Linda Lovely


Excerpts from a review of
by Lowcountry Weekly Editor Margaret Evans

A Lively, Lovely Lowcountry Mystery

For my money, few things in life are more deliciously satisfying than curling up with a good mystery. … But please note: I did say a “good” mystery – emphasis on “good” – and I’m a fairly demanding critic. I require a distinctive setting, a large, colorful cast of suspects, a memorable hero/heroine I can root for, and a plot that keeps me breathlessly turning pages and guessing ‘til the end. Oh, and the writing must be impeccable.
I’m happy to inform my readers that Linda Lovely’s new mystery novel “Dear Killer” meets all my requirements, and then some! Snappy writing? Check. Dynamic heroine? Check. Vivid array of suspects? Check, check, check! Interesting setting? I’ll say. And not only is it interesting… it’s familiar. “Dear Killer” is set in the SC Lowcountry, featuring names and places you’re guaranteed to recognize. Lovely, a former resident of Fripp Island, doesn’t scrimp on the fun-to-spot details.
And she even gives us a “mature” romance to follow.
Here’s the set-up: Marley Clark, a 52 year old widow (and Sigourney Weaver look-alike) recently retired from a career in military intelligence, now works as a part-time security guard on a private SC island. While patrolling her turf one night, she finds a resident drowned and bobbing naked amid a bunch of veggies in a Jacuzzi. Asked to serve as the lead investigator’s liaison, Marley finds herself drawn to handsome Deputy Braden Mann, a dozen years her junior, and is thrilled to find him… drawn back. Together, they sort through a collection of oddball suspects and hidden motives as the bodies begin to pile up on Dear Island. As their mutual attraction grows, so does the danger.
And it’s all great fun!
DONNELL: Big city or small town girl?
LINDA: Small town girl, definitely. Born and raised in Keokuk, Iowa, with plenty of summer fun in Spirit Lake, Iowa, where my aunt and uncle lived. I set my debut mystery, DEAR KILLER, on a fictional island in the South Carolina Lowcountry because I lived on an island outside Beaufort for a dozen years and realized a tight-knit community could function as a character in my book. People REALLY know each other, and no closet is ever completely closed on your skeletons. My sequel in the Marley Clark mystery series, NO WAKE ZONE, is set in Spirit Lake for the same reasons. Release date is second quarter of 2012.

DONNELL: Favorite room in your house and why?
LINDA: Kitchen. Sunny and it smells SO good. The open design lets me see the back of hubbie’s bobbing head as he argues with TV sportscasters. I love to cook and experiment. Since my husband has a thing for homemade cookies, he cleans up and loads the dishwasher. Perfect division of labor. Holiday time, I make chocolate-covered cherries, toffee, fudge, etc., a childhood tradition started with mom and my sister.

DONNELL: Character driven or plot driven author?
LINDA: Character-driven. Sort of. I start with a clear idea of my heroine and hero and of time and place. Yet before I write a single sentence, I have a good idea of my plot “themes.” That doesn’t mean I outline or even know how the book will end. As I write, my characters often lead me down unexpected paths. However, those meanderings tend to be branches off the central themes identified at the outset. For instance, one strong theme for NO WAKE ZONE has to do with the bonds of family and friendship—some loving and wonderfully fulfilling, others toxic and deadly.
DONNELL: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
LINDA: LOL. Wish I had more formal reviews to read! Lots of folks tell an author they love a book and will post a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads. Most get busy and forget. I’ve been thrilled by kind reviews from strangers. It’s wonderful when someone “gets” you. But a bad review wouldn’t devastate me. I’ve made my living as a writer (newsletters, brochures, feature articles, speeches, etc.) and clients have strong opinions (that sometimes change midstream). Visit any book club, some folks will love a book and others hate it. That has more to do with the reader than the book. It’s not personal. I should add that my tough (I love ’em) critique partners have helped thicken my skin. The critiques BEFORE a book is published are the most valuable.
DONNELL: You’re on a life raft surrounded by sharks. Who do you want with you?
LINDA: Maybe Jacques Cousteau in his heyday or a special ops Seal from one of Cindy Gerard’s romantic suspense thrillers. Preferably my companion would just happen to have a harpoon and a flare gun.
DONNELL: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
LINDA: Leftovers. Split pea soup, meatloaf, lasagna, chicken parmesan. All packaged in meal-size freezer containers. I tend to cook BIG kettles/pans of food and freeze leftovers so I can pull them out when I’m pushed for time. Why cook a small turkey when you can roast a 20-pounder for about the same amount of energy and have lots of yummy leftovers?
DONNELL: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
LINDA: That I write terrific novels? That my gray hair isn’t a good barometer of how old I feel? Guess I have no good answer. I have no secret talent yearning to break free.

DONNELL: Dog or cat person?
LINDA: Neither. Would love to have a cat, but I’m allergic. Cats are great. Independent, sassy, picky. They decide for themselves when and who to cuddle with.
DONNELL: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
LINDA: I love what I do. Writing is fun, therapeutic. I have no expectations of achieving great wealth as an author though I’d like to break even on my writing conference/membership spending over the years. I’m just thrilled when someone tells me they enjoyed my book. Oh, and making the finals in both RWA’s Golden Heart and the Daphne for two different books in 2010 provided an amazing initiation into the world of the RWA National Conference.

DONNELL: What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing/researching a book?
LINDA: That Tammy and Brenda, my brainy and charming nieces (both have doctorates), know so many intriguing and sneaky ways to murder people.

DONNELL: What turns you off; what turns you on?
LINDA: Turn offs—bullies and hypocrites. Turn ons—my husband, good friends, chocolate, reading great books that make me laugh and give me goose bumps but by the last page reassure me life is worth living and love triumphs no matter how rocky the ride.
DONNELL: If you could meet anyone in the world, past and present, who would it be and why?
LINDA: My great grandmother, Julia Carr. Family tales about her are so amazing and contradictory. I’d love to hear her version. I know she was schooled in a Convent and married multiple times. First husband (my great grandfather) died young. Second divorced her after her father’s death—John Carr had put the family’s fortune in the husband’s name. Third husband was reputed to be a gangster who died in a knife fight. Julia’s portrait hangs on my office wall. Mom always swore I was a throwback (in looks, anyway) to Julia.


Marley Clark, the heroine in my mystery series, is 52 years old. She’s physically fit, mentally agile and sexually active. Though it never occurred to me that “older” protagonists shouldn’t have romantic escapades, some publishing pundits say heroines should be in their 20s and 30s. What say you? Would you read books featuring over-50 heroines?

Linda will be giving away a copy of Dear Killer to one lucky commenter. To learn even more about the fabulous Linda Lovely check out http://lindalovely.com/index.html

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  1. LOL. Linda, I smiled at your answers, and wouldn't Cindy Gerard be flattered you'd want one of her Seals from her Romantic Thrillers! That editorial review of Dear Killer is fabulous.

    Re your question about older heroines, that is such a good question. I find as a reader I don't have much in common with a twenty-year old any more, and there's young adult to fill that population's need. I like reading about different characters in different age groups, and DEAR KILLER is right up my alley! Can't wait to have time to myself to finish it and then start on your sequel! Thanks for joining us on Get Lost in a Story.

  2. Thanks, Donnell. Hope more readers share your interest in "mature" heroines. However, I'm also interested in the "whys" some folks prefer to read about twenty and thirty-something heroines. While I plan to continue my Marley Clark series, I've also completed two romantic suspense manuscripts that feature younger women.

  3. Hi, Linda,

    I think having older protagonists, h/h, is a great idea. Ours is a youth culture. But there are so many of us who aren't so young anymore.
    We don't always want to read about young love. Mature love is a wonderfu theme. So are mysteries that feature older sleuths.

  4. Linda~
    Great interview! As for 50+ heroines, if the storyline grabbed my attention, I'd definitely read it, no matter the age of the h/h.
    Perhaps the 20-30 "somethings" heroines hold more appeal because they represent a "do-over" for readers. A chance to experience vicariously what it'd be like to have a relationship with a really hot guy. Not that we all don't love our men, but to have the likes of Orlando Bloom or Alex O'Loughlin just for one night......;)
    Here's to many more adventures for Marley Clark

  5. Split pea soup is my favorite! I enjoyed the taste of books and the author interview! I never consider the age of the heroine. Romance is part of life at any age, and the seniors I know have active romantic lives. In my novel, Ghost Orchid, active and sensual romance occurs between two older characters - and imagination takes it anywhere. At the same time, younger characters are also involved in relationships. When you consider the reading demographics, older characters with youthful lives is appealing. www.dkchristi.com author of Ghost Orchid and more.

  6. Hi, Linda.
    Your books sound very interesting. I'll be checking them out.

    I've always enjoyed "older" heroines. My favorite from way back is Mrs. Pollifax. I think I've read every book in the series.

    L. j. Charles

  7. Jacqueline--You're right when you said some of us aren't so young anymore. But we're still alive, and that means all those emotions--love, fear, laughter-- are still bubbling around inside.

  8. Lynda, I'd never thought about a possible "do-over" motivation for reading about younger heroines. Of course, I sometimes want to shake them and say "Are you crazy? Don't do that."

    D.K., I share your belief about changing reader demographics. Baby boomers represent a huge segment of the reading world.

  9. This interview is a fun one and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Linda, your series sounds great. I look forward to reading it. Like DK, I really never consider the age of the heroine, but being 50ish myself, yours is intriguing.

  10. Hi Linda. Great interview and we have the same likes and dislikes which could be why I like your writing so well. My agent made me keep my character in her thirties. We battled over it and I insisted she be no younger than 39. Laurel is dealing with post divorce dating in the first book and in the second book I decided it was time for her feisty 62 year old mother to have some fun. She's a kick and probably a lot like her 61 year old creator who is loving life too!

    Keep up the great writing. This is a Killer series!

  11. Great interview, Linda! It was fun learning more about you. Your great grandmother sounds like she must have been quite a lady! Best wishes with this release!

  12. Fabulous mix of fun and craft in this interview, ladies. Well done.

    I'm craving a mature heroine and agree with the comments on changing demographics. DEAR KILLER sounds like the perfect fix!

  13. HI Linda,

    Congrats on Dear Killer! I love the idea of a middle aged heroine and a younger man! Age is an attitude not a number!

  14. Great interview, Linda and Donnell. This sounds like a fun series, so I'm heading off to grab a copy of Dear Killer. I think we need more books with mature heroines. I bet your great grandmother would make a fabulous heroine...

  15. I love reading about the 50+ couples it fits more in my age group. Lets face it we don't stay your forever, so all books shouldn't be about young people.

  16. Linda, I never understood why heroines had to be so young. I liked them when I was in the 20s and 30s, but there's nothing wrong with a little gray!

    (Great Interview as always Donnell.)

    Well, Linda... your heroine could be me-- LOL --with the exception that I'm married. So I guess I don't mind older heroines. Good for you!


  18. Hmmm. Carol Ann thanks for the nudge about my great grandmother. Hadn't thought about creating a character that shared at least some of her characteristics. It would be fun to write in that period early 1900s to 1920s.

    Jillian--I agree completely. Attitude is what counts and plenty of the ladies who have commented have ample supplies.

    Cindy--Know you're mid book launch. Thanks for stopping by. DYING FOR A DANCE is such a fun read especially for those of us with two left feet.

  19. Special thanks to the lovely Angi Morgan for making this interview look so much better to the techy challenged, Donnell Ann Bell. Linda, I love older heroines. I think those twenty and thirty year olds should read DEAR KILLER to aspire what makes *them* tick at that age :)

  20. I think heros come in every size, shape, age, sex, and at times species. Why have stereotypes for heros? Limited fiction is an oxymoron. Your book sounds like fun, Linda. And Donnell, your questions are always insightful.

  21. Hi Linda, I'm excited that your book is getting such a wonderful attention. I love reading about older heroines/protagonists, as much as I like the slightly younger version. Since I live on the coast and write about it, I'm sure I'd love Dear Killer! Wishing you all the best!


  22. Hi Linda.

    An older heroine is perfect - wish there were more and i like that you paired her up with a younger man. Dear Killer is on my list now.

  23. Donnell and Linda, great interview!

    Linda, your g.grandmother sounds like she'd have been a force to reckon with!

    Donnell, I loved the question about the refrigerator! Linda, I'm a great believer in left-overs too - such easy meals! I'm a great believer in "easy" in the kitchen!

    Don't put me in the draw - I'm all the way over here in Australia and so the postage would be a nuisance.

    I love the sound of Marley and Braden's story though so I'll have to hunt it up! I do enjoy a good mystery! Congratulations on that smashing review!


  24. Oh my goodness, I refuse to hear that 52 is an "older" heroine! *fingers in ears, singing 'lalalala'* She's just a woman with enough experience to add spice to the story! :) I love sound of your book. Congratulations on the review.

  25. Oh, everyone, you've made my day. If 52 is an older heroine, many of us are done for. Thanks for stopping by and putting my faith in you ;) Linda, I think you're on to an outstanding series!

  26. The contents of your fridge sound yummy, and I really enjoyed this interview, learning more about your hopes, frustrations, and joys. Your great-grandmother sounds like she had an interesting life.

    I definitely read books with heroines over fifty, and would like to see more. Fifty is the new thirty after all!

  27. Hi, Linda--Great question. I think the publishing pundits are going to be in for a surprise (almost as big as the ebook revolution?!). The readers of the boomer generation aren't likely to remain enthralled with the antics of youngsters. I say bring on mature relationships.

  28. I like to read both older ladies (like myself) and the young things. Of course, I expect the older ones (like myself, again) to be smarter, more hip, and opinionated (that last one's like myself again)!

  29. Thanks to all for commenting. I agree completely with Norma. Older ladies (like me) get to be more opinionated--which makes them great fun to write. Hope there are many more readers out there who think women (and men) can become more interesting with a little age.