Thanks for coming on Night Owl Romance.
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I am possibly the least likely writer in the world. I loved to read, but hated to write (my high school English teachers will back me up in this). I filled my schedule with science and math classes, got my college degree in mathematics, and went to work writing software code. And it was all good. But then we moved from Miami to Boston. It got cold. It got dark. I had a baby and a toddler, no idea where the bookstores were, and a library card, because the library was (conveniently enough) just a few blocks from my house. So I would go over there and scoop big armloads of books into a bag and check them all out to read during naptime. One day I scooped up Julia Quinn's The Duke and I, and it was love at first sight. I adored that book, and when I wrote to Julia to tell her so, I learned she had gone to the same college I did, and lived in the same dorm-at the same time, even. It wasn't the sole motivating factor, but I figured if someone who had survived the same disgusting dorm food I had could go on to write such an awesome book, maybe I could write a book, too. It took me a few years, thanks to the toddlers and all.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I think there is a lot of me in each of my heroines, with some other characteristics I would like to have thrown in. If I had to choose just one, though, it would have to be Hannah from What A Gentleman Wants. She's got a strong streak of practicality and is very down-to-earth, so when her ducal husband pampers her she's not likely to get spoiled. And she'll always be capable of keeping his feet on the ground.
What's your favorite genre to read?
Historical all the way! I love mysteries and romances and thrillers and just good historical fiction and non-fiction. Right now I'm reading a novel called President Lincoln's Spy, and for research as well as pleasure I recently read The Battle by Alessandro Barbero, which is a very readable history of Waterloo.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
Absolutely. I'm nearing the end of my follow-up to A View to a Kiss, which is about another spy, Alec Brandon. Alec is my first military hero, which has been interesting, and perhaps my most tortured hero. At Waterloo he went missing in action and was presumed dead, a presumption he did nothing to correct when he learned he was also presumed guilty of treason. He's been a spy for five years as he tries to find a way to clear his name, but now his elder brother has died and he's being sent home to his family, with one last small mission for the government. It's tentatively scheduled for release in January 2010, so I better get back to work!
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
My perfect hero is my husband. He's not tortured or tattooed or broodingly, dangerously gorgeous; he's just the perfect man for me. He makes me laugh (even when he's making me angry), he's a wonderful listener, my best friend, a great father to our kids, he's smart and compassionate and daring and (best of all) he's as crazy about me as I am about him. Every single hero I write is based in some small part on him.
What do you do for inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere: movies, TV, books, the newspaper, music, odd things your children do and random strangers on the street. For instance, I love spy action/adventure movies, and-surprise--my latest book (and the two to come after it) is about a group of spies. I based the spymaster on a real-life spymaster I cam across in some research for a previous book, created my hero in the mold of Jason Bourne and James Bond, and stitched it together with a Romeo-and-Juliet romance plot. I try really hard to make each book and each character I write unique, to avoid writing the same story over and over, so I try to look for new sources of inspiration with every book. Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
There are a few partial books hiding out on my computer. One is a paranormal starring the angel of death (maybe you see now why it's still in hiding), and I have a couple of YA ideas. I'd love to finish all of them someday, but for now they're just collecting dust. Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
I can't tell what they do to my muse, but they sure have a powerful effect on my motivation. I can go weeks-months, even-without doing much of anything, but then when that deadline starts to loom large in the immediate future, I buckle down and turn off my email to get to work.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Both, really. All my books usually start with a scene that just sort of pops into mind. I write it down, and sometimes that's all there is. But usually the characters start to take shape, as the scene rattles around in my brain, and I write a few more scenes here and there. Once I start to see a vague storyline, I sit down and start writing outlines. Sometimes these outlines are almost scene-by-scene descriptions of the book that results, and sometimes they bear almost no resemblance to the final manuscript, but I do try to write an outline ahead of time. Honestly, I think that just producing one satisfies some part of my mind that yes, there is indeed enough here to make a full-length book, and then as I write stuff happens and the story goes a completely different direction.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
My website at www.carolinelinden.com. I do read and answer all my email, although I tend to fall behind when there's a deadline hanging over my head.
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
I put a lot of information on my website, not just excerpts but behind-the-scenes info and bonus short stories not available anywhere else. Avon also allows readers to browse inside books, and you can read the first several chapters of A View to a Kiss at http://browseinside.harpercollins.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061706356.
Thank you for this opportunity!