I met Linda at the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, WA this year. I was a little starstruck, a little nervous and crazy excited to be in the presence of such a fantastic pillar of Western Romance. I mean, she has written and published over one hundred historical and contemporary novels, she’s phenomenal. And here I am, this awkward little blonde chick swimming through the sea of authors and readers, just trying to poke my head out and catch her attention. I bobbed along for a bit and finally, it was my turn.
I think I might have cried a little.
(Sorry, Linda! 😉
Linda Lael Miller is just as warm and friendly in person as you would imagine from reading her amazing work. She was full of advice, energy and pizzazz!
I fumbled, I stumbled and, to no one’s surprise, I blushed but I finally managed to ask her if she wouldn’t mind taking a moment to answer a few questions for my blog. I couldn’t believe she agreed!!
So, let’s get right down to it and learn a little something extra about a woman who is, for many of us, a heroine herself.
The first thing I did when I sat down to write an interview was ask a fantastic group of individuals (Pioneer Hearts. You read Westerns? Join us.) whose opinions I deeply respect, what sort of questions they would ask Linda if they had the chance.
The first couple questions are from them.
Q #1: With such an extensive list of books, do you ever re-read any of your books from days gone by and wonder where that story came from or wish you could retell the story knowing what you know now? If so, have you ever done so or ever considered it?
Linda said: I never have time to re-read old books, though I sometimes listen on audio—Jack Garrett reads all my Recorded Book versions, and he does such a great job as a narrator! Sounds a lot like Sam Elliott. 🙂 I’d like to think I’ve grown as a writer over these many years at the keyboard, but I’m all about the book I’m writing now, and the ones I’m planning in the future.
Q #2: Will your books every be on Kindle Unlimited?
Linda said: I don’t know. These decisions are made by the Amazon people in the case of Kindle, and the process is probably similar with Nook, etc.
Q #3: Where does your inspiration come from? Each one of your books is distinctly different, and I know that is hard to do.
Linda said: My writing is organic, by which I mean, it grows from the characters, situation and setting, but especially the characters. I see the stories in my mind as I write them, and really get involved. Often, they show me things I hadn’t expected, which is one of the many reasons I love this job.
Q #4: Will you ever do another vampire series?
Linda said: Probably not. Publishing, alas, is a business, and the vampire books were embraced by a much smaller audience, however loyal. My publishers aren’t willing to go there because of lower sales. I did enjoy writing those stories enormously, but there’s no getting around the economics. Also, I think there have been so many wonderful books in that genre since that I would have a very hard time coming up with anything original.
Q #5: When will Kate Mckittrick get her story?
Linda said: At this point, I have no plans to write another Mckittrick book, but you never know when inspiration will strike!
The following questions were to satisfy my own curiosity!
Q #6: I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you established the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women Foundation. What inspired you to do that?
Linda said: Well, thank you. I helped over 50 women while the scholarships were in force. They are on hiatus at the moment, unfortunately, though I do hope to bring them up. Again, the problem was economic. The administration costs were 3 times what the scholarship recipients received, and that just doesn’t make sense. I looked into forming a foundation, but that involved so many rules, which would negate my purpose of giving women the help they needed—a lap top, gas money, child-care in addition to tuition and books.
Q #7: Tell us about your father. He was a town marshal. Did he inspire any of the characters from your books?
Linda said: My dad will always be my favorite cowboy! I did draw on his courage, his integrity and his willingness to work hard.
Q #8: Why do you think the West is such a fantastic setting for Romances? What qualities about that setting make it so wonderfully exciting to read?
Linda said: I love the West, partly because I’ve lived in it all my life, except for brief stints in London, Florence and Venice. I believe it appeals to many readers because of the wide open spaces, the breathtaking scenery, and the courage of those who settled it back in the day.
Q #9: What are some of your favorite reviews from your readers?
Linda said: The truth? I rarely read my own reviews. The really good ones might give me a swelled head, and the bad ones hurt my feelings.
(Linda, that answer inspired me!)
Q #10: What is the very first book you ever published? Where can we get ahold of a copy?
Linda said: My first published book was “Fletcher’s Woman”, and I’m sure it’s in print, therefore available wherever books are sold.
Q #11: Can you tell us your favorite author?
Linda said: I have so MANY favorite authors: Dorothy Dunnett, Taylor Caldwell, and others who wrote big historical sagas I could sink my teeth into. I also love suspense—I will buy a book by Joy Fielding or Linwood Barclay, to name just two, without even reading the blurb. 🙂 I also read an enormous amount of nonfiction—especially the American Civil War, since I’m in the process of writing a series set in that era. I love all of David McCullough’s books. I read a lot of psychology, too, being a student of human nature—what writer isn’t?—and at the moment I’m particularly fascinated by the Enneagram.
Q #15: (We’ll round off with this real hard-hitting question. One that everyone is dying to know, I’m sure 😉 Linda, can you tell us what breakfast you would have if you could have anything in the world? And where would you eat it if you could eat it anywhere you wanted to?