After enjoying and reviewing The Country House Courtship , I am very pleased to offer this interview with author Linore Rose Burkard. She creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the Regency England era (circa 1800 - 1830). Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Season Ends ,The House in Grosvenor Square and, The Country House Courtship . Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency. Readers experience a romantic age, where England from the past comes alive and happy endings are possible for everyone!
Linore, Your tag line is "Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul". How did a girl from Queens, NY become enamored with the Regency era and come to write novels in that genre but with an inspirational twist?
By my twenties I had discovered Georgette Heyer (called the Queen of the Regency Romance) and then I re-discovered Jane Austen. Christian fiction was just starting to take off, and I kept hoping for a Christian regency to read, but it never materialized. I finally realized that if this book was going to be written, it would have to be by me! So, I wrote the book I wanted to read.
How has Jane Austen's work influenced yours? Who else has inspired your writing?
Austen shows that "romance" does not have to be seen as less literary than other genres, and that wit, taste and depth of character are as important as plot. Georgette Heyer, as I mentioned, was an influence; and beyond them, I suppose it is just that I always read a great deal, and really longed to fashion a story where the gospel was included, but to have it in there naturally, so that readers wouldn't feel preached to. I love all the James Herriot books, Dickens, the Brontes, and other English writers.
You graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Did you pursue that degree with the goal of becoming a novelist?
No, I wasn't confident enough to ever think I'd write novels and have them published. Writing was something I couldn't seem to get away from, but I never dreamed I'd succeed at it. I majored in English Lit. just because I love it!
What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I hope my readers will feel as though they've been transported to an amazing world of the past, with living characters and places so real they can almost reach out and touch them. I love it when readers write to me to say they just had a wonderful mini-vacation--reading my book! Some say they've had a spiritually encouraging journey while reading--and that means everything to me.
Any Regency romance is going to be compared to Jane Austen's novels ~ how are your books similar / different?
I don't think most regencies are written to be like Jane, and mine are no exception. I'm not competing with Jane Austen; I'm re-visiting the world she wrote about, though; and that is the similarity. When readers say my writing is "Austen-like", I take that as a huge compliment, but that's when I think it's wise not to believe my own press! (smile)
Do you have more Regency novels planned?
Right now I'm working on a regency time-travel that is dying to be a screenplay! I'm writing it as a novel, but little scenes creep in where, at their end, I actually type in "fade to black," before I realize what I've done. That's all I'm going to say about the new book for now, but readers can rest assured that it will be different enough to delight them, but similar in the sense that it's still me writing, it's still my voice.
How do the secrets of your characters come to life?
Slowly. Some writers can easily locate the secrets of their characters, but mine usually take time. I need time to discover their weak spots, their tender points, and their regrets. I have to often ask myself, "Why? Why is this character acting or saying what they do or say? Why are they the way they are? Their secrets lie in the answers to these questions.
You are married and have five children. How have you been able to strike a balance between your family and your writing career?
This is not something you can do once, and then rest in. People are always growing and changing, and as the needs of my family change, I have to change too. Early on, I only wrote when my kids were asleep or when my husband watched them for me. I believe my word from the Lord at that time was that family had to come first. They were my first ministry. As they got older, I found more windows of time to work in, but striking a balance is sometimes like walking a tightrope and other times making conscious choices. No one can do everything. I try to put people before things (emotional needs come first, before a clean house, for example); and I use lists, career goals, monthly goals and daily to-do lists to help me balance it all.
What insight can you offer to aspiring authors?
Dare to dream big, because God is big! Remember that your success never depends solely upon you; there's a bigger plan at work and if you stay plugged in to your Guide, He'll move you along it. But you must work hard, seek to improve your craft by learning from those ahead of you, listen to advice and criticism-and get on the web. Start a blog if you aren't ready for a website. Join the ACFW-The American Christian Fiction Writers (if you write fiction). Or the Writer's Guild. Or another professional organization of like-minded writers. Network, do conferences, and write, write, write.
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?
In general, I write more than I need and later have to cut back. I don't use a word count, but I may set a goal of one chapter a day or two chapters for a busy week. Other times, I don't think in terms of chapters at all, just events. I may break an event down into four scenes, say, and so my goal for that day will be to get the whole event on paper. In other words, finish the four scenes. Life changes so rapidly with the children, that for me, a hard and fast writing goal just wouldn't work. And, I focus on results, not time spent. Instead of, "Now I'll write for three hours," I say, "Now I'll have this or that happen to a character, or, 'I'll show a different side to this person." When I have accomplished that goal, no matter how long it took, I feel satisfied, and only then.
Thank you, so much, Linore, for offering your wisdom and advice!