I’m honored to welcome author Kim Janine Ligon on the eve of her new release. Her romantic suspense novel Polly’s List launches tomorrow! Welcome Kim, and congratulations.
Thank you for the invitation, Anastasia.
How are you feeling about your imminent book launch?
It’s still a little bit surreal. Even though I have my author copy and can look it up online, I still can’t hardly believe it is finally happening.
I have so many questions! But first, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I had a demanding career in healthcare information technology and after I retired, I finally had the time to pursue things that interested me like writing, spinning, weaving, and all kinds of needlework. I’m the oldest of ten children and grew up in Wisconsin. I live now in Alabama with my husband and encourager of forty-seven years.
I find it fascinating that you spin and weave! Have you done it for long? What made you choose this ancient craft? Do you have a spinning wheel at home? Please, will you tell us a little more about your amazing hobby, how you started, and why?
I knew before I retired that I wanted to learn to spin. I was a history major in college and I’m fascinated by the arts that were necessary to survive before so much technology invaded our lives. Spinning is one of those things. It doesn’t require electricity, only patient creativity. I have a spinning wheel that I got about six years ago. It is a space-saving upright model rather than a “Rapunzel” looking one. It has two treadles which makes it a little easier to get in a rhythm. I hadn’t realized until I brought it home how many simultaneous things have to happen at once to spin a consistent even yarn. You are treadling with both feet at, hopefully, a smooth, slow pace. With one hand you control the twist of the yarn and with the other you are stretching out the fiber to feed into the yarn twisting on the bobbin. It is easy to mess up. The best analogy I have is when you were a new driver on a three lane highway for the first time. You are in the middle lane and have to change to the right lane to exit. Traffic is heavy. You have to use your side and rear view mirrors, maintain a consistent speed, and plan for how soon to move over. It’s a lot to keep track of when you first start. Now, I find it very peaceful and rewarding. It’s fun to experience the sensations of the different fibers running through your hands and great to be able to knit or crochet things from the yarn you spun yourself. I’ve created over ten miles of yarn and I’m still spinning.
"Ten miles of yarn" -- that's fabulous! I enjoy needlework and appreciate fine yarn, but I've never even mastered basic stitches. It must be very rewarding from start to finish.
I love how you compare spinning yarn to “spinning romance”, but do you suppose you might incorporate an aspect of your craft into future books?
As you know from reading Polly’s List that Polly is a spinner. I think some part of a writer’s hobbies get into their stories like your love of gardening brings people together in Tremors Through Time. It’s part of writing what you know.
That's so true.
Now for your writing! I thoroughly enjoyed Polly’s List, as my following review shows. But why romance and why suspense? Please, tell us about your writing and what inspires it.
Many of my early romance books were passed along from my mother. I’m basically an optimist who loves a happy-ever-after ending. I firmly believe there is someone for everyone out there. You just have to be aware enough to grab them when they come by. I add the suspense element because there is nothing like a little danger to drive people into the safety of one another’s arms. And right now, I’m writing sweet, not steamy, romance so you need a little something to spice it up.
And what about Polly’s List? How did you come up with the plot? The first inkling of the plot came while I was spinning and looking out my window one day thinking about how interesting it was to be able to observe the world outside in relative anonymity.
Was it fun writing the characters?
Absolutely. I wanted to use the name Mikal because I liked the gender ambiguity of the spoken name and potential for confusion. CJ just seemed to put himself out there and insist on having a story. We actually had a dog named Rhett when I was growing up, although he was a German Shepard, not a Basset Hound.
Do you have a favorite character?
A “mom” shouldn’t have favorites, but mine in this story is Will, without a doubt. I love being an observant auntie and Will is a composite of my many nephews, great nephews and great-great nephews. Leave it to a child to tell the unvarnished truth and force adults to shed their pretensions.
And talk about suspense – both with the romance and the mystery! Were you laughing gleefully-- like an evil genius -- when you added each new twist? Did you have it all planned or did the story and/or characters surprise you sometimes?
Sometimes I will confess to laughing out loud at what I’ve just written. I’ve also gotten too teary to see the keyboard. I think that’s good because hopefully my readers will have the same responses. To paraphrase Stephen King: no tears or laughter in the author; no tears or laughter in the reader. I have a basic outline—basic being the operative word. But my characters are almost as strong minded as their creator. Mine appear in my dreams to straighten me out. They insist on name changes sometimes and usually send me down a trail that I hadn’t originally conceived—like CJ’s old love interest having a role. (I won’t say more to keep from spoiling it.) They almost always make their story better in the end. I appreciate the help!
Have you started working on your next book?
Yep. I have five different books that are works in progress. One, however, is complete and being reviewed. It also takes place in Lansdale, Wisconsin. Some of the characters overlap with Polly’s List, but it is a standalone novel too. I learned so much on this first publishing experience that I wanted to be able to use it again.
Wow! Five books! That's amazing!
Is there anything you’d like to share in closing? I am so pleased with my experience with The Wild Rose Press. My editor is top notch and the camaraderie of the authors in the Rose Garden is beyond anything I could have imagined. It is nice to have so much talent cheering you on and helping you down the path on this new adventure. I am truly blessed.
I agree. It is a wonderful publishing house and the authors are as generous as they are talented.
Thank you for joining us, Kim. Wishing a great launch for Polly’s List and all the best to you!
Thanks, Anastasia. It has been fun.
Find Kim at her website, Spinning Romance.
Kim Ligon has been writing stories for most of her life—some on paper and some only in her head. She has lots of source material growing up as the oldest child in a large family in a small town in Wisconsin. Her father was a veterinarian so there were not only lots of children around, but all manner of house pets and farm animals too. Her love of reading comes from her mother who was seldom seen sitting down without a book in her hand. After a demanding career in healthcare information technology, she is now getting to do all the creative things she loves which includes writing her stories to share with you. She lives with her chief encourager and personal romantic hero, her husband of almost forever, in Alabama. Please follow her further adventures at www.spinningromance.com.
CJ Reynolds couldn't wait to escape his hometown. He's loving his bachelor life as a software developer in California. So much so that he hasn't been back in years to see the grandmother who raised him.
Mikal Benson believes her small town is perfect for raising her son, Will, alone. When Mikal finds her neighbor, Polly Rogers, sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood, barely clinging to life, she calls Polly's grandson--CJ Reynolds--and insists he must come home. Now!
From her coma, Polly whispers three words that change everything. Did she fall or was she pushed? CJ, Mikal, and Will form an unlikely team coming together to discover the truth as danger engulfs them and love transforms them into a family.
Excerpt from Polly's List by Kim Janine Ligon
Why is the Bassett baying? Mikal Benson hurried across the yard and pushed her neighbor’s unlocked back door open. It groaned loudly. The still howling dog rumbled into the kitchen – as quickly as his short legs would allow.
“What’s wrong Rhett? Polly, where are you?” she called as she crossed the worn linoleum-covered kitchen floor. “It’s me, Mikal.”
The dog loped into the front entryway. She followed. What happened? Was the purple-flowered heap with legs and arms akimbo Polly? Blood pooled beneath her head . The body was lying in front of the door. Was she still alive? Mikal knelt beside her neighbor’s crumpled body. She gently picked up her arm and felt for a pulse. It was faint. Polly took a ragged breath and moaned. Mikal pulled her cell phone out and called 911.
A blood stain circled Polly’s head like a dark, expanding halo – blotting out the muted colors of the antique rug and spreading into the cracks in the parquet floor. Something had to be done.
Polly’s List had me at the edge of my seat from Chapter One and kept me there throughout the book. Talk about suspense – on multiple levels!
The action begins immediately. What a shocker!
The mystery: will the victim survive? Will there be more victims? Will the main characters be all right? There are so many twists and turns!
The romance kept me every bit as anxious! At first, Caleb – or CJ, as he prefers to be called – is stand-offish and abrupt. I could not imagine him with Mikal, who is warm and caring. But he finally begins to thaw. The dynamics between him and Mikal and Will ease into a sweet and natural rhythm. Then, of course, the twists and turns begin!
I loved all the main characters. I was rooting for them from the beginning – even Caleb! Despite his rough first impression, it’s clear that he’s a good person. Mikal, on the other hand, is loveable right from the beginning. Warm-hearted and thoughtful, she's the neighbor anyone would hope for. Her son Will is absolutely adorable. He has an important role in the story and shines every step of the way. The title character Polly is an irresistible little, old lady. Her dog Rhett rounds out the ensemble perfectly.
The setting offers a warm, cozy, small-town atmosphere. I'd like to emphasize the cozy aspect of this story. Polly’s List really is a cozy mystery and romantic suspense all rolled into one!
If you’d like to spend some time with characters you love and a story that will have you turning pages fast, do yourself a favor and read Polly’s List. Five stars!
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.