Q&A With Caroline Linden
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Q&A With Caroline Linden
Caroline Linden is the USA Today Bestselling author of historical romance, many of her books are part of a series and others are novellas, parts of anthologies and short stories. Her series is Desperately Seeking Duke, The Wagers of Sin, The Scandalous Series, The Truth About The Duke, & The Reece Trilogy. I have the honor of doing this Q&A with her this week!
Q: Caroline reading your bio on your author website, before you became an author you earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer code before discovering that writing was more fun. When you discovered writing was more fun did you consider it like a calling?
A: No, I considered it a lucky discovery that happened due to a combination of unusual circumstances! I never aimed to be a writer until I realized I had somehow written a book. Believe me, there are some English teachers in my past who would be absolutely stunned to hear that I, of all people, became a writer.
Q: What was it about historical romance that drew you into writing in that genre?
A: Everything! It’s romance. It’s history. I’ve always loved both those things. I started reading more YA historical romance by authors like Eva Ibbottson, and then I read many, many Signet Regencies, and then I discovered Lisa Kleypas and knew I’d found my niche. When I had young children, I would read while they napped, and then imagine what the story would do next while I pushed swings and dug in the sandbox with my kids. The stories rarely ran the way I imagined they would, but it was definitely what started me thinking about writing one of my own.
Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to write in the historical romance genre?
A: Oh wow. First, write the book you would absolutely love to read—because you will read it, over and over again. You are your book’s first reader, and you should love every word of it.
Second, get feedback. LOTS of feedback, and not just from your best friend or mom. Find a couple of people who love books like the one you wrote and ask them for a blunt appraisal. Sometimes these hurt, but it’s better to know sooner than later.
Third, if you want to publish the book, you have to decide which path to take, self-publishing or trying to sell to a publisher. It really helps to do some research into all paths, so you can form realistic expectations. Spoiler alert: all the ways are hard, just in different ways.
Fourth, don’t give up. If the first book you write is awful, welcome to the club! Write another one. Maybe another one, or five or ten more. Writing can take time to learn.
Q: If you are writing anything new now, is it a part of your existing series, a standalone, a spin off series or part of a new series?
A: I am working on both! A spin-off from a prior book, and also a completely new series. I like to fiddle with a few projects at a time and see which one finds the groove first, then I commit to that project.
Q: What is the research process like when you write historical romance?
A: It depends. I usually start with a character in mind, and his or her situation and goal gives me a starting point. Then I let the questions guide me through the research.
For ABOUT A ROGUE, for instance, I was inspired by Josiah Wedgwood, who made fame and fortune by building a pottery factory that surpassed all others. For A SCOT TO THE HEART, I was inspired by the case of William Brodie, who was also the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. Once I have a starting point, I start asking questions about what my character would do, where they would go, what they would see, what was happening around them at that time.
And sometimes I just discover random things that are so cool, I have to work them into a book. We visited Bath in the UK one summer, and I loved it so much I set a book there (BLAME IT ON BATH).
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? I could see your books become great television series for Masterpiece on PBS. Who would be your dream cast for the characters you created?
A: Alas, no one at Netflix or Hollywood has come to me about making any of my books into TV or movies, but I would be very happy to hear from them (seriously—show runners, email me!).
As for the cast, I’m terrible at this question because I don’t have any living person in mind for my characters. They exist, as real as any actual person, only in my head.