A HERO'S SPARK: the final book in the Wicked Women series!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

10 Questions with Author Linda Schmalz

Good morning!

Author Linda Schmalz, best known for her tear jerking love story extraordinaire, "A Lonely Sky" and her haunted fun fest, "What Dead Women Want" branches out into historical romance with her new book, "To Find You." 

I took a moment and asked her ten truly important questions so you can get to know this up and coming talent!

1)  Your new book, "To Find You," is your first historical romance.  What made you decide to write historical after publishing two contemporary romance novels?---I fell in love with the time period after watching “Titanic” and “Downton Abbey”. I mostly admire this period because people acted civilized. People rarely swore and they had manners. Granted, this period was very difficult for a lot of people, and I tried to represent that side of life as well in “To Find You”. The story actually came to life in my head when I was watching a documentary (with you!) about Typhoid Mary and the struggles and prejudices immigrants suffered as they arrived in America.

2)  Set immediately after the Titanic crash, and about the same time period as "Downton Abbey," when you were doing research for "To Find You," what were your challenges?--Just about everything from describing the meals they ate, to simpler things like doorbells. You don’t know you don’t something until you have to know it. LOL. I had a character walk up the steps to ring a bell, and it dawned on me that I wasn’t even aware if doorbells existed in 1912 (they did). Dialogue was more refined, and manners, especially amongst the wealthy were always present. Men and ladies wore hats…ladies wore gloves and carried parasols. The research was fun, but tedious! I remember writing that a character was going to check his wristwatch…but no, he’d have a pocket watch instead. 

3)  Tell us about your hero and your heroine. Who or what inspired these characters for you?--When I think of Brigid and Thomas, I picture Anna Bates and Matthew Crowley from Downton Abbey (actors Joanne Froggrat and Dan Stevens) in the roles. But Brigid and Thomas are NOT Anna and Matthew, they are characters all unto themselves with their own problems and lives and a completely different story. Brigid’s problems were actually loosely based on the real life Typhoid Mary and Thomas is a total figment of my imagination (minus his looks, but we all need a muse!).

4)  In your past books, your readers have loved your side characters.  Who are the side characters the readers are going to love this time around?---I think they will initially hate Clara, but come to understand her. And Simon, who enters the story later in the novel. I loved writing both these characters and I hope the readers will enjoy them as well. Eliza is the sweetest, saddest and yet strongest character I’ve ever wrote, and I hope my reading audience will cheer for her. 

5)  You mention something called an orphan train in the book.  What is an orphan train and what made you want to put this part of history into your book?---I learned about this bit of history when I researched what orphanages were like in 1912. Orphan trains took orphans from the east, “out west” to families who wished to adopt a child. Sadly, many of these children were used as laborers, not given the happy childhood they deserved. After I had written that section of the story, I discovered a book “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline regarding this period in history as well. I haven’t read it yet, but plan to.

6)  The books opens with the Titanic tragedy, but this book isn't really about the Titanic, is it?--No, but I was inspired by the tragedy to write the book. We all hear about those who lost their lives and the survivors, but there were many people on land whose lives were also greatly affected when a loved one didn’t return. And thus, we have Brigid’s story. At the start of the novel, she finds herself utterly alone in a new country when her fiancĂ© dies aboard the Titanic. She can’t go home to Ireland and must now fend for herself in America. 

7)  Is there a villain in the book, and if so, what should we know about him/her?---Ah, Charles Ransom!  Charles is a great villain because he doesn’t think he’s bad. He is totally in love with his wife, but has done the cruelest of acts against her. To win her back, he does another cruel thing to another innocent person, but never once thinks he’s in the wrong. That’s what makes him so fun to write. He can justify anything in his mind if he needs to. Oh, and all good villains need an evil sidekick, and Charles has one of those too, in Dr. Rupert Stouch.  The scenes between these two were especially fun and easy to write because they were such strong characters in my mind

8)  Did you enjoy writing historical romance?  If so, would you do it again?--Yes, despite the whining I did about doing the research, actually I would. I’d write this period again and would also love to write something in Tudor England period. I do have two novels started…stay tuned.

9)  What is your favorite time in history to read about?--Tudor England…the reigns of King Henry VIII Elizabeth the First and all the other notable people (Mary Queen of Scots, Henry’s six wives, Thomas More, etc.) from that time.

10)  If you could live in any time or place when or where would it be and why?--It would be hard to give up the modern conveniences of today, but pretending that I knew no better of them, I would love to live in the Edwardian or Victorian age when people had manners, children wore their pants pulled up over their behinds and the “F” word was a shocker, and not used in everyday conversation. The dresses were gorgeous, but women didn’t have many rights and oh, those corsets! Each era has its good and bad points. I would also love to have lived in Tudor England, again, for the dresses and courtly manners, but the bloodshed and beheadings and poverty…maybe not. Oh, and knowing me, even if a royal, I’d freeze living in a castle. J

Thank you, Linda, for your time and your great answers!

You can find all of Linda's novels any place e-books are sold or get them in print at Amazon. (Click here to purchase)

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