Lauren Linwood is the author of many fine historical stories. I’ve been lucky to read and enjoy a few of her western historicals. Today Lauren is here to talk about her newest release, “Word of Honor”, a medieval historical. This is first in a new series for Lauren.
Welcome, Lauren. I have read a few of your historical western books, but “Word of Honor” is different. What can you tell us about this story?
LL: “Word of Honor” is the first book in the Knights of Valor, a medieval historical series. Merryn Mantel and Geoffrey de Montfort have loved each other since childhood. Once betrothed, Geoffrey leaves for the wars in France. Upon his return, they marry and spend one blissful night consummating their love.
But her new husband vanishes without a trace the next day. Merryn grieves for years—and then Geoffrey returns to her—changed for the boy and man she knew and worshipped. This stranger refuses to reveal where he has been and why he stayed away for so long.
Will her husband’s silence create a rift too large to heal, or can Merryn and Geoffrey recapture the love they once shared?
RJS: I love it already. It sounds great. Why did you write it?
LL: I’ve written 9 standalone books, but as a reader? I’m hooked on series! I decided it was about time I dipped my toe into the pool and started up my own series. The great thing is that I don’t have to say goodbye to characters that I’ve grown close to as I’ve written their love story. This book features Geoffrey & Merryn, and they will appear in the next 5 books that follow. Sometimes they have a small role to play. Sometimes they are a larger part of the plot. Through it all, readers will see their love grow over the years, as well as be introduced to new heroes and heroines and see their stories unfold.
RJS: Yes, I like a good series too. So how long did this one take?
LL: This book took about 8 weeks to write, much more quickly than what I’ve done in the past. Everything about it felt right from the moment I started it.
RJS: That is great. Eight weeks isn’t bad. Any special inspiration that made it move along?
LL: I watched a documentary about POWs from the Vietnam War who were gone many years and lived in deplorable conditions. It made me ponder on how hard it would be for these soldiers to return home and assimilate into daily life again. At the same time, I thought of how their families suffered in their absence and how hard it would be once united for them to become a true family again. Separation—and trust—are at the heart of “Word of Honor“.
RJS: Very nice. Are you working on anything else right now?
LL: I’m deep into this series! “Marked by Honor” will be out July 5th and is the story of Geoffrey’s best friend and cousin, Raynor Le Roux. “Code of Honor” releases October 5th and tells of the romance of Geoffrey’s niece, Elysande Le Cler. I have 3 more books that will round the series out, and they will be out in 2017. I’m hard at work on #4 right now.
RJS: Congratulations on such a successful series. What is your biggest surprise about being a published author?
LL: I’m still amazed that the stories in my head are now being read by people. When I receive an email from a stranger or have a friend who’s read one of my romances tell me how much they loved my characters, I float till the next day!
RJS: Do you write in other genres? I know you are very good at western historicals.
LL: I’ve stuck with romance, but I write in 3 sub-genres. I’ve published 4 medieval historicals, 4 western historicals, and 2 romantic suspense novels. “Illusions of Death” came out last month and featured the Rainbow Serial Killer, a truly evil murderer, but I created a very smart couple to track him down—and conveniently, they fell in love with each other while doing so! I enjoy throwing in a romantic suspense every now and then after I’ve written several historicals in a row.
RJS: I suspect it helps to mentally switch gears once in a while. I tend to do that too. So how about some icebreaking questions, so we can get to know you beyond the books?
R:The most recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read?
L: I just finished reading “Cometh the Hour“, the 6th book in The Clifton Chronicles. This series wraps up in November with the final novel. If you haven’t been reading it, start right now! If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, I think you would really enjoy it.
R: Your favorite town/ city in the world? Why?
L: I love London. There’s something about the feel of the city—its beauty, the architecture, the parks, the museums—that makes it feel like home to me.
R: How did you meet your spouse/ significant other?
L: I met my hubby when I was teaching. He was subbing a couple of days a week to pick up extra money since he worked a lot of nights and weekends. We had an instant connection. Oh, gosh—I sound like a contestant on The Bachelor!
R: What is your favorite past time?
L: I love to walk. I walk every morning—not just for exercise (which is a great by-product because it makes me feel terrific) but to plot and pray!
R: If you had to give up one of your five senses, what would it be?
L: I’ll go with smell since I don’t have much of a sense of smell any way. I had my nose cauterized several times as a child, and I don’t have a strong sense of smell as it is.
R: How do you like to spend a rainy day?
L: If I had no errands to run or laundry to do, I’d curl up with a good book for part of the day. Make some chicken tortilla soup. Write as much as I could. Binge on Fixer Upper.
R: Do you play any musical instruments?
L: I used to play piano when I was growing up, but I haven’t touched it in years because of developing carpel tunnel.
R: What one item would you grab if the house was on fire?
L: That’s easy—my computer! I think every writer would grab this. It’s my most valuable tool.
R: Growing up, what did you want to be?
L: I wanted to be a teacher by day and writer by night when I was young, then I decided I’d follow a path of journalism. I actually did become a teacher, and now I’m an author. Dreams do come true.
R: Yes they certainly do. We authors are living proof. Ok, speed round:
Favorite food to cook?
I do some mean shrimp enchiladas and chicken tortilla soup that always hits the spot for family and friends.
Red—but purple’s a close second.
Favorite book? To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite place to visit?
England. Italy. France. Spain. Heck—let’s just plan a trip and go to all 4!
Fall. I love the changing of the leaves and the cool, crisp temps.
Strangest thing you ever ate?
Squid—it made me think I was chewing on bland rubber bands.
What dessert do you order most often?
Pretty much anything with chocolate in it, on it, or around it gets my vote.
Favorite vacation spot?
I’ve been to Kaanapali Beach on Maui 3 times in my life. It’s a slice of heaven on earth.
What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie)
I would need a huge notebook and a pen so I could keep writing during my time there. To that, I would add a sturdy pair of walking shoes. I’d be able to do a lot of walking, and I wouldn’t want to burn my feet in the hot sand!
One quote you love, that keeps you going in life?
I’ve come back to this quote over and over in my life, and it especially applies to every book I’ve written. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” It’s taking that first step (or leap of faith) and then continuing down the path that’s important.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I do think it can happen. I haven’t experienced it personally, but I know people who have felt this, and (of course) I’ve written about it, too.
Great, Lauren, thank you for sharing all of your thoughts and bits of you. How about sharing an excerpt from “Word of Honor: Book 1 of the Knights of Valor”?
As Merryn started to nudge Destiny on, she heard hoof beats approaching in the distance. A rider topped the hill and stopped. She watched as his head turned to drink in the view.
Her heart sang as she kicked her heels. Destiny took off like the wind, bringing her closer to her beloved.
She heard his call and watched him gallop toward her. Her heart beat fast. Would he be the same? Would he still care for her? She’d loved him since she was a child. She knew that love had been returned before he left for the wars in France. The one, chaste kiss they’d shared had been her sweetest memory these past five years.
They reached one another. He leapt from his saddle as she dropped her reins. Before she could dismount, he grabbed her waist and pulled her from her horse.
His mouth crashed down on hers. In hunger. In longing. In need. Merryn gave up to his kisses willingly. She wrapped her arms about his neck. He parted her lips and plunged in, his tongue mating with hers, his mouth dominating her, his arms tightening about her.
She felt her knees weakening as he left her breathless. Suddenly, he swept her off her feet. His mouth never left hers as he twirled round and round. She grew dizzy.
So must he, for he slowed and set her back on her feet. He broke the kiss and gazed at her so lovingly, she knew nothing had changed.
Except it had.
Her entire body now vibrated, humming with tension. His kisses had awakened a sleeping giant within her. She’d watched animals mating in the woods. She was ready to do the same. Desire for him flooded her.
“I thought you’d never come home,” she said breathlessly.
“I thought I’d never be home.” He laughed. “But here I am.” He pulled her close. Her breasts pressed against his broad chest. They seemed so sensitive beneath her smock and kirtle.
They stayed in an embrace some minutes, happy in their very nearness. Finally, Geoffrey pulled away.
“I am home for good, my love.”
Lauren Linwood’s historical romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire for one another grows into the treasured gift of love. Her romantic suspense novels features strong heroes and heroines who unite to defeat a clever antagonist and discover a deep, abiding love during their journey.
A native Texan, Lauren is an avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan who manages stress by alternating yoga with long walks. She plans to start a support group for Fixer Upper addicts—as soon as she finishes her next piece of dark chocolate.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Linwood/e/B00CSSG8BC
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7091840.Lauren_Linwood
Thank you, Lauren, for visiting today. Come back anytime. I wish you best success with your Knights of Valor series.