Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pickin' Pumpkins With Linda Banche


Another week has flow away, leaving us a weekend of play!

Autumn is definitely here! It's time once again to bust out those ooky-spooky yard decorations and carve up some Jack-O-Lanters. Ain't life grand?!

Before you head out to the pumpkin patch, please join me in welcoming LINDA BANCHE to the TLN Hot Seat!

Her latest release, THE PUMPKINNAPPER, is fresh off the vine and ready to help ring in the spooky season.

Linda was sweet enough to treat us all to some good advice! So, grab that bowl of candy corn you've been eye-ballin' and dig in! We won't tell!

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

My title would be: Too Stupid to Quit.

Linda, romance fanatic, devours romances by the cartful. She reads and reads, wallowing in romance. And does she have a good time wallowing.

Then, one day, the unthinkable happens. She runs out of the types of books she likes. Panic! What to do? The Spirit of Romance throws back her head and laughs. "You have been greedy. So greedy, you ran out of Regencies. Now you'll have to read contemporaries."

Linda is not our heroine for naught. Will she give in and read a genre she doesn't like to feed her romance habit? No. She decides to write her own.

And so the journey begins, as she spends her days and nights warming her desk chair as she types and types. A story takes form. The tale has a beginning, middle, and an end.

Our heroine has written a book! (We won't tell you about all the writing errors she made. After all, we want a happy ending.)

"What do you think of that?" she shouts at the Spirit of Romance. I have the kind of story I like. And I can always write more. Persistence pays off!"

"Perhaps," the Spirit replies. "You are most certainly persistent." Or perhaps just too stupid to give up.

2. Using three words, describe your voice.

Humorous, quirky, playful.

3. Newbie to Published: How have you grown as a writer?

When I decided I wanted to write a book, I had no idea what I was doing. So I just wrote and wrote, until I had what I call my magnum opus, all 96,000 words of it. I thought I was doing pretty well. After all, I had a completed story.

Then I took a few courses. "Show, don't tell. Get the POV right--you're not Norah, don't head-hop. Use action tags." Showing? POV? Tags? Who's Norah? As far as I was concerned, the instructors were speaking Greek.

Well, I finally figured out the code. I show more. I leaned about the dreaded POV. And I found out who Norah is.

Other important things: Use the five senses. Add the color of objects. Give the characters' physical reactions to events. Don't start sentences with "this", "that", "these" or "those".

I do most of this stuff automatically now, but I still have problems. My descriptions need work. Sometimes I can write pretty well the first time and sometimes only junk comes out.

And I rewrite. A lot.

4. Ok, here is the fun part! Give us some tips on research. What's your favorite resource?

Google is your friend. So is a high speed computer line. Also, bookmark everything. By now, I have hundreds of links, from Regency information to the business end of writing. I found out the hard way to save a good link or I would never find it again.

5. Any advice on how to write a synopsis or a query letter? What works for you?

The best advice I have is to use the flavor of the book in your synopsis and query letter. If your story is dark, make them dark. If you write comedy, make them humorous.

The second thing is to condense your story into one pithy sentence, the log line. Use it to draw the agent/editor into your letter or synopsis. There are lots of examples on the web of successful query letters, synopses and log lines. Try going to an agent's blog and see their examples. Then make your own.

6. Tell us your "Got the Call" story? What was it like?

In 2007, The Wild Rose Press ran a time travel contest. They offered every entrant A Free Critique by A Real Editor. OK, that was my price, so I wrote a time travel story.

I lost. Of course, I lost. I didn't even know what POV was. Talk about the arrogance of stupidity.

But the editor said she would consider publishing the story if I made some fixes. I made her changes, and also fixed the POV, which I had figured out by then, and resubmitted.

Another reject. Back to the rewrite, incorporating the editor's new requests. And this time, she accepted it. That book is Lady of the Stars.

7. What's coming up for Linda Banche?

My just-released novella is a Regency Halloween comedy, Pumpkinnapper, also from the Wild Rose Press.

Pumpkinnapper buy link:


Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled and a jealous goose. Oh my!

Last night someone tried to steal the widowed Mrs. Emily Metcalfe's pumpkins. She's certain the culprit is her old childhood nemesis and the secret love of her youth, Henry, nicknamed Hank, whom she hasn't seen in ten years.

Henry, Baron Grey, who's never forgotten the girl he loved but couldn’t pursue so long ago, decides to catch Emily's would-be thief. Even after she reveals his childhood nickname--the one he would rather forget. And even after her jealous pet goose bites him in an embarrassing place.

Oh, the things a man does for love.


"Emily, even with Henry, formidable as he is--" Hank glared at the goose. The goose glared back "--you need protection. I will send over some footmen to guard the place."

"No. Turnip Cottage belongs to Charlotte's husband. What will the townspeople think, with Lord Grey's servants about my house?"

Her refusal increased his fury. The sight of her hand on that damned goose's head
didn't improve his mood, either. He balled his fists as his patience thinned and something else thickened. "I'll find you a guard dog. You must have some protection out here all alone."

"But I have Henry." She patted the goose's head and the bird snuggled into her hand. Again.

Heat flooded Hank, part desire for Emily's touch, and part desire to murder that damned goose, who was where he wanted to be. His insides groaned. "Very well, then, you leave me no choice. I will help you catch the culprits."


He changed his voice to the voice that either melted a woman or earned him a slap in the face. "Who knows, mayhap we would enjoy ourselves as I lie in wait with you." I would love to lie with you.

Her eyes widened. Had she understood the innuendo?

"I cannot stay alone with you, and you know it," she said, her voice severe.

"You are a widow in your own home and no one will see. I will make sure of it."

"No." She marched back into her cottage and slammed the door. Henry smirked and waddled away.

Hank grinned. He would be back, whether she liked it or not.

Linda Banche
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars--4 stars from Romantic Times, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
Pumpkinnapper--Regency Halloween comedy, available from The Wild Rose Press
Website Blog Myspace Facebook Twitter

I'd like to thank Linda sharing the good stuff with us newbies! And THANKS to all of you for swinging by!

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love watching the leaves change color, digging out my old sweatshirts, and most importantly. . .Halloween!! When I was a kid, I adored watching Disney's Legend of Sleepy Hollow every year. I totally dug Ichabod and Katrina. So, here's an early treat to get you in the mood- it's
THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN song. I just LOVE the old Disney movies, don't you?! Have a great weekend and we'll catch ya back here next week!


Keena Kincaid said...

Fun interview, Linda. Glad you figured out who Nora is and mastered POV. Good luck with the Pumkinnapper.I love light, fun stories.

liana laverentz said...

Hi, Sarah and Linda,

Another reader coverted to writer. I wish you all the best with Pumpkinapper. It sounds like a winner!

liana laverentz said...

I meant Pumpkinnapper, with two n's. Great cover, by the way.

And congratulations on your recent contest success, Sarah! Way to go!

Penelope said...

Hi Linda! Great interview! I actually had a contest judge write this on one of my entries..."Watch POV're not Nora." Hee hee hee...the funny thing was that the whole scene was in one person's POV and I was totally confused. (And I had never read Nora either and had no clue what she was talking about!). Best of luck with Pumpkinnappers and congrats for making the bestseller list at TWRP.

Linda Banche said...

Sarah, thanks for having me over. As of today, I'm on The Wild Rose Press's site bestseller list. I don't know how long it will last, but I'll enjoy it for now.

Hi Keena, thanks. I like funny stories, too. That's why I write them.

Thanks, Liana. I think Pumpkinnapper has a great cover, too. And no one cares if you make a typo, especially since "pumpkinnapper" is a word I made up. I don't remember, but it may have started life with one "n".

Hi Penelope, nice to see you. I think Nora/POV is the standard writers' comment for newbies. Sort of like, the big bad POV monster will get you if you don't watch out.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Smashing interview, Sarah and Linda! They are wonderful and original questions!

POV is hard to get hold of at first, I think. I found it came with writing.

Congrats again on Pumpkinnapper! Lovely idea and a really pretty cover. Hope it sells lots!

Linda Banche said...

Hi Lindsay, and thanks. I had a hard time with POV, too. Then, one day I was reading a book and the author switched from the heroine's POV to the hero's POV for one paragraph, then she switched back to the heroine's POV. Ah! It came to me in a flash. So that's POV! A real Eureka moment.

And I apologize to Nora. I was just at the library, which is filled with her books. She does NOT have an "h" in her first name.

Emma Lai said...

Great interview ladies! Love the cover and excerpt, Linda!

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Love your blog. I enjoyed visiting and will return often now I’ve found it. Thanks for sharing.

Helen Hardt said...

Linda, great to see you over here!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda,
Enjoyed your interview, and I like the way your learned, honed your writing skills and persevered until success came your way.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Emma and Helen. Glad you could come over.

I'm sure Sarah will be happy to have you visit, the romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after.

Hi Margaret, thanks. Well, I guess "perseverance" is another word for "persistence", or as I say, stupid. **grins**

Sarah Simas said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Emma, it's wonderful to see you out and about! Hope your little one is doing great.

Lindsay, Liana, Helen, and Margaret- you gals rock! Thanks for hanging out with us today. :o)

Keena and Penelope, Linda made the interview fun! I love the title and cover of Pumpkinnapper!

Thanks again, Linda for letting me interview you! And a huge congrats for being on the best seller list at TWRP! How exciting!

The Romantic Query Letter, Linda is write (lol) new faces are always welcome! :o) Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Jana Richards said...

Fun interview, Linda and Sarah. All the best with the new novella.

Jana Richards

LK Hunsaker said...

I'm very late here, but I've started reading Pumpkinnapper and it's quite the fun read!

Great interview. :-)