"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
A Fine TIME ..... for Romance!
Linda writes romantic comedy for Silhouette as Linda Lewis, and time-travel romances for Zebra as Linda Kay.
A retired attorney, she lives on the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain, across the Causeway Bridge from New Orleans.
Linda is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., The Authors Guild and Crescent City Writers.
An Interview with Linda Kay
PNR: Linda you'd written five category romances for Silhouette (as Linda Lewis) prior to writing your single title time travel duo for Zebra. What influenced your decision to switch?
K: It wasn't exactly my decision. Silhouette stopped
buying my proposals. <g> The last two Linda Lewis books were
for Silhouette Yours Truly. When the line died, my editor suggested
I rewrite the last YT proposal I had submitted for Desire. I rewrote
it twice, and the senior editor rejected the proposal. This process
took over a year. At that point, I decided I needed an agent. I had
a wonderful agent--Robin Kaigh--but Robin retired after she sold my
first book. Robin had been pushing me for years to get another agent,
but I was sure I wouldn't find another one like her.
Anyway, I called Robin, and she recommended Evan Marshall. I knew a couple of people that Evan represented so I talked to them, and then to him. He asked me to send him everything I had ever written!! I thought he was nuts, but I did what he said. I sent him a box of stuff. In the mix was the prologue for To Tame A Rogue--then it was called Any Time, Any Place--and that's what he liked best. He told me to write a synopsis (ugh) and a couple of chapters, and I did. Zebra bought it, and a follow-up book which turned out to be To Charm A Knight. As you can see, I went from category to single title more or less by accident. At the RWA conference next month, I, Metsy Hingle and Robin Kaigh are doing a workshop on Breaking Out in the Big Easy--about how each of us made the switch from category to single title. Robin planned it, Metsy was invited to switch, and I, as I said, did it by accident.
PNR: To Tame a Rogue and To Charm a Knight are your first historical romances as well, the former being set in the Regency era, the second in the Middle Ages. What made you choose to send your heroines back in time, rather than send a character from the past to the present?
Linda K: I think the mix of modern woman and 'old' man is more interesting. I also think I would have a hard time getting into the head of a woman from the past. I know in To Charm A Knight I had a very difficult time leaving my heroine in the Middle Ages. No coffee, no tea, no potato chips, NO CHOCOLATE! I wouldn't give up those things for a mere man--why would Victoria (the heroine)? In the middle of writing the book I called Evan and told him to give the advance back, I couldn't finish the book. He talked me out of that. So I had to make the knight outstanding enough that Victoria would stay with him.
PNR: The time travel experience for both ladies is initiated by one Tobias Thistlethwaite, a wizard born in the nineteenth century. How does he make it happen?
Linda K: Tobias inherited a magic stone from his parents--Merlin's Stone. It takes him quite a long time, until he's in his fifties, before he discovers the power of the stone. Tobias uses the stone as a cornerstone for his time-travel agency and the stone causes the agency to move through time. I got the idea for a movable store when I lived in the French Quarter. My sister had been living there for several years. After I arrived she showed me around. She kept telling me about a voodoo shop, but every time we looked for it where it should have been, it wasn't. Then one day it was. ??? We never figured that out, but it did give me the idea for the time-travel agency.
PNR: Tobias' inheritance (Merlin's Stone) opens the door to many possibilities. Why does he need his clients money when a knowledge of history could have made him wealthy in his own right?
Linda K: He's greedy. <g> Tobias thinks the stone will only work for a limited number of trips. He doesn't know exactly how many. In order to secure his retirement, he charges a very high fee. He can get away with it because of supply and demand--many potential customers, only one time-travel agency.
PNR: The Time Travel Trip is very expensive. How does Tobias find his clients?
Linda K: He reads the Wall Street Journal, and the Times-Picayune--the business section of daily newspapers. He has subscriptions that run into the future.
PNR: How does he decide where each is to be sent, and how does he convince them that he can perform this magic?
Linda K: Tobias lets the customer choose. Arden didn't believe until she was actually transported back to the Regency period. She thought she was going on a tour of modern England chaperoned by an historian. Walter, the customer in the second book, believes in magic, so he's not hard to convince.
PNR: Tell us a bit about the Arden St. Claire, heroine of To Tame a Rogue. Why does she wish to take the trip?
Linda K: Arden has just gotten control of the trust fund left to her by her mother. Her parents died when she was a little girl and she has been raised by her aunt and uncle, the stuffy St. Clares. They have kept her on a very short leash. Arden lives in New Orleans, and she gets her own money right before Mardi Gras. Many locals leave town during Mardi Gras, so when Arden happens upon a travel agency she decides to take a trip. She doesn't know it's a time travel agency.
PNR: Something goes wrong with her plans?
Linda K: Oh, yes. Tobias takes her to the right time, wrong place. Instead of London, she ends up alone in a forest where evil doings are afoot. She happens upon two miscreants who are attempting to murder a young boy. Arden saves him. The boy turns out to be a duke.
PNR: Does she fit in well? How is she received by the hero? Tell us about Royce Warrick.
Linda K: Arden tries to fit in. But, even though she was considered to be an old-fashioned lady in the twenty-first century, her actions are too bold by half for the Regency era. Royce thinks she's no better than she should be, and certainly NOT a lady. (I wanted to call the book Not Quite A Lady).
Royce is the boy duke's uncle and heir presumptive. If the boy dies, Royce inherits the title. Royce has recently returned from fighting Napoleon. He was injured and he is recuperating at his friend's hunting box when his nephew is kidnapped. Viscount Giles Stanton's hunting box is not far from the duke's country estate. Royce and Giles find Arden and William (the duke) in the woods after Arden has rescued William.
PNR: Royce is skeptical of Arden's explanation of her sudden arrival. How does this affect their relationship?
Linda K: Arden really can't explain her arrival. When Royce asks her how she got to the woods, she says, "the usual way." Royce thinks she may be in cahoots with whoever has been trying to do away with William. Royce makes his suspicion lasts longer than it should--he uses it to fight the attraction he feels for Arden.
PNR: Royce is engaged to be married? How does this affect Arden's hopes and dreams?
Linda K: Not much as far as Arden is concerned. It should, but in Arden's time engagements aren't as binding as they were in the nineteenth century. Arden figures out pretty fast that Royce is not in love with his fiancée. Royce feels bound to honor his betrothal, however, which makes him try to resist Arden. He's not very good at resisting, fortunately.
PNR: Unlike Arden of To Tame a Rogue, Victoria Desmond, heroine of To Charm a Knight is an unwilling passenger. Give us some background on Victoria. How does she end up in the Middle Ages?
Linda K: Victoria works for H. Walter Harrington, IV, a dot com billionaire (think Bill Gates). Walter is enamored of the middle ages, so much so that he sponsors a Medieval Fair every year. When Tobias approaches him, Walter jumps at the chance to travel to the thirteenth century. He takes Victoria along because she's his personal assistant--it's a personal trip, he's bound to need assistance, therefore she goes. Walter is a teensy bit spoiled. And just a little arrogant--he doesn't tell Victoria where they are going.
PNR: How does her boss, Walter deal with the reality vs. his fantasy? Were things as he expected them to be?
Linda K: Not exactly. Not at all. He arrives too late to save his castle. Walter bought a castle which had been besieged in the middle ages, and which has been impossible to repair in the twenty-first century. His plan was to go to the past Before the Siege and save the castle from ruin. It didn't work out that way.
PNR: Walter's quest lands the pair in hot water. Victoria is given a mission by the presumed villain of the tale, Ranulf of Darkvale?
Linda K: Right. Walter is captured and held hostage by Ranulf. Ranulf tells Victoria to bring him Aethelwyn's Amulet and he will release Walter in exchange for the amulet.
PNR: Sir Gareth of Avondale has recently returned from exile to claim his revenge on Ranulf for the crimes against his parents, and the usurping of his lands? He arrives just when Victoria needs a champion. How do they get involved?
Linda K: Gareth is traveling incognito as Sir Perceval. Percy is a down and out knight in rusty armor. He happens to be at Darkvale, Ranulf's castle, when Walter and Arden arrive. Gareth wants to find the amulet, too, since its power is what kept Avondel (his castle, and Walter's) safe and prosperous. The amulet disappeared shortly before the siege. Gareth needs an excuse to openly seek the amulet--Victoria's quest gives him the excuse he needs. Gareth/Percy makes sure he is Victoria's champion.
PNR: There is a lovely secondary romance in this tale? Walter finds a fair lady of his own?
Linda K: I didn't know that was going to happen until it did. Walter is prisoner at Darkvale. Elwyna, Gareth's sister, is also there, as Ranulf's ward. Ranulf uses her to find out why Walter was looking for the amulet.
PNR: Both heroes had very definite ideas as to the definition of a lady. What obstacles did this create for their relationships with their modern heroines?
Linda K: Walter thinks he has found the perfect woman--gentle, kind, subservient. Victoria says she doesn't do subservient very well. Gareth thinks she doesn't do subservient at all. But Gareth learns to appreciate an aggressive--assertive--woman before the story ends.
PNR: Will Tobias be taking on more clients in the future?
Linda K: Not in the immediate future. I have a two book contract to write contemporary romantic comedies for Zebra.
PNR: I understand you will be undergoing yet another name change, and that you are currently working contemporary ghost story? What is next for Linda Kay?
Linda K: Linda Kay is magically going to metamorph into Dixie Kane for the aforementioned romantic comedies. Dixie Kane is my third pseudonym--now I'm tied with Nancy (a friend of mine) for most pennames. Nancy has been Nancy Wagner, Nikki Holiday and Hailey North. I've been Linda Lewis, Linda Kay and Dixie Kane. I think Linda Lewis is gone forever, but I have hopes for Linda Kay. In a perfect world, I would like to alternate writing one time travel or historical with one contemporary.
Dixie (me) is writing a story about a French Quarter ghost. Actually, it's the ghost that haunted our apartment when I lived in the Quarter. He sneezed. And coughed. The first time he did that I was sound asleep in my bedroom on the first floor. He sneezed right next to my ear. There was a wrought iron spiral staircase than went to the second floor where my sister and our roommate's bedrooms were. The staircase was kind of shaky, so one had to be very careful going up and down. That night, after the ghost sneezed in my ear, I ended up kneeling by my sister's bed with no memory of how I got up the stairs--except that I must have done it very fast. I woke her up and told her there was someone in my bedroom. We all crept down stairs and looked, but there was no one there, and none of the French doors had been tampered with. After that, the ghost sneezed and coughed in other rooms of the apartment, but we never saw him. The ghost in the story I'm writing died of pneumonia, which explains why he sneezes and coughs while going about his ghostly business.
Linda West passed
TAME A ROGUE
When Arden St. Claire elisted the services of the Anytime, Any Place travel agency to help her plan the vacation of her fantasies, she nver dreamed she would actually be transported back to charming Regency England. Arden is thrilled to be attending a London Season, but trouble follows when she arrives just in time to save a young Duke from the hands of kidnappers. Almacks and the glittering ton must wait while she's thrust into a daring plot that will place her fate in the hands of a notorious rogue who hires her as governess to the rescued boy.
A GENTLEMAN WITH NO TIME TO LOSE
Harsh and cynical from the rigors of war, Captain Royce Warrick is prepared to marry his betrothed and tend his estates. But someone is plotting to murder his young ward and suddenly, out of nowhere, appears a beautiful stranger playing havoc with his sensibilities and his passions. Though he's not quit sure if the mysterious Arden is friend or foe, he's drawn to her in ways he cannot deny. And only time will tell if this most unusual woman will be his to claim forever....
CHARM A KNIGHT
Victoria Desmond is incensed to find her eccentric employer, billionaire Walter Harrington, has secrtetly transported them both back to 13th-century England. But things go from bad to worse when her boss is kidnapped, and Victoria has no idea how to survive in the Middle Ages -------- let alone rescue Walter from a deadly knave like Sir Ranulf of Darkvale. What she needs is the help of a knight in shining armor. What she gets is the rather bedraggled and unkempt cavalier named Sir Perceval.
...MEETS HER MEDIEVAL MATCH
Gareth of Avondel has disguised himself as a down-on-his-luck kight
in order to seek revenge agians Sir Ranulf, who had seize his lands
and killed his parents when Gareth was just a boy. When the mysterious
Victoria thrusts herself into his life, she complicates his quest
--- driving him to distraction with her strange ideas and petal-soft
lips. But nothing will sway Gareth from his objective. His is determinde
to defeat Ranulf at all costs --- and win the heart of this extraordinary
enchantress at the same time.
DREAMING OF YOU - To end a century old curse, a French Quarter ghost plays cupid. His ghostly shenanigans bring together Magnolia Mayfair and her New York landlord, in New Orleans incognito to find out why his French Quarter building is not selling. His real estate agent tells him his tenants--a maskmaker, a psychic, a female impersonator and a retired history professor--are sabotaging the sale by haunting the building. They are, but when the real ghost decides to take a hand the tenants are as bumfuzzled as their landlord.
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