My guest today is a fellow author from a group project, but I’ll let Lainee Cole tell you more about all of that after we take a look at her bio. Ready? Here we go!
Lainee Cole is a Midwestern girl who writes in the company of a husband always trying to talk to her. Lainee’s goal is for her stories to make readers laugh and cry, give them hope, and encourage them to believe in the power of love. When she’s not writing or reading, Lainee enjoys spending time with family and friends; hiking, camping, and traveling with her husband; and consuming daily doses of chocolate.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Lainee: I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember! I’ve been working on several romance novels for more years than I should admit, but I found myself rewriting my rewrites and quickly going nowhere. With my kids grown and out of the house, I finally became serious about finishing those novels and publishing them in the last five years. Finally!
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Lainee: My writing style has been influenced by the many Harlequin and Silhouette contemporary romances I’ve read over the years, as well as by authors such as Sherryl Woods, R.C. Ryan, and Kat Martin. I’m a sucker for continuity series books, and these authors do them well! Future author goals for me!
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Lainee: As a young girl, I started with short stories featuring the horses I dreamed of owning. Then in junior high and high school, I wrote poetry. I was rather embarrassed when my friends starting sharing my poems with everyone else, including the boys I wrote about! Around the same time, my best girlfriends and I started trading Harlequin romances back and forth. But it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I started writing romance. I definitely found my home here!
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Lainee: I most enjoy writing sweet contemporary romances. While I occasionally like to pick up something heavier, I really enjoy light reading. I want to get lost in the books I read. I want to fall in love with the characters and ride along as they journey to their happily-ever-after. I hope to entice readers to do the same with my books.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Lainee: All of the above! I learn best by doing, and I enjoy learning. Craft books are a great place to start, as are classes. Conferences are exciting and exhausting at the same time, but offer some great resources. A couple of trusted mentors have been great at nudging me when I need nudging. Contests can be a source of feedback, too, as long as you remember they are subjective. But the best way to learn to write is to keep writing; keep trying different methods until you find what works for you. I feel like I learn something new with each new writing project!
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Lainee: I used to be a voracious reader. I’ve slowed down a bit now, devoting more time to my own writing. Susan Mallery, Maggie Shayne, Sherryl Woods, Linda Lael Miller, R.C. Ryan, and Kat Martin are authors I admire and whose books inspire me to keep writing. I’ve recently enjoyed books by Jane Porter, Kaylie Newell, and Minette Lauren, finding new inspiration in their stories.
Author Lynn Crandall is one of my best friends. I love the depth of her writing! She has been instrumental in my growth as a writer. She is always encouraging but I also trust her to provide honest, constructive criticism or suggestions when I need them.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Lainee: While surfing the internet, I stumbled on some pictures of hidden stairways and rooms. I’ve always been fascinated with castles and the idea of hidden rooms, so I really wanted to include one in my book. About the same time, I learned of the Common Elements Romance Project through authors I follow on Facebook. The idea was for participating authors to write and self-publish their own book, but the book was required to include five common elements: a lightning storm, lost keys, a haunted house (really haunted or rumored to be), a stack of thick books, and a person named Max. Over seventy authors participated in the project, which you can learn more about here: https://commonelementsromanceproject.wordpress.com/. It was the perfect fit for my hidden stairway/room story with just a touch of mystery!
After the perfect storm that devastated her family, Emerson Lane fled the suffocating small town of Twin Creeks, her uncle, and her crush on Max. Seven years later, she returns home to make amends with her uncle and help him with the town’s Centennial, only to learn that also involves working with Max.
Sheriff Justin “Max” Lomax has had enough of small-town life and his overbearing bully of a grandfather. He plans to resign and move to the big city as soon as the Centennial celebration is over. There’s only one problem. Emerson Lane has returned. Seven years ago, he felt sorry for the young girl who’d lost her family, but now she’s all grown up and he’s tempted to explore new possibilities.
In the week before the Centennial, storms abound—both emotional and literal. As Emerson and Max unravel mysteries of the past, they just might find their future.
Emerson held fast to the small twinge of satisfaction. Taking charge fed her illusion of being in control, and it was better than falling apart. Especially in front of Max.
She urged Irene into a chair at the table, then set the lantern on the island and reached for the folded note. Neither Max nor Irene said a word, but she could feel them watching her.
IRENE was scrawled across the paper in her uncle’s familiar handwriting. With her heart in her throat, she unfolded it. CONFIDENTIAL. Called away on urgent business. Tell anyone asking, I’m not to be disturbed. Counting on Emerson and Max to handle displays. Hope to return for Centennial. W.
“That’s it? But—” Her pulse pounded in her ears, drowning out everything else. I don’t want to work with Max!
She bit her inner lip and reread the note. Uncle Wayne was really gone. And he wanted her to work with Max.
She dropped it back on the island.
“Candles,” she muttered, checking the island drawers. She needed time to think. “We need candles.”
Max wasn’t part of her ‘making peace with the past’ plan. She’d come home to mend fences with Uncle Wayne. A pang of sadness pierced her heart when she found tapers in the center drawer, in the same place her aunt had kept them prior to her death.
Thanks, Lainee, for sharing that intriguing excerpt of Storms of the Heart. I’m going to have to get my own copy since I also love hidden passages and rooms. Sounds like my kind of story!
My contribution to the Common Elements Romance Project is Charmed Against All Odds (Secrets of Roseville Book 5), which is up for a Rone Award next month. I enjoyed telling Roxie and Leo’s story so much, and apparently readers enjoyed it as well.
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Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.