Linda, Welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Where did you get the idea for “Dear Heart”?
I awoke on the morning of my fortieth wedding anniversary thinking about all of the ups and downs my husband and I had survived, and about how love had changed for us as we weathered the bad times and the challenges of day-to-day living. Then, I began to wonder how life would have been if romantic love had lasted forever. The next thing I knew, I was sitting at my lap top, writing the first chapter of Dear Heart. Since I couldn’t see how romance could survive the daily assault of pressures and problems, I knew when I started that the main characters would be separated for a long period of time, but would ultimately get back together because, well, when I read a love story, I want there to be a happily ever after.
Where does Sweet Heart differ from Dear Heart?
Dear Heart is told from Deirdre’s point of view and Sweet Heart is told from Lee’s perspective, so right away, the voices of the narrators are different. Plus, Lee’s story is much more soulful and melancholy. That’s not to say that it’s sad or depressing, but Lee’s life without Deirdre is harder than hers without him, and you get a good sense of that in the book.
Was it as exciting to publish Sweet Heart as it was Dear Heart?
I was very excited and, frankly, relieved, that the rest of the story would be published, but there was a lot less hoopla surrounding the publication of Sweet Heart than there was DearHeart. I didn’t lose my mind and call everyone I knew, screaming, when Sweet Heart was accepted for publication and I didn’t have a big launch party for it. I just posted the news on social media and sent out emails to close friends and family, which was much more low-key.
How do you write through writer’s block?
I don’t sweat it. There’s always research to do, or another book to work on. And on those rare occasions when I’m mentally exhausted and the thought of opening my laptop makes me want to run screaming from the house, I don’t force it. I say, why torture yourself? Conventional wisdom is that writing in 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. But for me, writing is 100% about the inspiration, because when you’re inspired, you won’t have to break that much of a sweat. I’m not saying you won’t have to work, but the fact is that a truly inspired story will tell itself, while a story light on inspiration and heavy on perspiration will end up hopelessly contrived.
Do you have any advice for unpublished Writers?
More than anything else, believe in your story. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to dissuade you from writing it. Don’t let anyone convince you to self-publish if you believe you can place your book with an actual publisher. Don’t let anyone scare you about copyright issues or lawsuits. Don’t let anyone try to minimize what you’re doing. If the person you want most in the world to love it doesn’t want to read it, or the person you most want to share the experience with changes the subject every time you bring it up, shrug it off. It will be hard and it will break your heart, but don’t let it derail you. Believe in your story and believe in yourself.
DEAR HEART and SWEET HEART by Linda Lingle
Can love survive a nearly-forty-year separation? Can passion? And what happens to lovers who are separated for a life time? See how their destiny unfolds as the parted lovers dream about finding their way back to each other’s arms, and an unlikely guide emerges to light the path of their journey.
Deirdre Reid and Hartley (Lee) Tate feel an immediate attraction when they meet at the office where they will work together and fall in love. There is only one problem: they are married to others and Lee has four daughters to whom he is devoted.
For 15 months Deirdre and Lee carry on a passionate affair. Then Lee’s wife is offered a big promotion across the country. With his heart breaking, Lee leaves Deirdre in San Francisco and moves East with his family so his wife can advance her high-powered career.
Soon, unforeseen circumstances have Deirdre second-guessing her insistence on a clean break. She resists every impulse to fly to Lee’s side, but on the first anniversary of their parting, Deirdre grows increasingly regretful and melancholy. Then she receives a surprising Christmas present which sets in motion a 38-year ritual that, against all odds, keeps alive the love she shared with Lee.
Get Deirdre’s story on Amazon
Heartbroken and resentful, Lee has a difficult time adjusting to his life without Deirdre and struggles to settle in to his new surroundings. Knowing he made the only decision a father could make does little to lessen Lee’s profound sense of loss. Although he tries to be upbeat and optimistic for the sake of his daughters, in the dark and quiet of his lonely nights, Lee relives the fifteen heady months that he spent with Deirdre and gives free rein to the anguish and bitterness he feels because he was forced to leave her.
Then, his youngest daughter enlists Lee to help her find an elusive Christmas gift for her favorite teacher and everything changes.
As if guided by fate, Lee stumbles across a poignant reminder of his time with Deirdre and sets in motion the 38-year ritual that eased his heartbreak and sustained his hope for the future.
In this companion book to Dear Heart, we meet the people who populate Lee’s world, and learn the shocking secret he promised never to reveal.
Get Lee’s story on Amazon