Good morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. I’m pleased to introduce you to author Linda Brooks Davis this morning. Linda is talking about the writing process. Let’s begin!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Linda: I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother with 73 years (and pounds) under my belt. I was born in 1946 on a farm in Raymondville, a small community in the southernmost tip of Texas—the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Living in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s included such drastic changes in the world at large that you could say while I will growing up, the country moved from the Cleaver household in “Leave it to Beaver” to the Bunker home in “Archie Bunker”—and beyond.
I earned a Bachelor Degree in speech pathologist from Abilene Christian University in 1968 and many years later, a Master Degree from Houston Baptist. I was an employed-outside-the-home military wife and mother in the ‘70s and ‘80s and retired in 2008 after working with individuals with special needs forty years.
My husband Al and I have a son and daughter who are both veterinarians practicing together in San Antonio, Texas. We adore our six grandchildren.
Although i enjoyed writing all my life, I began writing in earnest when I retired in 2008. It didn’t take long to realize I had a lot to learn, so I set out to do just that, filling my study with books on writing and well-written novels, attending workshops, retreats, and conferences, and submitting samples for critique.
My efforts were reward in 2014 when my novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, won the Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel Contest. It was published in 2015 and won the 2016 ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel.
I have subsequently released Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series: The Mending of Lillian Cathleen and Book 3: The Awakening of Miss Adelaide. I also have A Rock Creek Christmas Novella Collection, which includes novellas covering the space of time between Books 1 and 2.
At present, I’m working on a third Christmas novella to include in the Collection and am brainstorming about two new series, which will be sent in the Rio Grande Valley of Teas from the ‘20s to the ‘70s
What do you love most about the writing process?
Linda: By far: the research. I have to curtail my time researching so that I have time and energy for writing!
The writing of scenes is my next favorite part of the writing process. I do not enjoy the planning or outlining. In fact, I’ve begun to plot by the seat of my pants more now than I ever dreamed I would. I refer to a loose (and I mean VERY loose) outline with only 4 or 5 key “landmarks” and then let the creative juices flow to fill in the scenes between the plot points.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Linda: I don’t do “unfinished” well. Can’t seem to leave it alone. So I’d say I have unpublished, unfinished ideas still rolling around in my head.
If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?
Linda: Write on a fixed daily schedule. Get the story down, not worrying about making it perfect at first. Submit to contests; the feedback is invaluable. (Even submit to freelance editors if you can afford it. They are a wonderful source of knowledge and expertise.) Get into a writing/critique group.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Linda: (1) Separating oneself from other writers. (2) Allowing yourself to have a thin skin; never allow yourself to be offended; it isn’t worth it. (3) Fear of rejection.
What does literary success look like to you?
Linda: I began my writing journey shortly after my first grandchild arrived in triplicate form—two boys and a girl. They struggled for life in the NiCU 3 months, and I sat beside them. During that time of duress, I vowed to the Lord I would devote the remainder of my life to them and that I’d leave them a legacy of faith in writing. When my daughter said she was naming her daughter Ella after my grandmother, I knew I would write a novel with a heroine named Ella
That said, honestly, just fulfilling my vow is literary success to me. The cream on top of the cake is hearing readers tell about how they were emotionally moved and encouraged or their faith inspired by my stories Hearing such feedback is affirmation of my original vow and encourages me to continue.
Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?
Linda: In 1924, my ancestors migrated as a clan from Oklahoma to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas where they worked in back-breaking cotton fields and clearing thick, brutal brush from wild lands to prepare it for farming. Those folks left mighty big footprints to follow, and I’d like to write a series dealing with some of the struggles they endured in their time and place.
Great advice and thanks for stopping by today!
The Awakening of Miss Adelaide
Orphaned as an infant, Oklahoma heiress Adelaide Fitzgerald has enjoyed every advantage. She possesses a unique gift for music and has excelled on the opera stage in Italy. She’s a philanthropist who is adored from America to Europe.
But Miss Adelaide is about to awaken in a 1918 nightmare.
When the Great War—and the Great Influenza—knock, Adelaide finds her uninvited guests more than unwelcome. They threaten her life and alter her identity and purpose.
When her Italian music instructor and mentor dies, he leaves her a sprawling ranch and villa in the Maremma district of Tuscany. This location proves ideal for her covert operations during the Great War.
Having risked her life and security for her country, Adelaide welcomes the end of global hostilities in 1918. And she anticipates a continuation of her dream life—a bright return to the opera stage and a flourishing future as a land and cattle baroness.
But before the ink on the armistice dries, Adelaide’s world begins to crumble. The influenza pandemic creeps into the Tuscan hills and over the villa’s walls, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Adelaide contracts the dreaded virus and awakens as if fin a nightmare with her rare operatic voice ruined and with fresh questions about her life and loves, her faith and future, and God’s plan and purpose.
In The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, war and peace, laughter and heartache, love and loss come together to ignite a fresh fire that reveals one woman’s hidden needs and potentials.
What will gaining a fresh understanding of herself require of the Angel of the Opera?
Linda Brooks Davis was born and reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small Rio Grande Valley community in the southernmost tip of Texas. Linda earned a Bachelor Degree in Speech Pathology from Abilene Christian University and a Master Degree from Houston Baptist University. She retired in 2008 after forty years as a special educator and administrator. Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren, three of whom are triplets. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.
Linda’s debut novel, best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland (Book 1 in The Women of Rock Creek series), is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award. It subsequently won the ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma and released in December 2016. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910. It released in 2017 as a prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, best-selling The Mending of Lillian Cathleen (Book 2 in the series), which is set in 1914 and released in October 2018. Book 3 in the series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, released in July 2019.
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