Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


A Real Live Texican!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not, but I have a special place in my heart for Baja Oklahoma. (also known as Texas.) My mama graduated from high school there and one of her favorite sisters as well as one of her favorite niece live there. What’s not to love about Texas? And I have another reason I like the place–a really sweet friend lives there that I’d love for you to meet. And we just might get a peek into her office. 😀 Here she is . . . Linda Broday! 20150412_155251_resized I first met Linda when she won a contest our writers’ group hosted. I asked her if she could come up and speak to our group, and she happily drove up in her motor home at her own expense! Talk about a great lady! Me- Do you always write in your office? If not, where else do you write.

Linda: I always write in my office. I require a large monitor because I have vision problems and need everything enlarged. And too, the atmosphere in there inspires my creativity. That is so very important, especially since I’m having to write three books a year. Just crazy. But I love this journey I’m on and want to soak up everything along the way.

Linda Broday's office Me- Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever written?

Linda: Outdoors on my patio. I love to listen to the birds chirping and the fresh air. Nature provides great inspiration.

Me- Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever written?

Linda: Once I had to write in the car so I could meet a deadline. That’s probably the strangest for me, but I also wrote in the hospital when my husband was fighting cancer. I didn’t want to leave his side, especially since his time was short.

Me- Oh, wow, Linda. I’m wowed that you could think well enough to write your name, much less an entire book. You’re amazing! Me- Do you do anything before you write? Light a candle? Put on music? Waltz around the house?

 Linda: I put a low-calorie snack in my desk drawer for later because I seem to burn a lot of energy when I write. (Maybe it’s all the chase scenes and gunfights or it could be the tender love scenes. Hmmmm.) Sometimes I light a candle and breathe the fragrance. Peach is my favorite. Sometimes I meditate for a few minutes. Then I close my eyes and envision the scene I’m going to write in my head. I see it like a movie with my characters doing the acting. Once it’s clear in my mind, I begin to type. Candled

Me- Do you write every day?

Linda: Yes, I have to because it keeps me in touch with my and story. If not, I have to go back and read the last chapter or two to remind me where I am. I don’t want to have to lose time. I want to sit down and get right into my writing.

Me- What’s the atmosphere in your office?

Linda: It’s calm and peaceful. Everything is in its place. I can’t write with a lot of clutter. I have a lot of my favorite books around me. It’s as though the words of the authors I love flow around the room and drop into my head. Since I write western romance, I have things with a western-y feel sitting around and on the walls. All of it adds to the atmosphere that I need in order to create. _jpg

Me- If you play music while you write, how do you choose it?

Linda: I don’t play music. I tried once but it’s very distracting to me. I need silence. 20150412_130849_resized_1

I love the buffalo picture!

 Me- If you could have your dream office, what would it be?

Linda: Oh, I love this! The sky is the limit and I don’t have to worry about the cost. Here goes: One whole wall would be floor to ceiling windows that allows light so spill in, creating lacy images on the floor. I would look out into a beautiful garden. A small indoor waterfall would sit in one corner, filling the room with gentle, soothing splashes on the rocks. On the opposite wall would be a huge desk with  research books at my fingertips. Indoors flowers would fill every space and infuse the room with wonderful fragrance. The flooring would be dark, rich wood with colorful rugs everywhere. I would have a sofa with lots of pillows where I could take a nap when I wanted. Bookshelves from floor to ceiling crammed with all kinds of books. Oh, man, I don’t want to wake up from this dream! It’s too nice. Now, I just need to find a rich bachelor (preferably a cowboy) who yearns for love…..

Me- How did you get started writing?

Linda: I read a romance book (can’t recall the name right name right now) and hated the ending. I sat down and rewrote it the way I wanted. Doing that gave me confidence that I could write my own books. The first attempt was start and stop. It took me five years. But I did it and that was the best feeling in the world. One led to another and I was on a roll. Untitled-4

Me- Did you struggle as a new writer or were you blessed with sales from the word go?

Linda: I’ve had wonderful luck and I thank God for that. I began winning writing awards with my first book, Knight on the Texas Plains. Sales were pretty decent and set the stage for the second release. I was lucky though in that I already had an online presence before I published. That really helped. Having a following is priceless. Untitled-1

Me- What’s your process for starting a new book?

Linda: Once an idea (or sometimes only the characters) are in my head I let it steep like a good cup of tea. Usually for about a week. After I have their names and know a little about them, I do a loose outline. Then I do a little research about some of the details of the story. I don’t indulge in a lot of pre-writing stuff though. I like to sit down and just let the story unfold. See where the characters take me. I love the surprises that come along the way.

Me- Are there any how-to books you recommend for writers?

Linda: Painting With Words by Rebecca McClanahan – this is a great book that I think every writer should read no matter where they are in their writing. Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict by Cheryl St. John – this book covers almost every aspect of writing. I fully recommend it. 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt 20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias Writers’ Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood

Just click on the link to find the book. 😀 Me- Do you write in more than one genre? Ever write under another name?

Linda: Except for one pirate story when I was first learning to write, I’ve always written western historical romance and never under another name. That pirate story will NEVER see the light of day. It’s awful.

LOL! Me- What piece of advice do you have for a newbie struggling writer?

Linda: Never, ever give up. Perseverance is the key to success. When something doesn’t work, try again. Take time to write the very best story that you possibly can. Find a good critique group and let them help you. Have patience and don’t get in a big rush because throwing a poor quality story out there will only hurt you.

Me- What are your latest books?

 Linda: My latest is a series called Bachelors of Battle Creek.  The first book – Texas Mail Order Bride – came out in January of this year and the second, Twice a Texas Bride, will be out next month, May 5th. The third – Forever a Texas Bride – comes out in December. (Not available yet for preorder.) Having all three of a series come out in the same year took a whole lot of fast writing. I’m so excited about this series that is about the deep bond that formed between three boys in an orphanage that follows for the rest of their lives. Each, for different reasons, have decided they will never marry. They’re so committed to remaining single that they form the Battle Creek Bachelors’ Club. In the first one, rancher Cooper Thorne thinks his life is finally on an even keel. He has his land and the ranch he wants and that’s enough. He gets the shock of his life one day when Delta Dandridge steps off the stagecoach claiming to be the bride he sent for. Cooper is fit to be tied and promptly sets her straight, then offers to pay her way to wherever she wants to go. She refuses to take a red cent and gets a job in the mercantile. He can’t keep from running into her at every turn, reminding him of everything he’s desperately trying to forget.

Me- Those sound wonderful!


Me- Do you have anything in the works?

Linda: I’m currently writing the first book in a brand new series called Men of Legend. It’s about three brothers who carry the last name of Legend. The first one is about Texas Ranger Sam Legend. After getting injured, he’s trying to protect a woman on the run and get home to his family’s Lone Star Ranch. Only an outlaw gang is trying to keep him from it. I’m having so much fun with this. Lots of twists and turns and I’m never exactly sure where the story is going to go.

I love reading a series, and yours sound like so much fun. I can’t wait to read them! Thank you so much, Linda, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Looking forward to seeing you again! So, guys, anything you want to ask Linda? What time her books are set in? Or maybe what conferences or classes or organizations she recommends? All you have to do is ask. She’ll be more than happy to answer!