Monday, March 19, 2012

Sneak Peek into an Author's Mind: Linda Swift


Karen: Linda Swift is the guest author today with her journey into publishing her historical romance, Maid of the Midlands. Let's give her a warm welcome. Please feel free to ask questions or say hello. Enjoy!

Matilda's Long Journey by Linda Swift
If Maid of the Midlands hadn't been an historical, it would have become one during its circuitous route to publication. It was my second book accepted by my first digital publisher and scheduled for release in 2009. Unfortunately, before that happened, they sold to another publishing house who required a different cover. It had final edits in 2010 but still was not released so I obtained rights and submitted it elsewhere and it was accepted. Another long wait followed due to the publisher's problems. After several months, I again requested rights and submitted to a third publisher who has released it. And  ironically, I was able to use the first cover which I had bought from an artist with the first publisher who had accepted it. So after four years, four contracts, and four editors it is now an ebook and print.

This seems to be a reflection of the roundabout journey that Mary Queen of Scots took for the twenty years of her captivity in England. And that unfortunate queen has a major role in this book. It is really the love story of Matilda and Jondalar. She was a young lady-in-waiting who was chosen by her mistress to serve the queen when she was sent as a "guest" to Hafton Castle.

And he was a stalwart castle guard who stole her heart. But that wasn't all Jondalar stole in his ambition to get ahead. And although the queen was supposed to be seen and not heard when I placed her in the story, she soon became a dominant character who defied my careful plotting. And much to his later regret, Jondalar was slyly plotting, too and it almost cost him all that he desired.

This book was the outcome of living in England in 1999 and 2000. My husband and I were located in East Yorkshire, in the city of Kingston-upon-Hull. Every day I was exposed to the Yorkshire accent and when I wrote the book, I tried to use that for my dialogue. At first, I had used it quite heavily, and not a single editor objected to it, even though I always asked if they were bothered by it. But with each edit, I omitted just a few more of the odd spellings of words to make it flow better in my own opinion.  I have read many historical books that have totally modern speech including current slang and this bothers me immensely. One of my favorite English authors uses the Yorkshire accent in every book and I enjoy reading it that way. But she is English and I'm sure has every word exactly as it was spoken.  Since I speak "American" and "Southern American" at that, I had some misgiving about trying to recreate the 1573 speech patterns. But I reasoned that even English readers wouldn't be certain exactly how the characters spoke in the sixteenth century. And when an English author friend told me I had recreated the Yorkshire accent well, I felt vindicated.

I am familiar with a map of England. In fact, wherever I am at home, I have my trusty Michelin Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland. The only problem was using the names of towns that didn't exist in that time period. And I had an actual castle in mind and wrote the story using that name and names of the family living there. Research showed that descendants with the family name now lived elsewhere in the country and I wasn't sure they would appreciate having an American write a story about their ancestor's imaginary bastard offspring. So this led me to change the castle's name and location and rename the characters. Then I was faced with trying to sort out the confusing issue of titles, who is called what, and inheritance legalities. I can only hope I got it right.

Meanwhile, as I waited for Maid of the Midlands to become a published book, I was busy writing about the children of Jondalar and Matilda.  I think since this a romance, it is obvious that they did get together in the end so I'm not spoiling the story by telling you this. Mistress of Huntleigh Hall is the title of this sequel. And Alice Wykeham, the heroine is in love with Malcolm Gray but a tragic accident causes her to marry another. This story is set in 1605 and the characters are involved in the Gunpowder Plot to kill King James, son of Mary Queen of Scots. I have never written a sequel to any of my books before but this one demanded to be written. I hope you will read Matilda's ondalar's story and want to know their children's story, too.

Contest: Leave a comment about a challenge you've had in "getting it right" and you'll have a chance to win a digital copy of Maid of Midlands.

When Mary Queen of Scots is sent to Hafton Castle in the Midlands, Matilda becomes her waiting-lady. The comely maid loves Jondalar, a stalwart castle guard who returns her affection but places his greed to succeed above all else. After Matilda nurses the queen through a fever, she rewards the maid with a valuable ruby. Jondalar plots with the young lord of the castle to rid the Crown of the captive queen in return for a promotion in the guard.But when Matilda learns of the guard's  betrayal of the queen she must chose between loyalty and love.

Author: Linda Swift
Publisher: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery
Release date: March 9, 2012
Available: E-book and print
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: Sweet
Page count: 135
Also at Smashwords, Monkeybars, and other distributors

About the Author:
Besides writing, I enjoy reading, ballroom dancing, traveling, visiting Gulf beaches, and keeping in touch with friends far and near.(Much to my husband's regret, cooking does not make the list!)

I have been a nomad all of my life, calling many places home from California to New York to England. I share my life with my husband, a great musician, golfer, power plant consultant, and in-house computer tech.

We now divide our time between 
homes in Kentucky and Florida, stopping en route in Tennessee to visit our children who live in Tennessee. I am the only member of my family who does not sing or play an instrument, but I like to think I make music with words.Although I am an only child, I have never been lonely because my head has always been filled with imaginary people. I love giving them a chance to tell their stories and I hope it brings you pleasure to read them.


Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Good morning, Karen. Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. And good morning, readers. I hope you'll share your comments with us today for a chance to win a copy of my book. I'll be popping in and out and I'd love to talk with you. And good luck on winning.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh yeah, what fun reading 16th century English--like Shakespeare wasn't enough. LOL I actually loved reading Shakespeare but his use of some words common to the era left me mystified. I agree that historicals with modern speech including slang is a turn off but I also think that over use of accents and language can distract the reader and retard the forward motion of the story.
Great blog,Linda. I wish you every success with Maid of the Midlands.

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Sarah, and thanks for stopping by. I agree that really heavy accents can slow one down. But how much is enough? I'll look forward to hearing your candid (I hope) comments about the amount of Yorkshire accents in Maid of the Midlands and if it showed you down. There is definitely two ways to look at use of accents and I suppose each author has to decide how much, if any, they are comfortable using, doesn' it?

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Ooops, that last sentence is a little wacky. I think I meant to ask "Don't they?" How can I hope to get Yorkshire accents right when I can't even get sentence written correctlly in my own accent?

Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips

Hello Linda,

I lover historical romances. Accents don't bother me as long as they're not over used. I want to understand what I'm reading and not have to decipher it. lol

Challenges to get things right--- Of course there's been challenges in my life. Right now-- being a parent and hoping you say and do the right thing to put the child on the right path of success is proving a I have teenagers.

CNickol at WNLaw dot com

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Celia, thanks for visiting today. And you do have a challenge dealing with teenagers in the world today. I'm not sure I could cope with it, or being a teacher in public schools now either. Teaching has become one of the most hazardous professions! And to think, teachers were once revered right up there with ministers and presidents. Whatever happened to ther good ole days?

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Cathy, my sincere apology for addressing you as "Celia." You see, I'm on two blogs today and I was just reading a post by Celia on the other one. Multi-tasking with a one track mind! My comments to you are still the same. And your name will be in the drawing for my book. Hop on over to the "other" blog site for another chance to win. I'll be giving two books. And the article to read is different, too.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Really enjoyed the Blog Post! Thanks for sharing! I dont read alot of Historical Romances, but do love history and research, and enjoy finding books in which authors show their love of it too and can successfully weave it into a Romance.

Thanks for sharing!

Hugs, Kari Thomas,

Bonnie McCune said... Best Blogger Tips

It's great to see writers using their experience and surroundings for inspiration. Even if it takes several tries to "get it right," you add authenticity. And you enable your readers to travel through time and distance with you. Bonnie McCune, author, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In"

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Kari, thanks for visiting today. I really like to read fiction that is interwoven with historical facts. I am bothered by a book set in historical tiimes and doesn't reflect the times and customs and speech at all. So I do try to be accurate in telling my stories. And it is a joy to di research for something you need to fit the story you are writing.

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Bonnie, I love that title and now I wonder what genre the book is. A good title does that, doesn't it?
And I really need to see and "feel" the places I write about and since I've been a nomad all of my life, I don't have a problelm finding new settings for my books. Thanks for visiting today.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


I'm finally home from the day job. :)
I wanted to thank you again for coming by and sharing your experience with us.

It's always wonderful to see you! Ihope you had a wonderful Birthday!

Hi Cathy,
I agree- teenagers are a challenge.

How are you, gal! Thanks for popping in for a visit!

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Hello readers. I have just learned that my blog will be featured until Thursday so I will be drawing a winning name on Wednesday. Please check back to see if you the winner. I will also be contacting the winner on Wednesday if I have your email address. We want to give as many as possible a chance to comment and enter. Thank you.

Katrina Gillian said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Linda,
I love to read just about anything. Your story sound really good.

Challenges- any project I do, I like it to be as perfect as it can be. I might start a project early, but I'm still working on it at the last minute.

mysweetpirate at yahoo dot com

Briana Nickol said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen and Linda,


I'm going to college. It can be a challenge to finish all my work on time.

I loved to be entered in the contest.
briananickol at yahoo dot com

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Good morning, Katrina. I can relate to loving to read almost anything. But my favorite is historical fiction. And I have a son who is a perfectionist and I lean in that direction myself. I'm trying to live by a new motto: "close enough." It makes for a lot less work and worry!
Thanks for stopping by.

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Good morning, Briananickol. It's been a while since I was in college but I haven't forgotten that mountain of work! And beginning new classes each semester was always overwhelming. But as the weeks passed it always got easier. Thanks for visiting and good luck on winning.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Linda--I didn't think I'd commented on Karen's blog yet, but I saw my name and thought, Okay, that's just a little thing I forgot.
This is another great post, and just when I think I've read all you can say about a particular book, you always, always have more to say. I thoroughly reading this post, too.
Best wishes for Maid of the Midlands.

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Celia, if you read the earlier comments you know that I addressed a reply to you instead of Cathy so I guess you've already visited in spirit! Anyway, thanks for visiting today and for your nice comments. Oh, yes, there is always more to say about any book. And I try to be fair to my blog hosts and give thenm something new. I don't know about you, but personally I get bored reading the same info over and over when I visit authors' guest blogs. And I know you always come up with something new and attention grabbing on your own blog which I love. Happy first day of spring!

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Hello Readers,

I'm back to announce our winner. And the winner of a digital copy of Maid of the Midlands is ....Briana Nickol. Congratulations. And I hope you won't neglect your homework to read Matilda's story! I will be sending you an email and when you reply, I'll send your download of the book.
Thanks to all who visited and left your comments. I'm sorry everyone couldn't be a winner. I hope you'll consider ordering the book from the Amazon if you didn't win.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Congratulations, Briana Nickol!


Thank you again for being a guest and sharing with us.
I wish you the best success with all you do!

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for inviting me to tell readers about my new relaease, Maid of the Midlands, Karen, and for your good wishes. It was fun visiting you and all the readers who stoped by. Linda