Jen: Today we are happy to welcome Lauren Linwood to Romancing the Book. Lauren, will you share a short bio with us?
Lauren: Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.
Stay in contact with Lauren at:
Jen: Tell us about your newest release.
Lauren: The inspiration behind A Game of Chance goes back years ago to when I met my husband and had gone on one date with him. We really clicked, and I already knew in my heart that he was The One, as impossible as that sounds. Then on the night of our second date, I answered the door and saw this really cute guy standing there. I didn’t know if I had a new neighbor that had moved into our apartment building or if my roommate was expecting someone and hadn’t mentioned it to me.
Then he smiled . . . and I realized it was my date!
Why didn’t I recognize him? Well, his longer, parted down the middle and feathered to the sides hair was now short and parted on the side. His mustache was gone, so he was clean-shaven. It surprised me how these little things had altered his appearance so much.
Years later, that inspired parts of A Game of Chance. My hero Jed literally was separated at birth from a twin that he doesn’t know exists. Jed is arrested for murder because he is the spitting image of the picture on a wanted poster, which is actually his brother. He’s already on a mission to avenge his best friend’s death, so once he escapes custody, Jed shaves his beard, leaving just a mustache, and he alters the part of his hair. He winds up looking totally different than he had in the past.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Lauren: I usually carry my iPhone in my pocket wherever I go. Whether I’m out walking in the morning, pushing a shopping cart at Target, or waiting for a server to bring me a meal I’ve ordered, if I have a glimmer of an idea—I pull out my phone and type myself a note. It’s easier to do that than hunt for pen and paper, and I can read it much better than my terrible handwriting!
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write?
Lauren: I love to read thrillers and suspense novels. I like legal and medical thrillers and I especially enjoy suspense if history is woven into it, such as Steve Berry or Brad Meltzer do so incredibly well. If I could come up with the right plot, I believe I’d enjoy writing a novel in one of those genres.
Jen: Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Lauren: I think I’d be reluctant to tackle horror. Although I thoroughly enjoy Stephen King’s work, I could never produce something as scary and believable as The Stand or It.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Lauren: Most of my research revolved around learning about San Francisco in 1870. I use the name of actual gaming halls; refer to an historical cemetery; even describe Cliff House and Seal Rock when Jed takes Lily on a date there for luncheon. I also had to read up on poker and what a winning hand could hold. As a former history teacher, delving into research is fun for me. I try to weave in historical details to layer richness into the story—not preach to my readers and hit them over the head screaming, “Hey, hey—did you pick up on all this cool research I did and stuck into my book?”
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Lauren: As I wrote scenes for Jed, I always had in mind Robert Redford as he looked when he played the Sundance Kid. Lily would need someone who could be feisty, yet refined. I think Keira Knightley would do a fantastic job.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Lauren: I would most strongly identify with Maximilian Fisher’s butler, Harold, who is my favorite character in A Game of Chance. Harold is smart, has a great sense of humor, and he is an observer. He studies people and really pulls a lot of strings behind the scenes—just like I do as an author!
Jen: What’s next for you?
Lauren: A Change of Plans will be released during the summer of 2014. It’s the story of Maggie Rutherford, who writes dime novels under a man’s pen name. When she interviews cowboy Ben Morgan for her next book, she falls for him, only to learn he’s actually a gambler with a gunslinger hot on his trail. Will Ben run from his growing attraction to Maggie and an outlaw’s promise of death—or will he make a stand for his life—and love?