For today’s stop on her virtual tour for her latest release, The Memory House, Linda Goodnight answers a few questions about the novel, her writing process and what she enjoys doing in her downtime.
What made you choose to set the book in Tennessee?
My early intention was to set the book in Oklahoma but as I researched and planned the story, the American south became the logical place because I knew I wanted a bed and breakfast inn and I thought those in the south were the prettiest! I also want a truly southern setting, and as I developed the story, the Civil War portion began to form, and I knew I had to go farther south than Oklahoma, which was Indian Territory during that time. I considered Georgia, but in the end chose Tennessee because I know it better and because it played such a pivotal role in the Civil War.
What were some of the challenges of writing a time-slip novel?
Writing the time-slip proved more challenging than I expected. When I tried to write it all together, alternating the contemporary and the historical, I stalled out. The historical story required a different, more formal, tone and voice, and therefore, the writing was completely different from the contemporary. Once I realized this, I decided to write the historical story from beginning to end first which allowed me to remain in character and voice, and then write the contemporary portion. After both stories were in rough draft form, I wove the threads together, making changes as I went so that the two stories gradually meld and complement each other. But yes, it was hard!
The truth is, I didn’t start out with the intention of writing time-slip,-I’d never even heard of time-slip! And I certainly didn’t plan to write about the Civil War, which isn’t a particularly popular topic in today’s novels. But that’s the story that came to me.
In the story, Eli Donovan is a man trying to overcome his past and start fresh. In the beginning, he’s a broken shell of a man, and yet, you say he was one of your favorite characters. Tell us about him.
I really like writing flawed people who mess up because, don’t we all at some point? Eli was a picture of the adage, “How far the mighty have fallen.” He’d ruined his life, had faced deep humiliation and rejection, all because of his own bad choices, and felt hopeless to mend the bridges he’d burned in his years of self-destruction. Watching Eli fight his tendency to hide and seeing him slowly come to life because of Alex and Julia, was very rewarding.
Can you speak a bit about your writing process? Do you write every day? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?
Writing books is my career, and as with most jobs, I go to work every day, at least five days a week. Depending on where I am on deadlines, I set a certain number of pages to write each day and I stay at the computer until I meet that goal.
With my early books, I was purely a seat of the pants writer, but I’ve learned that a little planning really makes a big difference in how many rewrites I have. Today, I work from a very loose outline with major points spread along a plotting circle as a guideline. Often, I change direction or add and subtract things, but an outline (in erasable pencil) helps me stay focused on the big picture.
How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?
This won’t come as any surprise, but I spend most of my extra time with family. We do things together. Right now, we’re remodeling a second house. I also enjoy reading, light gardening, travel and baking things I shouldn’t eat.
Title: The Memory House by Linda Goodnight
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight welcomes you to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, and a house that’s rich with secrets and brimming with sweet possibilities
Memories of motherhood and marriage are fresh for Julia Presley—though tragedy took away both years ago. Finding comfort in the routine of running the Peach Orchard Inn, she lets the historic, mysterious place fill the voids of love and family. No more pleasure of a man’s gentle kiss. No more joy in hearing a child call her Mommy. Life is calm, unchanging…until a stranger with a young boy and soul-deep secrets shows up in her Tennessee town and disrupts the loneliness of her world.
Julia suspects there’s more to Eli Donovan’s past than his motherless son, Alex. There’s a reason he’s chasing redemption and bent on earning it with a new beginning in Honey Ridge. Offering the guarded man work renovating the inn, she glimpses someone who—like her—has a heart in need of restoration. But with the chance discovery of a dusty stack of love letters buried within the lining of an old trunk, the long-dead ghosts of a Civil War romance envelop Julia and Eli, connecting them to the inn’s violent history and challenging them both to risk facing yesterday’s darkness for a future bright with hope and healing.
Read my review HERE.
New York Times and USA Today bestseller, Linda Goodnight, writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her stories of hope have won the RITA , the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards.
A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.
Follow the rest of the tour HERE.