Blurb: MAID OF THE MIDLANDS
When Mary, Queen of Scots, is sent to Hafton Castle, 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.
When Matilda discovers the plan, she risks her life to warn the queen. As Mary journeys toward her next destination, Matilda and Jondalar separately travel the English countryside in pursuit of her. Jondalar had a change of heart and also seeks to warn the queen but Matilda is unaware of this as they dodge each other enroute. When Jondalar almost loses the maid he loves, will he realize what really matters?
[Note: Although this book is set in England, I have "borrowed" the name of Hafton Castle in Scotland. My husband and I spent a memorable week in this castle near Dunoon a few years ago and the name seemed perfect for my story. When we had earlier toured the real location of the book, I visualized a young servant in the courtyard sitting on a bench that encircled a large old tree. This maid in my mind was the illegitimate child of the castle lord and that is how the story began. But even though the descendants now lived elsewhere I wasn't sure they would take too kindly to an American author creating an imaginary skeleton in their ancestor's closet. So I changed the names of the family, the castle, and the village to protect the innocent from my imagination!]Maid of the Midlands:
Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery
Available from Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK):
Thank you for answering the following questions, Linda.
I’m pleased to see you also write in a variety of genres, Linda. Do you have a favourite type of writing?
I do write in several genres and the particular genre that I write at any given time seems to reflect stages of my life. I wrote a group of short stories and one short novel of suspense when I was grieving the early death of my father. I didn't realize that I was writing out my grief until a close author friend pointed out to me that each story came to a place where it could go either way and it always took the negative conclusion. This was a reflection of the way my father's death occurred so it made sense. And at this moment, my favourite type of writing is historical, any period, and I foresee many more books in this genre in the future.
How do you decide whether to write a contemporary or historical novel?
My choice of contemporary or historical novels depends on the phase of my life at the moment. In other words, I let my emotions determine what I write. Not very professional, I suppose, but it works for me. I don't write from an objective "Now I will write a story about this or that because it is popular right now" decision. I write what I am interested in, what has touched my heart, what I feel passionate about.
What is your favourite period in history?
As an American living most of my life in the South, the Civil War has always fascinated me. And I finally wrote my own family saga about it. This Time Forever was released last year just in time for the first year of commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
While living in England, my husband and I visited many castles and it seemed the presence of Mary Queen of Scots hovered over many of them. Then on one trip to Scotland, we were again reminded of her presence there. So her story haunted me until I wrote Maid of the Midlands, my version of a small segment of her captive years. I am not an historian and although I did research the subject, I know I only skimmed the surface of the actual historical facts. I did try to remain historically accurate with the events mentioned and only took poetic license in allowing Queen Mary to speak in this book. The story is really about a lady-in-waiting and a castle guard but the queen plays an important role.
Oh, I've strayed from the question, haven't I? I suppose I'd have to say I like most periods of history and can't really pinpoint a single time. I hope to write a Regency someday. I plan to write at least one story about each of the World Wars the US was involved in. I have another post-Civil War sequel in mind and also I have almost completed a sequel to Maid of the Midlands, set in the next generation in England.
Has the ebook revolution made a difference to your writing career, and do you prefer it to print?
I wrote three books for a NY publisher and then the market shrank and I was left an orphan for a few years. It was only after I turned to digital publishers that I found my niche. Digital publishing has given me the satisfying career I have now and I'm very grateful but I was burned badly when I made my first foray into this business. I submitted to a small ebook publisher recommended by an author friend and she took two of my books and was preparing to take a third when one day I went to the site and it said "Sorry. Closed." And that is the last I've heard from that. It took me two years to give it another try.
This time I studied the market, submitted to several publishers simultaneously, and got two contracts in less than a month. I now have contracts with seven digital publishers due to this "shotgun" approach. This may not be a bad thing as I've always been told not to put all the eggs in one basket. All of my available e-books except one are in print as well. I will never abandon print books entirely. I don't enjoy holding my Kindle nearly as much as a print book but I do love the convenience of taking with me when I travel a lot of books within this one small e-reader. I also like the price of buying e-books versus prints.
How do you market your books?
I do as many book signings as possible and for this I do have print books. I do not maintain a blog because I simply don't have the time but I often do guest blogs and interviews. I try to promote on a number of loops. I participate in contests and give away copies of my books. I took one ad with RT Magazine in March but I can't see a big difference in sales as a result so I probably won't do that with another book. I think it mostly boils down to acquiring a readership one satisfied reader at a time (I like that idea!).
Do you have time for hobbies?
I really don't have time for hobbies but I make time. I have a husband who helps me with all things technical and so I take the time to do some fun things with him. We do ballroom dancing, walk a couple of miles a day, and when at our home in Florida during the winter months, spend an hour a day in the pool in nice weather. And most days are nice and warm in Florida's winters (lucky you).
Any advice you could pass on to newer writers?
First and foremost, I would advise newer writers to NEVER give up. If you love to write, then write. Submit. Accept rejections and learn from them. And submit again. And again. If you have any talent (and you surely do or you wouldn't have a desire to write), and if you keep on doing this long enough, you WILL get published. So never lose sight of your goal. I have heard it said that the three things needed to succeed as a writer are talent, persistence, and luck. And you only need two of these to be successful. But how many of us can count on luck? We can develop our talent and we can keep on hitting our heads against those brick walls until we find an opening. So I opt for honing your skills and keeping on working toward your goal. Then if luck happens, it is a bonus. If not, you won't fail.
Excellent answers and tips, Linda - thank you.
Linda's first two books were published by Kensington. She currently has ten e-books (nine also in print) available from the publishers and numerous distributors. Two books of fiction, a haiku collection, and four short stories are scheduled for 2012.
You can find out more about Linda on her website.