Today I’m talking to Linda Carroll-Bradd, author of 51 short stories, novellas and novels in contemporary and historical romance. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series and her book Freedom’s Path was recently released.
What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?
The Little Red Hen. My mom said I knew if she skipped any words or turned the page too soon. She says I was reading. Looking back, I’m wondering if I had just memorized it.
What’s your favourite place to write?
My computer desk is set in a corner of an office I share with my husband. Very functional with my research books in 2 bookshelves to my left. When I need a break, I go upstairs and write in a notebook on a couch with a view of nearby mountains.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?
The story is often better in my head, and my job is to make it as close to that perfect story on the page.
What do you do when you feel stuck?
I either pick up a romance to read or I switch to another aspect of the project. If I’m creating pages, then I go back and edit, or I think of an upcoming scene and write the description for the setting.
Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.
Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason and Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross
What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?
For the past several years, I’ve participated in several multi-author series, and I like the framework provided. In this series, the framework is the inn and the town. Because I chose to set my story before the Civil War, I had to envision what was already established in the series bible and scale it back more than one hundred fifty years.
What was the inspiration behind Freedom’s Path?
Years ago (before I started writing), quilting was my hobby, and recently, I read a book that revealed how quilts were hung on fences or clotheslines to serve as signals to escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. Of course, people were the ones to choose the quilt to hang, a fact which helped me form the heroine.
Tell us about Freedom’s Path in 100 words or less.
Working at the Deerbourne Inn provides Sidonie Demers the perfect cover for helping on the Underground Railroad. The quilt patterns she selects direct escaping slaves to the safest route. The cause is personal for octoroon Sidonie whose mother and grandmother escaped bondage years earlier. Army Corporal Colin Crawford arrives in Willow Springs, disguised as a salesman, to locate abolitionist activity. Raised anti-slavery, he’s conflicted about upholding the Fugitive Slave Act but believes in fulfilling his duty. The attraction is irresistible, but what happens when their true identities are revealed?
Do you have an extract you can share with us?
As he waited for Kevyn’s footsteps to fade, Colin finished his tart. His mind whirled with a topic that he worried might be too forward. After a swallow of coffee, he angled his head and met her gaze. “I saw how you broke that man’s hold. Smart move.”
Eyes wide, she gasped, rested a hand on the table edge, and crouched next to the end. “Oh, please don’t tell Missus Deerbourne that I stomped on a guest’s foot.” Her dark brows drew together. “I’m not sure she’d view my action in the same way you do.”
Her response rankled. Wasn’t the innkeeper concerned for the safety of her workers? He wished he could offer comfort by covering her hand with his. “Can you not carry a small knife in a pocket to protect yourself?”
A laugh escaped as she shook her head then gripped the band of her hat and pulled it lower on her forehead. “Not an appropriate accessory for someone in my position.”
Colin disliked the idea of her being vulnerable to a man’s mauling. “The foot stomp can take a man by surprise, but often not for long enough to effect an escape. Might I demonstrate another move that guarantees a longer distraction?” He sorted through the various moves involved in his ranger tactical training for the one most effective to someone her size. Leverage was what was needed to counter a larger foe.
“I am eager to learn.” She set the tray on the table. “What do I have to do?”
Bracing both hands on the table, he pushed himself to a stand and took a couple steps away from the bench. “Walk toward me like you’re about to grab my arms.”
A blush rose in her cheeks, and she averted her gaze. “Oh, I couldn’t, Mister Crawford.”
Her modesty produced a chuckle. “Miss Demers, don’t worry. You won’t hurt me. Remember, you’re learning a new skill.”
After a nod, she stepped forward with her arms outstretched and fingers spread wide. “Like this?”
“Keep walking.” He balanced his weight on the balls of his feet. When she came within reach, he grabbed the thumb of her left hand and bent it backward.
“Ow.” She contorted her body, back arching in the opposite direction.
He knew her movements were instinctual, with her body acting on reflex to reduce the pressure. “See how you moved to get away from the pain.” He released his hold with reluctance, because he’d enjoyed the slide of her soft palm in his.
Where can readers find you online?
Thank you for stopping by Linda. I love historical tidbits, and your one about the quilt is a gem.