Hi, Linda. It’s great to have you with us today and I can’t wait to find out more about you and about WILLARD MANOR—your first historical fiction novel. I’ve just finished reading it and thoroughly enjoyed taking a trip across American history through the ‘eyes’ of the manor!
Here’s what one reviewer had to say:
This was a great book to read and kept my interest throughout the entire story. It starts out quietly and simply, but picks up speed as you are introduced to a number of characters as new owners. It is a wholesome book and feeds your soul in a positive manner. This book leaves you wanting even more stories about Willard Manor. ~ DJ Tefl
Tell us a little about yourself, Linda.
I’m a born and bred New Englander. I spent thirty years in Connecticut which is the setting for Willard Manor. I have two daughters and a son, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. My husband passed away in December 2014. I have lived in Vermont, Connecticut, California, and now North Carolina. I like to read, write, travel and watch the bluebirds, cardinals, and deer that visit my backyard.
How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?
I’ve been writing for forty years and have accumulated a drawer full of rejection slips. My first book, The Devil Wore Plaid, was published by iUniverse in 2001. I came alive when I joined, and later presided over, a read and critique group in California. Their support and encouragement gave rise to a few more books. I am now president of my local read and critique group which I hope will grow and be a vehicle to encourage other writers.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of WILLARD MANOR?
Willard Manor is about a fictional house built in 1840 by John Willard, and the generations of his family that lived in the house for the next 170 years from the Civil War to the Woodstock festival, and beyond. One family, one faith, many generations. A young couple, Tony and Shelley Maguire, purchase the old, abandoned house in 2010. During the renovation process, they come across various artifacts that help them piece together the former occupants of the home.
What prompted you to switch from your usual genre and write historical fiction?
What prompted me to write this book? Up to this point, I had written mostly true accounts of various stages in my life. I took to heart, “Write what you know.” People in my r&c group suggested I try my hand at fiction. Voila! Out came Willard Manor.
Do you have a favorite line from the book?
One of my favorite scenes is this one:
Benjamin looked at Esther. “What do you think, old girl? Do you like it? This is a brand new 1908 Model T Ford automobile!”
“Well I never!” sputtered Esther. “Who would have thought that we’d actually own an automobile in our lifetime?”
Who is your favorite character and why?
My favorite character is Thomas, John Willard’s second son. Thomas is the quiet, thinking type. One day, as a young boy, he notices the seeds in an apple he’s eating and asks his mother if they would grow into a tree if he planted them. She suggests they find out, so Thomas carefully plants the seeds, then waters them every day. One day he sees a sprout and tenderly cares for his “apple tree” until he and the tree are grown. His one complaint is that the tree doesn’t produce any apples. Thomas follows his big brother, Jonathan, into the Civil War; his brother comes home but Thomas doesn’t. Shortly after Thomas is laid to rest in the backyard, his apple tree produces its first fruit. Thomas’ apple tree grows along with the family; both suffering setbacks and both strong enough to withstand any blows life gives them.
What was the hardest part about writing WILLARD MANOR?
The hardest (and yet fun) part of writing this book was the research. I studied how to demolish plaster and lath walls, how to install new windows, how to treat polio, and even how to grow marijuana. In addition, I had to research when the Willards would have gotten such modern conveniences as electricity, indoor plumbing, a telephone, television, etc. At one point, I had Ruth swoop up her little son and swing him around the kitchen like an airplane. Then I remembered it was 1900 and airplanes weren’t in vogue yet. Oops!
Do you do anything besides write?
Besides writing both books and my blog, I have a home-based business offering affordable legal plans to families and businesses. Both ventures keep me busy.
How can readers get a copy of your book?
To get a copy of Willard Manor, go to www.amazon.com. It’s available both in paperback and on Kindle.
What’s next for you?
What’s next? I’m nearly finished with my second novel, a prequel to Willard Manor. It’s the story of Shelley’s father, Mark, as a young boy. Shelley’s grandfather is shot in a mass shooting when Mark is nine and Mark is left to grow up without the guidance and support of his father. He has to come to terms with how his father’s death affects him and the decisions he makes on his road to manhood. The book is called, Leaving Mark. Like Willard Manor, I plan to self-publish this through CreateSpace.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been fun.
It’s been delightful having you, Linda.
DEAR READERS: Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Linda Loegel and I would love to hear from you. Just drop us a note in the comment section below. ~ Bette A. Stevens
Visit author Linda Loegel:
- Linda’s Blog
- Amazon (Where you’ll find out more about author Linda Loegel and check out her great books)