Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A ROCK CREEK CHRISTMAS COLLECTION - Linda Brooks Davis - One Free Book

Welcome back, Linda. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I’m currently finishing up the second novel in a series, this one set in 1914. This year’s novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is a prequel to it. I plan at least three novels and three novellas in this series before I move on to other stories waiting on the sidelines. I’ve heard many family tales I want to use as launching pads.

Tell us a little about your family.
I was reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small Rio Grande Valley community in the southernmost tip of Texas. We were the rural version of the 1950s TV shows, Father Knows Best or Ozzie and Harriet. I attended Abilene Christian University and graduated as a speech pathologist in 1968. Fast forward twenty-six years—past marriage, kids, military family life, and a divorce—to Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and one mighty fine man who reached out and welcomed me. And claimed my heart. Al and I have been married 23 years now, and I can’t imagine how I ever lived without him.

My two grown children—son Lane and daughter Lynn Lee—are veterinarians practicing together in San Antonio. Between them, I have six beautiful grandchildren, three of whom are triplets. Al and I simply adore them all.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I write historical fiction, so historical isn’t usually my “go-to” genre for reading for pleasure. Instead, I reach for legal suspense and crime novels. I love Robert Whitlow, Randy Singer, and Steven James. But Lena Nelson Dooley’s historicals go perfectly with a cup o’ tea.

Thank you, Linda. What are you working on right now?
My brain’s aswirl with ideas for the completion of novel #2 and diving into #3. The heroines of these stories are secondary characters from Novel #1—The Calling of Ella McFarland. All three novels are threaded with the hard realities of life in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood and the following two decades. They highlight some of the consequences of women’s exclusion from their own governance by being denied the vote. And they put on display the strength of certain women whose names might not appear in history books or on historical websites documenting women’s battle for the vote, but who contributed to the Suffrage Movement all the same. The ramifications of women taking their places at the ballot box can’t be overstated.

What outside interests do you have?
Without a doubt, family claims the lion’s share of my outside interests. But I have always loved to read more than anything in the world. I can’t imagine not reading. Dante’s Inferno would definitely include empty bookshelves for me.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Thus far, the settings for my novels and novellas have been based in family history. As a child, I was intrigued by my mother’s and grandmother’s stories about life in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood and in its first two decades, as well as in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the 1920s, the Great Depression, and beyond. I’m a native Texan with experiences of my own in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s that I believe readers will be drawn to.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend an evening with two women—Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s mother—and Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, his stepmother who reared him from age 9 to adulthood. Those two women together molded the greatest figure in American history. Oh, the stories they could tell.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I had no idea how intricate and complicated and exhausting and emotionally draining and consuming of thoughts and energy the process of writing a novel can be. I guess I’d compare it to having a baby. While you’re embroiled in the process, you wonder what came over you to put yourself in this position. But when it’s complete, the memories of pain and agony disappear, and all you see is that beautiful baby book.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Writing hurts. But it also lifts the spirit in similar ways to other creative activities. Like art. Sometimes I think of Michelangelo on the scaffolding in the Sistine Chapel and remind myself even he groaned—surely—but look what he produced and how many spirits have soared as a result. Which always brings me back to THE Creator and how my pitiful efforts pale in comparison to His. And how dependent I am on Him for my 71-year-old body and brain to continue to function. The Lord is teaching me to meet Him in the moment as I write.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Determine why you want to write. If the answer lies somewhere between monetary reward and accolades, you’d best think again.
Believe it when you’re told you must be patient. Quality writing is work, and it takes time. Publishing is a s-l-o-w business.
Critiques are painful, so prepare yourself. Chuck your pride. Other eyes see what you don’t. Other brains process what you miss. And other tastes … Well, other tastes are just plain different. Return to (1) and have another go.

Tell us about the featured book.
I often heard from readers of The Calling of Ella McFarland that they wanted to know more about Ella and Andrew and their love. And don’t we all just love Christmas and all that goes with it? A Christmas to Remember became that Christmas novella that picks up with Ella and Andrew 3 years into their marriage. I figured this year another novella as a prequel for the next novel sounded like a good idea, and A Christmas Measure of Love was the result.

I combined the two in one title—A Rock Creek Christmas Collection—to cover the years between Ella’s emergence in 1905 and the closing of her story in 1906 to Lily’s stepping onto the stage as a main character in 1914.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Since this is a pairing of two novellas, how about I give you the first couple paragraphs of both? 

A Christmas to Remember:
4 days until Christmas
The line of delicate stitches blurred to a crimson smudge.

Ella Evans adjusted her spectacles and squinted.
The oil lamp cast naught but a feeble glow in a room pitched in black. Sunlight would course through the window come morning, but Ella could delay no longer. Christmas was coming.
Flipping open a cloisonnรฉ magnifying glass, Ella peered at her handwork. The outline of an embroidered E emerged, neat and straight. 
Aye. She would complete her husband Andrew’s monogram tonight.

A Christmas Measure of Love:
August 1910
Other girls measure their heights, waistlines, and bosoms. I measure my scars. And wonder why my pa never loved me.
Eighteen years old today, I’m perched alone on a parlor settee reserved for the birthday girl. Adelaide Fitzgerald, my benefactor, has invited Glover County, Oklahoma’s socially elite to celebrate at Broadview, her grand estate on the banks of Rock Creek.
Trouble is, when these precisely coiffed young women were girls romping at garden parties, I was toiling in a cotton field across the way. 
How can readers find you on the Internet?

To purchase The Calling of Ella McFarland: http://amzn.to/2ixn4pe
To purchase A Christmas to Remember: http://amzn.to/2yxAk8h
To purchase A Christmas Measure of Love: http://amzn.to/2j3vwjK
To purchase A Rock Creek Christmas Collection: http://amzn.to/2zRedXt

Thank you so much, Lena. What a blessing to be allotted two of your slots before Christmas!
Have a blessed and joyous Christmas and 2018.

Thank you, Linda, for sharing the stories from your family in such a wonderful way. I have loved reading them, and I know my blog readers will, too.

Readers, here are links to the book.
A Rock Creek Christmas Collection: A Christmas to Remember & A Christmas Measure of Love  - Paperback
A Rock Creek Christmas Collection: A Christmas to Remember & A Christmas Measure of Love - Kindle

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Melanie Backus said...

Linda's book sounds wonderful! Keeping my fingers crossed! Melanie Backus, TX

Dianna said...

I love the setting of this story -- would enjoy reading it.
Dianna (TN)

Cherie J said...

I love Christmas books and this one sounds so good! Thanks for the giveaway!

Cherie, FL

Deanne Patterson said...

This one sounds like such a fun book. I love Christmas stories.

Deanne in PA

Danielle H. said...

I enjoy heartwarming stories set at Christmas time, my favorite time of the year. I love the you find God while you write and thank you for the writing advice too. I'm looking forward to reading your work. dhammelef(at)yahoo(dot)com from Michigan.

Kay Garrett said...

Thank you for the interview with Linda Brooks Davis and learning more about A ROCK CREEK CHRISTMAS COLLECTION as well as being able to read the first couple paragraphs of both stories. Definitely sounds like a book I'd love to read. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
Kay from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Vivian Furbay said...

A Rock Creek Christmas Collection sounds like some very interesting stories after reading what they are about and the excerpt from one story. Vivian Furbay of CO

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you for joining the chat, Melanie. You have blessed me.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Great to “meet” you here, Dianna. I hope you get to read this 2-novella collection and The Calling of Ella McFarland, the story that started it all. ๐Ÿ˜Š God be with you and yours. ❤️

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Aren’t Christmas stories just yummy? I hope you’ll get to read the novel before these two novellas—The Calling of Ella McFarland—too. Ella’s a character—literally and figuratively. ๐Ÿ˜Š God be with you and yours!❤️

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Deanna. So good to “meet” you. I do hope you’ll get to read these novellas. But you’ll enjoy them even more if you’ve read The Calling of Ella McFarland first. God be with you and all those you love. ❤️๐ŸŽ„

Linda Brooks Davis said...

My, how you’ve blessed me, Danielle. Thank you. I hope you can read The Calling of Ella McFarland and these two novellas that follow. ๐Ÿ˜Š God be with you and yours. ๐ŸŽ„

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Kay! I have a first cousin who owns an insurance company in Mountain View. Beautiful country. Some of my deepest family roots extend into the Harrison area. Your comments have blessed me so. Thank you. God be with you and yours. ๐ŸŽ„

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Vivian. It’s a delight to “meet” you here on Lena’s wonderful blog. Your comments have blessed my heart. ❤️ God bless you and yours. ๐ŸŽ„

Jorie said...

Hallo, Hallo Ms Dooley & Ms Davis,

I, too, love Christmas stories - I also like how series are extending into novellas, but how blessed these went into print! :) Sometimes the hard bit is awaiting a novella to go into print for those of us who can't read digitally. I've also read Christmas stories within a series to gauge how a series would be to read - as there is something quite magical about how stories set at Christmas give you a hearty insight into the rhythm of characters' lives and the manners in which the writer creates their world! I did this with Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse series -- I became so addicted to her style of writing Cosies it was not even funny!

Mum and I have oft talked about using our own ancestral heritage as a backdrop towards writing fiction. We love researching our lineage - it's the stories you don't oft get to learn because of what is left behind to find. We were fortunate this year to meet our long-lost 2nd Cousins from Sweden!! It took 15 years to reunite this side of the family and when we met-up - the beauty was how she had one half of the story and we had the other half - for the first time, both of us finally knew how the stories began and ended! Talk about having goosebumps! We all felt like family quite instantly and yet, we've never met until now. All because of ancestral research and the advances in database research online which is making it easier to unite families together. I wanted to share this as I thought Ms Davis might enjoy reading about as I saw she was watching the comments.

Goodness, yes! Novels do tax you emotionally - we get so invested in what we're writing about it's hard to separate ourselves from 'their journey' and remember we we were with our own. I think that is the mark of a good writer though - someone who can become emotionally connected to their work.

YES! I try to impart this takeaway to other writers myself - if your looking solely at the money and the fame, you've entered the wrong profession! How nice to see someone else talking about the heart of why we write and the reasons why focusing on the craft and our gift to tell stories is what should guide us. I also feel a measure of success should be in finding the readers who want to read your stories - the ones who champion your efforts and love the characters' your inviting them to get to know personally.

Definitely agree on having more than your own 'eye' on your work -- I happily reach out to a copy editor / line reader because I know I'm 'too close' to see the errors I might accidentally miss. Amen!

Christmas blessings to you both,
Jorie in FL

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Jorie, I can’t even begin to tell you how you’ve blessed me today! Thank you so very much for reaching out, sharing your heart, and telling your own family roots story. I got goosebumps reading it. I have also found relatives via online research and DNA. I treasure each find. Have a blessed and joyous Christmas, Jorie. God be with you and yours. Love!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

This book sounds wonderful!
Happy New Year!!
Connie from KY

Shelia64 said...

love a good Christmas story! Shelia from MS