Today I am pleased to introduce author Linda Bradley. Her second women’s fiction novel, “Maggie’s Fork in the Road” of the ‘Montana Bound’ series is releasing July 6th with Soul Mate Publishing. This is the follow up to her critically acclaimed multi-award finalist, “Maggie’s Way“. Welcome, Linda. Can you share what this book is about?
Maggie Abernathy learns that pesky neighbors, John and Chloe McIntyre are moving to Montana. The only problem is…she can’t fathom living without them now that they’ve stolen her heart. While trying to digest the news and accept John’s decision to leave Michigan, Maggie ventures to Chicago with Chloe to see Chloe’s Hollywood mother in a photo shoot, where the three kindle a quirky bond making it even harder to say goodbye. With the support of Maggie’s meddling mother, best friend Judy, and a surprise visit from Montana rancher, Winston Ludlow McIntyre, Maggie begins to wonder which fork in the road leads home.
Ryan: Um, very full of twists and supporting characters. Why did you write it?
When I wrote, Maggie’s Way, Montana Bound Series: Book 1, I intended it to be a single title, but when it was time to type “The End” something inside me told me Maggie’s journey wasn’t over. One book morphed into three, each with it’s own premise. Maggie’s Fork in the Road is the second book in the series.
How long did it take?
It took me about four months to have my first draft.
That is not too bad. Where do you write?
I write at my desk in an office that I share with my husband. I write at our dining room table, in bed, on the sofa. It depends on my mood. When it’s summer, I tend to find myself of on the deck or on our porch with my dog, Maisey.
Are you working on anything else right now?
Yes, I am. I am working on edits for Maggie’s Montana, Montana Bound Series: Book 3 due out this fall. I’m also working on another Montana based series and a Women’s Fiction book with a thread of Spirit.
Thread of spirit? Sounds great. Okay, here are some ice-breaking questions to get to know you better, beyond the writing hat you wear.
1. Most recent book I’ve read: Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin
2. Favorite town: Positano, Italy. It’s the place I traveled to with my husband in celebration of getting married and being cancer-free. (Hey, big congratulations!)
3. Be Invisible or x-ray vision: Invisible.
4. Typical Day: I teach second grade full time, so it’s a lot of hustle and bustle during the school year. The summer is different. I own that and it’s a time to rejuvenate, get projects done around the house, travel, and write.
5. Rainy Days: At home writing or hanging with my hubby and dog.
6. Musical Instrument: I played the cello up until college. Some days I wonder if I’d be able to rekindle the connection.
7. Foreign Language: None, fluently. I wish I did though. I took German in high school and French in college.
8. Four people for dinner: Only four?
This is tough, but today, I’d have to go with Julianne Moore, Sam Elliot, Robert Redford, and Nicholas Sparks. Julianne Moore because I’ve had people tell me that I look like her, even ask me if I was her, although I believe she is much more elegant than I am. I have this crazy idea to write a book in which the main character, me, spends a day in her shoes. It has comedy written all over it. Sam Elliot because I’ve always been intrigued by him and if someday, one of my Montana Bound books should find its way on a big screen, he’d be a perfect Winston Ludlow McIntyre. Robert Redford, well because he’s Robert Redford. And my fourth guest would be Nicholas Sparks because I’ve read many of his books and I’m intrigued by how his writing fuels the big screen.
(Great choices, and some very good looking ones too. I’m an Elliot and Redford fan)
9. Growing up, what did I want to be: I wanted to be an artist. I knew my main character, Maggie Abernathy needed a hobby, so I depict her painting photographs. Here’s a hand colored photo I did in college. This one was done with colored pencils. The photo was taken on Belle Isle here in Michigan.
Ok- now how about a speed round?:
1. Favorite Food to Cook: Chocolate Chip Cookies
2. Favorite Animal: Maisey, my rescue dog, but I think she really rescued me. (they usually do)
3. Favorite Color: Green
4. Favorite Book: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
5. Favorite Sport: Tennis
6. Favorite Music: 70’s
7. Favorite Song: There are too many!
8. Favorite place to visit: Petoskey, Michigan. My grandparents lived there so we took many treks to northern Michigan. It’s the only place I can find Penuche. Penuche is a kind of maple fudge and my grandmother used to make for my siblings and me every time we visited.
9. What makes me laugh: A good joke or a classic rerun of Match Game.
10. 3 adjectives: Creative, Resourceful, Determined
11. Favorite Season: Summer
12. Strangest thing I ate: caviar
13. Strangest thing I’ve done: Oh boy, not sure I can divulge that information.
14. Dance or sing: Definitely not dance, but I can carry a tune on a good day.
15. Second home: Mountain cabin for the summer and a beach home for the winter.
16. Dessert: Anything chocolate.
Wonderful, Linda, thank you for sharing such great photos. How about some parting thoughts?
1. What 3 items would I take if I were stranded on a tropical island for a year: 1) A bag of books. 2) A friend 3) Bug spray
2. Quote I love: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” -Ernest Hemingway
3. Real life situation in which you stood up for someone or something: At the age of fifty-one, I’ve stood up for a lot of things, students in my classroom, and especially myself. My husband always tells me that doing the right thing doesn’t always feel good. He’s right, and I try to remember that when it’s time to pick a battle that should be addressed.
I am happy to announce that Linda’s debut novel, book 1 “Maggie’s Way”, is a finalist in the Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best Award 2016 and was a finalist for The Romance Reviews Readers Choice Award. That’s pretty cool! Congratulations and not a bad start for 2016. I’d love to share an excerpt of book 2 “Maggie’s Fork in the Road” now.
John’s news knocked the wind out of me leaving me breathless, speechless . . . paralyzed.
Breathe, I told myself.
The dim room grew foggy as my eyes searched John’s face. “Really,” I said. “Why now? And why here?” What was it about delivering bad news in a restaurant? First, Beckett, now John. For the love of God, I wondered if breaking a woman’s heart in public got them into a secret men’s club.
Letting my guard down proved one thing. Hurt was inevitable. John and Chloe’s absence would leave a hole in my heart, a gorge of sharp edges. We were more than neighbors. We’d become friends that navigated life’s ups- and-downs together. And now they were moving. I’d have new neighbors and I didn’t want new neighbors. I wanted John and Chloe. I needed John and Chloe. We bonded last summer when I dealt with breast cancer. Their craziness made mine seem normal. John and Chloe weren’t any ordinary neighbors; they were family, eccentric misfits, like myself that conformed to the beat of life while traversing the bumps in the road.
Massaging my temples, I caught my breath. The throb pierced my skull. Since John and Chloe’s arrival, there’d never been a dull moment. Mom came around more often. And Chloe’s mother, Brook. Jesus, she flitted in and left like a summer storm leaving sky-high humidity and heat that scorched everything in its path.
Broken-hearted, Chloe had wept over false promises, her bags packed, her hopes magnanimous. And God, Beckett.
My ex-husband found his footing with a new lifestyle that didn’t include me, or any other woman. I’d heard through the grapevine that he was dating and wondered if his better half was as handsome as he was.
I searched John’s face for an answer.
“I didn’t know how to tell you. I’m sorry, Maggie. I don’t belong here,” he said, lowering his voice. “I can practice medicine in Montana and my dad could really use the help.”
Montana was one hell of a long ways away. I swallowed the sting of disappointment. John’s eyes searched mine. His news left a bitter taste at the back of my throat. “You can’t leave. I love you,” I whispered.
The pressure behind my eyes burned something fierce. How was it possible that I felt so much for someone I wasn’t romantically involved with? I certainly thought about it enough and the few recent kisses we shared established a deeper connection spurring buried promises that I’d made to myself. Moving forward in the wake of waiting for perfect timing proved difficult.
The corners of John’s mouth drooped. His jaw clenched.
“I can’t believe I said that.” I stared into my half-empty glass of Merlot, my cheeks smoldered from the realization that he didn’t return my sentiments. My chin quivered as he touched my hand from across the table.
“I want to put the house up for sale when Chloe’s school year ends.”
My forced smile hurt. It was the kind that everyone knows is fake and by John’s expression, my attempt to lighten the moment had failed. He squeezed my hand. I sipped my wine trying to avoid eye contact with the waitress. Her return with the dessert tray came at the most inopportune moment. After listening politely, John asked for the check. I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders trying to hold myself together. “I’ll meet you outside,” I said, fumbling with my purse.
“I won’t be long,” he said. “Maggie—”
The leg of my chair got stuck on the carpet. I shook it loose in disgust, studying the face of a man that I thought just might be a permanent fixture in my life. His eyes sadly apologetic.
“Damn, you’re beautiful.” With a heavy sigh, he paused. “I’ll be out in a minute.
The cool spring breeze sent shivers down my spine as I exited the restaurant. I caught my breath. How could I have told John I loved him? Why now? I wrapped my arms around myself. If I could survive cancer, I’d survive this. Hearts mended. Beckett taught me that lesson the hard way, but this was John and Chloe. Our attachment was the seam that mended that wound, made it invisible.
Okay, here are Linda’s social media links to stay in contact to see what is next:
Buy links to start your own set:
Linda, thank you so much for stopping in today. It has been a great visit. Before you go, you did say something earlier about a giveaway. What are your giving away?
I would love to giveaway two Amazon e-books. Winners decide which of my books they want. Just leave a comment below.