Update - happy book birthday to Linda and Her Heart's Desire! You can get it here.
Artist Amelia Britton battles her older brother for the right to remain on the family farm—their inheritance after their parents’ tragic deaths—she faces a looming mortgage, weather threatens to destroy her crops, and the man she secretly loves only sees her as Craig’s little sister.
After serving his country in Afghanistan, Lucas Dwyer expected to return home to his family’s farm, but the bank foreclosed. Undeterred, he begins combining-for-hire to support his younger sister in college. His best friend convinces him to discourage local guys from dating Amelia. Craig wants her back in the city, farming is too hard for a woman alone. Only one problem—Lucas has fallen in love with Amelia.
With family, the bank, and the weather conspiring against them, can Amelia and Lucas ever hope to grow the love blooming between them?
1. If your character were to go to a psychologist – willingly or unwillingly – what would bring them in? Yes, a court order is a valid answer.
Lucas: Hello, Doc. I’ll take this question. On the serious side, I’ve seen what combat does to a man in Afghanistan, so if I thought I needed to go, I would, but that’s not why I’m here now. *grins* Besides, I’m sure if Lia thought I needed a shrink, she’d lasso me and drag me. She can rope—stationary objects. She’ll never make it in a calf-roping event at the American Royal in Kansas City. Just to clarify, I’m here at Linda’s invitation.
2. Is the presenting problem one of the main internal or external conflicts in your book? If so, how does it present itself?
Lia: The “presenting problem” is Craig—my brother. Everything can be linked back to him--over achieving, over cautious, over bearing, and stepping way over the line when he recruited Lucas to “talk” to guys who wanted to date me. Talk in this case is a synonym for dissuading. I’m not sure I can forgive him for interfering with my life in such an intrusive way. Brothers! Can’t live with them. Can’t shoot them, or at least there’s no official hunting season on them in Kansas. So Doctor, by talking with you today, there’s a remote chance you’ve saved his life…maybe.
Lucas: Woman, you need to be fair. He’s got his faults, but his heart was in the right place—until he pulled a gun on me. Even if Craig were to back off—Mother Nature is unpredictable—some time friend, sometimes foe. Way worse than Craig could hope to be.
3. It's always interesting to see how people act when they first enter my office. Do they immediately go for my chair, hesitate before sitting anywhere, flop on the couch, etc.? What would your character do?
Linda: Excuse me, Lia and Lucas, I’ll take this question, after all, who’s in charge here? So…Lia would scan the room looking for something interesting about it to paint. Maybe the way light slants across your desk and makes water in your glass sparkle. Lucas, on the other hand, would sit down in the chair, pull it closer to your desk and want to get down to business—do and be done—as quickly as possible. He’s got work on his brain. Did I get that right? *Lia and Lucas nod.*
4. Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be? What will he or she say first?
Lia: I’m here because Linda said it might be good for me…to deal with the guilt I have about my mother. When Craig and I found the secret room in the barn, packed floor to ceiling with unopened boxes, it threw me. My mother turned to hording before she died, and I’m not sure why…but I fear it’s my fault. However, if she hadn’t squirreled away all those boxes with all that stuff, I would’ve had to leave the farm, which would’ve been disastrous because the separation would have ruined any chance for a relationship with Lucas.
5. Your character walks into the bar down the street after his/her first therapy session. What does he/she order? What happens next?
Linda: *chuckles* There’s actually a scene in Her Heart’s Desire where Lia goes into a bar alone in the middle of the day, alone—a no-no in the Britton moral family code. Today, if she were to leave your office and head to Rockets—the bar in Harvest, Kansas, I believe she’d order a shot of tequila—something she’s never done before, then wait for Zoe to get off work—together they’d polish off a pitcher of margaritas. Beats shooting Craig.
6. When you're building characters, do you have any tricks you use to really get into their psyches, like a character interview or personality system (e.g., Myers-Briggs types)?
Linda: When I first started writing, I used character interviews, a fill-in-the-blank method, sort of like putting lemon juice on invisible ink to make it appear—to make a character visible. If you’re familiar with yoga, it’s best to move into a pose instead of forcing a pose. For me, the interview method was like forcing, and now I prefer to move into learning about a character by listening. They’ll tell me what I need to know. I’ve not used Myers-Briggs, however, I can usually type a character after we’ve been well introduced. One tool I do use—an astrological chart. I studied astrology for two years, a class a week, and I barely know a thimble full. There’s one other way I learn about characters—they invite me in. One book I’m working on about three women, they came to me fully formed. It was as though I took an empty seat at a four-top, and they just talked as if I was there to take dictation. It was a bit eerie because when I pulled the chair up, it was the same as downloading the backstory. I knew them. And, no, they’re not people from my other life—the one where I feed dogs, pay bills, and take a care of family.
Linda Joyce is an award-winning contemporary romance author. She writes about assertive females pursuing goals and the men who can’t resist them. She’s a self-professed foodie with Beauregard, Jack, and Renoir as her kitchen canine companions. Linda’s a big fan of jazz and blues and attributes her love of those musical genres to her southern roots. She penned her first manuscript while living in Japan, the country where her mother was born and raised. She spent twelve wonderful years in Kansas. Now she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and four-legged boys and writes novels.
You can find her at:
You can preorder Her Heart's Desire on Amazon.