Every Thanksgiving, Franzi Mueller returns to her hometown, Freedom Valley, to help with the musical show at the veteran’s hospital. After a decade of living in Houston, Franzi is feeling nostalgic for the sense of community in her small Texas town. Moving home wouldn't be a problem if she could stop her matchmaking mother's plans to reunite her with her ex-high school beau, Dietz Reinhardt.
Hardware store owner Dietz can see Franzi needs a break from her big city clothing designer job and plans to do whatever he can to help her relax. He figures a little help from her mama is a good thing.
Circumstances throw them together at every turn, each glance and touch igniting old sparks. Can Franzi find what her creative spirit needs in Freedom Valley or is time running out on this second chance for Dietz to win over her heart?
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Hi Linda, please tell us about yourself and your writing.
I have the privilege of being a fulltime writer and freelance editor, and re-dedicated myself to writing the summer of 2012 after a job change brought us back to our native California. My stories vary from sweet to sensual and I write in both the contemporary and historical genres.
What does your writing space look like?
Since my husband and I moved from our 4-bedroom house in Texas to our 750 s.f. cabin in southern California, I’ve been downsized from a separate office with three bookcases of research books, an armchair, and bed to a small upstairs nook beside the stairs with one bookcase and a few shelves. The good thing about the change is my sunlight window that looks out on the cedar and pine forest. My small computer desk contains a rack of CDs, my printer, and a layer of papers that only an anthropologist or psychologist could love.
How long have you been writing?
About twenty years. On a major birthday, I gifted myself with a one-day extension course on writing a romance. Although the instructor was way too full of himself and his writing accomplishments, I did learn enough to make me think I could create a story. The best tip I heard that day was about the Romance Writers of America and I quickly connected with the local chapter.
What inspired your current book?
The decision to move back to California (after 12 years in Texas) was made early in 2012. I thought about the fact we’d be living within an hour of the same two cities where we’d lived from 1981-2000. That made me think about a woman who’d left a small town in Texas for a career in the big city who questions that choice. Her annual trip home for Thanksgiving brings her face to face with the guy she left behind.
How do you name your characters?
I love the book Character-Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon (with Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet). Names are broken down by nationality and the meaning is given where known. I start with this resource and usually find a name with a meaning that matches one of their core attributes.
Do you write with music going in the background? What are some of your favorite types/bands?
When I’m writing a historical story, I like to listen to instrumental music. One of my favorites is the soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans. I’ve used a couple songs on that for several action scenes.
When I’m writing a contemporary story, I often listen to the adult contemporary station on Direct TV or my CDs. Country music comes on when my story has either cowboys or small towns in the plot.
What is your favorite book genre? Who are your favorite authors?
Last year, I was into thrillers by Swedish authors Camilla Lackberg and Liza Marklund. This year, I discovered the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and the small-town contemporary romances by Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis.
- Favorite food? Toss-up between homemade oatmeal cookies and lasagna
- Favorite color? Purple
- Favorite animal? My Japanese Shiba Inu, Keiko
- Biggest pet peeve? Unsympathetic customer service personnel
- Dream car? Classic California special Mustang
“Closing in five minutes.”
That deep voice she remembered so well. A quick glance told her not much had changed in the store's decor. A little bit of everything and not much of anything. She forced a smile and strode to the wooden counter on the platform that stood half a foot higher than the floor. The man who'd spoken had his back to the door, a broad back that stretched the black t-shirt imprinted with Reinhardt's Hardware, family owned since 1854. A fact the Reinhardt family was immensely proud of, but the crux of the reason she and Dietz had gone their separate ways. “Hello, Dietz.”
“Franziska Mueller...to what do I owe this pleasure?”
The smile on his lips didn't reach his blue eyes. A fact she knew was totally her fault. “I just came in on the westbound train for my Thanksgiving visit and nobody was there to meet me. Erich Bruno happened by and he was driving me out to the ranch when he had to respond to a call.” Again, she sounded pathetic. Inside her coat pockets, both hands drew into fists. God, facing him one-on-one was harder than she'd thought it would be. “Can I use your phone?”
“Pay phone's outside the door.”
Her body tightened. “What is with this town and pay phones?” She paced a couple steps and back. “Normally, I'd use my cell but the battery needs charging. I don't have coins for a call.” Could she sound any more unprepared for life?
“So, you're askin' for a favor?” A black eyebrow arched over crystal blue eyes and he leaned an elbow on the counter. “Is that what I'm hearing?”
ON WITH THE SHOW is available for purchase:
As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.
Find Linda On The Web at:Goodreads