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27 August 2012

Interview with Linda Hayes-Gibbs, author of My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

I'm delighted to welcome Linda HayesGibbs to my blog today to tell us about her writing and her books.

HL: Tell us a little more about yourself , with three things not many people know about you. 

I have three beautiful children that I adore. I am a devoted Christian and mother and grandmother. I was married four times but I have lived alone since the 90s. Well, my children are close by me and I have a parrot that talks a blue streak and a spoiled Pekingese that thinks she is the master. I am so grateful for all the blessings God has given me in my life.

I love the Regency period of England but have never visited England. I would love to do that someday. I lived in Saudi Arabia at Riyadh and Al Khobar. My Great great grandpa was Daniel Boone and I feel that wanderlust and would love to just travel. Of course next to travel is my imagination and writing. I am part Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Mohegan besides my Irish ( Joseph Ryan) roots from Tipperary, Ireland and Heinrick Ditmar (Tidmore) from Old Frankfurt, Germany my German roots. I do genealogy research and Anthropology. I am just a mixed up girl.
HL:  Funnily enough, I'm from the UK and always wanted to visit the US, I achieved my dream earlier this year.  I hope you do too! So tell the readers, what do you do for fun when not writing? 

I love to watch movies and swim. I read, of course, and I visit my children. I have to promote my books and that is a full time endeavor. I love to play cards with my children and I take photos of everything. I go to school functions. I used to teach and sometimes I sub. I also paint. HL: When did you start writing? I was very young when I wrote poetry. I even did a poetry thing for my high school newspaper about who was dating who and the best gossip but all in poetry rhyme. It was fun. I won some awards with it. “Who’s who of poetry, etc. I had amassed a great deal of my writing and then lost it when I moved. I published my first book of poetry at my daughter Beatrice’s insistence. I never thought it would get published. Then I just started writing romance and here I am.

HL: What comes first: the plot or the characters? 

My Character has to come first. He has to be a part of the story that makes it work. My characters interact and tell the story and they have to be the kind of person that makes the story believable. I start envisioning him or her and what would motivate them. I know there has to be a plot but my character has to believe in the plot too. I say okay, this fellow would want what kind of woman or this woman would be into this and not stand for this. It is hard to explain but yes, it is my character that I make up in my head that tells the story. I want to tie my angel stories together and the third book instead of being about a woman angel, this time; it will be a beautiful male angel. I think he will be the best angel ever.

HL: Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it 

“My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls” is a sweet fantasy about a young girl, who is secretly part angel. She has a life altering experience. She is weak and grows stronger everyday. It is her coming of age tale…She meets all kinds of scary things and overcomes them, vampires, ghosts, ghouls, and finally her love. All the men love her but she can choose only one. “Angel in My Heart, Devil in My Soul” is about a very horrible man that finally feels love for a creature so beautiful and angelic he is crushed under her spell. He is sent to kill her but finds he cannot. He must have her and he essentially kidnaps her and takes her to Scotland to wed. She is an angel with special powers, with temporary amnesia and is a match for him when her memory and powers return.

HL: If someone were to play one of your characters in a movie, which character and what actor would it be and why? 

In “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls”, I think Meg Ryan or Reese Witherspoon would play Pru. Antonio Banderas could play her vampire Frenchman. Gerald Butler could play the Scottish Ghost and his English twin brother. In, “Angel in My Heart, Devil in My Soul” I think Emilia Clarke from ‘Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen, would be a great Rachael or Kristen Stewart. John Monroe could be played by Antonio Banderas or Taylor Lautner from Twilight or Jason Statham as they could play a dark assassin.  

HL:  Have you a favourite actor/hunk?  If you’ve answered question 7 would this be the same guy?
 I must confess Jason Statham or Antonio are my heroes, of course I love Johnny Depp and there is just something I just love about Gerard Butler. He is so cute. 
HL:  Mmmmm, yes. good choices! What have you learned about writing since you were published that surprised you the most?  

Oh, my goodness, it is promotion. It is hard to promote your book. I thought when you wrote it that your job was over but that is not the case. Besides editing and rewriting or editing again there is so much work for your book. You must find ways to get your name and the name of your book out there to the public. It is not easy. Writing the book is the easy part. I am amazed at the kind of work our publisher does for us. I am exhausted just thinking about their schedules. Eternal Press is the greatest publisher. We all work together and help each other. It is like a big family. I have learned so much being a part of this organization.

HL:   I've found Promotion is the biggest bugbear with most writers!  :) What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

Yes, well, we learn from our mistakes or we do most of the time.  I try to let my characters write the book but you have to have a plot, a beginning, middle and an end.  There must be some form and function so imagination has to be toned down at least a little.

Sometimes I just have an idea and it takes off on its own but another time I have to think this part through and give it more structure and content.  You go back and fatten up the story.  I feel  like sometimes it is put together bone by bone, so then you have a skeleton put together and you add sinew and muscle and then you get to the meat and flesh it out a bit.  The finishing touches are the make up and you add that last.  It is hard to explain it but you feel like you have a new born baby when you get through and you think your job is done but now you have to raise it. Lol

HL: Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what kind of music – or do you find it distracts you? 

I watch TV, talk to my bird and sing. I love Christian Music and Mercy Me is a favorite of mine and country music. I am a Willie Nelson fan and Taylor Swift.

HL: Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them? 

Oh, yes, Eternal Press is a family of writers and we email each other and talk all the time. I have learned more about how to do so many things, like Twitter, and Linked and my new Author’s Facebook Page, my page, and reviews. I can’t tell you all the things because there are so many little stupid mistakes we make that we are not aware until someone tells you. I love being part of this community and Kim Richards, and Sally Franklin Christie, and Amanda Kelsey our cover artist. It is just such a great group of people and I admire them and love them all. The other authors are just as helpful and we are kind to each other and that helps.

HL: What is your personal definition of success? 

My personal definition of success, hmmm, let me see. I don’t gauge it by money. I think the most important thing in this life to have is love. The most important is love of God and the love of your family and friends. I am sorry to say I do not get out much and have few friends but I have my children and they are my life after my God. I really had passion for and loved one man in my life and he disappeared when he went to Viet Nam. My husbands were all loved differently. I do not think we ever love the same. It is always different. I had one great all consuming passion and I got out of that. That kind of love destroys you or was about to get me so I had to leave or be destroyed. I had another marriage that was comfortable and I enjoyed as a building relationship and my last love was sweet and kind. I don’t think I loved any the same. I wish I had more friends and I would feel more successful if I sold more books but success is inside of us. WE must feel that our life is a success to have success. It would be great to have my sales off the charts.

HL: What is your favourite source of inspiration?

  Oh, my granddaughter’s smile, or my grandson’s hugs are a favorite source. I see eternities in their eyes and find dreams to write. I look at nature or read a history book and I feel a connection and can start a story. I have sunsets that bring me to tears, so I guess everything inspires me. I am just so grateful to be alive and have been around to receive those smiles and hugs. I can read a passage of the Bible and start writing. They are all my favorite sources.

HL: Is there any advice, as a new writer, that you were either given, or wish you had been given?  

Write about what you know, about what you love, about what you read. Read, read, read, and then read some more. Read about what you want to write. I gobble up Regency Romances. I was told to have more structure and use more imagery. I don’t always listen to advice. Also, listen to reviews, these people know what they are talking about and can give you great insight into your mistakes. Use them to build a better story. Never let anyone keep you from writing, if you love it. I let others belittle my work and me and quit. I am lucky that my daughter told me to live my dream, I had told her years before the same thing so she encouraged me. She believed in me.

HL: What sort of research do you do for your books and what’s your favourite source of information. 

Okay, I do google things but I do research too. The thing I like about fantasy and paranormal is that you can make it up on your own. I let my imagination go crazy. When I do need facts instead of fiction. I use the library and the Internet to research. I did a lot of research on Napoleon and his last battle when I wrote, “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls.”

HL: If you were an animal, which one do you think you would be, and why? 

I would love to be a black panther or a black stallion horse. I love horses. Well, on the practical side I would love to be a timber wolf. They are family oriented and can take care of each other. Another animal would be a red tailed hawk. I love the way they soar out of sight and swoop down. They are all so beautiful. It is hard to chose just one but I guess I like the horse the best.

HL:  Oh, I'm a great horse lover too, and one of my own horses is black, although he's not a stallion anymore, that decision was taken before I had him but I understand he did sire some foals.  Sorry, I digress. Many authors relate their characters to people they know. Is this the case with your characters and do you see yourself in any of them

I do try and put my emotions into the picture of the characters. How would I react to this or that and would I do this? You can see other people’s personalities that you know in your family or friends in some of your characters but sometimes there is a character that you have never been around and would know nothing about their feelings. You again have to use your imagination. It is not easy to imagine the mind of a killer but you think what it must be like to be them. You take a person you think might could be like this fellow and let your mind roam.

HL: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

My favorite in “My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls” is Pru, some people say she is too surgery but she is part angel so she is sugary and innocent but she learns and by the end of the story she has grown a lot. In “Angel in My Heart, Devil in My Soul” I like the killer. He is a tortured soul and he learns a great deal. I like my characters to become more than they were.

HL: Who is your most favorite character of all time from any book?  

Anthony Mallory in “Tender Rebel” by Johanna Lindsey. He is the ultimate rake and my fantasy for a real man. I just love him to pieces. I have to make one of my characters as good as him, he was just mouthwateringly lovely.

HL: Is there a question you really, really wish someone would ask, but they never do? If so what would be your reply? 

I guess I would like to ask what a reader is looking for in a romance story? I want to fill their fantasies but I am not into erotic as much as good sweet stories. I want to show that good vs evil and good wins again. It is not being shown in most of the stories today and I feel that we must still have dreams that are good and stories that make us feel better about ourselves.

HL: Thank you so much for taking time to visit my blog, it’s been a thrill having you here and learning more about you and your writing. I wish you much success now and in the future.

You can contact Linda at:

 Bio Linda Hays-Gibbs has a vivid imagination that always got her into trouble. She loved to make up stories and told a few to her neighbors. One time she told a teacher that her mean old stepmother kept her hidden in the attic and wouldn’t let her go because she had her doing all the work. The teacher came to the house and confronted the mother. Needless to say, Linda had no stepmother and she never did any work. She was six and quite spoiled. She had just read the story of” Cinderella” and it transformed her world. She was appropriately punished but it did not stop her from making up more stories.

She got into trouble with her cousin when she used the premise of “Tom Sawyer” on painting the front porch. Her cousin being convinced, by Linda that painting the porch was the most fun in heaven; traded her Popsicle for the honor of painting it for Linda. When she found out that it was not that much fun she chased Linda around the house with the paintbrush beating her in the head with it. Her aunt thought it a most appropriate punishment for Linda.

Linda told her other aunt that she left her cousins in quick sand and their fate was sealed one afternoon. The aunt went hysterical and searched for her two children among the mud in the park. They were up to their knees in it but quite safe. Linda got a paddling for that. In high school her Latin translations were the best part of Latin class as they kept everyone laughing. The teacher said he had never had more fun. Linda read “Pride and Prejudice and was transformed. She wanted to write like that and she has been writing ever since, although only recently published. Linda has a closet full of stories that she hopes to promote in the future

"My Angel, My Light as Darkness Falls by Linda Hays-Gibbs is a delightful mix of regency romance, paranormal thriller, humor and adventure.

Pru is an orphan whose only close family member is her twin brother, Michael, the Earl of White. When Michael joins the army to fight Napoleon's troops, Pru's Scottish admirer promises to watch out for him, but nothing goes as planned. From a sparkling ballroom to the agony of a battlefield, an across the sea to a curiously lively deserted house, Pru despairs, gains independence, is hassled by an amorous ghost, reassured by an angel, guarded by a bereft dog and finally... well, if you're like me, you'll be smiling all over your face by the end. I heartily recommend My Angel for those jaded by the kind of story where nothing seems to happen. Lots and lots happens in My Angel and Pru is a charming heroine. My Angel My Light as Darkness Falls is published by Eternal Press. It is available from various on-line retailers or directly from the publishers By S (Latrobe, Australia)

This review is from: My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls (Kindle Edition) The battlefields rob innocent young Pru of her beloved twin, her Scottish admirer and her future. One day she is a young lady enjoying a ball; all too soon after she is wandering through the carnage seeking two bodies among the multitude. But she is not alone. A great dog howls a dirge, and a half-crazed Frenchman watches Pru with hungry fascination. In the aftermath, Pru returns to a home that is no longer hers, and then moves on to a deserted house. With Knight, the dog whom she has adopted, she tries to overcome her nightmares but again she is not alone. This sounds as if the story is one of unrelenting misery, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once Pru is over the initial shock and horror, she is a resourceful young woman and she really needs to be. What with the protective Knight, an amorous ghost, assorted demons, vampires and the eponymous angel to deal with, the arrival of a flesh-and-blood Scot is just one more thing. And then there's the Frenchman in Pru's c-- (shhh, that's a spoiler!) Parts of this story made me laugh out loud. It is exquisitely funny in places, and oh-so-sad in others. It never fails to hold my interest. Linda Hays-Gibbs's mind-world is an enchanted and enchanting place. (So, what's the genre? Um... sensual Gothic romance horror comedy Regency will do for starters...)

On the eve of the battle of Waterloo, Lady Pru was led out to the ballroom by her fraternal twin brother Michael David Densington White, sixth Earl of White. Even though Pru had not been formerly brought out yet, the stress of being shut up waiting for Bonaparte’s army to initiate the battle led to those waiting to let off steam, find joy and celebrate before the battle. Michael, ever protective did not like the attention Pru was getting from his friend Fearghass MacDonald, the Duke of Somerled but allowed Fearghass one dance with his sister, one dance and one stolen kiss that was enough for Fearghass to proclaim he wished to make Pru his Duchess once the battle was over. When the battle ended and Michael did not return for her, Pru could not be persuaded to leave until she found Michael and went to the battlefield, a sea of blood and carnage where she walked, stumbled and searched for her brother’s body. When found just before nightfall, she sank down and cradled her brothers body and screamed and raged throughout the night. However, a French soldier saw her and rather than flee as he should have – as the night grew colder he drew her into his arms as she finally slept – keeping Pru warm and safe from the evil that stalked the night.

This short novella was a most unusual paranormal regency romance with vampires and ghosts. I picked this up on a whim, because of the mention of ghosts and found it to be an utterly and totally engrossing story. The title of My Angel, My Light, As Darkness Falls was unusual to say the least but from the first few pages I was hooked. Pru and her brother were orphaned and being twins they had a special bond – the author put that to excellent use in later showing how much love there was between the two. Describing Pru’s heartache and devastation so extreme for a young girl who had never had to fend for herself. Michael had protected and provided for her every need. Pru was delicate, dainty and so beautiful it took most peoples breath away – beautiful and pure. With this in mind the author was able to portray, how such a fragile young woman survived, with the help of a few new friends, including a devoted heart-sick French soldier; a huge protective dog; a confused ghost; and help from the great beyond as goodness versus evil in a most wonderful and provocative tale with an ending I found to be FANTASTIC. Talk about a nice twist! I don’t want to spoil the surprises of this marvelous tale by giving any more spoilers away, but the bottom line is that I was moved, emotionally and spiritually by the prose and beautiful imagery this author was able to convey. I strongly suggest and highly recommend that most readers of both historical and paranormal will find a lot to love in this beautifully rendered story. 
Marilyn Rondeau, for www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com

 My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

 “What I said to your brother, lassie, was true. You are the sweetest flower here, and so tiny. I thought you were a dream when I saw you. Your brother looks a lot like you. Do ye be twins?”
“Well, this be a real funny coincidence. I have a twin too. We are like two peas in a pod, lassie.” He laughed and Prudence lost her heart. His smile radiated with a white brilliance and was so real, especially when she saw the twin dimples in his handsome cheeks. The dance was coming to a close and Fearghass steered his catch into the doors that led to the balcony. Pru had no time to protest before he had her hidden behind the door and took her into his arms. She saw his mouth descending to hers as if in slow motion and licked her lips. It was like a dream come true. His lips, hard and smooth, captured hers, stopping the chaos of her mind. Pru’s heart hammered wildly.

In Angel in My Heart, Devil in My Soul An assassin searches for the woman he is hired to kill but when he finds her, he cannot kill her. Her beauty astonishes him and he is left immobile. She captivates his heart and mind and lures him away from the devil with her magical powers. She has lost her memory and does not know she is an angel. She falls in love with this brutal man and is carried away to Scotland. When she finds her memory, the devil is in her house, literally and she must escape. Coming in November from Eternal Press 


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