Author Interview – Linda Ford

I had the privilege of meeting fellow Canadian author, Linda Ford, a few years ago at an American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference. Then our paths crossed again in 2010 when her flight to another ACFW conference had a connection in Toronto, and we actually ended up on the same plane one seat in front of the other!

I remember that year well, because it was my first conference as a contracted author! Linda was already writing for Love Inspired Historicals so our paths crossed often that weekend at various meet and greets.

She’s shared much writing wisdom with me since, and was an awesome supporter of my debut launch.

Since I used a question from her latest release, The Cowboy Tutor, on Monday’s blog, I invited her to share how she came to write the series. Take it away Linda…

I’m not sure what got me started on the idea of these stories. My brainstorming file suggests I was concerned with the circumstances of young women during the Depression.

Here is a bit from that file:
Mrs. Morgan has 3 lovely daughters who seem destined to be spinsters due to the lack of suitable single men. Most of them have been whisked away to relief camps or ride the rails looking for something better than what the Depression offers. But Mrs. Morgan isn’t about to stand by and see her daughters denied the joys of marriage and a family. So she devises a plan…

I’ve always had an interest in the Depression, partly because my parents and grandparents lived through it. I heard of the challenges they faced and saw how they’d learned to adapt. I also did human interest articles for a newspaper and interviewed a number of seniors. They all told stories of strength, heroism and inventiveness in dealing with the Depression. I know they probably didn’t look back at the time as ‘the good old days’. But I loved the feeling I got of people who faced incredible odds with humor and came out as victors.

I’ve learned some interesting tidbits in my research.

First, in Canada we also call it the Dirty 30s (because of the violent dust storms.) I thought everyone was familiar with the term but my editors weren’t.

Paper was expensive so used carefully and as many ways as possible. Letters were written across the page then the page given ¼ turn and more words written across the original. I found it almost impossible to read.

Groceries came wrapped in brown paper, tied with string. The paper was folded carefully and used over and over. The string was added to the ball kept in the kitchen drawer and rationed for use.

I grew up on the prairies and have lived most of my life in an area that was deeply affected by the Depression. In fact, we don’t have a county, we are called the Special Areas. Most of the land is owned by the government and leased to farmers and ranchers. Before the Thirties, many settlers came to the area and broke a few acres.

But then the rains failed to come. The land dried up and contributed to dreadful dust storms. The settlers walked away leaving the banks with unpaid mortgages and loans.

The government bailed them out and took over ownership of the land. The people of the area still face many of the same challenges of the Dirty Thirties.

As my family drove along the various roads there were many empty farm sites. Some were only an empty cellar but there were leaning barns and weather-worn houses. I never saw any of these without wondering what had happened to the people who once owned them.

I would get lost in imagining their struggles, their disappointment, and lost dreams.

Sandra again, thanks so much for visiting with us today, Linda. I enjoyed having a glimpse into your creative process, and the extensive background work and research that contributed to the story’s realism.

Your turn: Do you have any questions for Linda?

Faith in Times of Crisis

Title links to blurb

This past week I read The Cowboy Tutor, a Love Inspired Historical by fellow Canadian author Linda Ford. It’s the first of a three book series, releasing January to March, about how a mother helps her three daughters find husbands during the Great Depression.

I have never read a Linda Ford book that I haven’t liked, and this book was no exception. I read it in one sitting, staying up until 1:30 am to finish it!

From a family of three sisters myself, I enjoyed watching the interplay between the three vastly different personalities. But what resonated with me the most was how firmly the heroine believes that God will see her through every crisis in her life.

She works hard, extremely hard, to keep her family together and from losing their home. Considering the world’s current economic situation, our faith is increasingly being challenged by similar crises.

Your Turn: These characters lived during the Great Depression. Times were tough. What similar challenges are you or people you know facing today? How have these strengthened, or made you question, your faith?

Did you live through the depression or hear stories passed down from parents and grandparents?

I remember many stories my grandmother used to tell, and to this day I have a difficult time parting with clothes or fabric that could be recycled into quilts for the day when we can’t afford heat…of course, considering we live in a drafty old farmhouse and keep the thermostat at 63F most of the day, it’s little wonder!