As a child, Lauren Linwood gathered her neighborhood friends together and made up stories for them to act out, her first venture into creating memorable characters. Following her passion for history and love of learning, she became a teacher who began writing on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones.
Lauren’s novels focus on two of her favorite eras, medieval times and the American Old West. History is the backdrop that places her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grows into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.
Separated from her twin during the Orphan Train selection, schoolmarm Serena Sullivan searched for her brother Bill for over fifteen years. Just as she gets a lead on his whereabouts, she is railroaded by a crooked sheriff and set to hang for the murder of the sheriff’s best friend.
English playwright Daman Rutledge has come to the American West on business for his brother when he witnesses a woman about to be executed. On impulse he rescues the beautiful stranger and goes on the run with her. Along the way Daman finds the muse he's been missing and loses his heart to the raven-haired beauty with haunting amber eyes.
As they try to outrun the long arm of the law, Daman seeks to prove Serena's innocence before it's too late.
When I was growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money to use for traveling–so I did the next best thing. I read about all the places I wanted to go. I sailed down the Nile and saw the pyramids. I ventured to the Tower of London and saw Queen Anne beheaded. I peered out across Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower. I went on safari in Kenya and spotted everything from hyenas to lions. I went backward and forward in time and traveled from the Seven Seas to outer space with interesting companions. Reading helped me escape to different continents and eras.
Fast-forward to my adult years, and I still love to read. More importantly, I’ve become a writer. It’s my mission to take others on adventures now, along with my characters. And one of my favorite places to travel to as I write historical romance is the American West in the years after the Civil War.
If I had Marty McFly’s DeLorean to help me travel back in time, I’d enjoy visiting the Old West. Notice I said visit. Not stay. I love my modern creature comforts, from necessities such as flush toilets, running water for my ultra-hot showers, and my blow dryer to luxuries that include the Internet, cable television, and air travel.
But I do spend a lot of time in the American West as I research and write historical romances set in that era. Research might seem boring to many people, but I’m a former history teacher, so I gobble it up. The Internet has made doing research much easier, as I can view maps, locate primary sources, and see photographs of everything from a Colt revolver to fashionable hats from the time period.
For my current release, Outlaw Muse, I researched Orphan Trains, which were trains that took urban, homeless children out west to start a new life on the Great Plains with farming families. My heroine Serena is separated from her twin brother at one of the selection stops, and she vows to find him one day. I was able to go online and see items from that era and read accounts of children who rode the Orphan Trains. I also studied in-depth about how many English and Scots noblemen chose to invest in cattle and land in the US during this time period. That’s how I was able to get my hero Daman out of London and onto a horse on a cattle drive and allow him to have a chance meeting with Serena, who’s about to hang for a murder she didn’t commit.
In A Game of Chance, my January western historical, I had to learn about poker. I’ve never played before although I knew names for some of the hands from my Yahtzee playing days. My research involved knowing if a full house bettered three of a kind and just how rare a royal flush might be. I also viewed maps of San Francisco in the 1870s, learning where gaming halls, restaurants, and businesses were located. One of my characters died during the story, and I was able to allow her to be buried in the most famous cemetery of the day.
My 2014 release of A Change of Plans involved investigating dime novels, which were the popular literature for the masses during the Gilded Age. My heroine Maggie writes and illustrates dime novels, but like many women of her time, she’s writing them under a male pen name to be sure that they sell.
People who moved to the West were flexible, creative, and hard-working. They literally built something from nothing. I enjoy setting romances there, as both my hero and heroine are usually smart, independent, and unique. The Old West makes for a terrific backdrop of adventure and love–and it’s also a lot of fun to research!