Writing is such a wonderful occupation. Today Linda Smolarek shares her writing path with us. Linda has two new books out and is working on a third and wait till you hear about where she writes.
My writing story…
Sometimes I wonder about the path of life. How did I end up writing two books, with a third one about to go to press? It’s a mystery to me. You see, as a kid, I really wanted to be a cowboy. I grew up in the era of cowboys, I had one of those rocking horses on springs. I’d hop on and watch The Lone Ranger, Rifleman, Flicka, Bonanza, you get the picture. I rode that little rocking horse pony till the springs fell off. Every birthday I wished for a horse and insisted my family’s destiny was in Wyoming.
My cowboy obsession lasted until I was seven when I realized: 1. I’m not a boy, so the cow-BOY part of the equation wasn’t going to work. 2. I didn’t even know a cowboy. 3. No matter how much I begged my father wouldn’t buy me a horse. 4. My uncle owned dairy cows…a poor substitute to practice my roping skills on. 5. And lastly I didn’t live on the open range. So the cowboy dream faded into the western sunset.
But along the way I developed a passion for books and nature. And in high school I was convinced I was destined to be a Forest Ranger. I was enamored with the idea of myself ensconced in a fire tower on top of some western rocky range with my best buddy, Smokey the Bear. Our sole mission in life, saving the wilderness from the devastation of forest fires.
As a society we have become more enlightened, our philosophy of forest management and wild fires has changed and today only a handful of fire towers remain. And my family refused to pay college tuition for me to become a forest ranger.
In the end I married had two children and started writing. I turned my love of the outdoors into a nature education column for a local newspaper, Western New York Family. I’ve worked as a naturalist and tour leader at the local Audubon Nature Center.
I found my niche and a passion, writing romantic comedies set in the great outdoors.
The Adirondack Mountains for me are a special place. A source of inspiration, a haven for those seeking outdoor experiences through the beauty of lake and rivers. My family spent many years hiking, canoeing and biking in the mountains. Winter provided a winter wonderland for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
One day while browsing around an Adirondack bookstore, looking for a vacation read, I wanted something in the romance genre, but there was nothing that fit my reading desires. Suddenly, these two characters started dancing in my head, “tell our story, tell our story” and they wouldn’t leave me alone. Vic and Ellen were created from the inner depths of my imagination. I describe Ellen as a bit of a cross between Marilyn Monroe running smack dab into Lucille Ball.
Vic, well, Vic is just one hunk of burning love, he’s smoking hot, and my readers can’t get enough of him. Tall, dark, and lean, his eyes glitter with sparks of gold that cause every woman to tingle from head to her toes.
I walk a thin line. I write romantic comedies with a twist of mystery. I try to convey the feeling of being in the mountains, add romance, an outdoors adventure, a bit of nature education and laugh out loud humor. Whew!
The first book, Adirondack Audacity was to be a stand-alone novel. But my readers wanted more, and I was having so much fun with Vic and Ellen, I didn’t want to let them go. The ideas came flooding in and I have projected five books, entitled the ‘Adirondack for Ladies’ series.
Books One and Two, Adirondack Audacity and Audacity on the Water are published. The third, The Audacity of an Adirondack Summer is due out in early 2018. My pitch line…my books are ‘the perfect pairing with a glass of chardonnay and an Adirondack chair’.
I spend my writing hours in a little cottage crafted by my husband in a meadow surrounded by apple trees, visited by the deer, raccoon, fox and opossums in the neighborhood.
The house I live in today was originally my great-grandfather’s sugar shack where maple sap was boiled down. I am the fourth generation of my family to live in the area. There is a wealth of history and stories surrounding our property. At one time it was the site of an Iroquois palisade village back in the 1600’s.
The sugar shack was little more than a rustic cabin when we moved in and needed a lot of remodeling to make it truly a home. After making our sugar shack into a livable house, my husband built a storage shed (my future writing cottage) for his lawn equipment. Then our children came along and needed a playhouse and swing set, the little shed underwent a renovation, populated with a kitchen set, duck wall paper and a sandbox full of Tonka trucks.
Fast forward ten years, my daughter decided she wanted to raise chickens. Down came the duck wallpaper and the Tonka trucks were replaced by a dozen of Rhode Island Red chickens named after all the Polish aunties in our family. Sophie, Stella, Helen, Dorothy, Gertrude, Bertha and so on. Two ducks joined the chickens, Puddles and Bob, and our feathered flock enriched our lives for over ten years.
Sadly, the little shed became a storage shed again. My husband was ready to burn it down, having outlived its’ usefulness and becoming structurally unsound. Until, one of our neighbors had several antique French doors and windows that needed a good home. Another friend had cedar paneling on its way to the fire pit.
My husband tired of my obsession with tiny houses offered to reconvert, again, the little shed/playhouse/chicken coup into a writer’s cottage complete with a built in window seat. Using fabric remnants, an antique table and chairs I turned my cottage into a mini-Adirondack retreat, perfect for creating my award-winning Adirondack romance novels.
When I’m not writing, I’m outside. My husband and I are outdoors in all kinds of weather. We love summer, and we love winter. The harder it snows, the happier we are. Nature is my muse, my inspiration, and my meditation.
We have a small motor home, and in the company of two very spoiled terriers, we travel the country. We have had the honor and privilege of visiting over 52 of our nation’s 59 National Parks. Each one is truly a treasure, a legacy of wilderness held in trust for future generations.
The new L.L. Bean advertisement, “Be an Outsider” with the welcome mat at the door turned toward the outdoors speaks to me. I’m an Outsider and I try to bring that into my writing, stylizing stories that are amusing, in a nature setting, throw in a little mystery and a lot of sizzle.
From hiking boots to high heels…the audacity to take bold risks.
Ellen McCauley’s misguided adventures began as a nature counselor at the posh Camp High Point in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Tagged with the nickname Klutz-Ellen, her life has been sorely lacking in romance. The last thing she expects is the beguiling spell of Vicente Rienz, aloof, arrogant and dangerously handsome in denim and leather. She despises him on sight until the sparks between them ignite into a passion not to be denied. Thwarted by circumstances beyond their control and a curse born out of Adirondack legend, Vic and Ellen’s love leads to disaster.
So how does a nature-loving girl like Ellen end up wearing four-inch stilettos and designer dresses on the west coast of California, more than three thousand miles from home?
In a love story that spans the decades, Adirondack Audacity crisscrosses the country on a hilarious journey, coming back full circle to the mountains in search of love.
Adirondack Audacity is the winner of the Virginia Romance Writers HOLT Medallion for Outstanding Contemporary Romance Novel of 2015 and Best First Book.
It would be so nice to meet you all….Please come along and join the fun:
And of course visit me on Amazon.com