Name – Linda S Rice
Age – 64
Where are you from – Mount Laguna, California, USA (just east of San Diego)
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Married, retired from the banking industry to write full-time, attended San Diego State University, love to walk/hike, cook/bake, avid Beatle fan, mother to four cats, former ballerina.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Just finished writing the 5th and final book in a series and am working on the cover design and editing. Attended LA Times Festival of Books as a signing author with Romance Writers of America on April 10th and will be a reader at the San Diego Main Library on May 28th for their “Love at the Library” event. (Love Between the Covers)
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been making up stories and writing since I was a young teen (and before). My friends all encouraged me to write out my stories and I had an English teacher, Mrs. Howland, when I was in 8th grade, who helped polish my work and gave me a ton of encouragement. When I was 12/13, I wrote my first “book” while in gym class on rainy days. I had rows of girls sitting on the benches in the locker room waiting for me to finish the next hand-written page and pass it down the row. When I got a typewriter for my 13th birthday, I was able to write more and faster. I still have the old Smith-Corona. But, to answer the second part of the question, I began writing because I didn’t have a choice. My head was just full of too much imagination and characters and stories to NOT write!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in high school. By that time, I literally had boxes of stories I’d either started and never finished or finished stories and poems. I was hoping to make a career of writing, but then reality hit me when I was in college and realized I wouldn’t be able to make a living doing it. I also met my husband and got married and my life changed drastically. I had to set writing aside to get a job. It was painful to give it up.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m not going to include the book I wrote when I was 12/13, but my first self-published book, “The Necklace – The Dusky Club, June 1962,” started as a joke between me and my best friend, from elementary school, Marsha. It was May, 2013, and we were driving from her house south of Dallas, Texas to see Paul McCartney in concert. In our teens, we were rabid Beatle fans and saw them three times in 1964, ’65 and ’66. Being the story-teller I was, I used to make up stories about us and the Beatles. Marsha’s favorite was George and I was obsessed with Paul. We would actually take turns with our stories. I’d make something up about Marsha and George, get to an exciting part, then say, “Your turn.” She would do the same with me and Paul. In our teens, we were very innocent, so our stories were as much adventure as romance, but we did do things like hold hands and kiss now and then. So, on the drive to Austin in 2013 to see Paul, I suggested we make up a new story…a “steamier” one…just to pass the time. When Marsha said, “But George is dead!” I instantly responded, “That’s okay…we can time-travel! Go back in time and meet them before they became famous and have torrid love affairs!” Marsha wasn’t very enthusiastic, so I started it off and by the time we got to Austin, I was well into the fantasy. When we got to our hotel room, I plugged in my laptop and started writing.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, I think I do. I tend to use dialogue to tell the story. I feel it brings my characters alive and makes them unique and unforgettable.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
At the end of book #1 (The Necklace – The Dusky Club, June 1962) my main female character, Susan, gives James, my main male character, her silver ballerina necklace as a token of her love. I didn’t think much about it or what I was going to do about a title for the book until I looked in the mirror and saw the silver ballerina necklace that I’ve been wearing most of my life. It was given to me on my 12th birthday by my grandfather. Since I knew I wanted to keep writing about James and Susan, I decided to use “The Necklace” as the title and to use it to link them together. It’s what ties them together in a mysterious and unknown way.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. In the first book, the message is that what you think you want isn’t always what you expect it to be. Susan travels back in time to meet James, who she’s loved her whole life but never met, and discovers he’s not the paragon she made him out to be. She realizes that what she has back in the future is better than anything she would have had with him. It’s like having a moral to the story. In the sequel books in the series, my message is darker in nature, but there is definitely a message.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The first book in the series totally relates to me, and the main character, Susan, IS me…well, until the fifth chapter or so. She kind of “morphs” into someone else and becomes her own person.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’ve always been an avid reader and huge fan of romance. I love the Regency era and the “alpha male” characters who spar with the rebellious female characters. It’s definitely influenced my writing. My favorite book is “The Mirror” by Marlys Millhiser, where I first experienced the novelty of time-travel. I’ve never had a mentor.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’ve always loved Georgette Heyer and have read most of her books more than once. I love the rich language she uses and the unforgettable characters she creates. My current favorite author is Amana Quick (Judith Ann Krentz). I love how she combines romance (some of it steamy but in good taste) with suspense.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My fellow Beatle fans on Facebook have been a huge support to me. Some of them are my “previewers” and give me a lot of encouragement and support. But my support has grown outside of Beatle fans to readers who love romance, erotica and the concept of time-travel. I also have readers who are intrigued about the idea of a 62-year-old woman traveling back in time in her 17-year-old body and the resulting conflicts she has between her 62-year-old brain and her 17-year-old hormones.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I can’t think of doing anything else now that I have four books under my belt with the fifth soon to be published. I have a zillion ideas for other series.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Maybe. As I continue to write, I feel that I’m getting better at it and when I go back and look at book #1 in the series, I feel that I could tweak it a bit to make it better.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes. I started keeping a diary when I was 10-years-old and I remember that the 5 lines of space I had to write on wasn’t enough. I always had too much to write about so I got a second diary where I could express more of my feelings and opinions. Then I started adding little snippets of stories I made up in my head. I was always a day dreamer and had imaginary friends so there was always something I wanted to write about.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
, “The Necklace – The Dusky Club, June 1962.”
The Sleeping Beauty Castle
The year was 1968 and Susan was sixteen years old. She’d come to Disneyland with her family, but as soon as they’d entered the gates, she waved goodbye to her mother, brother and grandparents, saying she’d meet up with them later at the ice cream parlor on Main Street. She scurried down the street and across the bridge to the Sleeping Beauty Castle before her mother had a chance to protest. She knew she’d later be in trouble for running off, but she didn’t care; she wanted to be alone and away from her family for at least part of the day.
The entrance to the Sleeping Beauty attraction was an obscure doorway that wasn’t well-marked and the attraction itself was infrequently visited. Inside the doorway, narrow stone steps led upward past the story scenes hidden behind glass windows. Various tunes from the movie played as the stairway ascended, but it was at the very top of the stairs where Susan wanted to be, where she felt was the very best place in all of Disneyland. The small, shadowy room contained a window to the largest and best scene of all, the forest scene where Briar Rose (Princess Aurora) meets her dream prince, Prince Phillip.
For four years now, Susan had been infatuated with a certain someone in a band, in fact, the most famous band of all time, who she’d seen in concert three times. James, one of the band members, had become her dream prince, saving her from her unstable mother’s verbal and physical abuse, and an uncle’s inappropriate and repulsive fondling.
James had become her safe haven, wrapping his arms around her in her dreams and telling her he loved her, that everything was going to be okay, that someday he would come and take her away to be with him forever.
Yes, it was just a dream, but it had become very real to her. When things got bad, she’d run to James, and he was always there for her, the one person she could always count on.
When she reached the top of the stairs in the castle, she sighed as she looked upon the idyllic scene laid out behind the glass, imagining that she was the princess and James was the prince. As had been the case every other time she’d been here, she was completely alone. She began singing along with the music to her favorite Sleeping Beauty song, “Once Upon A Dream.”
“I love you…you danced with me once upon a dream…When I saw you…the sparks in your eyes were so familiar to me…”
She closed her eyes for a moment, thinking of James and savoring the pleasurable and happy feelings coursing through her body, and turned in small circles around the room as she sang. She didn’t notice that someone else had come into the castle and was standing in the shadows at the top of the stairs watching her as she continued to sing and spin, her long, blonde hair flying around behind her.
“So I’m sure it’s true…that first love is rarely what it seems…but now I’m with you… I know what is true…You’ll hold me again…just as you did then…upon a dream…”
“Lovely,” said a voice out of the shadows. It sounded so familiar, it made her come to a sudden halt and freeze in place. “Will you sing it again for me?”
When she spun her head around and saw who was standing there, her eyes grew as big as the tea cup saucers in the Alice In Wonderland attraction. She was speechless and her knees felt as if they might buckle under her.
It was James. The real, live and in person, James.
How or why he was here, she didn’t know. Had she conjured him up from her imagination?
All she did know was that the sight of him took her breath away and made her heart feel as if it would pound out of her chest. She licked her lips thinking she would choke if she tried to say something. She blinked and closed her eyes for a moment, thinking he was just a vision, but when she opened them again, he was still there.
James moved forward out of the shadows, into the small room and smiled at her, the corners of his eyes crinkling in amusement, and she could see the amber highlights in them glinting in the half light.
“Cat got your tongue?” he asked teasingly.
All she could do was shake her head, but she finally managed to say, “No…you…you just startled me is all…” Her words were merely a whisper.
“So, will you sing me the song again?” he prodded.
“Oh, no! I can’t sing very well…I…I thought I was alone…and…” she stuttered.
“I thought you sang quite nicely. Please, will you sing it again?”
Susan was glad the room was so dark, as she was blushing crimson all the way from the roots of her golden blonde hair down to her toenails. She could feel the heat in her face.
He stepped closer until he was only a couple of feet away. “Please?” he said, raising his eyebrows.
She’d been holding her breath and let out a great exhale. For almost a full minute, she couldn’t think or speak as he continued to look at her imploringly.
“Well…I guess…” she finally managed.
She walked up to the glass and looked in at the scene, turning her back to him. She felt him come up behind her and was shaking at the thought that he might actually touch her. She knew that if he did, she would pass out on the floor right then and there. She took a deep breath and began to sing again.
As her trembling and unsteady voice faded on the last notes, he said, “That was very nice, thank you.”
She turned around to face him. “I’m sure you could sing it better…”
“Do you think so?”
“Well, of course I do!”
“So you know who I am?”
She gulped. “Uh…yeah…how could I not know?”
He laughed. “Well, if I’d left my disguise on, maybe you wouldn’t. That’s why I came here. That mustache and beard thing were getting all itchy. I was told that no one comes here very much.”
She laughed back. “You’re right; not many people know this is even here. That’s one reason I like it.”
“So, are you here alone then?”
“No. I came to Disneyland with my family, but this is my favorite place. I always come here first when we come to Disneyland. I told my mom I’d meet up with everyone later.”
“Do you come to Disneyland often?”
“Once or twice a year…We don’t live very far away.”
“And why is this your favorite place?”
She bit her lip and turned to look at the scene behind the window again. “I’ve just always loved the Sleeping Beauty story, I guess.”
“What do you like most about it?”
“Um…well…the falling in love part when he doesn’t know who she really is and she doesn’t know who he really is…and…and the end where he wakes her up with love’s first kiss…and when they’re dancing at the very end and two of the fairies keep changing her dress from pink to blue…”
“Ah…and what color does it end up being? Pink or blue?”
“Why, pink, of course!’
“I see…your favorite color maybe?”
“Maybe.” She leaned back into the glass window to brace herself because her legs were shaking so bad.
When he reached forward and took a lock of her hair between his fingers, she was sure she would faint. She inhaled sharply, her eyes flying to his and their eyes locked.
“Perhaps you’d be interested in taking a ride on the Monorail with me?” he asked.
“Yes, it goes all around the park, as you probably know, and it even makes a stop at the Disneyland Hotel. We could have a cup of coffee.”
She sucked in her breath. “You mean…leave the park?!”
“Just for a bit. Perhaps I could even sing to you…”
A weak “Oh” was all she could manage.
He let go of her hair, sensing he was making her nervous.
And, he knew full well he was making her nervous; he knew the effect he had on girls. They constantly chased him and just about threw themselves at his feet. Being in a band that was now world famous had its drawbacks, but having beautiful girls pining to be with him, was one of the bonuses.
He assessed the girl standing in front of him, knowing that his closeness was affecting her. Although it was rather dim in the room, he could still see she was one of the loveliest girls he’d ever encountered. She was just a few inches shorter than him, with a very trim yet shapely body. She wore a pink, sleeveless sun dress with a modest neckline, yet there was still a hint of cleavage peeking out at him from the top. Her tanned skin was flawless and her face and hair looked almost like the Sleeping Beauty character behind the glass window. He wanted to touch her skin as he had her soft and silky hair.
It was her eyes, however, that he found captivating. They were a deep emerald green with flecks of blue and gray floating in their depths. His thoughts shocked him for a moment. He was normally not so quickly captivated by a pretty face. Most of the time they all seemed the same to him.
But, he wanted to find out more about this girl for some reason…her name…her age…what she looked like outside the dimness of the room. It was as if the Sleeping Beauty castle had cast some kind of spell over him.
As if she could read his mind, Susan flinched and moved towards the other set of stairs leading down through the rest of the attraction to a second door that led out of the castle. She was more than nervous; she suddenly and unexpectedly felt panicked. Here was her dream prince right in front of her, asking her to leave Disneyland with him, and she was so unnerved and flustered that she could barely breathe.
The thought of spending more time with him, having him touch more than just her hair, sent terrified shivers down her spine.
She had to leave. She had to get out of the castle and away from him. She didn’t know why she was so frightened, but she began to shake uncontrollably before turning on her heel and racing from the room and down the stairs, hair flying behind her, as fast as her unstable legs could carry her.
Right before she reached the bottom, she glanced over through one of the windows and saw the scene with Prince Phillip waking up Princess Aurora with love’s first kiss. She choked on a sob and tears began to pour down her face.
As she passed the final window with the dancing scene and the flashing blue and pink lights changing Sleeping Beauty’s dress color, she heard footsteps behind her and knew it was James.
“Wait!” she heard him yell. “Where are you going?! What’s your name?”
But, by the time he reached the bottom of the stairs and stepped out into the bright sunlight, Susan was gone.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. I need peace and quiet to write and edit. Since my husband works from home most of the time, I’m often interrupted or have to try and block out the t.v. or his phone conversations. It’s hard to find a quiet space. And then, I DO get writer’s block from time to time. When that happens, I just forget about it for a few days and read a book or two. The inspiration always comes back. I don’t stress over it. My characters will often talk to me and tell me to get back at it.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. The female on the cover(s) is my husband’s business partner and the hands grabbing her are her boyfriends. I took the pictures with my iPhone then sent them to a friend who is really good with photo shop and she enhanced them for me. Then I sent them to Create Space (who is my publisher) and they added the cover title, my name and the border.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Ending it. I actually had more written, but Create Space (Amazon) recommended that I split it into two books because it was too long. That’s how I ended up with a series.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
This might not be the answer you’re looking for, but I learned that song lyrics are copyrighted, even though song titles aren’t, so I had to re-write the lyrics of all the songs I quoted in the book.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Ha, ha…obviously one of the Paul guys from one of the Beatle tribute bands like Rain or The Fab Four, for the main male character. For the female, not sure.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just led the words come out of your head onto the page and don’t stress about it. Understand that there is no right or wrong way to write. It’s an individual pursuit. Some people outline their work first and some people just start writing and let it flow. Find what works best for you. But above all, don’t stress over it. The more relaxed and comfortable you feel, the more the words and ideas will flow.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you and I love you all. Your encouragement and support are appreciated.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Secrets and Lies in El Salvador: Shelly’s Journey (A Novel Based on Real Events)” by fellow author, Sherrie Miranda. I’m also reading “Rose Cottage” by Mary Stewart. Just finished “Once a Princess” by Johanna Lindsey.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I can remember my favorite book from when I was young. It was “Carbonel, King of the Cats” by Barbara Sleigh. I loved that book and must have read it hundreds of times. I still have a copy and I still read it about once a year.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at myself when I do something stupid. I also laugh at funny cat videos. I cry at the plight of abandoned or abused animals. I also cry at the end of movies like “Sleeping Beauty” and at the end of the ballet, “Swan Lake.”
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Ummm…hmmm…maybe Paul McCartney? Why? Ummm…well…maybe I’d be amazed…he might not be the paragon I’ve made him out to be in my mind…
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Until we meet again…” because I don’t believe death means you’re gone. You just lose your physical body and move into the non-physical time/space reality where you continue to exist and where you can choose to come back.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love to walk/hike and I try to walk 3-5 miles every day. I also love to cook and am thinking about writing a cookbook to go with my “The Necklace” series. My main character, Susan, does a lot of cooking for James. I collect recipes and cookbooks.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much t.v. I would rather read, but sometimes I’ll watch “Saturday Night Live,” “Pawn Stars,” “New England Medium,” “American Pickers” or “The Daily Show.” My favorite movies are “Somewhere in Time,” “Big,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Overboard” and “Sleeping Beauty.” I don’t go to movie theaters very much.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love Mexican food and living just north of the Mexican border, get to enjoy a lot of it. I also make a lot of Italian food such as pasta sauce from scratch, Eggplant Parmesan, Alfredo Stuffed Shells, etc. I’m vegetarian. My favorite color is ballet pink (not just ANY pink!) Music – Beatles, Paul McCartney, any 60’s music. But, I also love classical, particularly Tchaikovsky.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A portrait painter or ballerina or maybe a chef.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
www.LindaSRice.com I’m just figuring out my blog.
My author page in Amazon with reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-S.-Rice/e/B00OHBMA74/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1460925307&sr=8-1
My Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/TheNecklaceLindaSice/
My Twitter page: https://twitter.com/LindainMtLaguna