I'm excited to have Linda Kage here today, so please give her a warm welcome!
How did you start your writing career?
I started subbing stories to Harlequin/Silhouette when I was seventeen. I didn’t know I had to be at least eighteen to be published, but that didn’t matter because I didn’t sell anything. For ten years, I wrote and would occasionally send a manuscript off to a publisher every couple of years. Then I joined RWA, learned more about crafts and A LOT more about submitting stories. Within a year of joining, I sold my first young adult romance story to The Wild Rose Press in November of 2008. It released February 2010.
Who are your books published with?
I’m published with The Wild Rose Press, Champagne Books, Whispers Publishing, and Black Lyon Publishing under my contemporary romance name, Linda Kage (my first and middle name is Linda Kay, and my last name starts with a G, thus evolved the Linda Kage pseudonym). Under my erotic romance pen name, Miranda Stowe (I have no idea how I came up with that name), I’ve sold stories to Whispers Publishing, Cobblestone Press, and Liquid Silver Books.
Tell us about your current release.
Kiss it Better came out from Whispers Publishing in August. Seems like my 2011 Linda Kage releases are all tearjerkers. They deal more with emotional problems than having a bunch of action.
In Kiss it Better, the heroine, Sophia, realizes she has a bad habit of dating men with baggage, so she decides enough is enough. No more men, period. But then this guy at work—Reed—who had always seemed like the perfect man to her suddenly starts acting totally out of characters. She knows something is bugging him and though she’s always put him on this unapproachable to-good-to-be-true pedestal in her mind, she approaches him and once again finds herself sucked into trying to heal a man with too many problems to handle.
Tell us about your next release.
My next Linda Kage release, will have a little more action in it, thank goodness. The Right to Remain Mine will be out in February 2012 from Champagne Books. Instead of starring a tortured hero like Kiss it Better, this one actually has my first true alpha hero. He’s big, bold, brash and can be a total butthead (I think that’s all the b-words I can use to describe him. I was going to say beautiful, but he’s way more hunky hot than pretty!) The Right to Remain Mine a lot steamier and sexy than Kiss it Better.
It’s about a cop who always finds himself butting heads with the town’s lovely lady lawyer (sorry, I just can’t help the alliteration today!). They fight their brewing attraction with snide sarcasm until Willow (the heroine) is attacked by one of her clients. Raith (my hunky hero) ends up giving her self-defense training. But once the two get up, close, and sweaty, things really steam up!!
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
I’ve had so many people help me along the way, I don’t even know where to start…Okay, I’ll start at the beginning. School. In first grade, there was Mrs. Coltrane, who praised one of my poems. From that point on, I thought I could actually write. Then Mrs. Elrod, Mr. Cooper, Mrs. Tilley, Mr. Parsons, Dr. DeGrave are more teachers from junior high up into college who encouraged my fiction side. One of my sisters has read pretty much everything I’ve ever written. She helped me as much as possible before I joined a writers group. Then my first critique group consisted of some truly helpful friends like author Jackie Bannon and Claire Ashgrove. Tessa McDermid is a great mentor of mine as is Nan D. Arnold, Alfie Thompson, and Suzanne Arruda. And I should probably stop before I drag on too long. It already sounds like I’m making some kind of acceptance speech. To say the least, I’ve been blessed in the writing-help department.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I find I’m usually pretty skimpy on my setting details and trying to describe the scenery. But I still think the hardest part of writing is trying to come up with character reactions that aren’t totally out of their character and aren’t so stupid it’ll make reader’s mad while still trying to fit all that into an captivating plot that has plenty of conflicts to resolve.
Does your significant other read your stuff?
No, but he will occasionally let me read some of my steamy scenes to him. We won’t mention what happens after that.
Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?
Mostly I hear from people who have read my young adult story. They want a sequel, and honestly, I have no idea what I’d write in a sequel for that story.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An author, a librarian, or an artist. Two came true, but I still can’t draw worth a crap.
Morning Person? Or Night Person?
I think I’m a middle-of-the-day person. Feels like I’m tired and grouchy in equal parts in both the morning and the evening.
A PAST TO PLAGUE HIM...
When his sister is attacked, memories of his miserable childhood assault Reed Walker and interfere with his perfectly structured life. To add to the chaos, just when dating becomes the last thing on Reed’s mind, Sophia Eschell, the very woman he’s been dreaming about for the past three years, noses her way into his life.
A WOMAN TO HEAL HIM...
After hooking up with too many troubled men, Sophia is determined to find a normal, average guy sans baggage. She turns her attention to Reed, only to discover he has more issues than anyone. But if he can learn to open up to her, can she honestly reject him or will she kiss it all better?
As she slipped into the filing room behind him, her gaze traveled up the back of his suit jacket. The man had a nice form. She’d compliment his tailor if she knew who was responsible for the way his jacket molded to his wide shoulders and tapered waistline. She had to appreciate everything about his looks. And as she did, she frowned.
Reed had always been an attractive man, but lately she’d felt an extra something when she looked at him. A jump in the stomach, a sudden catch in her breath. It felt like hope, as if she actually might stand a chance with him after all.
It better not be sympathy. Sophia refused to once again become one of those women who needed to nurture a wounded man. Never, ever again.
Oh God, could it be the Florence Nightingale syndrome acting up? Was weakness and neediness in a man always going to attract her? Was Myrna right, was she nothing but a magnet for troubled guys?
She shook her head. No, no. She’d just noticed Reed more lately because she wanted to help him, and in noticing, she’d realized how attainable he was after all.
Determined to ignore the blossoming attraction and just be a friend, she strolled forward. He didn’t notice her until she sidled next to him. Sophia crossed her arms over the top of the filing cabinet and rested her chin on top of her hands.
He frowned and looked up. When he saw it was her, his eyebrows rose. Sophia loved that instant when his gaze first met hers, the initial spark in his eyes when she watched him focus and recognize her. It set her nerve endings on fire. But he always ruined it, clouding the look over with distant courtesy.
Sophia watched his eyes clear of passion. She ignored the ball of disappointment and grinned mischievously.
“Rumor has it that one Mr. Reed Walker did not show up for work again yesterday. He called in sick. Now according to calculations, that is three times in one month. It’s a record, you know. I read it in the gossip column.”
He watched her for a second, then his eyes fell, and his attention dropped back to studying the files. “And here I thought all gossip was a lie.”
She examined the top of his head. It was obvious he didn’t have professional work done to it, except a quick trim, but his black locks always seemed to fall stylishly and frame his face perfectly.
“Of course,” she continued, “it’s also being said the reason you took off was because you had an interview with the Delta Advertising firm.”
Reed smiled. “Did I? Think they’ll hire me?”
Sophia’s eyes followed the sure, steady movement of his fingers as he thumbed through more folder tabs. “I definitely wouldn’t use Kendrick as a reference if you do try to go elsewhere.”
“Hmm,” was his only reply.
He paused, pulled up a file and flipped it open. Sophia watched him shuffle through a few pages. It couldn’t be work that bugged him. He didn’t seem concerned about his job at all. And there was no way he’d applied somewhere else. She was so busy thinking up more guesses to his problem that what she said next shocked even her.
“Do you want to have lunch with me?”
His head jerked up, the dossier in his hand instantly forgotten. She had to hold in a smug smile. Well that got his attention.
Then she sucked in her breath. What was she doing? She’d just asked the senior accountant to lunch.
“What?” His voice sounded winded.
Quickly, she tried to rationalize her rash behavior. If he asked why, she’d say she wanted more time to guess his problem. And that was the truth. Mostly. Maybe if she got him outside the office and into a less business-oriented area, he’d be more willing to let her help him as a friend.
She lifted her eyebrows. Keep it cool, Sophia. “Have you eaten already?”
He checked his watch as if that held the answer. “No.”
“Do you like the menu at Houston’s?”
He frowned. “I guess.”
She had to smile. He was so cute when he was flabbergasted. “So?”
He was going to say no. She knew the answer would be no. His mouth opened and his tongue touched the roof of his mouth in the form of a no. In the panic of being shot down, she took her hands off the file cabinet and prepared to retreat, when he stopped forming the dreaded no word and instead answered, “Okay.”