As a child, Lauren Linwood gathered her neighborhood friends together and made up stories for them to act out, her first venture into creating memorable characters. Following her passion for history and love of learning, she became a teacher who began writing on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones.
Lauren’s historical novels focus on two of her favorite eras—medieval times and the American Old West. History is the backdrop that places her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grows into the treasured gift of love. She also writes romantic suspense, where modern heroes and heroines unite to defeat a strong antagonist and discover a deep, abiding love during their journey.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for House Hunters addicts—as soon as she finishes her next piece of dark chocolate.
Q & A with Lauren Linwood
Tell us about Leave Yesterday Behind.
This romantic suspense brings two damaged souls together. They met one summer night years earlier when they were both teenagers and never saw each other again. Fate has brought them back together in Aurora, Louisiana. Neither is looking for romance, but they form a friendship and then fall in love. Little do they realize that a serial killer has reasons to want both of them dead.
Who is Callie Chennault?
Callie is at a crossroads. She’s spent a decade playing one of the most recognizable characters on TV. While that’s been financially rewarding, she wants to try something new and different in her career—a play, an indie movie, another TV series. Yet Callie knows if she walks away from Sumner Falls, the show might tank. She doesn’t want to hurt her fellow cast and crew members. Then she’s viciously attacked by a stalker and has to take a long hiatus from the show. That enforced vacation gives her time to think about her life and what she really wants.
Who is Nick La Chappelle?
Nick left his small town when he was drafted as a pitcher in Major League Baseball, followed by a short career in the ESPN broadcasting booth. His marriage fell apart when he walked away from the fame and fortune since his wife loved being an A-lister more than she loved him. He’s returned home and become a loner, but he’s found satisfaction as a mystery writer, something he always wanted to pursue.
Why did you feel you had to write this particular book?
I was at a point in my writing journey where I was looking for a new challenge (Hmm . . . I sound a little like Callie . . .). I’d written six historical romances (two medievals and four westerns), and I was itching to try something new. I enjoy reading romantic suspense novels, so I thought I’d give it a whirl and see if I could complete a manuscript in that genre. The result was Leave Yesterday Behind.
My professional goal is to alternate releasing historicals with romantic suspenses. I have a medieval coming out in November and another suspense next March, so I’m hoping I can stick with this pattern. I think by having some variety in my writing life, it’ll push me to be even better.
What was the hardest part in writing this book?
The hardest part was having to kill people! It’s not fun to go into the dark mind of a serial killer. Thank goodness romantic suspense novels do have the romance element to balance out the darkness. And no matter how many died in the writing process, my heart knew my hero and heroine would survive—and thrive. That got me through to the end.
What two cities are represented in the book? Are these cities you have history with?
The story opens in New York City, where Callie films Sumner Falls. I’ve visited NYC several times, so I’m familiar with the sights and sounds. Once Callie survives an attack by a fanatic stalker, she returns to Aurora, Louisiana, to heal both physically and emotionally. Aurora is my own invention, but I know what makes a small town tick. I conveniently placed Aurora only a half-hour away from New Orleans, a place I’ve enjoyed visiting over the years. That allowed me to have Nick and Callie go into NOLA for a special day together. I honeymooned in NOLA, and I think it’s one of the most romantic cities in the US.
What 4 tips would you give to an author wanting to write in the romance suspense genre?
1—Read other romantic suspense novels! You want to see what successful authors in that genre are up to.
2—Make sure you have a smart antagonist. Your serial killer (or criminal) should be a challenge to your hero and heroine, not some easy pushover.
3—Be sure you balance the romance with the suspense. You want to have both aspects and not let either dominate your story.
4—You want your readers surprised by the ending, but don’t make it come from so out of the blue that it seems unrealistic.
What tips would you give an author wanting to write in two different genres?
1—I’m a big believer in folders! Do your research, and then make sure you slide everything into folders for easy access.
2—Let your research work for more than one novel. For my westerns, I’ve research topics such as games of chance, cattle drives, and dime novels. For my suspense novels, I’ve scoured books and the Internet and taken notes on serial killers, the FBI, psychopaths, and sociopaths. I’ve been able to use parts of my research in different novels. I’ve written about two gamblers, one in San Francisco and one in Texas. Each hero played different games of that era and noticed different aspects of his opponents and how to cheat. I’ve learned to spread the research out and make it work for me.
3—Work on one genre at a time. My typical writing pattern is to complete a book and let it sit and ferment for a couple of months. While that’s happening with one genre, I can start a new novel in a different genre. I think you’ll be more successful and your voice will ring truer if you focus on one at a time.
Who is Lauren Linwood?
I love to walk and read. I enjoy watching movie and sports. I’m a loyal friend, lover of dark chocolate, understanding wife, and organized to the max (I just finished planning my daughter’s wedding and think I might have a second career as an event planner!). I sing loud and proud (and a little off-key) in the shower, and I would rather cook than clean any day.
What has been your biggest challenge/achievement as an author?
My biggest achievement has been to become a published author—and continue to be published. That first release of Music For My Soul was a dream come true, but I knew I had more stories in me that I wanted to tell. That has also been my biggest challenge—to tell unique stories about interesting people on a consistent basis that’s worthy enough to become a published novel.
What new projects are in the works for you?
I have a lot of irons in the fire right now. I’ve completed edits on A Knight for Kallen, my November 2015 medieval historical romance release. I’m working on edits for a March 2016 novel, my second romantic suspense entitled Illusions of Death.
I’ve just completed redesigning my author website. It’s got a great new look and is mobile-friendly.
I’ve also completed manuscripts for a western historical and another romantic suspense that I’ll pitch to my editor soon. In the meantime, I’ve started writing a new medieval historical. I always have my fingers in a lot of pies!
For More Information
- Visit Lauren Linwood’s website.
- Find out more about Lauren at Goodreads.
- Visit Lauren’s blog.
- More books by Lauren Linwood.
- Contact Lauren.
About the Book:
Callie Chennault vaulted to fame on the nighttime soap Sumner Falls, but after a decade of playing the same role, she is ready for a new acting challenge. When Callie is attacked by a stalker on the streets of New York, she takes a leave of absence from the show and returns to her roots in Aurora, Louisiana, to heal both physically and emotionally and determine her next career move.
Former professional baseball pitcher Nick La Chappelle has also come to Aurora to lick his own wounds after a messy divorce. A Cy Young winner and one-time ESPN broadcaster, Nick longs for the quiet of a small town in order to write murder mysteries under a pen name.
Sparks fly when Callie believes Nick is taking advantage of her great-aunt’s hospitality, but they resolve their differences—and surprise themselves by falling in love. Their bond is tested when both Nick and Callie become the focus of a serial killer nicknamed Lipstick Larry. Can they outwit a murderer bent on seeing them dead and survive to build a lasting relationship?
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For More Information
- Leave Yesterday Behind is available at Amazon.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.