Friday, July 10, 2009

Looking Back With Lindsay Townsend!!

Oh-Da-Lolly!! Welcome to TLN's day with the fantastic Lindsay Townsend!

Hope you're excited because I sure am! I was lucky enough to win a copy of Lindsay's A Knight's Vow and WOWZA! What a good time!

If valiant knights and fair maidens are your bag, baby, you've come to the right place! Sit tight and enjoy the ride.

1)If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

Gosh, this one is a challenge! I loathe yapping about myself with a passion. OK, here goes: “From the dark, mysterious depths of Yorkshire comes a small, sassy, determined woman, who loves her husband and her family, life and romance. She will strive to overcome all challenges except for giving up chocolate.”

(I'll give up lots of things, but never my chocolate! lol)

2) Every author has a distinctive voice. What would be your "voice's" tagline?

I think my tag-line might be “The mystery of love, the romance of danger”.

3) What made you decide to write Medieval Romances?

I love the differences between the medieval world and the present day. In the middle ages people were more extravagant in their emotions and I enjoy exploiting that. The medieval world could be both beautiful and terrible, and life, even for princes, was always on a knife-edge. That past gives me the drama and high stakes that I love to write about and also sees the birth of literary romance through the Courts of Love and so on. To me all this is irresistible.

4) How much time do you spend researching for your stories? Any tips to share?

I tend to research as I go along, or I find I forget. I’m not sure how much time I spend – I suppose as long as I feel is needed. I look for the telling, personal detail that points up an aspect of character I want to reveal, or of setting or time.

For tips I would suggest writers begin with the children’s library – there can be found books, etc explaining about people’s jobs, how people live, what it is like living in such and such a place. This can give a writer swift clues which can be followed up. I always make a note of what it is I’m researching, with the questions I want to answer. I write down the page refs and author and title of the books I use (Otherwise I’m scrabbling back through texts looking for a vital fact.) I also use the internet – some sources can be suspect but most are wonderful and again the writer can find lots of pictures and photos. I love visual clues.

When it comes to writing a scene I try to involve the five senses, so I ask myself: What can be seen/heard/smelled/touched/tasted? Also, what emotional reaction does all this evoke in the viewpoint character? Depending on who the character is, that person will tend to notice different things to someone else. A warrior in a meadow might scan the sky-line and tall grasses for possible enemies. A naturalist would know the names of the trees and grasses and flowers.

5) How do your stories take shape in your mind? Snippets of words or as a scene?

I tend to think in scenes. Sometimes scenes evolve from a conversation to which I add setting, memories, emotions. I find the plot usually is revealed through dialogue or through a character’s thoughts.

6) Do you write a story from start to finish or do you hop around?

I know of writers who do hop around and it clearly works for them. I always work start to finish.

7) What has been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome in your writing?

Lack of confidence. The inner voice saying that you’ll never make it.

8) Your novels are published by houses such as Kensington and Bookstrand. Any tips for new writers on how to select a publisher?

Find writers who are similar to you and see who publishes them. Look at writers’ websites – Karen Fox’s ( is excellent for details on romance publishers and agents. Look at sites such as Preditors and Editors ( If you are in a writing group or a yahoo community, ask there. Keep an eye on writing contests – there’s one at the moment at Romance Junkies, and probably many others. Editors like authors who submit to contests.

Consider your writing in marketing terms. What precise genre is it? How hot is it? Also, are you comfortable writing to a particular set of conventions? Some publishers seem to prefer that certain romance conventions are observed. I would say you can always ‘break’ all conventions if you make your characters compelling: such things are guides, not rules. The one exception possibly is the HEA ending – for me, in a romance, that is a must.

Never go with a publisher who asks for money! Organisations such as the RWA and RNA might also be useful to join. Yahoo groups such as Novelsisterhood, Castles in the Air, The Bookspa, Classic Romance Revival, Long and short of it, Sweet and Sensual romance, Manic Readers, Whipped Cream, Red Roses for Authors, Sweeter Romantic Notions, are also very useful to join. Writers can ask questions there and look at the files, which often contain publisher info., and learn about other writers. Your own blogs, The Lovestruck Novice and Passion and Patter, are mines of information and inspiration. (aw, thanks!)

The epublishing revolution is also very exciting. There are sharks out there, but there are also many committed publishers and new epublishers such as Desert Breeze Publishing emerging. Again, look at their websites and sample contracts, ask questions of other authors and don’t be in a huge hurry to send off your work - it deserves care and attention.

9) A lot of writers can't stand promoting. How many hours do you spend promoting everyday? Any advice to share? Do you think new writers should worry about promoting themselves before their book gets published?

I think I spend about 30 mins promoting each day. I have lots of excerpts in my drafts and circle those about. I also have a blog, Lindsay’s Book Chat: and a blog for my romance writing friends called Lindsay’s Romantics: I’m also part of the Unusual Historicals blog, the Romance Writers in the Rough blog, the SirenBookstrand blog, the Classic Romance Revival blog, Sweeter Romantic Notions blog and the Happily Ever After blog – we’re having a Kiss Week at HEA at the moment. (You can find all the links to these blogs on my main blog, Lindsay’s Bookchat. They are all worth a look and all have slightly different focus.) Sadly, I’m down with some kind of flu so I’ve not been doing much this past day or so.

I think it’s useful for writers to focus on their work first: develop their ‘voices,’ ensure their grammar etc is good, make sure their characters are ‘alive’ and readers can empathise with them, make very sure the plotting make sense and characters’ motivations also. When a writer wins a contract, I think then is useful to consider promotion. On the other hand, a writer with an interesting blog is always noticed and a blog can build a useful ‘presence’ that can provide a lovely springboard for when that writer ventures into the publishing world as published. All writers begin as unpublished. I think now is a very exciting time for all writers, with more opportunities than there have been in the last ten years.

10) What's new for Lindsay? Any new releases or WIPs you want to dish about?

Next spring there's a third Kensington, 'A Knight's Enchantment', set in England in 1210, with an alchemist (as heroine), a dungeon, a greedy bishop and a lot of secrets. I'm now writing the fourth, which takes place during the Black Death, and there's a little Roman erotic, 'Silk and Steel', coming from Siren soon..

Thank you so much, Sarah, for having me along today! I’ve really enjoyed the interview, in spite of being a bit groggy with the flu! (Hope it’s not swine flu, but at least no one can catch it via the web!) Thanks again, and happy writing! Best wishes, Lindsay

Here is an excerpt from the start of Lindsay's Kensington Zebra medieval romance, 'A KNIGHT'S CAPTIVE'. In it we see the hero Marc for the first time, and the heroine Sunniva.

Northern England, September 1066

"Uncle Marc! Is she not as beautiful as the sun? That is what her name means. She is Sunniva, Sun-Gift. Do you not think she is like the sun?"

"Steady, little one. You will wake your sisters. But yes, you are right. She is most comely."

Ignoring the powerful temptation to look where Alde was pointing, Marc tucked the ends of his big traveling cloak around his excited niece and encouraged the child to lie down again by doing so himself. A swift, anxious glance confirmed that Judith and Isabella were sleeping, sprawled under his cloak, their small faces sunburned with weeks of travel. Isabella was sucking her thumb. The day had been long, the riding hard and tiring. He prayed she would sleep through,free of nightmares.

Just one night, Lord Christ. As a mercy to her, and to her sisters.

"Uncle Marc?" Alde whispered, tugging on her lower lip, the pupil of her left eye sliding towards her small, faintly hooked nose as she fought her body's weariness, "Can I have -" A tiny snore escaped her pouting mouth.

Marc waited a moment, watching his charges. His brother had spoken of the "fierce love" a parent feels for a child: in these past months he had come to understand what Roland meant. He would kill for these three.

Beside him a female peddler, as gnarled as the sticks she carried for sale on her back, snorted and shifted closer to the central fire. Turning carefully so as not to disturb Isabella, Marc lounged on his belly, one hand absently rubbing his aching spine as he scanned the company.

Two and twenty figures, hunched in various attitudes of slumber, some snoring, most silent, were ranged about the fire, their dun and dust-stained clothes orange in its fading glow. Outside the ruined, roofless square fort - an old Roman castle, according to their escorts - he could hear the night-guards walking and talking softly. So far, the pilgrim party he was part of had journeyed in safety, although he slept with his sword close to hand. Even main roadways such as the one they traveled on were haunted by footpads, ever-ready to prey upon the unwary or unprotected. There were rumored to be horse-thieves hereabouts in these rough lands of the north and worse still, slavers.

He knew of one who would be a great prize to such creatures. Blonde - such fair eyebrows and skin must betoken blonde hair, although he had never seen so much as a strand of it: Sunniva was a modest girl who hid her tresses under a plain russet head square. Lithe, with a tumbler's body: that much he could guess from her graceful walk, though her robe hung on her as if made for a larger woman. And her face… Marc smiled in the semi-darkness. Even at a distance, she was more than comely, she was spectacular, a prize-

"Sunniva! Damn you, wench!"

The carping voice broke into Marc's guilty day-dream, causing him to stare where he had sworn he would not. Straight across the fire from where he and his three darlings were snuggled into a corner, their backs safe against the fire-proof stone walls, a hulking scarecrow of a man sat bolt upright. Cloaks and scraps of precious cloth and even tapestry rolled off him, scattering like chaff as he whirled his beefy arms. "Here, girl, attend me! Look at me, girl! You should not be sleeping!"

"Not when my leg troubles me!" Marc finished for Cena under his breath,clenching both hands into fists as he fought his own temper. Since he and his girls had joined the pilgrim party five days ago he had grown weary of this graybeard's mewling complaints - the Englishman moaned more readily than six-year-old Isabella.

I'd like to say huge thank you to Lindsay for being here today! Here's hoping she feels better soon! And THANK YOU to you, my trusty sidekicks, for swinging by TLN! Have a dashing good time this weekend!

In honor of Lindsay and her love of the Medieval Romances, here's Bryan Adams and his
EVERYTHING I DO, I DO IT FOR YOU from ROBINHOOD PRINCE OF THIEVES with my hot stuff man, Kevin Costner. ( How cool?! This video was shot in Wales!) LOL This movie came out when I was in 8th grade and was always saved for the last dance. *ahh, ain't that sweet.* Now, go grab your sweetie and have a little slow dance.


Savanna Kougar said...

Hey, Lindsay, fab interview as always! I always learn so much from you.
Get better!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Lindsay and Sarah,

Very good interview and loved the excerpt. Lindsay, you definitely sound like a busy, busy, lady. Thanks for mentioning SaSR. We love having you there.
Hope you feel better soon.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Hi Sarah, Savanna and Rebecca,

Thanks for the good wishes! I'm still groggy but slowly improving and this interview has given me a lovely lift!

Savanna - as ever your support is greatly appreciated!!

Rebecca - I really enjoy being part of Sweet and Sensual. It's a very supportive, friendly group and the feedback is always spot on.

Thank you so much, Sarah, for this super interview! I really ejoyed answering your intriguing questions. I hope you will soon come over to chat on my pink blog, Lindsay's Romantics, about your own writing and blogs!

Like the film excerpt, too!!!

Linda Banche said...

Good post, Lindsay. Again, I find you have lots of useful information.

And Sarah, you have a great blog.

lainey bancroft said...

Even when you're 'off' health-wise, you're 'on' promo-wise.

Well done, Lindsay. Hope you feel better soon.

Kaye Manro said...

It's always good to see anything from you Lindsay! I agree with Linda. You have lots of useful information. Be well, friend.

Emma Lai said...

Great interview, ladies! Great suggestions on the promo Lindsay.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Excellent interview, Sarah and Lindsey! I absolutely love the personal blurb, LOL!

Kelley said...

Great post. I stumbled on a children's library site and agree that you can find helpful information from these sources. It tends to be clearer and to the point than some adult texts, which can be confusing sometimes.
Enjoyed the excerpt too.

LK Hunsaker said...

Sarah, great questions! Lindsay, I loved your self blurb. Feel better!

Sarah Simas said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by!!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! And Lindsay, I hope you're rain as rain soon.

LOL- I love Robinhood: Prince of Thieves, Lindsay. I knew the minute you agreed to let me grill ya, I'd use that song!

Now, where'd I put my chocolate?! lol

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thanks again, Sarah, and everyone! Love all your comments! Thanks for stopping by, Linda, Lainey, Kaye, Emma, Nicole, Kelley, and LK! I'm sorry I'm so out of it at the moment and I'm looking forward to throwing off this bug, and seeing who is next at THE LOVESTRUCK NOVICE!

(I'm got some choc ready for the weekend, but believe it or not I'm 'off' it at the moment.)

Best wishes, Lindsay

Cari Quinn said...

Sorry I'm late, but great interview, Sarah and Lindsay! I'll definitely be checking out your work. :)