So, with much ado, let’s find out some more about her. Linda, briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing? Did you start in the genre you’re published in now? And have you had any significant hurdles to overcome?
LINDA: I started writing poems in the first grade. From up in the air, to down on the ground, a pretty, pretty rainbow appears. You know, happy-girly stuff. In that regard, I haven’t changed much: still love a happy ending. By eighth grade, however, I added a little murder and mayhem to my plots—which had morphed from poems into short stories—before I reached a blissful conclusion. By the end of high school, I’d finished my first full novel, which was an adult romantic suspense. But let’s not talk about that disaster. We’ll just fast forward another twelve years, finish seventeen more full-length romance stories, and viola, I sold my first story. The Stillburrow Crush—a young adult romance—was published by The Wild Rose Press in February of 2010.
A move I obviously support! And one that has really made your career blossom. Which is your favorite genre to read? Do you write in any other genres, or under any other pen names you’d like to share?
LINDA: ANY subgenre of romance is my favorite to read. I love historical (either regency or the wild west), suspenseful, paranormal, young adult, time travel...if there’s a happy ending with a hero and heroine hooking up, I’m pretty much hooked. But I just write plain ‘ol boring adult contemporary romance as well as young adult romance, all under the name Linda Kage.
Hardly plain and boring. Pick up one of her books, folks, and you’ll see what I’m talking about! This lady is entertaining! Tell us, Linda, of the books you have published, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?
LINDA: Since I only have two books out so far, there’s not much of a list to pick from. I love both The Stillburrow Crush and The Trouble with Tomboys. Yet I have to say Hot Commodity, which will be out in November from Champagne Books was the most fun I ever experienced writing a book. I had a blast coming up with humorous and shocking things for my hero, Cameron, to say and do.
I remember reading Hot Commodity in its early form. I can certainly see why it was so fun to write – the story is full of wit and charm. I can’t wait to get my hands on the published version! (And I wish I could be as bold and daring as your heroine, Olivia.) What are your other published titles? Please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next.
-The Trouble with Tomboys – Contemporary Adult Romance from The Wild Rose Press
-Delinquent Daddy – adult romance coming October 22, 2010 from The Wild Rose Press
-Hot Commodity - adult romance coming November 2010 from Champagne Books
-How To Resist Prince Charming – adult romance coming in 2011 from Whispers Publishing
Oh, how fun!! Prince Charming is coming out too – now how did I miss that? That’s another one I had the privilege of reading for early, early critique. I’m adding it to my to-buy list immediately!
Let’s talk about your latest release, The Trouble with Tomboys. Tell everyone about your plot development? Your pilot heroine is pretty darn ballsy -- how did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?
LINDA: The Trouble with Tomboys started out as a gender-reversal idea. I like it when I read a book and am surprised to see the female take on a job or task that generally the man does. So, I decided to have my woman be a pilot. It started out as one of those stranded on a deserted island ideas with some clueless CEO business guy that had no survival skill falling for my very-capable pilot. But somehow—really, don’t ask me how; I’m not sure at all—my CEO bum morphed into a Texas oilman suffering from the loss of his first wife, and I totally lost my stranded alone plot.
Most of my research, which was basically about piloting, came from the internet (I know, reliable source, huh). But I grew fascinated with learning about dead-stick landing, which is where a pilot is forced to land her aircraft without engine power (there are some awesome dead stick landing videos on YouTube, by the way). Some people even purposely kill their engine and practice doing this so they know they can dead-stick in case of an emergency. So of course, in my story I had to throw in a comment about how B.J.’s rough-and-tumble brothers had dead-stick landing competitions to show how wild they are.
Hee hee. BJ’s brothers sure are an interesting lot. And poor Grady – I think BJ was just the perfect thing to draw him out of his shell. Let’s talk about him for a minute. What’s one thing about Grady that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood. Only the good stuff please!
LINDA: Grady Rawlings is into the classics like Hemingway and Faulkner. That fact is mentioned nowhere in The Trouble with Tomboys, but I can see him so clearly settling down in the quiet evening with a glass of iced tea, reading The Old Man and the Sea.
All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about Grady that makes your heart go pitter-pat?
LINDA: I just love the way he loves his women. You can tell he prized his first wife by the way he mourns her, like his arm had been cut off. He doesn’t function properly without her. With B.J., his fascination starts with her body (sorta like how all men’s fascinations start!), but it doesn’t take him too long to grow addicted to her personality and love everything about her until she’s it for him. He’s one of those one-woman men, and once he focuses on his one woman, his intensity is simply shiver-worthy.
He doesn’t have pets that I recall. But what kind of pet would best suit his personality?
LINDA: I can see him being a cat-man. The two have similar traits. Quiet, sleek, stealthy loners.
Onto the fabulous BJ, Tomboy extraordinaire! Everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is her greatest fault?
LINDA: Do I have to mention only one flaw?? B.J. Gilmore has so many, but that’s why I love her. Let’s see…greatest fault. Maybe her stubbornness along with her big mouth. She usually says whatever is on her mind, whether it’s an appropriate time or place or not. Heap on the stubborn factor, and she keeps on going full bore ahead, even if she knows she should tone it down.
Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength she provides to Grady?
LINDA: It’s ironic, but I think B.J.’s greatest fault, not being able to shut up, is exactly what helps the hero most. Her honesty opens his eyes to a couple glaring facts about himself. It’s like a verbal glass of cold water thrown in his face to wake him up to reality again.
Her fear of snakes also helps strengthen him. It’s a tiny, insignificant part of the book, but the symbolism makes it an important theme. She’s a strong, independent person except she possess an apprehension that Grady can actually soothe. He needs that small bit of dependence from her so he can feel like a man again. It shows how good they are for each other.
You’ve recently announced a new addition into the world – your own little girl. If BJ were your daughter, what advice would you give her upon meeting Grady?
LINDA: LOL! I’d probably go crazy if she was my daughter. And I’d tell her to do the exact opposite of what she does in this book, even though what she does end up being what’s best for Grady.
If we peek in on Grady and BJ’s lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?
LINDA: Ten years in the future, B.J.’s become slightly domesticated with two kids, well except for that time she took her nine-year-old up in the plane and let him fly for a while. She still has her big mouth, but folks around Tommy Creek put up with her because she’s a Rawlings. Grady is much happier; he goes to bed with a smile on his face and wakes up the same way. But he’s a bit put out over the fact his daughter is totally into dolls and dresses (he’s grown an affection for tomboys, see). B.J., however, thinks it’s cool. Watching her little girl fascinates her; it’s like observing a foreign being. All together, the four of them make one of those picture-perfect families with a little flavor added. I’ve been keeping my eye on that boy though; he’s going to grow up with Grady’s devastating good looks and B.J.’s brash personality. He might make a fun hero someday in a future book.
Uh-oh. And I bet he’ll be super thrilled to have you sifting into his life and uncovering all his vulnerabilities. Grady better have a chat with him. Forewarn him your meddling doesn’t turn out all that bad.
Let’s shift gears a moment and talk about you again.
Do you have goals you have yet to meet?
LINDA: Well, sure. I’m not a New York Times bestselling novelist yet!! Actually, I don’t know if I want to be quite that famous. But I would still like to write a Romantic Suspense novel that was actually good enough to sell someday.
I have faith you will accomplish that! What has surprised you the most about being a published author?
LINDA: Good reviews. Complete strangers have read my stories and actually liked them! Of course, I’ve had some not-so charmed readers too (comes with the biz). But I’m continually shocked to read stuff like “Not very often is a book hard for me to put down, but I found one, and I absolutely adore it. The Stillburrow Crush, written by Linda Kage is a rare gem to book lovers (Night Owl Reviews).” It makes me worry; I have readers now, readers with expectations. What if my next release lets them down???? Oh, the stress.
I can sympathize with that concern. But again, I’m certain you won’t be in the ‘let down’ camp! Many writers describe themselves as "character" or "plot" writers. Which are you?
LINDA: Character. Books where I try to force the plot usually end up sucking. Big time. My characters like to take the story wherever THEY want to go. I’m just that helpless lady madly typing down the words for them.
Well it absolutely works for you!
Last but not least, Where can we find you? (Website, blog, twitter, etc.)
The Wild Rose Press
If you have a newsletter, how can we sign up?
LINDA: Oh, I do! It’s fairly new so I’m still excited about it. Anyone can sign up on my website’s Contact Page
And an awesome newsletter it is. Very classy and professional.
Thanks, Linda, for giving us a great glimpse into your life and your writing. Let’s tell everyone some more about The Trouble with Tomboys.
Pilot B.J. Gilmore is Tommy Creek, Texas’s tough tomboy who loves to fly planes and gamble and doesn’t give a whip what anyone thinks or says about her…until Grady Rawlings steps into her life.
PLUS THE WIDOWER
Heir to an oil dynasty, Grady has inner demons to battle. Ever since his wife and unborn child died two and a half years ago, he’s developed a deep-seated hatred for sympathy and can’t handle anyone feeling sorry for him or treating him like some pitiful widower.
EQUALS TROUBLE IN TEXAS
Grady hires B.J,'s plane service to fly him to Houston for an overnight business trip. While there, she coaxes him into accompanying her to a late dinner, where she decides it’s time for him to move on with his life. A month later, she turns up pregnant with his baby, and neither of them is prepared for the chaos that follows.
Grady had already made it to the hotel by the time B.J. exited the restaurant.
It had started to rain, and a light drizzle coated her face. Pushing her drooping bangs out of her eyes, she dashed after him, streaking across the street and jaywalking to catch him before he made it to his room. She was soaked by the time she hit the entrance’s overhang and caught sight of him through the window. The miserable shower had drenched him too, but a heedless Grady marched determinedly toward the bank of elevators. She entered the fancy foyer and took off in pursuit.
Never one to bother with propriety, she cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “Hey, Rawlings.”
He didn’t break stride, pause, or give any indication he’d heard her. But she knew he had, mainly because everyone else in the lobby stopped to glance curiously her way.
B.J. ignored the others and raced after Grady. As he stepped into the elevator, she hollered, “Hold that door!”
Another man entering glanced back. When their gazes met, he spiked out a hand, accommodating her request.
“Thank ya, sir,” she said breathlessly, slipping inside and settling herself next to Grady. He must’ve known it would look childish to hop off, so he merely stood stiff as a board, hands fisted at his side, and studied the numbers above the door as they lit one after the other.
B.J. exploded. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
The other passenger lifted his face, his eyes wide and startled, before he no doubt realized she was ripping on Grady and not him.
“I was actually racing after you to apologize. But you know what? Screw that. I’m not sorry about what I said, because it’s about time someone threw an ice cold glass of reality right in your face.”
When he refused to meet her glower, she set her hands on her hips. “You make everyone in Tommy Creek uncomfortable whenever you’re around because you freeze folks out like they should all feel ashamed they’re alive and your wife isn’t. Well, you know what? That’s just the way it happened. Time to move on.”
He continued to stare at the numbers, but his jaw worked furiously, tightening and loosening, tightening back into a knot and then loosening again. “Go to hell,” he said in a low, warning baritone.
The third occupant of the elevator backed against the wall and darted skittish glances from Grady to B.J.
“No. YOU go to hell,” she countered, jabbing her finger his way. “I’m trying to give you helpful advice on—”
“I don’t need your ADVICE,” he snarled. “I just want to be left alone.”
B.J. snorted. “Well, I can’t. Amy was important to me too, you know. She’d be devastated if she knew I was letting you pretend you’re not alive. You need to join the real world again, Slim. Quit wallowing—”
He whirled toward her so quickly she jerked an intimidated step back. From between clenched teeth, he hissed, “I’ll live my life however I damn well please.”
When she sucked in a breath, he blinked like he’d just realized she was cowering. Letting out a low growl, he reeled away and raked a shaky hand through his hair. “Jesus,” he whispered. “Why can’t everyone just leave me alone?”
B.J. could tell his control was splintering. But she fully believed it’d be healthy for him to lose it. For once in his life, he needed to let out some of the pressure. He needed to alleviate the pain that had been brewing inside him since the moment his wife died.
He needed to go a little crazy.
“It’s probably because you bring it on yourself,” she said.
He glanced menacingly at her. “Excuse me?”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh, come off it, Slim. If you really wanted everyone to stop feeling so sorry for you and treating you like some kind of wounded animal, you’d stop ACTING like one.”
Shock filtered across his cheekbones with a red tinge. His mouth fell open. “What? I do not—”
But his gaze landed on the wet shirt clinging to her breasts, and the words died in his throat. Looking taken aback by the fact she was nipping, he gaped at her with slack-jawed shock. On pure impulse, she pulled her shoulders back a fraction, pushing her chest forward to goad him. For the briefest of moments, his lashes lowered, and he sucked in a quiet breath through his teeth. Then he tore his eyes away, muttering a curse.
B.J. blinked, taken aback. She’d just gotten a response from the ice man. Grady Rawlings had looked at her with sexual awareness. Thinking this might be good for him, she licked her lips and quickly planned her next move.
The elevator stopped on their floor; he shot through the doors as soon as they began to open.
B.J. stuck to his heels, grabbing his arm.
“Don’t,” he said and shrugged her away, not once stopping his long-legged stride.
She clutched his wet, slippery sleeve again, ignoring the warning.
With a snarl, he swung around, grabbing her wrist in a bruising grip and ripping her hand off him. The scorching heat in his eyes was deadly. “I do NOT ask for anyone’s sympathy. The last thing in the world I want is for everyone to treat me like some kind of—”
Ignoring his tirade, B.J. rose onto her toes and stamped her mouth against his...