I’m excited to continue this year on the CRAFT OF WRITING blog by focusing on authors who write series. We’ve had some wonderful guests so far this year, and this month’s guest, Linore Rose Burkard, is continuing that trend.
Linore has written many novels, including three series, and she has a wealth of information and advice for the rest of us. Here are the two books in her latest series:
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Once again, we’re doing something fun for this interview. The name of each person who enters a comment will be put into the drawing for a unique “Beginning of Time” pen, hand-crafted by my friend and colleague Steve Hooley. So join the conversation and earn a chance to win. I’ll post the name of the winner after 9PM Central Time tonight.
(Former winners are excluded from the drawing, but not from commenting!)
What happens when you combine Regency Romance with Time Travel? An interview with Linore Burkard about her series, and a chance to win the beautiful Beginning of Time pen. Click To Tweet
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Welcome to the Craft of Writing blog, Linore, and thank you for joining us!
My pleasure, Kay, thanks for having me.
When did you start writing, and what was your first published work?
I started writing a novel at age 9, but after I’d written about 13 chapters, I realized I was basically copying (with me as the protagonist) the story from My Side of the Mountain, which I had read and just adored. Thus ended that project! (It’s not a bad idea for young writers to do this, though. All writing is good practice.) I didn’t return to novel writing until much later but dabbled in short stories and poems all through my teens and into college. It wasn’t until I had three of my five kids that I finally wrote my first novel, and in 2008 Harvest House picked it up after I’d self-published it. (Before the Season Ends). I had waited years for someone to write an Inspirational Regency and finally decided I’d have to do it myself. I’m honored to say, it was the first of its kind on the market.
What was your first series, and why did you decide to write it?
After Harvest House published the first book, to my delight, they asked if I had a sequel, and were open to me writing two, so I did. The Regency Trilogy, as we call it, was born. The takeaway from that is that you don’t always have to know in advance that you’re going to do a series, particularly in light-hearted romance.
Can you tell us about the other series you’ve written?
The YA/Suspense trilogy, The Pulse Effex Series, is about the aftermath in a grid-down world (when the electric grid goes down due to an electromagnetic pulse.). It shows how three teens and their very different families survive in this dark and scary world. It was a perfect way to show the difference between coping mechanisms and outcomes, for one family is very wealthy but non-religious; one is Christian, homeschoolers on a farmstead; and one is nominally religious, living in an apartment. The series is gritty and suspenseful, so I used my initials and last name (L.R. Burkard) instead of my full name in order to warn my readers. I didn’t want to horrify those expecting sweet historical romance!
Another trilogy, The Brides of Mayfair, is clean Regency romance, but not overtly Christian. With this series, I was trying to reach the secular audience of fans of the genre in the hope they’d go on to read my Christian books. Each of the brides’ stories are humorous and fun and I always try to hit all the earmarks of the true Regency.
My last series (Forever in Time) is Regency Time Travel Romance, and thus far has only two books. The second book, Forever Lovely, comes out on November 28! Like all my regencies, the emphasis is on good, clean fun but with the added element of time travel I was able to contrast the era with today’s life and culture in very humorous ways.
You’ve written both regency romance and suspense novels. How did you get interested in two such different genres? How does your approach to writing differ in each genre?
I really enjoyed reading Georgette Heyer, Emily Hendrickson, Marion Chesney, and other traditional (clean) Regency writers. I loved the era, the language, costume, atmosphere and the banter between heroes and heroines. But the books lacked the inspirational elements of Christian fiction, so I dove headlong into researching. Once I felt I’d mastered enough of it, I started my first novel, always striving to include all the fun and atmosphere that I enjoy so much myself, but with a Christian worldview.
As for the suspense trilogy, I had read an article about a space object that came within a hair of hitting the earth (in space terms, that is) and would have caused a massive EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that would have shut down the grid for large parts of the world. I wondered, what if it had hit? How would we survive? That started a wholly different type of research as I learned what would happen, how people might survive by preparing beforehand, but more than anything, I was struck by how many people would NOT be prepared. Really, I saw my book as a wake-up call to the church. Because it’s not science fiction—an EMP could happen, either from a space event, or a terrorists’ bomb or war, and most people are not ready. To write that series I had to dig in to my past as a teen, but I didn’t find that difficult. I was asked once how I wrote teens so well and I said it was due to never having grown up! (I was joking, but I suspect it’s true.) Readers interested in EMPs or the series can see more at https://www.linoreburkard.com/pulse-effex-trilogy
How do you handle the situation where a reader jumps into the middle of a series without reading the first book?
This is probably the trickiest part of writing sequels. The first chapter has to contain enough information to get them grounded in the story quickly while letting them know past events happened that brought us where we are. It’s a matter of interspersing little bits of the past while the narrator (protagonist) is still engaging with the present. If nothing else, this is why writing is an art and not a science. It must be done lightly enough not to befuddle or frustrate the new reader, while still acknowledging what’s happened for those who read the earlier book(s). (I like to think I did this particularly well in book two of the Pulse Effex, Resilience: Into the Dark. ) First chapters, in my opinion, are the most difficult to get right in any book, much less a sequel. They’re easy to write in the beginning, but when you go back after the writing’s done, the real work on them starts. If a writer doesn’t have to rewrite chapter one a dozen times, at least in part, I would question whether it is as effective as it should be.
What advice would you give an author who’s considering writing a series?
If you know at the outset you’ve got a series in mind, I would suggest writing a rough outline for each book.I can never stick to an outline myself, but many writers find them really helpful. It could be as simple as Book one: “EVENT HAPPENS. FALLOUT. THEN THIS HAPPENS. FALLOUT.FINALLY THIS HAPPENS. CRISIS. SOLUTION OR TRAGEDY. CLOSURE (resolution) but something must be left open-ended for book two to resolve. This is for a continuing series that begins with the same event. My Brides of Mayfair series are all stand-alone stories. The similarity is that each protagonist is a bride-to-be living in Mayfair, which is the posh center of Regency upper class life. This type of series is fluid in that you can add as many books as you wish without having to continue one long story. If you decide after writing book one to make it a continuing-story series, you need to find the person or persons whose story hasn’t been completely told. Side characters in book one often make great protagonists for later books.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
For me, the question is, how do I write while I’m doing so many other things? (ha!) My family has always come first , I homeschooled my five kids for more than two decades, plus we have a house and property that need a great deal of attention. I often cooked from scratch while our five kids were growing up, and so meal planning and preparing was a big time drain. These days, I make simpler meals, but with my husband retired, I feel busier than ever. I do Spanish lessons daily for fun to improve my fluency, and I love word games, jigsaw puzzles, and reading. We spend a lot of time at church and in church activities, and I’ll drop just about anything to catch Masterpiece Theater historical dramas! I also attend two monthly writers’ groups, one of which I’m president of.( I recommend all writers join a local group. Zoom meetings are good and well, but in-person meetings are the most helpful.)
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
On my website or through my newsletter, as I keep readers up to date on new books, what I’m working on, sales, and giveaways. Readers can sign up here: https://www.LinoreBurkard.com/newsletter. And you’ll get a flash fiction Regency short story when you join the list. 😊
Thank you, Linore, for being with us today.
Thanks for letting me talk writing. Unlike me, it’s a subject that never grows old!
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Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award-winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first novel (Before the Season Ends) opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense (The Pulse Effex Series, as L.R. Burkard), and contemporary romance. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, two cats, a Shorkie, and more teapots than any single human should possess!What happens when you combine Regency Romance with Time Travel? An interview with Linore Burkard about her series, and a chance to win the beautiful Beginning of Time pen. Click To Tweet