Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight with Linda Swift

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! I am pleased and honored to have my good friend and award-winning author Linda Swift in the house today.

I am looking forward to chatting with Linda about her newly released book THIS TIME FOREVER as it is Linda’s first historical novel and promises to be a book charged with emotion that will pull at your heart strings. With no further ado, let’s have a warm welcome for Linda Swift.

With a breathtaking backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the beautiful antebellum mansion is nestled deep in the lush forest of Tennessee.  White pine, oak and dogwood shade the manor, and  laurel and rhododendron-lined trails lead to the wrap-around verandah.  A slight breeze rustles through the trees, stirring the sweet fragrance of lilies of the valley, daisies and English primroses. A yellow rose garden and gazebo add to the charm of the mansion. With a clomping of hooves, a horse-drawn carriage arrives to drop off Linda. Oliver, donned as a Southern gentleman in black trousers and red jacket, presents Linda, eloquently dressed as a Southern Belle in pale yellow satin and sun bonnet, with a bouquet of yellow roses.

For you, my sweet, allow me the pleasure of escorting you into the parlor.

Linda: For me? Thank you, dear Oliver. My favorite color and a perfect match to my gown. She gives Oliver a radiant smile as she takes the bouquet and buries her face in the lovely flowers, inhaling their intoxicating fragrance. She lifts her head and places her dainty hand on Oliver's proffered arm and they walk slowly toward the mansion.

Sharon, dressed in green satin, sits in waiting on the claw-leg cream-colored sofa.  A Baby Grand piano is in the corner and  Elvis’s My Way plays on the victrola.

Sharon hugs her friend. Linda, how are you, m’dear? Have a seat while Oliver tends to refreshments.

Linda: Sharon, dear friend, how lovely to see you again. And I am delighted to see you looking so well. And beautiful, I must add. Your gown is so becoming with your fair complexion. And what a magnificent home you have. It reminds me of Whitehaven.

Sharon: Thank you for the kind compliment, Linda. Might I say the same about you. You look so lovely.

Oliver materializes, pushing a silver caddy. He winks at Linda and pumps his biceps. With a sweeping bow, he presents a pitcher of  pina coladas swimming with strawberries and bananas, along with a tray of rye crackers smothered with cream cheese, chopped olives and pecans. He pours some of the tantalizing concoction into a glass for Linda. Gazing into her eyes, he spreads the cheese on a cracker and plops it into Linda’s mouth.

Linda: She gives him a coquettish smile as she swallows.  Ummmm. Delicious. She takes the fragile crystal glass he proffers and sighs happily. My favorite drink. You do know how to please a Southern girl, Oliver.

Sharon stares at her empty glass. I wouldn’t mind sampling one of those cocktails and scrumptious appetizers, Oliver.

Oliver: Sure thing, boss lady, I made plenty. Knock yourself out.

Sharon serves herself and scows at her butler. You’re not much of a Southern gentleman. Don’t you have work to do? Run along so that I can talk to Linda.

Oliver leaves, blowing kisses.

Sharon: This Time Forever is your first historical. How interesting. What made you decide on this genre?

Linda: I've always wanted to write historicals. It just took me a while to get started. I shied away from all the research required and felt I might not be able to write with authenticity. And there's nothing worse than a book written in a past time period with contemporary words or use of things not in existence then.

Sharon: I so agree, Linda. Research is so vital to a book. Tell me about the research for this book.

Linda: I had to read a stack of history books before I began writing. And throughout the months that the work was in progress, I frequently referred to them.  I knew what I wanted to happen but I often had to stop and read about that particular battle or a medical procedure or custom in order to get the facts right. I sometimes wove a particularly moving event into my story. An example was when the Northern and Southern armies were camped adjacent to each other, and that Christmas Eve night they began singing. Each side could hear the other's plaintive songs. I'm getting chills just remembering this.

Sharon: Apparently you did your homework well, my friend. I just got word that THIS TIME FOREVER won book of the week at LASR. Congratulations, what an honor.

Thunderous applause explodes through cyberspace as Linda graciously smiles

Sharon: Along with so much heartache in the book, this is a romance that will be certain to evoke emotion from readers. Tell us about the hero and heroine of the story.

Linda: Philip was a very moral person with strong ideals about serving his fellow man. He had a fiancée in his hometown and a very caring family whom he loved. Against his will, he came to love Clarissa more than all else. Clarissa was the typical Southern belle but she grew to be a woman of strength. Unfortunately, she had a brutish husband and child and felt duty bound to stay in her marriage. The story includes the struggle of Philip and Clarissa to find happiness together in spite of all the obstacles.

Sharon: As you wrote this book, what went through your head? Did you feel a connection to your characters and their love for one another?

Linda: Oh, yes. I was a part of their lives. I suffered right along with them. After I wrote for a few hours, I would be "wrung out" emotionally. It was fortunate my husband was away on a consulting job while I wrote much of the book because I was so focused on these characters and events that I found it difficult to get back into the real world every day. And strangely enough, the saddest part of the book for me was the scene where a minor character died in battle. I knew he had to die, but his actual death in a cold, muddy field seemed to epitomize the whole tragic war. And another scene I can't forget even now was when one of the aristocratic sons came home from the war horribly disfigured to face his unsuspecting family and their immediate reaction.

Oliver appears with dessert and peach ice tea. With a beguiling smile, he cuts a huge slice of coconut cream pie and spoon feeds a bite to Linda.

Linda: She closes her eyes in ecstasy as she tastes the delicacy. Ah, thank you, Oliver. There's nothing like something sweet to take your mind off gloom and doom. She eyes him appreciatively.

Reaching into the panel of his jacket, Oliver pulls out his hot off the press  copy of THIS TIME FOREVER

Linda, my lovely belle, might I have the honor of your autograph, please? He hands her a feather pen.

Linda: She eyes the pen and smiles. How quaint. And how like you to attend to even minute details like this. And of course, dear Oliver, I am honored to sign my book just for you. I'm going to add a personal note of gratitude also.  Sharon, I wonder if you know how very blessed you are to have Oliver at your beck and call. But of course you do.

Sharon: He has his moments. Sadly, my friend, we’re just about out of time. Before you go, can you share with me a favorite legend or quote, please.

Linda: This one by Saint Augustine comes first to my mind and I try to live by it. "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you."

Sharon: Thank you, I’ll treasure that one close to my heart. Thank you so much for a delightful visit, Linda. Tell us where we can buy THIS TIME FOREVER

Linda: The ebook is available from my publisher, Champagne Books.
And from at this link.
The print book will also be available in August from these sources.

The Civil War brought casualties beyond the bloody battlefields as North fought South. Philip Burke, against his family's wishes, volunteered to defend the Union and became a prisoner of war who bartered his medical expertise to remain out of prison. When the Union Army invaded Tennessee, Clarissa Wakefield's antebellum mansion became
a Confederate hospital. Philip was placed in charge and against propriety she volunteered to stay on and help nurse the wounded. Clarissa's husband was a Confederate soldier and Philip'sfiancée waited for him in Oswego but the fire between them soon raged out of control.

As the opposing armies fought for possession of Chattanooga, Clarissa and Philip faced their own battle. Caught in the passions of war and love, with hurt inevitable
either way, would they be faithful to their vows or listen to their hearts?

Excerpt: (The first meeting of Philip and Clarissa)
Darkness came early at this time of year and Whitehaven was ablazewith lights when the first wagons filled with weary soldiers reached the city.

Everything was in readiness—the elegant furniture had been moved to the
second floor and attic, carpets had been rolled up and stored in the carriage house, and rows of cots lined the walls of the downstairs rooms. Pitchers, pans, and basins had been collected and stacks of bandages and other medical supplies filled the dining room sideboard. And in the kitchen soup simmered in every available pot and loaves of freshly baked bread were piled high on the table.

Harriet, Luke and the other slaves, having been informed of the new status of Whitehaven, waited with trepidation to learn what the conversion would bring. And the Wakefield women, their assigned tasks successfully completed, waited in the upstairs foyer, now serving as a small sitting room.

They wore dark mousseline traveling dresses and their portmanteaus and trunks were packed for the night’s journey to Fleur-de-Lis.Voices in the lower hallway announced the arrival of Josiah and the first of the Confederate visitors, and the women stopped their talking to eavesdrop unabashedly on the men’s conversation.
“Welcome to Whitehaven, Lieutenant Johnson.”

“Thank you, Mister Wakefield. Words cannot say how much we appreciate the use of your home as one of our hospitals.”

“It’s the least I can do, Lieutenant. I have two sons fighting for the cause, and lost a fine son-in-law at Antietam.”

“Ah, yes, I’m sorry for your loss, sir.” After a short pause the voice continued. “The wagons will be arriving momentarily so would you like to show Captain Burke and me the arrangements you’ve made before the sick
are brought in?”

The conversation faded as Josiah conducted a brief tour of the rooms below, then sent one of the servants to invite the ladies to join them in the lower hallway as Luke served the men glasses of whiskey.

“Oh, dear, must we?” Florence smoothed her hair and looked alarmed at facing the new tenants of Whitehaven.”

“Only for a moment, Mother,” Lydia said, “And then I’m sure Father will arrange for us to leave before those pathetic men arrive.”
With a resigned sigh, Florence followed Lydia down the stairs.
“This is so exciting,” Angeline whispered to her sister. “Just like the newspaper stories. Are you coming?”

“In a moment.” Instructing Polly to get Robert and Beau ready for their journey, Clarissa was the last to join the group at the foot of the curvedstairway where Josiah was completing the introductions of the other women.

“And this is my daughter-in-law, Mrs. Malcolm Wakefield. Ladies, may I present Lieutenant Johnson and Captain Burke?”

Clarissa made a slight curtsey to the lieutenant as he took herproffered hand and bowed politely.

“My pleasure, madam.”

Then she extended her hand part way toward the captain before she saw that he wore a faded Federal uniform. She stopped and glanced uncertainly at Lieutenant Johnson.
“Captain Burke is a Confederate prisoner, ma’am,” he told her, “but you have nothing to fear. He is also a surgeon and will be in charge of the hospital here.”

“Oh, I see.” Unsure what protocol dictated, again she tentatively extended her hand. It was taken with a touch so gentle she would not have felt it except for the tremor that passed between them at the contact, causing
her to look up into the most penetrating eyes she had ever seen.

For a long moment they stood, warm brown eyes lost in the depths of cool deep blue, then the captain made a visible effort to break the spell andspoke softly. "Charmed."

Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. She has worked in public education as a teacher, counselor, and psychometrist.

Her first books were published by Kensington. She currently has available eight ebooks (six in print) including a book of prose poems and also one short story. She has two books of fiction, a Haiku collection, and two short stories to be released later in 2011.

Linda's latest book is THIS TIME FOREVER from Champagne Books. For more information, she invites you to visit her website at


Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome, Linda, how lovely to chat with you about This Time Forever. Congratulations on the honor of receiving book of the week at LASR. You must be tickled pink.

Oliver said...

Linda, my lovely, another pina colada or a tall refreshing glass of peach tea, perhaps? Another cracker or slice of coconut cream pie my pet?

Oliver said...

Ladies ladies, I'm here to serve refreshments with a smile. Name your pleasure or your poison. Wink wink

Hywela Lyn said...

Hello Sharon dear friend and good morning Linda, congratulations on your book, 'This Time Forever' sounds like a wonderful read.

Kisses to Oliver - a nice cup of chai tea would go down very well, thank you oh handsome one!

Linda Swift said...

Goog morning, Sharon and Oliver. My, you are up early. Or perhaps I'm up late. No, that was last night. I'm not a morning person, you see. Thanks you so much for inviting me to visit today. I hope we have lots of guests. I'll be in and out as my husband and I are getting the house ready for painters. What a chore. And we've just done my study in-guess what color-yellow, of course.

Linda Swift said...

Good moring, Hywela. It's so nice to see you again. And aren't we delighted to be visiting with our Sharon and Oliver again. She is amazing and a role model for all of us.

Oliver said...

Lyn, my sweet petite, a lovely cup of Chai indeed. Call me handsome, and you get a big ol' slice of coconut cream pie. Wink

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda and Sharon,
Great blog,love the yellow roses, they are beautiful.
Linda your story sounds very touching. Since reading Gone With The Wind, I have always enjoyed reading civl war stories, and I am sure This Time Forever will be no exception. My To Buy list has just grown by one.
Best wishes

Linda Swift said...

How nice to see you, Margaret. And thank you for your kind words. If you enjoy the sweeping sagas of love and war, this story will be your cup of tea. I'm glad you stopped by this morning. NO, wait, it isn't morning where live, is it?

Linda Swift said...

That's where YOU live, isn't it? Can you tell I'm not a morning person?

Oliver said...

Margaret my pretty, a nice spot of Earl Grey, m'dear.

Sharon Donovan said...

Linda, you are so sweet and so gracious. I adore the yellow rose, my favorite flower, even though, oddly enough, yellow is my least color on me. But something about yellow flowers in a garden is so fresh.
Poor you dealing with such an awesome home front project. Drop on in when you need a cup of tea or back rub by Oliver. Wink wink

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Margaret, yes Gone With the Wind is a classic Civil War story and Linda's is bound to be another true classic.

Sharon Donovan said...

Lyn, dear friend, do come in for tea and dessert and a nice chat. Thank you so much for adding such perfect pictures to make my blog sparkle. You are an amazing talent and such a darling girl.

Pat Dale said...

Hi, Linda. Thanks for sharing a bit about your writing of your new book. I know exactly how you feel when you say you were 'wrung out' after writing some of the serious parts of the book. That means you are really into your characters, and that's what makes a book special. Good luck with it.
And I'm waving at Sharon and Oliver. Hi, guys!
Pat Dale

Linda Swift said...

Hello, Pat. I'm so glad you stopped in. And this is the reason I can't write those suspense stories that our dear, sweet Sharon writes now and then. Those books keep me awake nights but I admire the authors who can do it. Do stay awhile and have tea with us. Linda

Kathleen O said...

Linda I love the Blue Ridge Mountains... This story sounds wonderful... I love the south... I will be on the look out for this book..
Love the title too... so romantic.

Sharon Donovan said...

Greetings Dale, dear buddy, yes by all means stay for a spot of tea and coconut cream pie while we find out more about Linda's amazing Civil War story and the research that she did.

Sharon Donovan said...

Kathleen, welcome. Have a seat and Oliver will be around if he can drag himself from Linda.

Celia Yeary said...

Linda--well, of course, you love pina coladas, cocunut pie, and peach iced tea--some of my favorite foods!
Sharon, you should pat yourself on the back--no, no, Oliver, you go away now, this is girl talk. Anyway, Sharon, you couldn't have chosen a better guest than Linda. I read This Time Forever, and Linda knows how I feel about this book. Emotionally wrung out? Yes, I'm sure she was when she finished writing it, and so was I when I finished reading it.

Congratulations to Linda for LASR Book of the Week for this grand, sweeping novel. You have hit a high note with this one.

May I have another slice of pie?
Why, thank you....wish I could stay longer to enjoy both you and Linda's company.

Linda Swift said...

Hi Celia. I'm so glad you visited today. And yes, we do seem to share so many things in common. And thank you for your congratulations and kind words about my book. If I had to choose, this book would have first place in my heart. But then, I've always been fascinated with the drama and pathos of the Civil War.
Oh, Oliver, dear man, if you aren't too busy at the moment, I believe I'll take that back rub Sharon promised me. No, Celia, you may not be next. You had your chance last week.

Laurean Brooks said...

Sharon, thank you for hosting Linda. She's a gifted writer.

Linda, doesn't Sharon serve the most scrumptious desserts? I wonder: Does Oliver concoct them by himself?

BTW, watch out for Oliver. He used those same charms on me.

Wonderful interview and awesome story. I wish you mega-sales.

Paula Martin said...

Hi Linda
What a wonderful day you're having with Sharon - and Oliver, of course!
I really admire you for tackling all the research needed to ensure your story and its background are authentic. Muse confess that all the reasearch puts me off tackling a historical novel (even though I'm a historian by profession!) As you know, I'm really looking forward to reading This Time Forever.

Linda Swift said...

Thanks, Laurie, for your commpliments. I do appreciate them, and you, very much. Thanks for the warnig about Oliver. He's such a charmer that I really get carried away with his attention. I'll enjoy it today. Nothing lasts forever, you know. Linda

Linda Swift said...

Hello Paula. My goodness, you are ready made for writing historicals. I'm sure yours would be a natural for you to write. But what do they say? The shoe cobbler's children have no shoes? So maybe the historian has no historical novels. (too busy with something different) I'm so glad you stopped in at Sharon's mansion today. Isn't it magnificant? Linda

Sharon Donovan said...

Celia, my friend, so happy you dropped in to chat. Patting myself on the back, however difficult that is to do literally, because Linda is a sheer delight. I can't wait to read This Time Forever.

Sharon Donovan said...

Laurie, hello, girlfriend! Doesn't this book sound fabulous, can't wait to get my hands on it. Look out, here comes Oliver and he's wildly winking.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Paula, thanks for visiting. Oliver is making his rounds. Give him a wink

Oliver said...

Linda, sit here sweet thing and let the back massage begin.

Oliver said...

Celia, Laurie, Paula, my pretties, big slices of coconut cream pie and peach ice tea all around

Linda Swift said...

Oooooooooh, Oliver, dear man. You do have such a sooothing touch. I don't know how much Sharon pays you, but it's not enough. If you're ever looking for another job, oh, never mind. Sharon is glaring at me. I think she overheard. But that was lovely, Oliver. Wearing these crinolines all day is such a nuisance. Oh, now I'm blushing. I shouldn't have mentioned these unmentionables. So unlady-like of me.

Oliver said...

Oliver kisses Linda, then touches his lips

Allison Knight said...

WOW! Oliver can visit my blog any time at all. I love the Civil War (War between the states) era a whole lot. I had family engaged on the north side, which I shouldn't admit living in the south. My first book, many years ago, was a romance that takes place during the Civil War, so that time period is especially a favorite of mine. Your book sounds fascinating, Linda, and Congrats on the win!

Linda Swift said...

Hello Allison. I think many of us "romantics" have a Civil War book in our minds. There is something about that period in history that appeals to us whether we are Northerners or Southerners. And if you like this time, I think you would like my book. I've just gotten my LASR Book of the Week video. I'll leave a link here and hope it works.

Thanks for visiting. Linda

Danielle Thorne said...

I can't wait to read this book. It sound fabulous. Congrats on your new release, Linda, I'm sure it will be a runaway hit.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Allison and Dani, thank you so much for dropping in to chat with us.

Sharon Donovan said...

A warm thank you to Linda Swift. Linda, you're a sheer delight. Hope you sell millions, my friend.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings

Linda Swift said...

Hi Danielle. Oh, don't I wish your prediction (fantasy) would come true. The timing is right for a Civil War book. First year of commmemoration of the Sesquicentennial. Now if I can only get the word out to enough people, it will get read. Thanks for visiting today. Linda

Linda Swift said...

Sharon, you are a fabulous hosstess. And your gracious attention to all of your guests makes us feel so welcome. It is such a pleasure to know you and to spend this time with you. Linda

Linda Swift said...

And Oliver, it wouldn't be a party without your attentive service. You are one in a million. I'm so glad your boss gave you a book of your own. Will you have a book signing soon? Thank you for a lovely day, and yesterday. I could get used to having a butler like you. Linda

Mary Ricksen said...

What a lovely day and Sharon your visit with Linda was a huge success. Loved the pina coladas. Just took a sip, but, mmmmmmm. Oliver you are so rude to Sharon sometimes. And she pays you so well. If you weren't such a handsome devil... Well at least you treated Linda like a queen as always. Linda loved the excerpt!You look lovely today!!

Linda Swift said...

Why, thank you , Mary. I'm so glad you visited. Sharon has gone to so much bother for me that I do want her efforts to be appreciated. And of course, Oliver has added much to the festive occasion. And thank you for the compliments to me. I am flattered. It doesn't take much to flatter an old-fashioned girl like me, you know. So nice to see you again. We must do this more often. Linda