photo by Laurens Antoine
The last book I read by Linda Griffin was Bridges, a beautiful, tender romance that left me smiling and blinking back tears. You can imagine that I'm thrilled to celebrate her latest book, Reluctant Hearts, with an interview! Before we get to the book, let's learn more about this talented author.
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
An early favorite was Half Magic by Edward Eager. I read it so often that I can still recite the first few pages word for word: “It began one summer about thirty years ago, and it happened to four children…” Later my sister and I read the Williamsburg series by Elswyth Thane out loud to each other while we did the dishes, and over the years I must have read them at least twenty times. I also loved Robert A. Heinlein’s science fiction “books for boys,” especially Farmer in the Sky and Time for the Stars.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
I read a wide variety of fiction, but lately I’ve also been reading a lot of memoirs. A former YA librarian friend keeps recommending YA books to me, so I’ve enjoyed quite a few of those too.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
I knew I wanted to be a “book maker” as soon as I learned to read and realized that somebody had to create those words. I wrote my first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” when I was six, using a plot device I stole from a “Little Lulu” comic book.
Little Miss Sunbeam! SUCH A CUTIE!
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
I wrote a story called “The Wind” for an eighth grade English class, and it earned an A+. My mother didn’t like it, though, because I wrote, “She cursed the wind.”
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
I have no idea. Sometimes I get what I call glimmers, and sometimes I don’t. It happens most often when two different ideas come together. I think the level of creativity in the universe is higher at some times than others.
6) What’s your writing space like?
I have two. My desk in the den is where I write during the day. I like the straight chair because it’s better for my back, but it’s also an heirloom that originally belonged to my grandmother. In the evenings I write in the living room in front of the TV, which gets very little of my attention, but sometimes gives me a name when I need one and occasionally sparks a glimmer. A conversation between the Winchester brothers on Supernatural somehow triggered a romance!
That chair is a treasure! And you make an excellent case of writing in front of the television!
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
I don’t really have a choice. If I did, it would be in the morning when my creative energy is the highest, but I’m at the mercy of my characters, who are partial to bedtime and the middle of the night. I have to keep a notebook next to the bed so I can take dictation when they start having a conversation.
LOL! Your characters dictate your writing schedule! I can understand that.
8) Time to talk about Reluctant Hearts (rubbing hands together). But first, how did you come up with the idea for the collection? Are there any interesting tidbits you’d care to share with us?
Each of the four novellas had its initial trigger. A TV show bank robbery for “No Regrets,” a newspaper article about registered sex offenders and Halloween for “Probation,” a meditation on “The Shape of Life,” and the TV show House Hunters for, of course, “House Hunters.” Each story includes at least one character who isn’t ready to love again, so I brought them together with the theme of unexpected romance overcoming reluctant hearts.
9) I comprehend that you’ve just recently published a book. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have anything waiting in the wings?
Next up is a suspense novella, The Axe. I entered the first 500 words in a competition and one of the judges, Morena Stamm of the Wild Rose Press, asked to see the full manuscript. Much to my surprise, it’s now under contract!
Oh, wow! That's wonderful!
cover art by Jennifer Greeff
Linda, thank you for sharing your time and travels with us. Congratulations on your new release!
And now, Reluctant Hearts!
cover art by Jennifer Greeff
Four couples, four stories: Darien Francis and Richard Li meet during a bank robbery, but she’s afraid to love again. Shane Kenniston and Beth Parker are reacquainted years after she had a crush on him, but she is a recent widow, and Shane’s life was upended by a false accusation. David Early and Kate Howard meet in the Laundromat, but her life is consumed by the needs of her disabled child, and David isn’t ready for the responsibility. Realtor Frank Ellison meets Kayla Barnes at an open house, but a mistaken first impression derails any chance of romance. Can they all overcome the obstacles to love?
We are lucky enough to have short excerpts from each novella in Reluctant Hearts. Thank you, Linda!
“Well, you are too good to be true, aren’t you?” She grinned, and then she sobered, and their eyes met.
They stopped walking. The dogs tugged at the leashes and strayed from the path, sniffing at everything they could reach. Richard tossed the remains of his lunch in a trash container and put his arms around her. The sounds of traffic grew distant, muted. Manning walked in a circle, wrapping the leash around their legs. They both laughed, and they kissed quickly and then not so quickly.
“In a public place,” she said in mock disapproval.
“So, you don’t smoke, you don’t drink, and you don’t do Halloween? What do you do?”
“Whatever you’ll let me do, I guess,” he said. He hadn’t used that old line since college.
She was surprised, but she didn’t seem upset. She gazed at him speculatively for a few seconds and then leaned towards him. He didn’t want to take anything for granted, so he waited for her to kiss him first, but he responded without hesitation. She tasted of beer and cherry-flavored lip gloss.
“Oh, gosh,” she said. “Wait till I tell Patty I kissed Mr. Kenniston.”
The Shape of Life
They backed away from the stove, the coffee forgotten, drifted, as if without purpose, through the living room, quietly past Chris’s room, into Kate’s bedroom. “I may hate you in the morning,” she warned.
“I’ll risk it,” he said. He stood close to her in the half-darkness, feeling the soft contours of her body against his while he freed her bright, velvety hair. “Very nice,” he said, and his hands slid down to find the hook of her halter top.
“David,” she said, her voice a little blurred, as in a dream. “Promise me we won’t be sorry.”
Her shape had never bothered him before. But right now, it was distracting him to know she had that lovely, decidedly female body under her jeans and sweater. He turned his head toward her, and she looked up at him, and he leaned in to kiss her.
“Don’t,” she said, but she kissed him back.
The gesture was more friendly than passionate, but her lips were soft and sweet all the same. He knew it wasn’t supposed to be happening, but he couldn’t remember why, and he liked it—more than he liked the Canaletto.
About the Author
Linda Griffin was born and raised in San Diego, California and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. She earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She began her career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section where she managed the Central Library’s fiction collection.
She had a short story published in the SDSU literary journal, The Phoenix, but most of her magazine publications came after she left the library to spend more time on her writing. Her stories, in every length from short shorts to novellas, have been published in numerous journals, including Eclectica, Thema Literary Journal, The Avalon Literary Review, and most recently Willow River.
In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—she enjoys Scrabble, movies, and travel and has visited 48 states and three countries.
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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