Good morning, Linda. Aren't you excited about our Christmas releases? A Time to Give is a perfect Christmas story. How did you come up with the plot?
You know, Celia, I sometimes feel the stories behind our books are as interesting as the books themselves. We've discussed how our characters take on life and develop minds of their own.
Oh, yes. More than once one of my characters starting acting a little bit too big for her britches and became the star of the show.
Well, as you wrote A Christmas Wedding, I remember you saying that you didn't know where the story was going.
That's right, I didn't know how I was going to make Kailey Lovelace connect with Alex Dunn. At the time, they were medium-height people.
But I guess Kailey knew all along and you just had to give her a chance to tell it. I started the book last night and the plot has already drawn me in. I had to force myself to leave it for another time as it was past the witching hour and I needed sleep. But I won't be able to get it out of my mind until I read that last word. Your stories always have that effect on me.
Thank you so much. You don't know how much that means to me.
When I read a couple of your short, short stories recently I asked you if one was an offshoot of the other. I had seen a similarity in the characters and plot that reminded me of an incident in my own work. And I promised to share that with you.
I can't wait to hear that tale. Since we have time on our hands, I'd love to hear about it right now.
It began when I wrote A Time To Give. We were living in Alabama at the time and driving a two-lane highway from Kentucky to our new home. On our route was a small roadside restaurant where we always stopped for coffee. Out of that stop, I created a setting, a waitress named Ellen, and the season of winter, which became Christmas. Among my characters that stopped at the restaurant were a young mother and her two children on their way North from Florida. Ellen invited them to stay over but they drove on in a snowstorm.
So, this is the newly released story, right, Linda? A Time to Give?
Yes, and fast forward a few years when I wrote a novel set at a Kentucky Welcome Center with a tour guide named Kala. Again, it was nearly Christmas and the Interstate closed down due to a snowstorm. Tourists were caught with no place to go and among them were a young mother and her two children. When they walked into the Welcome Center in my story, I said to myself, "I know these people." But the problem was, I couldn't remember the names I'd given them, and my manuscript was in my condo in Florida, not available on my computer. I thought I'd named the little boy David but try as I might, I couldn't remember the name I'd given his sister. So I called her Heather and the mother Brenda.
Later I learned that in the short story the little girl was Teresa and her mother Diane. And the irony of this is that both the book and short story are now available on the Internet and I still haven't changed the names!
How funny! This could only happen to Linda Swift.
This second story, Let Nothing You Dismay, was published by Kensington and with a setting in my hometown. It got a lot of local publicity, and in the midst of it, I got a call from a local magazine editor saying she was using a short story I'd submitted to her. Yep, you guessed it. She was publishing A Time To Give in her December issue.
So both stories were available for the townspeople to read, with the same three characters in both. And I was wishing I'd been able to keep the names the same so no one would think I'd plagiarized my own work and tried to cover it up.
I did have a chance to explain this when I did a program in the library for a local TV station. I made a joke of how long it took the woman to drive from North Alabama to West Kentucky, which was about three years instead of the normal five hours.
But this taught me a lesson. Now I try to keep characters from insinuating themselves into someone else's story unless it's a series.
Now, you really have me laughing. Like your To Hull and Back tales, your humor and wit are quite engaging.
You've done a four part series of one set of characters, haven't you? I've read three of them now and I'm waiting for the fourth. And will you do anything more with Kailey and Alex?
A four-part series? Oh, yes, you mean my "Texas books," for lack of a better name. Three have been released, with the fourth coming in April. Each novel led to another, with the same family, the Camerons of Texas, woven through. I can't seem to stop doing that! But the main characters always clamor in my head until I write their stories.
My newest, a Christmas novelette titled, A Christmas Wedding, features a six-foot-tall heroine who finds her hero in an even taller man. Why did I use a tall heroine? I'm not the least bit tall! Once I knew a statuesque woman who had lost her husband some years before. She was still young, a nurse, and one summer she joined a medical mission team to Guatemala. The doctor in charge was very tall. They are now married.
And guess what? Kailey Lovelace in A Christmas Wedding is a nurse and marries Alex Dunn, an ex-soldier who was an Army medic. They plan….oh, I can't tell. You'll have to read the story!
Linda and I invite you to go to Willow Moon Publishing and check out our stories:
A Time to Give-Linda Swift
A Christmas Wedding-Celia Yeary
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Texas Promise-eBook-Desert Breeze Publishing
Making the Turn-print & eBook-Wings ePress