Good morning Linn and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
Hi Jo – thank you, it’s so lovely to be here! I live on the edge of the Forest of Dean with my lovely husband and our very energetic little Bengal cat, named Ziggy. She’s re-homed and came to live with us just three days before Christmas. She’s 18 months old, and after losing our black and white cat, Mr Tiggs, who had been with us for just over eleven years, she’s helping to fill the void he left. I have been writing full-time since 2009 and feel blessed to finally be able to take this ‘me’ time to do something I absolutely love. I only wish the re were more hours in the day … even though I do tend to burn the candle at both ends ha! Ha!
You live a pretty full on life, do you have specific time slots for your writing?
I usually write from 5.30am until 9am, but sometimes I work until about 11ish if my fingers are flying around the keyboard and I find it hard to pull myself away. I write in bed, so often answer the door to the postman in my pjs and he probably thinks I’m a lady of leisure! Once I get to my desk there are so many other things to do associated with the work of an author – book promotion, social media, editing etc, plus I run four websites, so it’s always busy.
Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
For me, everything starts with a book title, and that’s usually all I have when I start writing. The main character will have been in my head for a couple of weeks at that point, and will have been the inspiration for the title. But it’s like meeting someone new, I will only discover who they are as I listen to what they have to say. They will then introduce me to the other characters in their life as we go along.
I’m a people-watcher and it’s a real bonus – there’s a lot of very useful research floating around inside my head. So it’s inevitable that some of the little traits and characteristics of my characters will have been inspired by these little fragments, or snapshots. For me it’s not really something I think about, though, it just happens!
Would you ever consider venturing into a different genre and writing, say, a crime or YA novel?
Maybe. At the moment I write chick lit, romance and psychic romance. That wasn’t something I planned, but how the finished stories were then ‘classified’. So who knows? To be honest I have a journal full of one-liner ideas for future stories that I’ve kept since I was about fifteen, but I haven’t had time to use any of them, yet. I think there might be a few murder mysteries in there! But for the moment my work in progress and other completed manuscripts in the pipeline are all chick lit or romance. However, I’ve already written one self-help booklet ‘How to Grow Your Own Happiness’ and would love to have more time to write non-fiction books in the future.
Can you tell us something about your current WIP?
I’ve already completed my next manuscript, which is about a self-help guru whose own life is falling apart. When a friendly spirit guide pushes her in the direction of a tarot card reader, that’s hardly something she can admit to her huge following. It’s currently in the queue for editing and will probably be out later this year.
I’m 65k in to a Christmas story at the moment and would happily set everything else aside just to finish it! I’m at the best stage in the story, where I don’t know what’s going to happen and I can’t wait to find out. It’s about a woman, Elana, whose husband dies in a tragic car accident and it’s nearly two years on, her second Christmas. Her daughter, Maya, has now turned six and life is still far from normal, but somehow they have to get through the festive season with as much cheer as they can. Elana discovers that Maya has been writing notes to Santa about her dad, whom she says ‘talks to her’, and it’s not an easy thing to handle. On top of worrying about how to keep the bills paid, it’s not the easiest of times and yet, out of the blue, a stranger steps into their lives who reminds them that life is for living. And that’s why I can’t wait to see what happens next …
How do you spend your chill out time?
We’ve almost finished renovating an old cottage, which has been quite a major job as it has a large garden which slopes down over a hillside. My former career was designing interiors for new build show homes. It involved going out on spending sprees and then unpacking and setting everything up. But I also did a lot of interior re-designs helping people to get their properties ready to sell etc. so I love upcycling old furniture and using quirky, metal items I find in reclamation yards. And I love the shabby chic/rustic look. So chill time for both of us is always productive and rarely means doing nothing. At the end of the day we’re then very happy to curl up in front of TV for an hour or two before it’s time for bed.
If money was no object, where in the world would you choose for a special holiday?
We are very fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the years and now it’s more a case of making our home feel like we are permanently on holiday. However, we have some very magical favourite places to visit in Italy, France, and the States that are calling out to us! Lake Garda will always be at the top of our list, though, as every time we visit it brings back some truly wonderful memories. But I doubt there will be much free time in 2016 to fit in even a little travelling, so it will have to wait a while.
And lastly, if you were organising a dinner party for celebrities, which four guest would you particularly like to invite and why?
Dwayne Johnson, The Rock – he’s such a personable guy, with a brilliant smile. He has a good heart and has set up a foundation which helps children.
David Bowie. Enigmatic, mysterious and very talented – what dinner party wouldn’t be complete without a song or two? We lost an icon with his passing, but then I believe that death is simply ceasing to exist on this plane, so I’m sure David would join us in spirit.
Milly Johnson – having been seated at a table with Milly at a Romantic Novelists’ Association dinner, and being rather shy myself, Milly would be the perfect guest for me. Her sense of humour, that Barnsley accent – she is one amazing author who would have an after dinner speech guaranteed to raise a few laughs and make everyone feel relaxed.
John Newman. I just love his style and that flavour of Northern soul reflected in some of his songs. I still play his first album on an almost daily basis, as I like a little background music when I’m working. I think he’d round out the party quite nicely, as all four of my guests are people who are happy being who they are. Inspirational, hard-working and fun!
A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love: With cupcakes, coffee and karma published by Choc Lit 15 January, 2016.
Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …
Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.
But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she begins to sense that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?
Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.
But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …
Previously released as Sweet Occasions by the author. Revised and edited by Choc Lit December 2015.
Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, which nestles on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in the UK.
“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, and writing. Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache…”
An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.
Linn writes chick lit, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Choc Lit, Harper Impulse and Endeavour Press.