and run their weekly errands. She would discuss with her husband events happening in her latest work in progress as they traveled to and from their home.
She shared that after setting up a scene, she would ask him, “So what do you suppose will happen next?” He’d tell her, and she’d press him a few more times, wanting to see what he came up with as the next logical thing that might occur. She said her rule of thumb was never, ever to use the first three things that came to his mind. If he thought of them, then countless readers out there would also think of the same things. She wanted to surprise her readers and treat them to something that they wouldn’t expect. I try to follow her advice as I write every time. What should happen next? Then after I arrive at a few conclusions, I go in a totally opposite direction!
As a reader, I enjoyed meeting these New York Times best-selling authors. As a writer, I’ve taken their advice to heart. Maybe one day I’ll have a few snippets of wisdom to pass along to another writer beginning his or her career. I still read voraciously, everything from Harlan Coben to Amanda Quick. I will always be a reader, but as I venture deeper into this writing career, I feel I’ve found a home.
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As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story.
Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice.
But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.
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About the Author
Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage
hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.
For more information please visit Lauren’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.