How the Little People Came to Life

On Monday May 22, 2023, you can all buy a copy of my baby sister’s first book, A Wildflower for a Duke”. I am so proud of her.  

My sisters and I were theatre kids, always immersed in stories. The three of us, (Laura, Kim and I) would hold my mother hostage in bed until she read ALL the books we had greedily snatched from the library (What? We can have as many as we want??!). 

I remember laying in the back of the car on long road trips, making Laura’s little face light up as I made the sock puppet characters talk to her.

And of course I remember the entire village of 150+ Fisher Price Little People that was permanently installed in our basement, living very complicated, dramatic lives in the castle, the barn, the garage, and the school house.

It seems that some of those Little People have grown up and moved to England in the Regency Period.

There’s a handsome and kind Duke, a feisty and fascinating heroine, a butler with sharp, dry wit, a rugged farm hand who is not what he seems, and a couple of children who are immediately endearing for both their charms and their flaws. And naturally, because it’s written by my sister, animals — goats in this case — make a memorable cameo appearance.

(My sister also runs her own animal rescue, saving the lives of thousands of creatures, who sometimes leave room for her on the sofa too.)

It’s a historical romance with a uniquely modern self-awareness. Strong female characters, unabashed neurodiversity and an atypical love story for the genre. It’s a gem of a first book with facets that could only have been cut by my baby sister.

And not only am I proud of her, I’m in awe of her achievement — she got all the way to “The End” (and then immediately started writing the next book). 

We share the gift of ADHD. We can both slip through the tear in time and space, where hyperfocus happens — where impossible feats can be accomplished in sprints of an hour or so. But to return to the same hyperfocus endpoint tomorrow and then continue the story….well, that ain’t easy. 

How do you authors do it? I know so many of you now, and you are all marvels.

You dive deep into the unknown and you stay there, wait there. I picture you on a park bench of the subconscious – in that not-yet-manifested space, overhearing clips of conversation between characters, feeling the peril of their quest, following them down narrow alleys, along the river, onto ships…There you are, frantically scribbling in your notebook so you can share the story when you return to your laptop, to your pumpkin spice latte, to your writing deadline.

Your own quest is truly perilous; those characters might slip away from you, or you might find that you’re following the wrong guy – or that he wanders into a meadow and just stays there, staring at you, waiting for YOU to tell HIM where to go next. Or maybe he just dies there, suddenly, but of natural causes, in the most boring way imaginable. Story over.

I know it doesn’t always work like this…many authors will storyboard first – an even more astonishing act! How you patiently craft the whole shape of the story, hanging each scene on a clothesline, mapping each beat of the journey before even beginning…well, that’s truly unfathomable to me. I’m not ready to say “I will never be capable of doing that” (like a Rubik’s cube), but I accept that my writing process may always be less structured and reliable. 

I narrate for a living (drop by and listen to my demos here) and I write for fun. Join me and hundreds of others in the London Writers Salon (LWS) – I’m usually there for the morning sprint (that’s 3am Eastern Standard Time). And now that I’ve told you about the LWS, I might keep showing up on that park bench of the subconscious. 

But the moral of the story, in case I lost you is..

Go buy my sisters book! A Wildflower for a Duke, by Laura Linn. (My ickle baby sister!)