The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Welcome Carina Press author, Lynette Hallberg!

Hi, Lynette! So nice to have you here for the next couple of days - this is the first time we've met so i'm looking forward to sitting down and having a nice chat. As it's early in the morning here, I'd better pour coffee. Next time, we'll schedule in the evening for a glass of wine - what do you think??

Coffee poured - let's get started!

1)    Did you set any goals for 2012?
As far as writing, my major goal was to have a new book published this year. I’ve had four published in the past two years, so it was important to me to keep the streak going. J Before that, I had a book published in 2000, then nothing until 2010. Believe me, that’s a long, long dry spell. But…I met my goal and have a new series coming out. The first book, Somebody Like You, will be released December 4, 2012.

My second goal for the year was really all about being kinder to myself. Once I start a project, I’m driven to get it finished. This means I don’t give myself very much slack. So I decided this year I’d set a page goal per day, five days a week. That lets me stop when I hit that count and do other things with a free conscience. The two days per week I take off can be weekends or any day something comes up—like lunch and a movie with the girls or a mani/pedi. I’m free to go without guilt. It really has given me a new sense of freedom with my writing. Sometimes I run my goal by the week. If I give myself a four-page-a-day goal, multiply that by five, I have to write twenty pages a week. Do I always stop when I hit my goal? Not very often. But the measuring tape is there, and I know I can if I want to.

2)    What is the best part of the writing process for you?
I love the prepping and planning. A brand new, never-been-used notebook to fill with ideas! It’s kind of like the beginning of the school-year when I was a kid or in college. It’s that whole of idea of what might be.

I keep a notebook for each story, along with charts of names used to make sure everybody in the book doesn’t have a name beginning with S or W and a calendar of events. I collect pictures that remind me of characters or scenes. In some ways, I’m not very linear because I see random scenes from the story in my head, so I put them in the computer, print them out, then arrange them in some semblance of order. My last step before writing is to take my white-board which is divided into thirty-five squares and jot down the pivotal scene(s) of each chapter.

3)    The worst part?
Oh, groan. The worst part, by far, is letting go of that book. No matter how many times I go through it, I find things that just aren’t quite right, a better word, a spot that needs tightening. The problem is that there has to come a time to cut those apron strings and shoo the child out the door, but it can be as hard as putting that kindergartener on the school bus the first morning.

4)    What is the book you wish you’d written?
I’d have to say South of Broad by Pat Conroy. What a writer! What a book! So rich in ambience and such emotional depth. Conroy creates characters and moments that you absolutely can’t forget—and don’t want to.

5)    Favourite author/s & book/s?
Nora Roberts is my all-time favorite. I adore her and love all her stories. Do heroes come any better than Tucker Longstreet in her Carnal Innocence? If so, I’m still looking. P.S. Roarke, in her JD Robb books, is no slouch, either!

I also love Lee Child with his Jack Reacher books, James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux, Diane Mott Davidson with her Goldy Shulz character, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  SEP’s Nobody’s Baby But Mine was the first of hers I read. It sure wasn’t the last. And I love Rachel Gibson’s hockey players. Nothing’s better than a tub full of bubbles, some quiet time, and a great book! ;)

6)    Tell us about your latest release?
My latest release is Just A Little White Lie from Carina Press.

Just a Little White Lie started with a question.  What would happen if an heiress/runaway bride, stranded on the side of the road, is picked up by a prodigal son/lawyer on his Harley?  And what if that lawyer is returning home because Grandma is, supposedly, on her death-bed and wants to see him married before she goes?  When Jake offers Lucy a ride on his Harley, he realizes she’s already got the dress and the ring, but no fiancĂ©.  What do they have to lose?  He’ll rescue her, then she can rescue him right back. But it’s not long before the spider’s web they’ve created starts to unravel. 

7)    Tease us with a blurb/short except

A single daisy bloomed between the curb and the sidewalk, its cheerful yellow-and-white head bobbing in the Gulf breeze. Hiking up her bridal gown’s skirt, Lucinda Darling stomped on the flower with her white satin stiletto.
“He loves me not, he loves me not, he loves me not.” She ground the flower farther into the dirt with each love me not.
The front door of the church flew open. Organ music drifted out, a prelude to the wedding march. Donald Kimball, hair disheveled, tux jacket and shirt unbuttoned, his shirttail hanging out, stood on the top step. “Lucinda, listen!”
“No! You listen to me. Come one step closer, and your head’s going the way of this daisy.”
“Donald?” Rebecca Hirsch stepped out into the sunshine. “You said—”
“Go back inside,” he growled.
“And while you’re in there, you might want to fix your dress.” Lucinda narrowed her eyes. “It’s inside-out.”
The door opened again, and her father joined the duo on the stairs. “What’s going on here?”
“That’s a question you might want to direct to my ex-fiancĂ©.”
“Ex?” The question exploded from both her snake-in-the-grass groom and her father.
“Always the drama queen,” Donald sneered. “This little snit-fit—”
“Snit-fit? You want to see a snit-fit?” She snatched up a wood chip from the mulch by her foot and sent it winging toward his head.

8)    What is your favourite attribute of the hero and heroine?
I like both to be strong and independent. They can stand by themselves when they need to but are both so much more when they’re together as a couple. I like humor. I like my heroine to be sassy and my hero to have some swagger—with an underlay of gentle. And he has to give good hugs! J

9)    What’s next?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked! I have a three-book deal with Grand Central for the Maverick Junction series. It takes place in Texas, and I’m having a ball with these cowboys! This series is being written under a pen name—Lynnette Austin.

Somebody Like You will be released December 4th and can be preordered through B&N and Amazon. Annelise Montjoy, socialite and oil heiress, rides her new Harley into town and runs smack into Cash Hardeman. Both have secrets—she’s searching for the illegitimate arm of her family to save her grandfather’s life; Cash will lose the ranch he loves if he doesn’t marry before his thirtieth birthday.

The second book, Nearest Thing to Heaven, finds Ty Rawlins, the widowed father of rambunctious triplets, at odds with Sophie London, Annelise’s cousin. In the third book, hometown girl, Maggie Sullivan, longs to escape to New York City’s fashion district. Designing Annelise’s wedding gown will be her golden ticket. At every turn, though, she bumps into Brawley Odell, her high school sweetheart. He’d left her for college and a career in Dallas. But, now, country right down to the tips of his cowboy boots, he’s returned, and he wants Maggie back.

10) Tell me where you write?
I’m incredibly lucky. I have a beautiful office on the top floor of our house in northern Georgia with a wall of windows overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.  On the deck outside, I have an old swing, bird feeders and bath. This is both a blessing and a curse because I swear I have intermittent ADD and on those days when it strikes, I find the birds far more intriguing than my computer. Watching the trees through the season is a constant reminder of Nature’s wonders.

When I’m not in Georgia, I have an office in our Naples, Florida condo. It’s sorely lacking the view, but I’ve painted it in soft pinks and browns and find it very soothing. It’s a great place to write.

11) Where would you like your career to be in 5 years?
I’d like to be writing one NYT Bestseller a year! J See? I’m not greedy. I could have said I want three or four a year.

12)        Where can we find you?
      Because I’m writing my new series as Lynnette Austin, I now have two websites.

So great getting to know you, Lynette and HUGE congrats on your success this year - Carina and Grand Central in one year can't be bad, lol! Also, happy to hear you share my love of Nora Roberts. She's my all time favorite too - I haven't read Carnal Innocence yet but I will now!

Over to you guy, Lynette is waiting to chat!! Comments??


  1. It's great to visit with you today, Rachel! And I'm so glad you put the coffee on. I can really use a cup. I'm doing the final edits on the second book in the Maverick Junction series. Fun!

  2. Hey Lynn, great chat with Rachel. As you know, I love all your work. You failed to mention that you have some great romantic suspenses written, one published.

    Now get back to work. LOL

    1. I did forget the romantic suspense, didn't I? Night Shadows--about a New Orleans fireman and a blues singer!
      Thanks, Joyce, and nice to see you here!

  3. Great interview and intriguing excerpt! I also decided to go easier this year with similar limits, but this was easier than I expected when I discovered Scrivener's 'project target' limit. I set my targets [also for 5 days of the week] and then I don't have to worry about it any more.

    Best of luck and congratulations.

  4. Hi, Maddy. Thanks so much for stopping by. Scrivener's project target limit. I'll have to check that out. The important thing, I guess, is to set those targets so we don't beat ourselves up for not writing constantly.
    Nice to "see" you!

  5. I love the excerpt and what an interesting question - What book do you wish you had written. Congrats on your contracts and best of luck, Lynnette!

  6. Thanks for being here, Lynette - tell us more about your romantic suspense. My favorite genre!

    You'll be live all day today too, enjoy :)

    Rachel x

  7. I'm so happy for you with your successes. They are well deserved for someone who has worked so long and hard. My writing process is very similar to yours with the plotting board and the daily writing goals. Best of luck with all your series. You go, girl!

  8. I like the hook on the excerpt because now I have to know what the groom "did" to tick the bride off.

    Secondly, you're writing spot in Georgia sounds fantastic. Would be a dream for me!

  9. The hero rides up on a motorcycle? NOW we're talking! LOL! Great post. Can't wait to read the book.

  10. Loved the interview, girls and I really enjoyed reading the excerpt from your book, definitely left me wanting to read more!

    Congrats on your upcoming releases!!!

  11. Great post, and what a gorgeous cover!