Welcome to the three hundred and ninety-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with romance, paranormal, Gothic and comedy author Linda Hays Gibbs. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Linda.
Linda: Hello. Thank you so very much for having me.
Morgen: You’re very welcome. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Linda: I am in the Southern United States of America. I live in Alabama at present but have lived in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina. I have travelled throughout the U.S. and lived overseas for about five years in Saudi Arabia. My ex husband was an Engineer with SCECO a division of Gibbs and Hill out of New York. I was able to visit London, Athens, and Rome on holiday.
I started writing when I was very young. I loved poetry and wrote poems but did not think they were of any merit. I only recently started sending in my materials. I was published in 2008 for the first time. I love to write and have a very active imagination.
Morgen: That’ll probably answer my writer’s block question later. 2008 was my first publication date too (flash fiction in Woman’s Weekly). What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Linda: I love Regency Romance but I am so enthralled by Paranormal and Science Fiction. Therefore, I have tried to combine Regency Romance and the Paranormal. I must confess that comedy is in my fingertips from time to time and it seeps into my Gothic tales. I think it helps to keep spirits up and some vampires too.
I have tried several genres. My first novel was about the turbulent 60’s in America in the South. My second was about Druids and magicians. I think everything is exciting but I am a bit in love with the Regency Period of England. It seems so magical to me.
Morgen: We are very lucky to have such a rich history here and agents have told me they want more of the genre (and crime). What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Linda: I was going to stick to a pseudonym but I changed my name too many times. I decided if I wanted any fame I needed to just stick with my own name. I have several poems published individually. I have four books published so far by a different publisher:
“Sailing in My Sunshine,” a book of poetry, “He Would Make Her Pay,” a book about the turbulent 60s with love and romance, “Escape Into Magic,” and my book with Eternal Press that I am very excited about, “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls,” a Regency Romance Paranormal Gothic tale with bits of humour.
Morgen: It does help just having one name online – it’s hard enough to market one, let alone more. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Linda: Oh, yes, I have had several rejections. I threw them into the trash and started all over again until I realized I should work hard and look at my work from their viewpoints too. Now I try to write and rewrite and read the whole book again and again until I realized that their suggestions or comments had merit. You must use anything at your disposal and critiques are great tools for your writing development so I just used rejections for that purpose.
Morgen: I buff as much as I can but always find a second opinion (whether it’s a writing group, first reader or editor) is vital because he / she / they will always find something that hadn’t occurred to us. I wrote a guest blog a while back on writing essentials and I’m sure there’s loads more I could add to it. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Linda: No, I do not have an agent. I do not think I need one with Eternal Press. I think your publisher is vital to your success and your editor. Kim Richards and Sally Odgers helped me more than anyone else with my writing.
Morgen: I have heard that some agents are becoming publishers so perhaps it’s the way it’s going. Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Linda: Yes, they are available on Kindle, Nook and other eBooks. They are also available in paperbacks. I was involved with my first three books being transferred into eBooks.
My new publisher, Eternal Press did my last book for me. I do read some of the books on the computer but it is hard for me. I love holding a book in my hands and cherishing it for a little while as a physical form. However, my new Christmas present was a nook so I must use it too.
Morgen: I’m sure whoever gave it to you would like it to be used. I have a Kindle Touch and I love having access to over 400 stories wherever I go. It also reads to me although I only tend to have that on if I’m doing something else as it eats the battery life. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Linda: I am finding my way around marketing in a feeble sort of way. I am afraid I had no idea but I am learning. With the Internet there is no time to stand idly by and hope that you are recognized, you must try your best to get your name into the limelight. Eternal Press does help you to learn and see the possibilities. They are supportive and informative.
Morgen: It is rather a minefield. I think you just have to appear on as many websites as possible (by interviews, guest blogs etc) and as you say learn as you go along. Everything’s practice and experience, isn’t it. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Linda: My favourite is my latest release: “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls,” and my favourite characters would be Pru and Pierre. Pru goes from a shy child into a woman, fighting vampires, death, ghosts, demons, witches, and her own fear of the dark, and poverty. Pierre is an enemy in a strange country, a vampire and a man in love. He has to learn to adapt too.
I would love to see Kate Beckinsale as Pru, Antonio Banderas as Pierre, and Brad Pit or Gerald Butler as Dughlass.
Morgen: All great choices, and Kate does do a great strong heroine. Did you have any say in the title / covers of your book(s)? How important do you think they are?
Linda: Yes, I had the say in the titles and covers of my books. Eternal Press is very supportive. I think they are very important and I was very happy to have someone help me with these details (Amanda and Dominique).
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Linda: Another paranormal romance called, “The Devil is Real, As Light Dawns”, is about an assassin devil that is sent to kill a girl that has paranormal abilities to sense evil and “The Crazies” is about a regency family with quite a bit of skeletons in the closet and romance with a pinch of comedy in both.
Morgen: Sounds fun. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Linda: I am afraid I do not write everyday. I did before my last book was published. Since my book, “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls,” launched Feb.7, 2012, I have been too busy to write but I must get back to work shortly. There is so much I want to say and it soothes me to write. Yes, I have suffered from writer’s block but not for long so far.
Morgen: I had a feeling you’d say that. I’m lucky in that respect too. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Linda: I find myself plotting stories all the time and must control myself. You must have some control to be able to find your conclusions. I do run with some of my imagination and then go back and rewrite and refigure. It is best to plot if you are able. It leads to less rewrites.
Morgen: Most people I’ve spoken to so some of each. As we all know the characters take over (or something does) so I think few of us stick to the exact outline but for me, that’s the joy of it. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Linda: I try to find angelic names for my leading ladies and devilish names for their men counterparts. It helps when they are rakes and ladies. The horror aspects are difficult and require more thought. I know that there are quite a few people doing horror so I look for a different slant on it and one the names because you start your book with the names in mind.
Morgen: Do you write any non-fiction, poetry or short stories?
Linda: Yes, I have written poems about non-fiction. I wrote a poem about Katrina and 9/11. I have written short stories about my childhood and teen years. I studied Anthropology and Archaeology in college and I have some stories about Latin American Studies.
Morgen: You mentioned rewrites a moment ago, do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Linda: That depends on the book and what you are trying to achieve. I think I rewrote and edited “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls,” more than any book I have written so far. It was a labour of love.
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Linda: I do. I know little about Regency England and have recently read extensively about it. I have been thoroughly intrigued by it and hope to write extensively about it. I read all the romance novels I can get too.
Morgen: With Mills & Boon, we have plenty of those. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Linda: I like third person.
Morgen: It is the most popular viewpoint (or so agents have told me). Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Linda: Yes, I will never think they are finished or good enough.
Morgen: Me too, quite possibly. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Linda: My favourite aspect of writing is putting my imagination to work. My least favourite aspect of writing is curbing my imagination. It has surprised me how much you must curb your imagination to your story.
Morgen: That’s a shame. I mainly write short stories so unless something’s too gruesome or weird (I can get really weird) to post on my blog, it goes up. Of course I have a lot that I’ll never post but I do hope it can either be submitted somewhere or go online as an eBook. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Linda: Read, Read, Read, that is the only advice I know that will help.
Morgen: It’s good advice. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Linda: Jesus Christ, Charlotte Bronte, and Jane Austen. I would cook plain old southern cooking, fried chicken, corn bread smothered in butter, pinto beans, mashed potatoes, gravy and turnip greens.
Morgen: Yum. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Linda: “Thy lips, O my bride, drop as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under they tongue; And the smell of they garments is like the smell of Lebanon.” Song of Solomon 4:11
Morgen: Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Linda: I want to help review other author’s books and help new authors.
Morgen: I get plenty of book review requests – which unfortunately I have to turn down due to lack of time – maybe I could send them on to you. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Linda: I do genealogy research and enjoy my children. I have an African Grey parrot that tells me what to do and a very spoiled Pekingese. I swim and help with the victims of our recent tornados here in Tuscaloosa, AL. I dedicated my book to the victims of the April 27, 2011 tornado and to the nurses at Dr. Richard Jones office. I was writing my book as the tornado blew the town away.
Morgen: I had an African Grey feature in my chick lit novel (which is currently with my first readers so I hope to eBook it within the next few weeks). Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful?
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Linda: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Eternal Press Authors blog,
They are very helpful and valuable for information about my book as well as my fellow authors. You have information that you need to use on a day-to-day basis.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Linda: I do think that the Internet is changing everything. Authors wanted to see their books in print before and still do but we must face the fact that eBooks are a wave of the future. It is much more cost effective to have eBooks instead of paperbacks but I still need to hold that book in my hands.
Morgen: I think we’ll keep having both, and they’ll run alongside each other but probably mostly online than in actually stores (my town has Waterstone’s and that’s about it, sadly). Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Wow. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Linda: I think that getting the right publisher for your work is vitally important. I cannot emphasize this enough. You need someone that supports and informs you and someone that will not abandon you in a rough sea of millions of authors.
Morgen: It’s great that you’ve clearly found yours. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Linda: What is the best way to promote your work? How is this as reviews go? This review is from: My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls (Kindle Edition)…
The battlefields rob innocent young Pru of her beloved twin, her Scottish admirer and her future. One day she is a young lady enjoying a ball; all too soon after she is wandering through the carnage seeking two bodies among the multitude. But she is not alone. A great dog howls a dirge, and a half-crazed Frenchman watches Pru with hungry fascination. In the aftermath, Pru returns to a home that is no longer hers, and then moves on to a deserted house. With Knight, the dog whom she has adopted, she tries to overcome her nightmares but again she is not alone.
This sounds as if the story is one of unrelenting misery, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once Pru is over the initial shock and horror, she is a resourceful young woman and she really needs to be. What with the protective Knight, an amorous ghost, assorted demons, vampires and the eponymous angel to deal with, the arrival of a flesh-and-blood Scot is just one more thing. And then there’s the Frenchman in Pru’s c– (shhh, that’s a spoiler!). Parts of this story made me laugh out loud. It is exquisitely funny in places, and oh-so-sad in others. It never fails to hold my interest. Linda Hays-Gibbs’s mind-world is an enchanted and enchanting place. (So, what’s the genre? Um… sensual Gothic romance horror comedy Regency will do for starters…)
Morgen: I’d be proud of that. Thank you, Linda.
I then invited Linda to include an extract of her writing…
“Where is your man?” the figure demanded with a Scottish brogue. She shook her head again as if in answer. This thing spoke to her; but how was this possible? Pru decided that she was totally insane after all.;
“Surely, you are not alone, my pretty? Not such a beautiful lassie as you?’
“I uh, I uh, I am alone. But I do not believe in ghosts.” Shaking from head to foot, she tried to quiet her heart. “I do not believe in ghosts!” she said more strongly. Then she prayed for it to go away.
He loved Pru enough to make angels faint and demons weep, a passionate demanding soul-searching love and yet he hungered to take her life.
Linda D. Hays-Gibbs was born in Mississippi and married at a young age. She went back to school late in life, graduated with a BA in Anthropology from University of Alabama. She always loved Indiana Jones. Anthropology was so exciting to her until she could not use her imagination to write her papers. Her instructor insisted she stick with the facts not fantasy.
She loved to write poetry and jot it down all the time. Her fourth book, “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls” really meant more to her because she worked on it for such a long time and because she was determined to make her writing much better than it had been. Kim Richards and Sally Odgers from Eternal Press were inspirations for her. Barbara Metzger, one of her favourite authors gave her encouragement too. She loves writing and hopes to continue to do it for the rest of her life along with anything she can do for her God and children. You can also find out more about her from:
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