Five Questions For Linda Howard

Elusive Romantic Suspense mega-star Linda Howard answers RT's top five burning questions! Find out what the author has to say about her latest release, Veil of Night, the evolution of her writing, and the novel she's hard at work on right now!

Question #1: Before we start to discuss your newest release, Veil Of Night, let's do a bit of a rewind on your previous works. There is not a romance fan out there that has not read your books and fallen in love. Can you discuss some of the highlights of your writing career?

Linda Howard: Every writer knows when she or he has written a book that's a step up from previous books. I can't do it every time -- and sometimes the steps are very small ones -- but I knew when I wrote Sarah's Child that it was one of those steps. Ditto Heart of Fire, which was my first venture into romantic adventure. Others were Dream Man, Mr. Perfect, and To Die For -- oh, and I can't forget Son of the Morning, or Cry No More. I'm not saying any of those were great books, but that I learned something while I was writing them, some little twist of characterization or plotting. And, sure enough, reader feedback on each of those books was greater, more intense, than usual. To this day, people talk to me about Sarah's Child. They either hate it or love it, but very few are indifferent to a book that was written twenty-five years ago.

Question #2: Veil Of Night is a throwback to your earlier mysteries including Open Season and Mr. Perfect. In the interim you wrote more adventure-focused novels, such as Up Close and Dangerous, Burn and Ice. What brings you back to a more character-driven style of romantic suspense stories?

LH: The story. It's always the story. I never look at the previous books I've written and think, "Well, it's time I wrote another so-and-so type book," because my brain simply doesn't work that way. I have to go with the story that's taking my attention at the time. There are some great Bridezilla stories out there, and I thought, "Wow, I can't believe some of these people haven't been murdered!" So a story was born ...

Question #3: You’ve had heroines who are painters, doctors and just about everything in between. In Veil Of Night, Jaclyn runs an event planning business. When we “meet” her, she is in the midst of planning six weddings in five days. No small feat. But then you never let your heroines slack off! Which profession was the most challenging for you to write. What occupation that you are itching to get your hands on?

LH: You know, whatever their professions are, that seems to be the easy part -- kind of. It's the other technical little details that drive me nuts. For instance, Lily Mansfield in Kiss Me While I Sleep was an assassin. No problem. Ditto with all the detail on bird flu. But Paris -- the details of Paris took hours, days, of research. The heroine's occupation in my next book is a wildlife guide. I don't look for professions; they come with the characters. I simply know what they do for a living, the same way I know what color eyes they have.

Question #4: In Veil Of Night, Jaclyn and hero Eric meet by literally running into each other. When you were brainstorming for the story, which character came to you first?

LH: Jaclyn. I knew exactly how she looked, what her name was, though her character unfolded more gradually. That's normal; I've never known everything about a character when I first meet him or her. They tell me their secrets as the story goes along.

Question #5: You are known for keeping your readers guessing what type of novel you will write next – romantic suspense, mysteries, historicals – we get it all. Do you have any idea what project we can expect from you next?

LH: I guess I kind of answered this above. If I had to describe it, I'd say almost a modern-day western. That's as it stands now; until a book is actually finished, I'm prepared at all times to make massive changes!

You can find Veil Of Night in stores now and leave your prediction below about what adventure you think Howard will send her next heroine on!