I'm thrilled to have Linda Yezak on my blog today. Linda and I have never met in person, and yet we go way back to the pre-Facebook days when we met on an online Christian Writers forum. It has been an honor to both grow a friendship and to follow her writing career ever since. Today she's going to talk about her summer, writing process, and characters in her new release RIDE TO THE ALTAR. She's also offering a chance to win a terrific cowgirl giveaway package at the end of the post.
About the Book:
Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on wedding plans.
But that mystery isn't their only obstacle. To placate her father, Patricia must return to her hometown of Manhattan to make amends with her mother, the interfering, dominating woman she has hardly spoken to in a year. Her father decides it is time for them to declare a truce, but considering the depth of anger she holds against her mother, how can she?
While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Memories plague him and emotions confound him as he scrambles to discover who is trying to destroy him and the ranch. By the time Patricia returns from New York, the strikes against the Circle Bar have become more aggressive, to the point of injury for one of the ranch hands.
Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Their Ride to the Altar has twists and turns neither ever considered. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate?
Interview with Linda
* This has been a terrific series, especially for fun summer reading. How about your summer? With everything you're up to, are you finding ways to enjoy your summer or are you focused on writing projects throughout?
We're more likely to vacation in spring or fall, but summertime is reserved for festivals and book events, some of which we attend every June. Each year, I pay for vendor space in two festivals—the Blueberry Festival here in east Texas and the Polish Festival in central Texas. We've worked these two for so long, I have repeat customers. It's great to have a following, no matter how small. This year, we had the added benefit of a library event—held indoors, thank You, Jesus! Aside from these, I have one more event—a speech to the ACFW chapter in The Woodlands, near Houston, then things will quieten down until fall.
Even while I'm working the release of Ride to the Altar, I'm trying to find time to finish a historical romance novella. This one is called Loving a Harvey Girl, for The Cowboy Collection to be released next year by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina's Smitten imprint. Time is moving much faster than I am. The story is due next month, and if my life doesn't slow down a bit, I may not make the deadline!
That sounds intensely busy! Writing is certainly a multi-tasking process. Speaking of that, readers have gotten to know Talon and Patricia like good friends. Can you tell us a little about your personal process for creating your characters?
I'm a bit of a pantser and rarely do anything formally before I have a few chapters written. Of course, I have a general idea of what I want to do before I start, so I'm aware of the type of characters I'll need, but rarely do I have a clue as to their personalities. As I write, my characters introduce themselves to me, and as they do, I discover which will be used to make certain events occur in the story.
Sometimes, a character will want more of the limelight than their assigned role demands. With the first of my Circle Bar Ranch series, Give the Lady a Ride, secondary character Marie Lambeau was much more flamboyant than the heroine, Patricia Talbert. I had to tone her down considerably, but she's still a hoot. She matures over the course of the series and is Patricia's rock when it comes to matters of faith.
In my stand-alone The Cat Lady's Secret, one of the minor characters turned out to be the culprit who was burning down the town's historic homes. When it dawned on me that he would be the perfect one to be guilty of the crime, I had to actually do a character sketch and some free-writing to figure out why. Since he was such a minor character, I didn't have much of a clue about his background and what would drive him to commit such a crime. This was around mid-book, so I had to work within the perimeters of what I'd already written, but I also had to go back and weave in a bit more about him—a typical hazard of being a pantser. But spending time with the character enhanced the story.
For the Circle Bar Ranch series, I knew I was going to do a “fish out of water” story—city girl meets bull-riding ranch foreman. I also knew I had to avoid stereotypes, so Patricia Talbert has some knowledge about ranching, and Talon Carlson has a college degree. And, frankly, those tidbits of information were the only things I knew about the characters before I started writing. It was fun watching them develop, and now they're as real to me as my next-door neighbors.
Do you have a favorite character or character “type” you like to write about?
Hard to pick one. Over the course of the series, the characters I love most are Frank Simmons and Consuela Garcia. Both are secondary characters, but both add so much to the story. The oldest cowhand on the ranch, Frank tends to play Talon's conscience and Patricia's surrogate father while she's so far from her real dad.
But Consuela, the cook/maid/laundress/honorary-mama, is my favorite. She is high-tempered and outspoken. She loves fiercely and is highly loyal and also serves as a source of wisdom for Patricia. One of my favorite scenes featuring Consuela is in The Final Ride when Patricia's aunt Adele joins the cast. Adele is the quintessential New York snob who is accustomed to servants, and Consuela has never been treated like a servant her entire life. The scene in which Consuela confronts Patricia about her aunt still makes me giggle.
Because there seems to be fewer rules for writing secondary characters, I find them far more fun to play with. As long as they don't outshine the main character, as Marie once did Patricia, the sky's the limit with them.
I have to admit, I'm going to miss the cast and crew of the Circle Bar Ranch. I've already had one request to write a fourth book. It's tempting.
About the Author
Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn't begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.
Facebook: Author Page
Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage
Goodreads: Linda W Yezak
Enter to win the fabulous cowgirl prize package!Included in the prize basket are a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and, just for fun, a Texas Rubiks cube. To enter to win, just leave a comment on something you've read here. Linda is visiting a series of blogs, and you can enter on every one. Her next stop to win is at Linda Glaz's blog.