Thursday, December 16, 2010

Touch of Magenta by Linda Loveland Reid

Hi Linda: I am very thrilled to have you on my blog!  I’ve had several questions to ask you since reading your great book, Touch of Magenta.
I also wanted to thank you for being so generous to give away four free copies!
I found the story very original and really wanted to know how you thought of blending two periods of time in one novel, 1971 and 1895?

I don’t usually like a story that is split, so it was interesting to me that I went with this structure, back and forth between main characters. I didn’t want the book to have a lot of flashback. As I got farther into the plot and into Pegeen’s character, I realized this was a story in itself and needed to be given that time. Thus, I devised a structure to carry both stories. My biggest fear was that folks would get so caught up in one woman that they might resent being pulled away.  I’ve been told that both stories kept moving and the reader always wanted to know what was happening next regardless of where they were.

Were any of the characters based on relatives or people you know?

Not directly, but the whole time I was writing about Pegeen, my grandmother was in my mind. She was a strong, honest, hard-working woman.  Even though, she was nothing like Pegeen, the core of Pegeen’s integrity, I got from my grandmother.
I did have an experience when I was two years old. My mother took me somewhere and didn’t come back. It is sort of “Rashamon” in nature, in that everyone has a different story about what happened. Consequently, I don’t know what happened to this day. I never saw my birth mother again, but was lucky to have a wonderful stepmother that raised and loved me. I believe that even though we don’t remember dramatic events in our lives, ( which I certainly did not at age two), I’m sure this worked its way into my novel and had an effect on my life.
We are a composite of all the good and bad that happens to us. I believe that if we like ourselves, we must embrace our history.
 I had two sayings I used to lay on my kids: Be sure you know where you’re going because you’re going to get there. And: Don’t ever get mixed up between your backbone and your wishbone. Some how these two ideas have guided me and I think are part of what is going on with my characters in Touch of Magenta.

Have you been to all the places that you describe so well in you novel: California Gold Country, San Francisco Chinatown, Singapore, Italy, and England?

England is one of my favorite places and I have been lucky enough to have been there many times, as well as to Italy.
I was close to an older women who lived in San Francisco during the earthquake. She was just sixteen and remembered watching the fires burn for days.
I did not go to Singapore but brought home about twenty books which I devoured for the information.
I have a BA in History and loved the research. It was especially fun to learn more about the Chinese coming to California and San Francisco.

Would you consider this book to be for young adult as well as adult?

Humm? Well, there are a few sexually explicit scenes but beyond that, I think the subject is one that a young adult could enjoy and understand.

What have men said about your book?

It is more of a woman’s book, which I hate to admit.  Being my first novel, I needed to stick close to what I could readily understand and be in touch with. Though the men who have read it, have given me very good reviews. They found the story and mystery compelling.

I see at the end of the novel that you have a book club reading guide. Why did you add this and how did you think of the questions?

 Since I planned to go and visit book clubs who read my book, it seemed like a helpful thing to do.
The questions came from things people said to me and asked me when they’d finished reading my book. Actually, I was surprised at some of the discussion the book created but then you never know what emotions a subject might create in someone else.
 The book is about morality, making tough decisions and living with them. It is looking back over the years and seeing those decisions as marks of integrity. It’s easy to be moral and do things right when all is going well, but under stress or fear, people react with their gut. This can be good or bad.

Have you presented to many book clubs and what was that like?

I love going to book clubs. What could be more fun than discussing your book with people who take the time to give you a “read.” I’m always so appreciative. I love the questions about why the character did this or that, or didn’t do something!

Your book is 464 pages long! Some people might find that daunting, but when I read a great book, I don’t like it to end! Do you think your next book will be as long?

I certainly hope not!
I too, don’t mind a long book if it keeps me going.
Maybe I’m long winded, but I want this next book to be 300 pages; long enough to be serious but short so it doesn’t cost as much to produce.

I know you are working on your second novel in between being the President of the Redwood Writer’s club, painting and directing plays for 6th Street Playhouse and the Novato Theater Company.  Could you tell us the name of your new novel and a little of hint of what it is about?  How is it different from Touch of Magenta?

It is completely different from Touch of Magenta in structure and style.
The novel takes place in Dillon Beach. There are five main characters, which they say not to do, so I'm taking a chance! When they were in high school together, a friend committed suicide. Each woman believes she was the cause. Year's later, at age 48 that have inherit a beach house from the dead girl’s mother. These are the interesting questions that will be answered in my new novel:
Why did Annette kill herself on Prom Night?
Why have they inherited the Beach House?
How are their lives today settled out, as old and new issues boil over?

This book sounds very intriguing and I  am looking forward to reading it!
What is the best advice you could give to a new writer who wants to publish a book?

Write it! That might sound trite but really, if you just keep writing it will happen.
Along the way you should go to classes and join a critique group.  Mix with other writers at a non-threatening place like Redwood Writers.
But mostly you need to write. When you let yourself go, fill the page without judging yourself, magic things will begin to happen. When first considering if I wanted to write, I was worried that it might be too solitary.
Here’s what I discover when I write:  there’s a whole bunch of folks with me, in my mind, and often when I’m just typing away, minding my own business. They do things I never expected! That’s when it gets really interesting!

Thank you, Linda Loveland Reid, President of Redwood Writer’s Club.

Please post a comment for a chance to win this novel. Post by December 30.

If you don't win, please buy Linda's book at Copperfield's or

Linda has generously given four copies of her novel, Touch of Magenta for people to win.
Congratulations, Charles Marquee for winning a copy of Plane Jane, last months author interview!

How to Post a Comment: At the bottom of the interview,  press blue comments. Go to end of everyone's comments. Under Post a Comment: write a comment, scroll under select, select Name/Url, type in your name and email address on ONE line, no url necessary! Don't forget to press Post Comment! Thank you!
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  1. What strikes me about this interview is Linda’s thoughtfulness, how she expresses it, how it filters into her novel and how it has influenced her children. Learning to like ourselves and embrace our history is a critical step in growing up. I’ve always believed that you can’t love someone else unless you learn to love yourself, and clearly, Linda teaches this by example and in her writing.

    I couldn’t help but bristle at the label “women’s book,” primarily because I face that issue in my work, as being a “boy’s book.” Novels are stories about people, women and men, girls and boys. A good book is a good book because of its writing, its characters, its plot line. I loved reading all six Jane Austen novels and I’m definitely a guy.

    I’m looking forward to her next novel both because it’s a mystery and it brings characters together later in life. This construct was successful in films, The Big Chill (1983) and the Return of the Secaucas Seven (1980). And mysteries are a win-win because they provide the ultimate hook and we can sit down to read knowing we’re going to get a resolution, unlike real life.

  2. I've been wanting to read Touch of Magenta for some time now. After hearing Linda talk about weaving the two stories into one book I'm even more interested. I actually enjoy books that have managed to pull this off.

  3. After reading your great interview, I really would like to read Linda's book. Sounds intriguing and would like to see how she handles weaving in the two time lines. Her new book sounds exciting, too! Good Luck!

  4. Touch of Magenta is on my wish list. The next novel sounds wonderful as well--love those nearby home locations. Great questions, Jeane. I'm always curious about what men thing/say about womens fiction. I'm glad you're doing this.

  5. Good interview. I enjoyed learning more Linda's book. The time framing does seem unique. I'm always curious about new styles. Her next book sounds good too. Sounds like she tries to experiment outside the box. Thanks

  6. a wonderful interview/posting...thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  7. I'm intrigued nice interview
    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  8. I love a good historical fiction so throw in a mystery and a family secret or two and you got me hooked.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  9. Yes, Intrigues is a good word, I am too. I'd love to win a copy! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  10. I forgot my email, I'll re-write my post.

    Yes, Intrigues is a good word, I am too. I'd love to win a copy.

    Thanks for the giveaway

  11. I love a good long Novel. That's not daunting to me at all. This book sounds so interesting I can't wait to read it!!

  12. I really don't care about the length of a book as long as it good & this one definitely sounds good! I'd love to read it, thanks for the chance.


  13. That was such a great interview!
    I'm intrigued because there are two time periods entwined in this book!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win!
    Chakasa58 at gmail dot com

  14. Jeanne,

    Thank you for this interview. As a new member of Redwood Writers it's fun to find out more about our president, her interests and her writing. Play direction--wow! Hope I win the book. If I don't, I guess I'll have to buy a copy.
    Happy Holidays,

  15. I'm taking the comment Charles made about "woman's book" to heart. I agree a book is good because it is, and I read books by men all the time. Maybe when you write a book about 2 women, it makes you timid to put it out there as non-gender specific. I think we gals have a tendency to short change men by assuming that if the book isn't about guns, dogs, or sports that they won't like it. Men have become much more sensitive and aware in these modern times, since feminists freed them from the yoke. Oh, gosh, have I started another blogging subject!!
    Linda Loveland Reid

  16. Linda Loveland Reid lindalovelandreid@sbcglobal.netDecember 17, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Thanks for all the posts. Also, a big hug to those who have read Touch of Magenta and put a review on Amazon. This "platform" stuff is tough!
    I love going to book clubs so let me know and I'll show up on your doorstep.

  17. Linda,

    The sayings you shared sum it up: Be sure you know where you’re going because you’re going to get there. And: Don’t ever get mixed up between your backbone and your wishbone. These clues should be enough to entice readers to settle in by the hearth and read to their heart's content.


  18. Helen Kiker hdkiker@comcast.netDecember 17, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    I like that a grandmother os part of the story.

    Please enter my name in the drawing.

    Helen Kiker

  19. Great interview Jean and Linda. I thought your idea of the Book Club review sheet was brilliant. Might just steal that one....for some day.

  20. Good stuff, Linda. In a recent interview, I spoke to the same point: how characters take on a life of their own. In the early stages of a book I compare myself to an extremely permissive parent who allows the characters all sorts of freedom to discover and then show me who they are. I love that part of writing.

    Your next book sounds interesting.


  21. Touch of Magenta is on my wishlist. I have heard Linda read excerpts from the book. Wonderful writing, intriguing story. Linda is a multi-threat- incredible writer, artists and a dynamic president of Redwood Writers- of the California Writers Clubs. Under her leadership, Redwood Writers has grown into the largest CWC branch in the state. She has motivated so many of us to follow the Redwood Writer's motto, "Writers Helping Writers." Whoot!

  22. Great interview and it is a wonderful book with a very compelling and well written story! I enjoyed it. Was it really 464 pages long? It didn't seem like it....

  23. Great interview, Jeane....I would love to read the book -- I would also love to win the book, but I see I have lots of competition! Glad the blog is going well!

  24. I loved reading Touch of Magenta. Members of my book club also read and enjoyed it. I especially liked the mystery about Pegeen, and thoroughly enjoyed the skill of the writer in weaving the two stories together seamlessly. A very good and interesting read about California history, and the lives of two very strong women and the choices they are confronted with.

  25. Candy Danhausen candyjetta@gmail.comDecember 19, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Great answers to well-formed questions. I love the author and do think there is some biographical genre in her story (as I've known her for 60 years). I also think I'm Janice in the book, but Linda denies it. I love the phrases she "laid on" her own children. And I think the bouncing between the dual eras worked well and made it a page turner. Congrats to the author and the interviewer.

  26. Great book - great interview, linda. Very useful advice to new writers, I think.

  27. Linda Loveland Reid lindareid100@sbcglobal.netDecember 20, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    I'm honored with all these great comments. Writing for me is a fantastical-scary-threatening thrill of a journey. Writers are intellectualy curious by nature, voyeurs by day and workers by night. I love being in the company of such angst and energy. Keep on writing!

  28. Linda, I swear...your energy, brightness, caring, interesting persona shines through whenever you write and whenever I see you at Redwood Writers functions. You're sincere, uplifting and motivational! A great role model! Thanks for all your efforts with Redwood Writers. I'm REALLY looking forward to reading A Touch of Magenta over the holidays (bought it at the Sonoma Book Festival in September! Wow how time flies.)

    Jeane - thank you for all the thoughtful interviews you do. Keep it up!

    Happy Holidays to both!

    Leigh Anne
    Writer, Sci-fi & futuristic thrillers

  29. Fantastic interview, Linda & Jeane! Thanks! I love how Linda's philosophy comes through, and as it relates to her advice to her kids. Good points for all of us to remember.

  30. Fantastic interview, Linda & Jeane! Thanks! I love how Linda's philosophy comes through, and how it relates to her advice to her kids. Good points for all of us to remember.

  31. Great interview! I can handle five main characters. More, might be too much. I am reading 'The Lady's Slipper' right now and enjoying it but I did draw up a relationship map to look at it if I feel I am lost. I like that 'Touch of Magenta' is a long book, and think it needs to be when there are five main characters.
    Great that so many different locations are in this book. I enjoy learning about different locations. Sometimes, my reading makes me want to visit the places.
    Also think that I can relate to Pegeen. My grandmother was the same way. She was very strong, self reliant and not a shrinking violet.


  32. Linda Loveland Reid lindalovelandreid@sbcglobal.netDecember 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    This has been a blast; thanks Jeane for the interview. And, thanks to all who wrote in. I'm trying to get through the middle of my new book but quite stuck. They say this is typical so I'll try to work thru but it ain't fun!

  33. Best wishes to you, Frank, with your new book!