Linny's Sweet Dream List
Willow Hill, #1
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Date of Publication: January 5, 2016
Number of pages: 207
Set in the off-beat Southern town of Willow Hill, North Carolina, Susan Schild’s moving and witty novel tells of one woman who loses everything—and finds more than she ever expected.
At thirty-eight, Linny Taylor is suddenly living a life she thought only happened to other, more careless people. Widowed for the second time, and broke, thanks to her cheating late husband, Linny has no house, no job, and no options except to go back home. There, in a trailer as run down as her self-esteem, Linny makes a list of things that might bring happiness. A porch swing. A job that nourishes her heart as well as her bank balance. Maybe even a date or two.
At first, every goal seems beyond reach. But it’s hard for Linny to stay in the doldrums when a stray puppy is coercing her out of her shell—right into the path of the town’s kind, compassionate vet. The quirky town is filled with friends and family, including Linny’s mother, Dottie, who knows more about heartache than her daughters ever guessed. And as Linny contemplates each item on her list, she begins to realize that the dreams most worth holding on to can only be measured in the sweetness of a life lived to the fullest…
Linny kept her nervousness at bay with a lawn-and-garden-care palooza. She could manage this man, she decided, sitting on the metal seat of the surprisingly peppy lawn tractor, zipping around the overgrown lawn in ever-smaller circles. She’d tell the whole truth about herself and, in the unlikely event that that didn’t scare him off, she’d insist that they start out as friends for a year or two. Later, if he underwent an extensive physical and his financial records checked out, they’d progress to a slow pace of dating. This was the power of positive thinking that her old friend, Indigo, preached about. She nodded her head to encourage herself.
But later, all Linny’s good intentions flew away when she opened the door to the beautiful cowboy. With a stubble of beard, faded Levis, and scuffed boots, Jack’s green eyes sparkled as he gave her a crooked grin. “Evening, Linny.”
She drew in her breath sharply as she met his eyes and caught his scent—some heady mix of hay, horses, and Dial soap. Her attraction to him made her weak-kneed and apparently, mute. She opened her mouth and closed it again. She groaned to herself. This was not good. Drawing herself up taller, she sighed, and offered ungraciously, “You might as well come in.”
Roy skidded around the corner, a pair of Linny’s rattiest underwear in his mouth, and launched himself at Jack. Gasping, she snatched the panties from the dog and stuffed them in the pocket of her shorts. Feeling her face flame, she mumbled, “His latest trick is stealing clothes from the laundry basket.”
Jack grinned, and stooped to scratch the dog. Roy twisted in delight, and gazed at him adoringly. Linny shook her head, thinking of the similarities between herself and Roy. All it took was a little affection, and Jack was the puppy’s new best friend.”
Today, we welcome Southern author Susan Schild to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give a big Geeky welcome!
I’m happy to meet every one of you, and happy New Year.
Let's start with some writer specific questions before moving into the fun stuff. That way everyone can really get to know the person behind the writer. We will finish things off with a round of Think Fast. Ready for the interrogation to begin?
When is your favorite time/place to write? Do you write structured or patchworked?
I write best in the mornings, and work at a laptop on the dining room table with my dog asleep at my feet.
Here is our dog, Tucker, who is a faithful writing companion. Usually sleeps at my feet while I write, but has been known to lounge on furniture.
Here is a picture of my sophisticated and highly technical way of keeping track of characters and timeframes. Believe it or not, it’s easy to confuse facts, dates and get things out of sequence – like inadvertently having a ten month long pregnancy, husbands names changing (Mack to Max for example) or a summer garden blooming in December.
How do you deal with Writer's Block?
I have a deadlines for my books with my editor so I can’t let myself give in to Writer’s Block. I set goals of a certain number of pages a day, and write whether I feel inspired or not. Some days though, it’s slow going and the only way to move on with the story is to plod through a scene - with stops and starts, breaks to throw the ball around for the dog, doubt myself and eat frequent snacks.
How involved are you with Social Media and self-promotion?
I’m concentrating most on my quarterly newsletter because I can include more real content, deleted scenes and inside scoop for the readers. For example, in my winter newsletter, I included pictures of my recent trip to Mayberry (AKA Mount Airy, N.C.)
Here I am next to the Mayberry squad car with the gentleman that plays Deputy Fife:
Am trying to get better at Facebook and Twitter, though.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you before you started writing?
How fast meals would go downhill while writing for a deadline. One night recently, supper was frozen lasagna with frozen Asian vegetables. Also, that cardboard tasting frozen pizza. I can give you the recipes…
Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I can back a boat trailer pretty well. It’s not that easy. You have to do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, or you’ll zig zag down a boat ramp with a bunch of men watching and shaking their heads about women drivers. Potentially very embarrassing.
How did you choose the genres you write in?
I wrote in the genre I most enjoyed reading. I enjoy Southern stories, and can relate most to them. I also wanted to write about what was important to me - friends and sisters who sustain us, good men, work that makes us happy, women who have adventures, sweet dog, and finding true love at any age.
Is there any particular author or book that has influenced you or your writing?
Mary Kay Andrews - whose characters are bright, witty, kind and a tad eccentric - has influenced my writing more than any other writer. Her women characters all have careers or businesses, too, which I like. I also love Dorothea Benton Frank, Patti Callahan Henry, Mary Alice Monroe, Elin Hilderbrand, Deb Caletti, and Jan Karon.
What was the last movie/concert/show that you saw?
Love, The Coopers. Olivia Wilde and that handsome soldier were a perfect match.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I’d be able to cast spells on people and make them all be nicer to each other.
What was the name of the last book you read?
Have been so busy writing and editing the third book in my Willow Hill Series (Sweet Southern Hearts) for the last six months that my eyes are spinning. But, before that, The Secrets She Keeps by Deb Caletti was one I thoroughly enjoyed. Her story of the highs and lows of marriages and of the bonds of sister is set against the backdrop of what used to be a divorce ranch outside of Reno. Loved it.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Self-absorption. I think most people lead interesting and maybe even noble lives if you take the time to listen and get to know their stories.
What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Cranberries, oranges, yogurt, half and half, a nice bottle of Chardonnay, salsa (a food group in my house) and mozzarella sticks.
Elvis or Sinatra? Tough one, but Elvis. In the book I’m just finishing up, Sweet Southern Hearts, three women friends rent an RV and go on a road trip to The Grand Ole Opry, The Johnny Cash Museum and Graceland. Here is my favorite Elvis song:
Mountains or Sea? Tie. In North Carolina, we are lucky enough to be able to drive to both in just a few hours.
Summer or Winter? Summer.
Coffee or Tea? Tea. (Iced Luzianne is my fave)
Cake or Pie? Pecan pie with vanilla ice cream is too good. Very tasty at breakfast, too.
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
I so enjoyed talking with you. Great, fun questions. Thank you for having me.
Here’s a New Year’s gift from me to you - the complete first chapter of LINNY’S SWEET DREAM LIST. http://bit.ly/1leRhJI
Susan has a graduate degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has used her work background as a psychotherapist and a business consultant to add authenticity to her characters.
Susan is a wife, a stepmother, and a dog lover, Lab Mixes in particular. She and her family live in North Carolina where she is busy finishing up the third novel in the Willow Hill Series.
To connect with the author online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads