Before the Season Ends is Linore Rose Burkard's debut novel. Welcome, Linore. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Actually, that’s a difficult question to answer. I think all writers must use themselves as a reference in creating any character, (if they want to make him or her in any depth) but I don’t really know how much of myself goes into each one. Obviously I can relate more to my heroines than other characters, but usually I want to create them smarter or “ahead” of me in some ways.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I have probably done more than my fair share of quirky things, to be honest! However, one was when my husband Mike and I were out driving on eastern Long Island with another couple, good friends of ours. At one point, Mike had to stop and he ended up having to check the oil with a dip-stick. As he climbed back into the driver’s seat, he complained that he’d got some oil on his bare arm. Due to some wayward maternal instinct, I instantly blurted, “Don’t lick your arm!”
To peals of laughter from the back seat, my husband thanked me profusely for reminding him not to lick his arm since of course he was in a terrible habit of doing so. [not!]
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Abysmally late. Despite the fact that in High School a creative writing teacher got very excited over an essay I wrote; and got me on the school paper; and that I had started writing at age nine, (doing my own version of My Side of the Mountain, chapter breaks and all); or continued writing poetry and little stories in my teens; and majored in English literature and did really well in college—I just didn’t get that I was really a writer!! I wrote letters to the editor, columns for church newsletters, and then for homeschooling co-ops. I had fun writing, and I couldn’t seem to stop doing it. But it wasn’t until I completed my first novel that I felt, wow, maybe I’m meant to do this. To me, it had always been a luxury that I refused to give up completely, despite life’s demands. Now I recognize it as a God-given calling.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy really good writing. I don’t mean to be a book snob or anything, but I like the classics best, (English Literature major!), poetry (classic poetry) followed by Frost, Langston Hughes, (strange bed-fellows, I know) and a very few modern poets, like Bly. I also read good devotionals, Christian non-fiction, and other non-fiction books. I don’t have time to read fiction, though I do read for other authors, and I’m always trying to cram in another book. In the past, (when I had time to read) I really enjoyed Georgette Heyer, and of course Jane Austen, and Dickens. I mostly read today for research or other informational purposes.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I’ve finished the sequel to Before the Season Ends, which will be out in April (The House in Grosvenor Square); and I have about four other regencies in various stages of completion. I wrote a screenplay once, (which I hope to resurrect someday) and I have one finished contemporary that I wrote last year (07) which is sitting in my files. I’ve written a few short stories, one set in the Restoration (time of Charles II) which I started expanding into a full book and want to finish one day.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
By falling at the feet of God as often as possible! When I’m starting to feel overwhelmed in an unhappy way (rather than an excited way), I know it’s been too long since I’ve prayed at length. I really feel that I get “centered” through prayer—because it makes me focus on Jesus, not me. Nothing is too much for him.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes they just come to me (bliss). Other times, I have to scrounge around a little. I’ll pick a book off a shelf and look at the bibliography and take a first name from someplace, and a last name from someplace else. Other times, I’ll ask my family for an idea. I’ve probably done just about all the tricks. Then, I have to try out the name and see if it “fits” the character. If it does, I go with it. Otherwise, I keep my ears and eyes open until I come upon a first or last name that just jumps out at me as the right one for that character. I always combine from different sources–I never use anyone’s full name. Movie credits are great places to see lots of names. Baby name books are great, I just keep forgetting to keep one around.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Being the mother of my five miraculously wonderful children, and the wife of my husband.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh, dear! Let’s see…I suppose a bird. A song bird. I love to sing, and I am endlessly curious about stuff like, what’s beyond that next bend in the road? so I’d always want to be flying all over the place. I also just love to observe, and who can observe so well as a bird, if they had a mind for it?
What is your favorite food?
I never have a single favorite anything it seems. But up there on my list would be authentic Italian food. In New York, there’s this Italian restaurant my husband and I used to go to and I always ordered their Eggplant Rollatini. Loved it.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I think my greatest roadblock was believing that I could write books. I always had to work in small increments of time (mostly) and I doubted if I had the focus to finish a novel. I overcame it by reaching the page where I got to write, “THE END.” It was great.
It's funny. I've only written The End on one manuscript--my first book. I like to think of my novels as the beginning of a long full life for the characters. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
To write the book of their heart, the one they have always wanted to, or seen a need for. And to hobnob with other authors as much as possible, in places like ACFW.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Before the Season Ends is like a mini-vacation to Regency, England. Even if you’ve never read a regency, if you enjoy Jane Austen books or movies, you’ll enjoy this. I believe in infusing my stories with lovable heroines and dashing heros and above all, a place where faith plays a part, and where endings are always happy. I wouldn’t consider my book an authentic regency if it didn’t include humor, romance and adventure. What differentiates my book from most regencies, however, is the additional element of faith.
And I really want that element of faith in the books I read. How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can sign up for my monthly, illustrated newsletter at my website:
http://www.linoreroseburkard.com/ I have a few blogs but I’m re-considering whether to keep them up, so I won’t give those URLs.
Thanks so much, Lena, for letting me and my book visit today. I hope I will soon be sending a copy of my book to one of your readers.
And thank you Linore for visiting with us. We enjoyed it.
Readers you can order Before the Season Ends here:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. I have only heard from one of the winners from last week.