Linda is giving away a set of her four books in the Yellowstone series:
Summer of Fire, Rain of Fire, Lake of Fire, and Jackson Hole Journey
Summer of Fire, Rain of Fire, Lake of Fire, and Jackson Hole Journey
Post a comment to be entered! Winners must have a US mailing address only.
1. Tell us about your newest release.
My upcoming March 2013 release, Jackson Hole Journey, from Camel Press, is Book Four of the award winning Yellowstone Series of novels. Summer of Fire (WILLA Literary Award) is a tale of the heroes who fought the fires of 1988. Rain of Fire (RRT Perfect 10) is what might happen if the world’s largest Supervolcano awakens. (I promise I don’t destroy the world.) Lake of Fire (Spur Finalist) is the prequel to Jackson Hole Journey, a stagecoach era adventure set in Yellowstone in 1900. Note that a 4 Star Review in February 2013 RT Book Reviews suggested that the release of Jackson Hole Journey would have everyone clamoring to read the rest of the series.
Jackson Hole Journey, category Historical Fiction, is about two brothers who vie for the love of the same woman on a Jackson Hole dude ranch during the Roaring Twenties. Against the backdrop of a massive landslide and a flood that wipes out a town, they fight prejudice against their native heritage, while battling those who would destroy their ranching tradition.
Francesca di Paoli, the central female character, leaves post World War I Italy to escape the rule of Mussolini, who has plunged the country into poverty and hunger. When things go bad for her in New York City, she heads west on the train, hoping California will be like her home in Tuscany. In Salt Lake City, she’s put off on the platform, penniless, and is rescued by William Sutton, elder son and scion of the Snake River Dude Ranch in Jackson’s Hole, as it was then called. A fish out of water in this high desert valley, she seeks to find a place for herself.
You can read several excerpts on my website, www.readlindajacobs.com.
2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?
I love the complex dynamic of the Sutton family, owners of the Snake River Dude Ranch. Especially the way each member’s character is amplified by the way they react when the owner’s Nez Perce uncle, Bitter Waters, comes to the ranch as he is dying. The series of scenes surrounding the dignified older man’s passing are some of the most poignant I believe I have ever written, inspired as I was by my own father’s recent death. The sense of helplessness, of wanting to be their strength for them, the anger and the willing them not to give up, the difficulty watching, the listening to the ragged breathing and praying for it not to stop, not to stop . . . . and, finally the when it does stop, the vast relief. It’s the second excerpt in Jackson Hole Journey on my site, titled “Night Vigil.”
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since my mom shared the Golden Book versions of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty with me at bedtime, I have found fiction . . . whether I am immersed in someone else’s good book . . . or whether I’m spinning the yarn, to be a magical escape. If you had asked me 10 years ago when I came up with my life goal of writing, I would have said I was about 11, but I found a box in my folks’ house when I inherited the place. Mom had saved all my old school papers, and there was a painstakingly printed essay from second grade in which I scratched, “when I grow up, I want to rite a novl.”
By age thirteen, I’d learned to hunt and peck on Dad’s old Royal Typewriter and started writing novels. In addition to New York, my characters roamed Hollywood, Yosemite and Hawaii. I even featured a Saudi Arabian princess attending college in America (after careful research of Medina and Mecca in the 1963 World Book Encyclopedia.) My largest effort was over one hundred single-spaced, typewritten pages. Eventually, I decided, as many adolescents do, that my mother might be reading my material, so I had a bonfire in the backyard. This is certainly a blessing for posterity, as well as for me. Now, no one will ever know how amateur those works must have been.
For the next twenty years, fiction took a back seat to technical writing. Then, in 1991, I was visiting Yellowstone and the idea of getting back to noveling came to me on a hike. When I returned to Houston where I lived, I joined the Rice University novel writing program under an American Book Award winner, the late Venkatesh Kulkarni. The rest is history.
4. How long have you been writing?
As above, I started the serious study of adult writing over twenty years ago. It takes me at least three years to write a book, but sometimes I am working on more than one at a time.
5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?
When I come up with an idea, I often tend to shout it out. Completely out of context. My husband has grown used to it.
One day, years ago, when I was exiting my health club locker room, I was struggling with a plot problem in Rain of Fire. There was going to be a big earthquake; my characters would be caught in a canyon on horseback, but what would happen to raise the stakes? I thought about killing or injuring one of my main folks, but knew I needed them to be fully functional shortly thereafter for the book’s climax. As I opened the locker room door, it came to me. “Kill the horses!” I said . . . right into the startled face of a woman carrying her gym bag.
So if she, and the rest of you, want to know who that deranged woman was, keep reading.
6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?
This goes along with advice to unpublished writers. I used to think if you read your work over and over, you could continue to find things to change forever. I hear that a lot. “Oh, you can read it and read and you’ll always want to change something.” I found out that at some point, when you have worked enough, you can read your book out loud from start to finish. Smoothly, one sentence flowing into the next and the next, without stumbling, or getting out of breath, and you will find there is nothing more to change. I never call a manuscript ready until that happens, and (advice here) no one else should.7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Two influential teachers were the aforementioned Venkatesh Srinivas Kulkarni, and the late Rita Gallagher, co-founder of RWA. Rita taught small groups of romance writers in her home up until she was in her eighties.
Authors . . . over these many years, James Mitchener for landscape, Robert Heinlein for imagination, Ken Follett for building a new world with each book, as I tend to (wastes so much time, but worth it.) Ayn Rand for canvas size, and Nora Roberts for a love story that always seems fresh.
Before I start thanking friend lists, I’ll just thank the most important: my best friend and husband Richard Jacobs. He’s not a bad reader.8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
Most of my small family did not live to see it. In addition to my parents and grandparents, I had only an aunt and uncle on my mother’s side. I was at my aunt’s house when I got “the call,” so she knew I was going to be published and she read a lot of my work, but she died in 2004. When Summer of Fire, my first Yellowstone novel, came out in June, 2005, Dad had been sick for over six months. I signed the first copy I got out of the first box to him. He read it, shaking his head and saying, “I can’t get over how much better this is than some of that stuff you used to write.” “Well, Dad, we all get better with time.”
When he went to the hospital for the last time, he brought his book with him, calling it his “most prized possession.” When he passed, I took his book to the funeral home, arranged a few quiet moments with the casket, and placed Summer of Fire within its satin folds. I went to the restroom, had a little cry, and when I came back, one of the ladies who worked there was beside Dad. “I’ve got this here . . .” She held out her hands . . . with my BOOK in them! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Did she see me put it in? Did she take it out of there? How dare she . . . “Whe . . . where did you get that?” I quavered.
“The bookstore,” she said with a smile. “Will you sign it for me?”
9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I read voraciously in all genres. As a retired professional geologist, I like looking at rocks and landscapes and hiking through them. I love adventure travel, snorkeling, swimming, and staying on the move between New Mexico and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?
I am in the planning and early writing stage of a modern day Jackson Hole dude ranching novel that will take on the issues of the twenty-first century . . . wolves, bison, the green movement, and how the last dude ranch in the National Park system manages to survive against those who would shut them down. My last dude ranch will be fictional – I have visited the real one – Triangle X, run by the Turner family since 1926, and inside Grand Teton National Park since 1950.
11. How can readers connect with you online?
I’m on Facebook, Linked In, and at www.readlindajacobs.com. I’m getting the word out on sites like RRT, but alas, I am far too verbose to be confined by Twitter.