Linda Hughes - Enthralling History, Captivating Mystery, and Epic Love

Linda Hughes - Enthralling History, Captivating Mystery, and Epic Love

When she was twelve years old, Linda wrote in her diary that she would be a “writter” when she grew up. Now, as a “writer,” she pens romantic women's fiction with historical romantic suspense, mysteries, and later-in-life romance. She is a #1 bestselling co-author and award-winning author.  As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Waking Innis Bree.

Please give us a short introduction to what Waking Innis Bree is about.

Waking Innis Bree is about putting your life back together after it's been shattered to pieces. With one setback after another, our heroine travels to Scotland and digs into her ancestry, learning that her forebears survived extraordinary odds and she can, too. Along the way, she discovers that true love is possible. In fact, she has to choose from three possibilities. All is not lost. All is never lost.


What inspired you to write about someone who is jilted at the altar?

Once upon a time, in real life, my intended at the time called off our wedding. Naturally, I was angry and hurt. But a female friend and I went on what was to have been my honeymoon. We had a great time. That taught me that if I keep going and don't let myself be destroyed, things can get better.

Tell us more about Innis Bree. What makes her tick?

Innis Bree is somewhat of an intellectual, a thirty-two-year-old college professor who learns that she needs to get out of her head and into her heart. She fantasizes about unbridled sexual attraction (especially with the fictional Jamie Fraser from Outlander) but has never experienced it - until going on her honeymoon to Scotland alone. She'd always been a bit afraid of wantoness, using her intellect to talk herself out it. When she lets go, however, she really lets go!

Did you always dream of becoming an author? And was there ever a specific moment where you realized that dream has become a reality?

When I was twelve I wrote in my diary that I would be a "writter" when I grew up. Ha. Life got busy and I had two long careers before finally coming into my own as the writer I've always wanted to be.


Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

Ah, we're letting the secrets out of the bag. I paint. Not well, but I enjoy it. I play the piano badly but love to sing along when no one is around. I was once a belly dancer, performing with a troupe and teaching belly dancing classes. I traveled to Greece, Turkey, and Egypt to study some of the best in the world. I loved that. I also used to do voice-over work for things like television ads. That was a great gig because with v/o you don't have to get dressed up or comb your hair or any such thing.

What did you have the most fun with when writing Waking Innis Bree?

Having her become aware of her uninhibited sexuality! She's a bit late to the party, so I worked her into it cautiously. But when she let go, I couldn't stop her. That was fun! I especially enjoyed having her try to figure out some things she'd heard about but didn't quite grasp. I had to think way back to when I was a young woman and people would talk about things having to do with sex that I didn't understand. I'd nod like I was in-the-know because I didn't want to look stupid. She does some of that.

What was your greatest challenge?

Vocabulary. I wanted to use enough Scottish lingo so that readers know they're in Scotland. But there needed to be a balance between some of that and standard English so it would still be an easy read. There are hundreds of fabulous Scottish words and phrases to use. I selected what I felt are the most common and easiest to grasp. Also, there's a Scottish ghost from three-hundred years ago, so his language needed to be even more traditional (but not so much that it wouldn't be understandable). I researched, watched lots of videos (like Andy the Highlander on Facebook) and TV shows (like Outlander), talked to my Scottish author friend Doug Godsman (who edited the book for language), and did a lot of reading. As you can guess, that was a challenge but a lot of fun, too. Writing is a great excuse to have a good time.

Why did you pick Scotland Highlands as the backdrop for this story?

My family research reveals that's where many of my ancestors came from. My DNA says I'm 46% Scottish, but I acquired a love or Scotland long before such science. I've visited there many times for work (in my former career as a seminar leader) and for pleasure. On one of my first pleasure trips, my husband and I got lost in the highlands and came upon a beautiful little loch with only one house on the shore. We stopped to ask for help with directions. The man invited us to stay there for the night. Then he disappeared. It was an idyllic setting - the lake in front of us and sheep-covered hills behind us, with a lush garden all around. It was a night out of a fairytale. I've gone back and tried many time to find it, to no avail. I think we were in Brigadoon.


Did you plot out the entire story before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?

I always sorta have a plot in mind - usually I know where I want a story to end up - but then it takes on a life of its own. The characters take me on some amazing journeys I don't foresee. I'm as surprised as the readers.

How do you manage to make your characters so relatable?

My main characters are lovable in spite of their imperfections and mistakes. Real-life flaws are the key. Not nasty, but things they strive to overcome. Like Innis Bree's academic headiness that masks her feelings. In other stories, it's been money or jealousy or naivete. Sometimes instead, however, they come to accept their "flaws" as comfortable, quirky parts of their being.


When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?

Stop fussing around and sit down to write. I've usually thought about the beginning for so long, it comes out all done.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

Up at six. Clean up, do a bit of yoga, eat something, walk the dogs while listening to my writer friends on Clubhouse, then come in and sit down to write. I take a break every fifty minutes or so to stretch and exercise. I take an official lunch break - so many years of other jobs drilled that habit into me - then come back to work some more. My writing companions are my cat and two dogs. I love to print out my day's work and casually look it over on paper in the evening. My hubby gets in on the plot then, and we often have fun with it.


What are you working on right now?

I'm working on the second in a trilogy of Christmas novellas, The Promise of Christmas Present. The first is The Promise of Christmas Past. Can you guess what the third will be? Lol. They're set on Mackinac Island, another of my favorite places. I'm a native Michigander - although I don't live there anymore - and I visit the island every summer. USA Today voted it 2023's Best Vacation Island in the country and it is. This is my fourth book set there.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?


Thank you for this interview. It's been fun. As you can guess, it's given me a little break from the novella. Back to work! I appreciate your time and interest. I hope to see you soon on my social media. Happy reading, my friends.

Waking Innis Bree
Linda Hughes

When Innis Bree MacIntye is jilted at the altar, she finds herself alone in Scotland on her honeymoon. Some honeymoon! But when three men vie for her affections, it bolsters her confidence to find love again. Which man should it be? The denonair billionaire, the grumpy sheep farmer, or the swarthy ghost? Escape to the highlands of Scotland with Innis Bree to find love.

A.L. Hawke - Paranormal Romantic Urban Fantasy With Spunk
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