Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Writing what you know… - Linda Warren

I just returned from the RWA national conference in DC so I hope I make sense in this post. I had a great time and I’m still exhausted from all the fun. At Friday’s luncheon Eloisa James talked about writing what you know and how successful that was for her. It was a wonderful, moving speech and it rang a bell with me. I just finished a trilogy for Super Romance, The Belles of Texas. The stories involve three sisters trying to save a rundown ranch. I’ve written a lot of modern day cowboy books and I wanted to try something different and write about cowgirls.

To do this I drew upon my childhood and growing up in rural Texas. My parents raised cotton, corn and cattle. My dad was also the constable in our community and he drilled water wells so he was busy. My mom took care of the cattle. She knew every cow, calf and bull on the property. She knew when to cull the herd, when to sell calves and when to change pastures. So, yes, I thought I can write about cowgirls. A woman can do anything a man can, right? Maybe even better.

A lot of my childhood came out in these books. More than I’d planned. But I had fun and realized I hadn’t forgotten a thing about life on the ranch and how hard we all worked. The research was all in my head as were the emotions. Ms. James was right. My books were stronger because I lived a lot of it.

The trilogy starts with Caitlyn’s Prize (July ’09). When their father passes away, Caitlyn finds his enormous gambling debts have left the High Five ranch in dire straits. And to make matters worse, there’s a codicil to the will that states if the ranch is not showing a profit in six months it has to be sold to Judd Calhoun, a neighboring rancher and the man Caitlyn jilted fourteen years earlier.

Caitlyn is fighting mad. She calls her sisters home to inform them of the situation and to ask for their help to save High Five from Judd Calhoun. Since her sisters weren’t raised on the ranch, they don’t share her point of view. It’s the fight of Caitlyn’s life. She sets out to prove that she can run High Five as effectively as any man.

If you want to find out what happens, pick up Caitlyn’s Prize. It’s in stores now. It’s also part of Cowboy Country month for Super Romance.

The second book, Madison’s Children, comes out in October and the third, Skylar’s Outlaw, in January 2010. If you need a good read this summer, saddle up and head for Texas. The Belle sisters are waiting to entertain you.

So what’s your opinion? Do you believe personal experiences make a story stronger?


2009 RITA® Finalist TEXAS HEIR


EllenToo said...

I definitely believe an author's personal experience makes a story stronger because she/he knows first hand what they are writing about. Personal experience is better than research (not that research doesn't also bring a good story) But a reader's personal experience enhances the story even more because they can relate to it better. I will be looking forward to the rest of the Belles of Texas stories. I already have "Caitlyn's Prize" in my TBR pile calling me to read it.

Linda Warren said...

Hi Ellen Too,
I believe that, too. Personal experiences adds so much more depth to a story.
Thank you for picking up Caitlyn's Prize. I appreciate that.
It's graet seeing you here.

penney said...

Sounds good Linda I'm looking forward to reading them. Thanks for being here today,

Linda Warren said...

Hi Penney,
Thank you. I'm a little exhausted from the conference but I managed to get here. It's nice to see you here, too.

Estella said...

Personal experience is better than research, because you have lived it.

Linda Warren said...

Hi Estella,
As I sat listening to Ms. James I thought I've just done this with the Belle sisters' books. It was a light bulb moment. I was very happy with myself.
It was startling how much of my childhood came out in the books. It was a first for me and I hope readers enjoy them.
Thank you for stopping by.

housemouse88 said...

Hello Linda,

I so love your writing. I've been looking for "Caitlyn's Prize" but have been unsuccessful in finding it at my local Wal-mart. I hope it is there this weekend. Congrats on being a RITA finalist. I had my fingers crossed for you. I guess I should have crossed more body parts. LOL Have a great day.

Linda Warren said...

Hi Roberta,
I had the time of my life in DC and I'm not disappointed at all at not winning the Rita. I was just happy to be among those elite authors. It was indeed an honor.

Caitlyn's Prize should be in Wal-Mart. It's out here in Texas. I hope you can find it.
Thank you.

Pat Cochran said...

Just put the Belle Sisters on my
to be purchased list!

And I do believe that personal
experience is most important. An
author's life is one of his/her
best sources.

Pat Cochran

Linda Warren said...

Hi Pat,
Thank you so much. Hope you enjoy them.

Michele L. said...

Hi Linda,

My favorite stories are always the ones that the author writes about from their heart. I can tell from the style of writing, the emotions that the story conveys to me, and if I can feel the characters pain, definitely the author has put a lot of emotion into writing it.

I have read some stories that lack emotional depth which I feel is an important key element in writing.

Ooo...haven't read Caitlyn's Prize yet but have heard how great it is! It is definitely on my "To-Buy" list!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Mary said...

I don't write books but whenever or whatever you write if you have personal experience behind you, it really does make a difference.

Linda Warren said...

Hi Michele L,
Sometimes it's much easier to get those emotions into the story when you've lived it. I had tears in my eyes when I wrote the bull scene in Caitlyn's Prize. I remembered how sad that was when it happened many, many year ago.
Please let me know what you think of CP.

Linda Warren said...

Hi Mary,
Yes, it helps to have personal experience when writing. When I don't have the answers, I start bugging people who know. Research is fun, too, but true experiencce is priceless.