Q&A With Laura Linn
My latest Q&A is with historical romance author Laura Linn. Laura Linn is the author of the book A Wildflower For A Duke. Already the title has me intrigued! I’m excited!
Q: Laura would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I about A Wildflower For A Duke, and how you came up with the idea?
A: Before writing A Wildflower for a Duke, the longest story I had ever written would have fit in the margins of a restaurant take-out menu. I’ve always been a voracious reader, historical romance, in particular, captured my imagination almost a decade ago. Sometime after the six hundredth book about a rogue who didn’t believe in love, I decided that heroes who had experienced a satisfying marriage prior to the heroine were in short supply. I enjoy a good rake, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted a hero who believed in love because he had had it. Not for a year or two, but fourteen years, and was left in pieces with her passing. (Think Michael from Mary Poppins returns) That’s Gabriel, my hero.
A big part of what makes a story leap off the page and burrow into our hearts is our ability to connect with the characters. My family overflows with neurodiversity and I am lucky to have been born in a time when my idiosyncrasies are more widely accepted. When my brain skips like popcorn from one seemingly unrelated topic to the next, or my autistic daughter becomes overstimulated because her beautiful mind absorbs every detail that surrounds her, we are generally met with understanding. Certainly not the case two hundred years ago. I wanted to capture what life might look like for someone like Juliet or myself, and how those characters might struggle to accept themselves in a setting that values uniformity. From those musings came, Violet, my heroine, and Zachariah, her son.
Q: Was writing something you knew you always wanted to do growing up? Who were/are the biggest supporters of your writing goal and talent?
A: I’ve never been able to solidly land on what I want to be when I grow up; there are too many interesting paths to explore. In everything I’ve done, my imagination and writing have played a part. When I was small and felt that my parents had dealt out an unfair punishment, I would argue with them by letter. Eight years ago, I started a 501c3 animal rescue, and through social media posts, our organization has adopted out some 3000 animals. As a parent, my ability to create nonsense in a world otherwise too monopolized by seriousness has been an invaluable common ground.
I love the power of the written word and its ability to inspire, enrage, or unite. It’s not so much “what I want to do” as “who I am” and I am grateful to be surrounded by family and friends who encourage me to reach for my dreams. Even from her home in Spain, my oldest sister champions my goals in a way that should feel impossible with an ocean between us. My middle sister, mom, and husband have listened endlessly to my enthusiastic prattling, never once wavering in their certainty of my success, and my five and eight-year-old children proudly tell every stranger they meet, that their mom is an author.
Q: Is your next book a sequel to A Wildflower For A Duke, or a completely different novel with new characters?
A: While I didn’t set off with a sequel in mind, I fell in love with Keene almost from the opening chapter of Wildflower. There are far too few sunny heroes, and I’ve found immense satisfaction in bringing this perpetually optimistic, commonly-born fellow to life, and pitting him against his proud, stubborn Italian. My current manuscript overlaps A Wildflower for a Duke and tells the story of Christopher Keene, who is the valet and best friend of the hero in Wildflower. His heroine, Sophia Lioni, is the governess. Like in A Wildflower for a Duke, the story is as much about the “supporting characters” as it is about the hero and heroine. Gabriel and Violet remain prominent characters, along with their children. Similarly to Wildflower, many of the conflicts are internal; divided loyalties, perceived rejection from a parent, and alcoholism are all emotionally explored as my characters stumble towards their happily ever after.
Q: Out of all the genres, what made you choose to write historical romance?
A: For most of my life, I’ve read almost exclusively sci-fi and fantasy. One of my closest friends as a young adult was a historical romance lover, and I derived no small amount of amusement in mocking her preferred novels. Once I had young children, I no longer had the mental energy at the end of the day to follow a complicated storyline. I came across a Mimi Matthews book and was hooked. From that moment on, I dove into the genre with enthusiasm. I’ve cultivated a tremendous thirst for historical information and frequently follow rabbit holes, filling in the gaps of the novels I read. Often my curiosity trickles down to my children, whom I homeschool, popping up in the most amusing ways. According to my daughter, for instance, the letter “h” is easy to remember because it looks like a woman wearing a bustle. In a time when news, social media, and technology make the world feel very large and complicated, I enjoy the simplicity of the time and the guarantee of a happy ending.
Q: Whether Hollywood has the rights to A Wildflower For A Duke or not, who would be your dream cast for the characters in the book? I could see it being a great show on Masterpiece PBS.
A: Of all the questions, this is the hardest for me to answer, mostly because I am terrible with names and faces. My husband will name an actor in conversation… “You know, he was that guy in the movie XYX.” Blank stare. “He is literally in ALL your favorite movies!” Continued blank stare elicits eye roll. So I had to call in reinforcements and ask my family for suggestions, then Google the actors because I still had no clue who they were. After much internet scouring, I found Lily James who would make a brilliant Violet. Great smile, expressive face, and I could see her capturing Violet’s adorable fumbling. I would go with Richard Madden for Gabriel, who I used as inspiration for my cover artist. Eddie Redmayne won me over for Christopher Keene when he referred to himself as “acting like an excitable puppy” upon winning an Oscar (totally a Keene thing to do) Henry Cavill can play Hamish, even though he isn’t Scottish. I can’t see anyone complaining if it means we can all stare at Mr. Cavill in a pair of tight regency-style trousers.
Q: Where is your favorite spot where you sit down and research, plot, write and edit your work?
A: My favorite place to write is in my sunroom at night, after my children are asleep, where I can listen to the frogs and crickets chirping outside. Often, however, I write when and where I’m able to string a coherent sentence together; on my phone, while snuggling overly tired children to sleep, in the yard while my little’s jump on our trampoline with friends, while I wait through co-op classes and horseback riding lessons. It comes together a little at a time, often surrounded by chaos.