In 1963, Neil Vincent, a middle-aged World War II veteran and “Christian atheist” is working at Westfield Court as a chauffeur. He is in an ongoing casual relationship, but doesn’t want a commitment, and he spends most of his spare time reading. Mary Claire DeWinter is a young, blind, Catholic college student who arrives at Westfield Court when her grandfather is dying. To her shock, he leaves the estate to her in his will. To secure her inheritance, she has to marry within a year, and her aunt pressures her to marry a rich man who teased and bullied her when she was a child. Neil tries to help her chart her own path, even though he will lose his job if she doesn’t marry. Neil and Mary Claire shouldn’t even be friends, but the gulf between them is bridged by a shared love of books. Can they cross the bridge to more?
She wants to be friends. And he wants so much more.
Software engineer Reid Lucas loves to cook and has a history of falling in love with married women. When he leaves his complicated past in Chicago for a job in California, he runs into trouble and must call a virtual stranger to bail him out of jail. Alyssa Knight, a tough street cop waiting for a church annulment from her passive-aggressive husband, is the roommate of the woman Reid calls for help, and she reluctantly provides bail for Reid. He falls for her immediately, and cooking for her is an act of love. She just wants to be friends, but they keep ending up in bed together. When his boss is murdered, Reid is a suspect—or is he the intended target?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
As often happens, more than one idea was needed. I had been thinking about writing about a man who likes to cook, considered having a couple meet when the police officer heroine gives the hero a ticket (which is not quite how Reid and Alyssa meet), and wanted to write about sisters or roommates named Jane and Alyssa. Somehow it all came together when the plot was triggered by a “What if?” question raised by an entirely different story.
About Linda Griffin:
I am a native of San Diego and have a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I retired as fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library to spend more time on my writing. My stories have been published in numerous journals including, Eclectica, Thema Literary Review, The Binnacle, and The Nassau Review. Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking (2021) is my fourth romantic suspense novel from the Wild Rose Press, after Seventeen Days (2018), The Rebound Effect (2019), and Guilty Knowledge (2020).
What inspires you to write?
Most of my stories begin when two different ideas come together. The final spark that starts the words flowing is often an overheard question that goes unanswered or that I would answer differently. I then have to create a character to give my answer, and everything unfolds from there. The plot of Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking came from a what-if question in an entirely different story.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm mostly a seat of the pants writer. Sometimes I have an idea how the story will end, but sometimes I have to wait for the characters to take me there. I wrote the first two chapters of Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking without knowing a body would turn up in the third. Usually the only outlining I do is when I'm well into the story and need to keep the chronology straight. I scribble notes, sometimes including entire scenes, in a notebook, and then cross them out as I add them to the typed manuscript. I write when the characters talk to me, which unfortunately is often in the middle of the night.
How do you develop your characters?
Sometimes I have a general idea of the characters, but things start to get interesting when they talk to me and to each other. Virginia Woolf describes a novel in progress as a river flowing through the banks of real life, and sometimes bits of the bank break off and fall into the river, where they are transformed into something that fits the story. For me, many of those bits are physical characteristics or traits that become part of a character.
What authors inspire you?
My greatest influences early on were the historical novelist Elswyth Thane and my older sister, who also writes. Authors whose style or narrative successes give me something to shoot for include Sheri Joseph and Gillian Flynn. I've written several captivity stories and those were greatly influenced by the memoirs of Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, and Amanda Berry among others.
How do you keep going in the midst of distractions?
Most distractions don't bother me. Complete silence is unnerving. I usually write with the radio playing or in front of the TV. The one thing I can't do is write with someone behind me–next to me is fine.
What are your hobbies when you need a break from writing?
In addition to the three R’s–reading, writing, and research–I enjoy movies, Scrabble, travel, photography, and visiting art galleries and museums.
What romance genres do you write?: Romantic Suspense
Do you write in genres that are not romance related?
I write the stories that want to be written and leave categories to others. My published novels have all been some degree of romantic suspense, but most of my short stories are literary fiction. Many reviewers thought The Rebound Effect was a psychological thriller rather than a romance.
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print
Where to find out more about the author
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.