Friday, December 6, 2013

Oklahoma Author Linda Goodnight

Merry Christmas, Linda! Thanks for stopping by the Book Loft! Is there a story behind your new book Sugarplum Homecoming?

I love Christmas, so nearly every year I write a Christmas book.  This year, I thought it would be fun to create a twist on the bad boy theme and create a bad girl trying to overcome her past. What better time than Christmas-the season of the Redeemer’s birth-for lost and wounded souls to finally find their way? Since this is romance, I decided to pair her with the town good guy, a fun contrast to write.

Neat switch! What started you on your writing journey?

As clich√© as it sounds, I’ve always loved stories, loved to read, and dabbled in writing. Then a former neighbor began publishing romance novels and soon hit the NY Times list. As a girl from a very small town, I had never considered the possibility of doing anything with my writing, but she inspired me and I was off and running!

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? 

Lana Ross, the redeemed bad girl. Talented, smart, loving, but terribly damaged from all her mistakes and failures.  It was wonderful watching her come into her own, into who Christ meant her to be.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Summer’s in Oklahoma are miserably hot so when that first breeze of fall trickles in from the north, I am so ready! I love everything about autumn-the colors, football games, hoodies and sweats, bonfires, pumpkins and mums, but most of all the smell of the cooler air and the chance to enjoy being outside. We’re on the migration path for Monarch butterflies and I love when they land in my field in October.

We watched Monarchs migrate once. It was amazing! What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

Oklahoma is a friendly, laid-back state with lots of rural countryside-my favorite. And we’ve been blessedly recession proof!

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

Travel is a passion of mine and now that I’m retired from the day job, I plan to travel more. Last summer, I visited Ireland which is gorgeous. But so far, my favorite place is anywhere in the Rockies. Wyoming and Montana are incredibly beautiful. If you’ve never been to Glacier Park or Yellowstone, you would love them!

Hoping to make that trip next year. Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

Travel always inspires my work, but one place in particular helped me win a RITA award from Romance Writers of America. When I visited New Orleans, I was struck by the contrasts of beauty and debauchery and knew I would set a book there. A Touch of Grace was that book and this story of a street minister and a “barracuda” reporter out to prove him a shyster still holds a very special place in my heart. It’s still available on Kindle too!

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?

Now, we’re speaking my language! I love to cook.  I love to eat, too! My family sits down together for a meal every night, no matter what else is on our agenda. My personal favorite menu is southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, scratch biscuits, and fried fresh okra. Yes, I know that’s too much fried food, but it’s still my favorite. Any other fried chicken lovers out there?

For dessert, I’m crazy about—well, just about everything!  One recipe I bake often is this slightly different chocolate chip cookie. I frequently use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose and leave out the baking soda and salt.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or baking margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  •  1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (use spoon and sweep method to fill measuring cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pecans (optional, but I never leave them out)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and egg.
  3. Blend in flour, baking soda and salt until well mixed.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients. (Don’t even try not to eat the cookie dough. You can’t help it.)
  5. Drop by teaspoons on lightly sprayed cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes until slightly brown.
Yields about two dozen cookies.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

Themes arise organically for me. I don’t choose them. Most of the time I don’t know what the theme is until after the book is written. Sometimes I don’t even recognize it then, but my editor and my readers do. After forty plus books, I can look back and see that I write about healing and redemption more than anything. I think that’s a powerful thing in this crazy world where all of us need a little extra light and hope at times. I want readers to know they can rise above their heartaches and mistakes and thrive again.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

I am blessed to live on sixty acres which includes what I call a “tranquility trail” where I can walk and pray and be alone-except for my dogs, of course.

Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?   

With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
Two years ago my son was diagnosed with “incurable” stage four lung cancer. (No, he’s never smoked anything in his life!)  With man his condition is dire, but this verse gives me the power and promise to believe for the “impossible”. And while I’m here, I’ll be bold enough to ask all of you to please say a prayer for Travis.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

March, 2014, sees the release of book four in the Whisper Falls series from Love Inspired. The title is The Lawman’s Honor, the story of a former DEA agent who joins forces with a small town hair stylist to discover the truth about her late husband, a man he believes to have been a drug dealer. I hope you like it!

Connect with Linda Goodnight at:

Linda Goodnight is giving away a copy of Sugarplum Homecoming. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

[Note from Linda: I am giving away a copy of  my other Christmas release, The Gift of Christmas. This is an exciting project for me because one of my early novels is paired with one by Debbie Macomber! Both are Christian stories I think you’ll enjoy. Two for one, including the magnificent Debbie. I hope you win!]


sm said...

Sugarplum Homecoming! Love Christmas books and can't wait to read it. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

squiresj said...

Sure would like to win this. I would even review it so count me in.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Hello Linda. I am very sorry about your son and will add him to my prayer list. But you are right, as that scripture says nothing is impossible with GOD. I'm from a large family and GOD has given us many miracles through the years. I would love to win your Christmas books. Please add my name to the drawing Karen. Thanks! MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Deb Ragno said...

Thank you for the opportunity to receive two books.

I did not see a single monarch this summer. In the past I have hatched monarchs in my house for the grandkids to see but even though I checked a lot of milkweed, I did not find a single caterpillar. I'm glad you get to see them!

Please enter me to win the books. djragno [at] hotmail [dot] com

Patty said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway ladies! I love to read a good Christmas story. I've already read two Christmas novellas on my Kindle this week=)


HomePlace Gatherings said...

Yum! Fried chicken sounds yum. Haven't had it in a while. :(

Priviesandprims@yahoo dot (com)

Brittany said...

Linda, your stories are so enjoyable. Thanks for the chance to win them. I will be also praying for your son, Travis.
Brittany McEuen

Merry said...

I love how Linda seamlessly weaves spiritual themes into her stories. I always feel blessed after one of her wonderful books!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

sm said...

Bad girl and Good boy match up- I like that. Often we read the reverse. Love to win your Christmas book. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Patricia Bradley said...

Enjoyed getting to know Linda better. And I'll be praying for Travis.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

Susan P said...

Fun interview! Someday I hope to visit Ireland. Thanks for sharing and also sharing the cookie recipe!

Jackie McNutt said...

Linda, I will lift you and your family in prayer. I am so sorry you all are on this particular journey. My mother heart aches for you. This is a very hard road to walk on.
It was so nice to get to know you and your books.
Thank you. Praying you and your family have a Blessed Christmas.

Lane Hill House said...

Sugarplum Homecoming, The Gift of Christmas and the advance gift ~ a new recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies! Thank you. I hope I win your double-feature. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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