Interview with Linda Hughes & Giveaway: Secrets of the Island

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! Today on the blog I am excited to be hosting an interview with author Linda Hughes and a giveaway of Secrets of the Island!

Hello Linda and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Secrets of the Island!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and Secrets of the Island?

Mackinac Island, the setting for this novel, is one of my favorite places. No matter how much I travel the globe, I always go back to the island. No motors are allowed there, except for a couple of emergency vehicles, so to get around you walk, ride a bike, ride a horse, or hire a carriage. It’s like stepping back in time 150 years. Perfect for a historical fiction writer. The island’s rollicking history and remaining mysteries stir the imagination; thus, this book.

Secrets of the Island is the follow up book to Secrets of the Asylum, what inspired you to write the series? Will there be more books coming out in the series?

I do a lot of writing workshops, especially memoir writing workshops, and am a former college professor who gave my students an “ancestry quest” assignment. I’ve also helped a few friends write their memoirs. So, I’ve heard hundreds of family stories. Often people are shocked at their family history once they do a little digging. Great-grandma was a prostitute. Or great-great grandpa was a mobster. Or grandma and grandpa weren’t married. That kind of thing. If we could dig deep enough, we’d all find dirt in our family tree. That theme has played out in other books I’ve written. Then when I toured the old, fascinating asylum in Traverse City, Michigan, I knew those walls held thousands of untold stories. How did those people get there? Was the truth ever told to their families? That’s how this trilogy got started: Secrets of the Asylum, Secrets of the Island, and finally Secrets of Summer, out in 2019.

What type of research did you do for the books?

I love research. I read everything I can about the places and the timeframes I’m writing about. (I confess, I often get sidetracked with the clothes!) For twenty years I had a job where I traveled the world, so have first-hand experience with many of the places I include in my stories. For example, this trilogy includes people from Ireland as well as people of Irish descent. I’ve spent a lot of time in Ireland, so drew from my memories, as well as from the Irish side of my own family tree.

What would you like readers to take away from Secrets of the Island?

We each have within us the strength of all our ancestors. We are not alone. We never have been. Our forebears survived life’s trials and tribulations, and we can, too.

What was the hardest scene to write?

A rape scene. I had to make it quick and give her immediate retribution.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The final scene. I outline my stories, but sometimes surprises pop up. That was one delightful surprise.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 12 years old I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be a “writter” when I grew up. Really, I wanted to be an actress, I wrote, but they seemed an unhappy lot, so I’d write instead. I didn’t know yet about the likes of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, and Ernest Hemingway, just a few of the many writers who have committed suicide.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

My greatest challenge has been to pursue my love of writing despite a need to make a living. I had a hard time quitting my last “day job,” being a professor, but finally did it. I have no regrets.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Alexandre Dumas, Louisa May Alcott, Harper Lee… old-timers all. Today there are many, including Haywood Smith, Mary Kay Andrews, Lianne Moriarty, Diana Gabaldon, and James Patterson.

What was the first historical novel you read?

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, sticks out in my mind. Required in high school English class, I loved the mystery, fervor, challenges, fights, lust, revenge, swashbuckling, seafaring, hidden treasure, French settings, and, of course, the clothes. It has everything!

What is the last historical novel you read?

Ha. Funny. I recently re-read The Count of Monte Cristo. And just finished the current The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, set during WWII. Superb.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I’m claustrophobic. Don’t ask me to get into an elevator. I’ve been married three times. We don’t talk about #2. But this third one has been a keeper for over thirty years. I’m a widow, too. My first husband died of cancer at age thirty-three. Tragic, to say the least. He was a Vietnam veteran and we believe it was exposure to Agent Orange that caused his cancer, as it seems to have done with many.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

Getting lost in time and place as I write. I don’t think about what it was like to be there. I’m there.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

Actually, any. I love Edmund Rutherford’s sweeping historical novels that take us through time in a place. For example, London begins in 54 BC and ends in 1997, following the same lines of ancestry throughout.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Travel. Walk my dogs. Paint. Visit with family and friends. Watch movies. Have dates with my hubby. Force myself to workout. Regular stuff.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

Secrets of Summer is the last in my Secrets trilogy. It’s 1965, twenty-one years after Secrets of the Island, about the daughter of the Island protagonist. This character is twenty-one years old and can’t stay out of trouble! I’m having so much fun with her…. She says and does all the things most of us want to but don’t have the guts. She’s one gutsy gal.

How exciting! Thank you so much for spending time with us today! Good luck on your blog tour!

Secrets of the Island by Linda Hughes

Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Deeds Publishing
Paperback and eBook; 268 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Do you think you know your heritage? Think again. Dark secrets lurk below the surface of every family tree, as the Sullivan clan discovers in this story about living in the aftermath of generations of deceit.

When Red Cross nurse Harriet escapes the trauma of World War II and sequesters herself in her grandfather’s cottage on Mackinac Island, she has no inkling about her heritage. But as one shocking clue after another surface – disclosing lies, corruption, madness, and murder – she realizes her family isn’t what, or who, it seems. She’s not the first to hold unspeakable secrets in her soul.

Can she conquer her trials and tribulations, like some of them did? Or will she be defeated by life, like others?

Secrets of the Island, the second book in the Secrets trilogy, is a tale of romantic suspense that begs the question: what secrets are buried within your family tree?

Available on Amazon

About the Author

As a native Michigander, award-winning author Linda Hughes has been visiting Mackinac Island since she was a kid. She’s spent countless hours riding a bike around the shoreline, and perusing the library and church records to learn about island history. She’s built many a cairn, witnessed the Northern Lights on several occasions, and eaten more than her fair share of chocolate fudge. She’s a world traveler, having worked in thirteen countries and visited a couple dozen more, but Mackinac Island remains one of her favorite places.

Her writing honors come from the National Writers Association, Writer’s Digest, the American Screenwriters Association, Ippy (Independent Publishers), and Indie Book of the Day.

For more information, please visit Linda Hughes' website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, June 6
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, June 8
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, June 11
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Wednesday, June 13
Interview at The Writing Desk

Friday, June 15
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Feature at Teaser Addicts Book Blog

Monday, June 18
Review at Donna McCabe

Wednesday, June 20
Excerpt at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, June 22
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, June 25
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, June 27
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, June 28
Review, Interview & Excerpt at Two Gals and a Book

Friday, June 29
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Impressions In Ink


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of Secrets of the Island by Linda Hughes! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Secrets of the Island

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