Lynda Aicher first sold to Harlequin in 2012. Her Wicked Play debut was Bonds of Trust and since then, she has written seven books. What she loves most about writing for Harlequin is the publishing opportunities and wonderful support structure within the company.
1. What book first got you hooked on Harlequin?
I remember reading Harlequin books when I was a teenager and took them from my mom’s shelf. More recently, it was Gena Showalters’ Lords of the Underworld series that reminded me of the diversity of stories Harlequin provides.
2. How did you celebrate selling your first manuscript?
I danced around the kitchen before frantically calling everyone who would want to cheer with me. I ran on an adrenaline high all day and my husband brought home a bottle of Champagne to celebrate that night.
3. Which of the many books you’ve written has stayed with you the most and why?
That’s a hard one because they all have memorable points. I honestly think my favorite books is the one I’m working on and then I start a new manuscript and the cycle repeats.
4. What’s top of your TBR pile?
I read an average of four to five books a week and currently have over one hundred unread books on my e-reader, so that pile is constantly changing. But right this second, it’s probably Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane or Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford (I read mostly Male/Male).
5. What book do you wish you’d written and why?
I have a Male/Male series mapped out in my head that I’d love to write, but I have no time right now to write it.
6. What’s harder – first or last lines?
Both! For the book and each chapter. They really are critical for setting the emotion and pace of the story and I often tweak every one before the book is final.
7. How do you choose your characters names?
It’s all very random for my contemporary stories. I keep a list of names I like for future characters and I won’t use a “good” name on a side character. But when a new character appears in a story it’s often what pops in my head and fits the character. I also try to avoid character names starting with the same letter in the same book. But I do have to “feel” the name for main characters and I always establish those before I start writing.
8. How do you push through writer’s block?
I call in my awesome writing buddies to brainstorm around the block. I’ve discovered that when my writing slows down it’s my instincts telling me I’m going in the wrong direction. I’ve learned to listen to this and take a step back to figure out where I went off-track and how to fix it. Usually, all I need is one little nugget of an idea that blows the block away and off I go again.
9. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever had?
Ignore all the dos and don’ts and just finish your first book. I did listen to the basics about plotting structure and character arcs, but I ignored the pile of “advice” about what you must do or not do in a romance novel or writing. It took me five months to finish my first book and it will never be seen by anyone. Ever. But I learned a ton by simply finishing it. My second completed book sold as has all but one since then.
10. Your preferred writing snack?
Beef Jerky or Wasabi Almonds and a glass of Coke.
11. Who is your favorite fictional couple?
Ack! Hard question because there are so many. But the first one that comes to mind is Belle and Zsadist from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
12. If you could rewrite your life, what would you change?
Nothing. That is the only answer because to change anything would make the right now different and I’m pretty dang happy with the right now.
13. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
Hmm…I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m much of a surprising person. I’m pretty direct and open. Maybe it’s that I think of myself as an introvert. I may take on challenges and go after what I want, but given a choice between staying home or going out, I’ll always pick home.
14. What is your most overused word?
That one changes every book. Lol. My editor is constantly highlighting a different word or phrase in each book and I diligently work to minimize it in the next one only to have a new one slip in. That is the value of a good editor.
15. If I wasn’t a romance author, I would have liked to be…
Well, I’ve already been a software consultant, technical writer, instructional designer, program manager, volunteer, preschool teacher, treasurer, mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I’m not sure if there is anything else I’m itching to add to the list. I became a romance author later in my life and I’ve found a sweet spot right where I am.
16. When was the last time you said ‘I love you’?
This morning. I say it every day, multiple times a day, to my family and close friends. I believe you can never say it enough because actions speak great, but words reinforce and warm you.
17. What does love feel like?
New love is: hot, exciting, scary, exhilarating, frustrating, nerve-racking, surprising, hopeful.
Old love is: warm, relaxing, comfortable, security, exhausting, trying, flexing, hopeful.
They both end with hopeful because love, no matter how new or old, always provides that beacon to carry us forward.
18. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
It’s going to have to be reading. Seriously, it has been since I was twelve. I will ignore everything for a story. I would rather read than go out. Add in a glass of Coke and a bag of potato chips with French onion dip and I’m happy—until real-life invades once again.
19. What’s your most romantic song?
That changes constantly. But I recently found Never Stop (Wedding Version) by SafetySuit and it became the theme song for Back in Play, book two in Power Play. It’s absolutely beautiful and exactly what love is about.
20. Every hero needs a…
Person to love them. No matter how brave or strong or hard or dedicated someone is, they still need a person who loves them unconditionally. One person who has their back and cares for their heart. Be it a parent, sibling or lover, that person keeps the hero warm no matter how cold he or she gets.
Hope you all enjoyed these insights into the wonderful world of Lynda Aicher! Don’t forget to check out our weekend writing tip tomorrow and don’t miss our fab new inspirational feature on Sunday!