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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Lure of the Cowboy Romance: Author Interview with Linda Ford

Amazon lists you as having published 129 books. That’s quite the book catalog! But what inspired you to write that first one? 

Although my mother was a published author, I didn’t grow up planning to write. But when I was struggling with acting-out teenagers and my life seemed out of control a friend invited me to attend a starting group for those interested in writing. I only went to keep her company but as I listened to a talk on how to organize a non-fiction project, I was instantly hooked. This was something I could have control of. I started with doing interviews for the local papers and farm publications. I did some human-interest stories and thought how some of them would make a good fiction story. My first published book was a spin off on one of those human-interest stories.

What made you choose writing historical western novels?

Why historical westerns? I have said I am uniquely qualified to write these. I grew up where men still wore jeans, cowboy boots and a battered cowboy hat—not because they were stylish but because that was their working clothes. Add to that a father who talked about the early settlers and took us to museums and then a hubby who considered a date was perfect if we watched a western on TV and I fell in love with cowboys.

How many books did it take before you realized you could make a career of it?

I wrote at the same time as I had a job taking care of a live-in client for years. I was published with Barbour and Harlequin Love Inspired. When the historical line in Love Inspired closed, I was left without a contract. About the same time, Indie publishing was taking off and my client went into a care home. I decided to jump into the Indie market. It took a couple of years to build a solid business. By the time I published my first independent book, I had around 50 published with traditional publishers so had some wonderfully loyal readers.

Why do you think there is such the high interest for that genre?

I think westerns are popular because they represent a time when it seems life was simpler. People more open and honest. Besides, what is more appealing than a man on horseback with a wide, welcoming grin. Oh wait. That might just be me. Lol. 

Since you are writing books about a previous century, how do you go about doing research? 

As to research, museums are great, reading first-hand accounts is a wonderful source but nowadays, the internet is my best friend. I have fairly easy access to journals of actual people. This was a wonderful resource when I did my wagon train series.

What are some of the most interesting points you've discovered as you were doing your research? 

I have discovered so many interesting and colorful things in my research. Like what the inside of a soddy is really like—dark and earthy smelling. Or how very brave these men and women were to venture across uncharted land without a phone, a map, or even a store within driving distance. It boggles my mind.  

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?

I suppose it would be when I had entered a contest. I don’t recall if I won anything. The judge was a real-live Harlequin editor. (I was in awe back then. 😊) She said two things that steered me in the right direction and encouraged me to keep on aiming for publication. She said I had an historical voice and that I wrote deeply emotional with a touch of humor. Those words continue to encourage me. Affirmation is so valuable.

Marketing is the biggest key to getting sales. What is the best marketing source you've used that has produces more sales rather than just clicks?

Bookbub does well. Facebook ads are currently doing well. But everything with Indie is a moving target. What works well today might not next year or tomorrow. Marketing is a whole new part of the writing business. I am now as much a business person as a writer.  

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?

If you want something bad enough, you’ll go after it until you get it. Take courses. Get feedback (even if it hurts). Go to workshops. Above all, write, write, and write some more. I had a lot of rejections before I got published and wrote many failed books, most of which won’t ever see anything but the inside of a dark drawer. 

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?

Do not let anyone tell you there is only one way to write. Such as you have to have an outline. Or you need to have X number of plot points. Or conversely, it’s best to just jump in and let the story unfold as you write it. The only right way is the way that works for you. I am neither a plotter nor a pantser. I consider myself a planner. I know enough to have the shape of my story. The rest I discover as I write. But. That. Is. Just. Me. Everyone has to discover their own way and that is mostly by trial and error.

 What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?

I’ve just started to release a new series: Montana Mail-Order Brides. There are currently 5 in the series and more coming. The setting is western Montana, on the Shannon ranch. There are four Shannon men (all sigh worthy) and other cowboys and neighbors.

The first is Mail-Order Mommy. Here is the blurb.

Past pain. Future hope.

Matt Shannon lost his fiancé to a tragic accident. He does not want anything more to do with love and marriage. But he is now guardian to four-year-old Lindy. Desperate for a woman to mother the little girl, he arranges for a mail-order bride. The agreement is for convenience only, but Gwen’s kindness and good nature threaten his barred heart.

Gwen Humber is willing to do anything to guarantee herself a permanent home…even travel west for a marriage in name only. She’ll become mother to a little girl. She instantly loves the delightful child, but loving Matt is not part of the deal. Can she keep her heart under control?

Will love overcome their past pain?

That's an intriguing blurb. I have not read this one yet, but I did just finish another book of Linda's. I don't normally read western romance, but that book hooked me. If you'd like to start reading this new book, here's the link:

And here's a bonus... sign up for her newsletter on her website link is found in the upper left corner. Once you do that, you'll see where you can receive a free eBook.

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