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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Author Interview: Linore Rose Burkard

The Long and the Short of It: LASR is pleased to have Linore Rose Burkard with us today, whose newest book The Country House Courtship is released this month. The Country House Courtship is third in her series that began with Before the Season Ends. I asked her to tell us a little about this newest installment.

"The Country House Courtship was a great excuse to visit the Mornays who are now five years into their marriage; and to give Beatrice Forsythe (the heroine’s younger sister from the earlier books) a chance to do a little more growing up and fall in love. Including some minor characters, there are three romance threads in the book, so overall it is a really romantic book, but in a clean and fun way."

Not surprisingly, perhaps, Jane Austen is Linore's favorite author, and she's currently rereading Pride and Prejudice, on her Kindle. Her Kindle was an anniversary present and now that she has it, she's actually being able to get in more fiction reading.

"I still don’t much contemporary fiction, but at least I’m getting to revisit some old favorites as well as find some new (old) books.What I am really appreciating about Jane this time around is that she has the style of the 19th century but without the greatly convoluted plots of a Dickens; or the drawn out slow pace of, say, Anne Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho)," Linore explained. "She was a master of keeping in her books and dialogue just what needed to be there and nary a word more. I love it."

To Linore, the story is the MOST important thing when it comes to good writing.

"I can enjoy a book in nearly any setting, contemporary to ancient, as long as the story is compelling enough," she told me. "And by that I mean, not only interesting, but smooth enough in its writing style so that I don’t have to stop and think about the writing style. Any book that I can get 'lost' in is a good book. This is with regard to fiction only, of course."

When it comes to her own writing, plots come to her based on who the characters are and whether or not they are contemporary or historical. She rarely has to ask herself how she can get the character into hot water, because when she first conceives of the characters, they are normally already in trouble.

"The rest of the story spreads out, like a network, and pieces get put into place," she explained further. "The central character is in the center of the web, and their background and circumstances gradually broadens around them until I get a full enough picture to start writing."

Sometimes she will already have her titles in place, but other times she needs to write much of the book before she can get a grasp on what the title could be.

"Before the Season Ends literally takes place within the course of a London social season—which explains the title," she told me. "The House in Grosvenor Square sort of speaks for itself, referring to the wealthy regency townhouse of the hero, which is a focal point for much of the plot. The Country House Courtship is perhaps the most explicit of the three, referring not only to location, but plot: you know it’s set in an English country estate, and that there’ll be a courtship! I like a title to reflect the book’s story in a way that isn’t so abstract."

Linore rarely gets a span of hours to just sit and write without an interruption, so she's learned how to jump back deeply into the story.

"Most of my children are in school or college," she said, "but my youngest does a good job of keeping me hopping, plus I homeschool her. I can eke out more hours when I really need to by keeping my internet turned off, and ignoring email!"

Unlike many present-day authors, Linore writes in omniscient POV (point of view).

"It seems writers are often taught NOT to write in omniscient POV, so they find my doing it either interesting, fascinating, enjoyable, or else it’s like a stumbling block to them," she told me. "They can’t get over that I break a perceived 'rule' in my books, and so it lessens the reading experience for them. I think writers are told to avoid it because it can be tricky, and so why take the chance? But it isn’t that I 'try' to write that way, it’s just natural to me."

On a more personal note, Linore confessed she almost always hates how she looks in pictures.

"When I see photos from ten years ago or more, now I think, ‘hey, they weren’t so bad,’ but at the time they made me cringe," she said. "I’ve felt that way since I was in grade school, when I and my siblings had hair cuts that my father gave us, making us look (we thought) like the little Dutch boy on the paint cans. I’m not saying that’s WHY I don’t like my own photos, but I do know it started young!"

Linore is curious to find out what kind of technology will be available in the next fifty to sixty years.

"I can’t even imagine how small our gadgets will be—and what e-readers will look like!" she said. "When you think about how extraordinary the changes have been in the last century, and how change is only accelerating, it definitely makes me curious as to the future."

"Have you ever cried during a movie?" I wondered.

"Have I! I’ve cried during commercials." She grinned. "I used to get really sappy and teary around PMS time, you know? So, really, the right commercial could get me."

She's from New York, originally, so her favorite pizza is real New York pizza. She told me that when she first moved to Ohio, she found the pizza sort of laughable, but she's come to really enjoy it.

"Early in our time here, I had stopped at a pizza place with a bunch of kids—not only my own five, but we had friends along. I wanted to know how much pizza to order, so I asked how many slices came in a pie. The guy could not understand my question—turns out they don’t 'slice' their pizzas, but they cut them into little squares," she shared with me. "Another time when I said I wanted to order a pie, the woman thought I meant a fruit pie! (In NY, we always ordered pizza ‘pies.’) "

Finally, I asked, "What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?"

She smiled and said, "Hmm, something like, ‘So how does it feel to be a million-copy selling author?’"

You can keep up with Linore on her website,

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