Linda Ford Chats About Her Life

A little about myself:


I am happily married to my first and only husband. We live on a small ranch near the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. I love where we live and I love my house though I am only too happy to pay someone else to clean it for me.


What drew me to writing?

I suppose I always showed a creative streak. All my life I have been stimulated by beauty, form and shape. As a kid I thought I’d like to paint or draw everything I saw but learned I couldn’t do that to my satisfaction so turned to finding words to create pictures. I made up stories for my baby doll and my paper dolls (doesn’t that date me?). And to put myself to sleep, I made up stories in my head. I thought everyone did that.


But writing wasn’t my big dream growing up. No. My dream was quite different. I wanted to run an orphanage with a dozen kids. That was the dream I pursued.  I got sideswiped by love, however, and got married. I thought it meant giving up my dream but I’m not one to let detours stop me. So we ended up raising a family of fourteen—4 homemade and 10 adopted so I guess I got my dream.


Many of the kids we adopted were older and came with unique challenges which made life… well, challenging. I recall a time when life was so challenging I could hardly bear it. About 6 kids were teenagers and acting out in weird and wonderful ways. Unless you’ve had the same kind of troubled kids you wouldn’t believe me if I told you some of the details. So I will spare you (and me) the specifics. At that time, a friend showed me an announcement some people wanting to start a writing group. I wasn’t much interested but said I would go to keep my friend company.


From the word go, I was hooked. We listened to a tape about how to organize ideas for a book. It all sounded so neat and orderly and predictable. I thought I could use neat, orderly and predictable in my life. So I went home and worked on a non-fiction idea. For a few years I wrote human-interest stories for the local newspaper. And I took courses. I’d always loved romances and slowly my interest grew in learning to write one.


Learning is the word to note. I knew nothing. My brain had been stolen by raising kids. (It happens to a lot of mothers I’ve heard). But I persevered. As the world’s slowest learner it took me some time to learn to write a decent story and I’m still learning. It’s a bit like raising kids—the more experience you have, the less you know.  I am published with Heartsong Presents and Love Inspired Historicals and I am happily creating more stories and living in my imagery world where life is a lot more controllable than the real world.


What inspires my writing most of all?

First—a signed contract and a deadline.


But I am still stimulated by environment. Visiting a beautiful garden, seeing a sunset, sitting under a leafy tree, browsing a fabric/yarn store…so many things fire up my imagination. I purposely seek out ways to ‘fill the creative well.’ Research also stimulates ideas. I recently visited a small museum and saw so many pioneer items and photos. Immediately I am in another world thinking how it would be.


Speaking of research…

I have done a few research trips and I love that. Having a purpose when I visit a museum or an historical site makes it so much more interesting. People are so helpful and usually give me personal attention. On a trip to the Dakotas I stopped at a small (tiny) town and found the museum. I told the woman behind the desk what I sought and she dug out all sorts of documents and photocopied them for me. Priceless information. When I travel, I take detailed notes—everything from how the place smells to what sort of flora and fauna to the color of the soil. And of course pictures. When I get home I immediately put it all together in a binder. The printed information such as travel brochures, photocopies, etc go into 3-ring plastic sleeves and I mount the pictures and note as much detail as I can. This becomes a wonderful research resource. Now if I were really ambitious I would take my notes from reading and the internet and put them in the same binder but so far I haven’t bothered.


When I’m not working… I’m working—LOL–on something else. I have a live in client (paraplegic with both legs amputated) and he requires attention. We grow a huge vegetable garden so my summer is busy with planting, weeding, picking and freezing.


But I do have some favorite activities.  


Walking is high on the list. Walking down our country road is a great way to think through writing problems. But I also like to walk in town and admire the landscaping, etc. It might sound strange but walking down the back alleys gives me a more personal glimpse at the people who live there and always stimulates ideas for me. Now don’t think I lurk down the alleys like some kind of peeping tom. In fact, my favorite walks in town are some of the lovely walking paths. There, how harmless is that?


I always journal and in the slower winter months I sometimes take my journaling to a new level. Just looking through one of those journals trying to pick an illustration to share with you makes me want to sit down with scissors and colored pens and do a page. Just for fun.


I also love to travel. My home responsibilities don’t allow me to be away for very long but you can pack a lot into a 6-day holiday. One of my favorites was a trip to Paris. There’s something about that city that speaks to my soul. I was hard pressed to go an hour without wanting to sit at an outside café and write. Here’s a picture of me in Paris enjoying the ambience. I’ve done my best to recreate a bit of Paris at home but it lacks something—setting perhaps?


Besides all that, one of my favorite activities is family dinners. I love to have as many of the family as can come gather round our tables. We use two or three folding banquet tables and set them up down the center of the living room so we can seat 20 or more at a time. It is a great deal of fun. And a lot of work but it’s worth it.


My writing day.

I try and spend my morning hours at the computer. I have converted a tiny bedroom into my office. If need be, I can close and lock the door. I don’t usually have to. I have an open-door policy because of the other demands on my time. On the whole, those who share my house and my life respect my writing time but when they need me or have a question, I am here. I have learned to work around interruptions, as I must answer the phone re farm business, re my client’s medical needs, etc. If I’m really on a roll with my writing or have an impending deadline, I might put in a few more hours in the afternoon but very seldom in the evening. About six p.m. give or take an hour, my brain turns to mush. I unwind by watching TV, reading or going for a walk.


The one thing I would change is the window in my office. It is too high to see out as I sit at my computer and being so affected by what I see, this makes me feel coped up. So after twelve years of wishing I could see out the window this year I am putting in a big one that will come down to the top of my desk. I hoped it would be in by now but no one let me know that they were waiting for my final okay to order it and then it missed the truck and then the glass got broken when they unloaded it and now the contractor who was going to install it is gone out of town. Sigh. But soon I’ll have it. I’m sure of it.  When it’s finally in place I’ll be announcing it and showing a picture on my blog—connected to my website.


Someone recently talked about how they celebrate finishing a book. For me, if it’s completed by sending a manuscript in the mail (or courier) I usually go to a favorite coffee shop and order a large latte. Otherwise, I celebrate by catching up on my housework. LOL. Or even worse, the farm books. At least it makes me VERY eager to get back at my writing.


I am currently working on a series of books set in the Dakotas in the late 1800s. Each of these stories has a child that needs special attention because they are in physical or emotional danger. (As I write this I realize it sounds very autobiographical.) I have no publication date for these stories yet. Again, announcements will be made on my blog or website.


My next release is The Journey Home in August–#2 in a 3 book series set in the Depression era. These were great stories to write as the life challenges of that era were so profound—economic disaster, drought, unemployment. And yet people faced them with pride and perseverance. It makes for some very strong characters in fiction. I suppose I’ve combined a number of things in The Journey Home that are autobiographical. The hero is part native (as are some of our adopted children). He’s been raised by white parents and doesn’t know where he fits because of his mixed heritage. There is also a secret child. And unfulfilled dreams. Plus the constraints of a society that dictated a woman’s acceptable role.


Linda is giving away an autographed copy of THE JOURNEY HOME to one reader who comments today!


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61 thoughts on “Linda Ford Chats About Her Life”

  1. Interesting interview. I admire you adopting all those children. Whats interesting when i was in about grade 8 I heard a song nobodies Child and it made me want to work in an orphanage. It didn’t happen but it was my dream till i finished High School by then Orphanges were a think of the past with most orphans being in foster care.
    your books sound really interesting. special needs kids inspire me and reading books with them is inspiring also.
    Thanks for sharing your journey

  2. Good morning Linda,
    What an amazing life you have lead. That is a great thing you did, adopting all those children. I know how hard it was to raise just two. Your setting is an interesting one because of the tremendous difference between life then and now.

  3. Great interview. You seem to have an amazing life. I couldn’t imagine having dinner for that many people. I have a hard enough time getting dinner ready for my husband and three kids. But dinner for 20 people or more I couldn’t dream of it. Thanks for sharing your amazing life with us.

  4. Good Morning what a wonderful blog. Gosh all those kids wow. It is the most amazing and wonderful thing to have your whole family together, my family gets together 3 times a year. Good thing my sister looooooooves to cook.

  5. Linda – I so enjoyed reading your bio – even though I already know you! I love your research notebook idea. Years ago, you showed me a duotang of one of your characters – all sorts of pictures of him and his possessions – even his horoscope. I’m trying to use these kinds of writing tools.
    And I do like your little Paris corner. What a great idea. Do you write there sometimes? Or, only in your office?

  6. Ausjenny,

    Orphanages have been out of style here for a long time too. I figured I would go to Africa and run an orphange. The idea still appeals but not the challenges that accompany it–I prefer my life to be simpler. So I still live my dreams through writing.


  7. Your setting is an interesting one because of the tremendous difference between life then and now.

    What I find interesting is how much they were like us and yet how the social mores were different. The Depression is an interesting era.

  8. Hi Linda! Welcome to P&P! Thanks so much for sharing your story—fourteen children, WOW!! I have two teenage boys and life is interesting enough. *lol* I really admire your gumption and giving heart 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your books!

  9. Karen, Rebekah and Sherry,

    Cooking for a crowd is hard work. I can’t imagine how I used to do it every day–oh yeah. That was my job and I looked at it very professionally. And when I think I used to ride herd on 12 kids at a time…well, it makes me very tired.

  10. Suzanne,
    Nice to see you–one of my fellow Calgary Romance Writers. I love making dossiers for my characters. And it’s never wasted time. I always regret it when I don’t take the time.

    And I love my research notes. I often refer back to them and find the information I need at the moment even though I didn’t particularly consider I would at the time. I am learning to be very thorough with my research because I often need it time and again.

  11. Stacey,
    Raising teens is a challenge no matter how many you have. Shudder. (Though I have to say some of mine were easy on me.)

    I hope you find my books reflect the things I value–family, commmitment and adventure.

  12. Linda, I absolutely love your depression era setting! Such a difficult time for everyone who lived through that period. Makes for some great conflicts though!

    Where do you go to research the little details? I’m writing a WW1 story right now and getting the clothing right was tricky, I had to look in several books to finally figure out what nurses wore. Do you have a favorite reference source?

    Cheers, Julie Rowe

  13. Julie,
    Much of my research is from on-line. I often google things like ‘women’s clothing of 1930.’ Besides, my mother and grandmother lived through those years and never threw out anything so I have seen some of it first-hand. 🙂

  14. Suzanne,
    I forgot your question on if I work outside. Sometimes, if it’s reading or working on hard copy. If I’m typing at the computer I am in my office where I have an ergonomic keyboard and all my little notes close at hand. I have dreams of working outside but it just never happens.

  15. Hey Linda, nice to ‘see’ you here. I enjoyed reading your bio post.

    I don’t have a notebook for research but I do have a lot of files on my laptop. In fact, when I went on my last recce, down to ND which is the location of my 3 book contemporary inspy series, I took my camera and made notes not only of the field where my fictional town is located, but also a nearby train trussle, etc that I could use in the story. I made notes as to how far the trussle was from the ‘town’, etc. Then I looked at my notes. I knew I’d probably just mis-place them. So, for the first time, I took a photo with my digital camera of my notes. Voila. Throw out the paper b/c when I uploaded the photos to my laptop, there were the notes. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.

  16. What a lovely post. Your home sounds like a wonderful place to live. Rocky mountains, I would love it. I don’t know about fourteen children though. I was lucky to handle to one child I had. He is still driving me crazy, but I love him anywhy.

  17. What a varied, interesting life! I too had my hands full with just two kids…although a couple of summers ago we had two Scandinavian exchange daughters and had a great time.

    Your Depression series sounds wonderful. I have been going through my mom’s old house and finding so many photos, clippings, documents etc. from that era. Truly a great generation of people.

  18. Hi Linda,

    Although I’m a bit late today (blame it on the Olympics–I can’t seem to get enough) I want to extend a huge welcome to P&P. The Fillies are thrilled to have you!

    I see you’re a very visual writer. I am too. I do a storyboard like thing and find pictures of everything that pertains to my H/H. That way I can focus on some of the “hidden” aspects of my characters and bring them out. I’m finding more and more it’s the tiniest details that make a story really come to life.

    Actually, I think we could be twins. Believe it or not, I used to play paper dolls. I wonder who else remembers those days. But it was a lot of fun and I think making up stories for those dolls groomed me to be a writer. I’m also an avid note-taker. I have tons of notebooks filled with all kinds of information. And next to writing, I love to walk. Sure clears the head.

    I find it very interesting that you chose the Depression Era in which to set your story. My parents lived through that time and told a zillion stories of what it was like. I’ll love reading “The Journey Home.”

    Good luck on getting that big window in your office. For someone so visual you need to be able to see the world outside your doors. Hope you enjoy your stay here at Wildflower Junction!

  19. Hi Anita Mae,
    I love your idea of taking a picture of notes. I just got a really good digital camera and I think I am going to be doing a whole lot more things like that.

    My next series is set in ND and SD and I’ve done lots of research (and have the notes to prove it).

  20. Quilt lady,
    How nice of you to say my home sounds like a nice place when I expect most people are thinking (but not saying) it sounds like chaos. 🙂 Sometimes it is. But bear in mind, my kids are now grown and away from from–apart from 2 sons currently residing here and my live-in client and the kids that visit.

  21. Hello Linda,
    You’re right about surprising me with your life story. Wow. I worked in an elementary school for 16+ years and considered those kids “mine” but I didn’t have to take them home with me!

    The next book I have contracted features an orphanage in San Francisco in the mid-1800s, when there were several there. The research is fascinating but I’m glad there is a foster system in place now. My son fostered bunches of kids, then finally adopted 2 of them to add to his other 5. But 14 – holey moley. 🙂

    You have my admiration as a person and an author. I wish you the best.

    Blessings, Val

  22. Tanya,
    I wish I could have been with you to sort through your mom’s house. So much wonderful research. One place I get wonderful finds is at garage sales. I find rare and old books that tell of the different time periods. I recently found one printed in 1922 called, The Covered Wagon. It is literally held together with an elastic but the information is unbeatable.

  23. Linda,
    We do sound like kindred spirits. I am very much enjoying my visit to this blog.

    I never realized how visual I am until you pointed it out. Thanks. Now I can do more to honor that need in me.

  24. Hi Valerie,
    Thanks for stopping by. There are times I hate to share my life story because after people hear I have 14 kids I become the lady-with-14-kids. I once had a son in the hospital in serious condition and spent almost a month at his bedside. I actually had nurses coming and peeking into the room. They’d ask if I knew where the lady with 14 kids was. That would be me. Were they expecting someone with stringy hair and orange stretch pants? (Actually, one nurse admitted she was.) Too funny.

    I’m looking forward to your book on the orphanage. I often have orphans or abandoned children in my books. Hmm. Wonder where that comes from. 🙂

  25. Linda,
    If anyone can portray kids it should be you! I usually stick to the younger ones in my books because that’s what I taught. And understand. Any child older than about 9 years old is a total puzzle to me. And teens? I never even understood my own teen years. 🙂

    I did one for Love Inspired contemporary back in 2003 that’s always been a favorite of mine. In SAMANTHA’S GIFT, the teacher eventually adopted the little orphan girl who thought she saw angels. It’s due to be reissued as a 2-in-1 in December and I’m thrilled. I love that book.

    I also can’t wait to read yours. I’ve begun subscribing to the LIH bookclub because I can never be sure I’ll get to the store at just the right time to find them all and Walmart is my only option unless I drive 60 miles. There are definite advantages to living in the country but that isn’t one of them!

    Blessings, Val

  26. Linda,

    I love what you said about children stealing your brain. That’s so true. Fortunately brain cells seem to rejuvenate themselves as yours kids get older and leave home. 🙂

    I have a historical(1890s)series set in North Dakota that Heartsong will be publishing. The first book, Wild at Heart, comes out this fall.

    I’m looking forward to reading your books!!

  27. Vicki,
    I haven’t decided if the brain cells totally rejuvenate or not. Or it could be caring for my client has the same effect on my brain as kids do. Oh forget. I’ll be honest. Some days I have a had time remembering my name and there really isn’t anyone to blame but … see there’s nothing. It just happens. I like to think when I’m too busy. 🙂

  28. Linda!

    Thank you, thank you for sharing so much about yourself in your interview. It solidifies what I’ve always believed: we don’t just write what we know, we write who we are. You seem like such a gracious, kind-hearted woman with a deep love of family. It’s no wonder your characters are so likable. 😉

    Okay, call me crazy, but I adore teenagers (probably why I became a high school teacher). I just love how they have one foot in adulthood but also still have one foot in childhood. They’re still so teachable and a complete hoot. Now, those little pre-teens — whole ‘nother ballgame.

    Blessings to you!

  29. Renee,

    It isn’t that I don’t like teenagers… some of mine were much mor challenging than most. However, they are fun to work with. Thank you for saying my characters are likeable. They too can be challenging to work with. 🙂

  30. Hi Linda – thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us here at Petticoats. It’s nice getting to know you via the internet. You have led a fascinating life, and I can only imagine the trials and challenges you faced every day with so many teen-agers in your house. I can tell you have a generous heart, but You must also have a patient soul!

  31. Getting back to your new window, Linda…we added a small office to the previous house we lived in. Our house was across the street for our commercial greenhouse operation and I wanted to sit at the desk and be able to look out the window and keep an eye on arriving customers. Sounds easy enough, eh?

    But the man who was helping us do the framing said the window had to be 2 feet higher to match the bathroom window on the other side of the living room picture window. He said it had to balance to look good. Well, I knew what he was saying, but we were living in an 80 yr old house that wasn’t exactly balanced on the other side, either. I told him that the view I saw when I sat at my desk would look ‘good enough’. He wasn’t happy but he ‘allowed’ me to frame it where I wanted.

    And you know…I loved looking out that window! I’d sit there doing the books and with just a slight turn of the head…the street…the parking lot…the greenhouse…everything was there for my perusal. I’d see the sun rise, and I’d close the tiny horizontal blinds when I wanted privacy.

    I was so glad I stood my ground.

  32. Anita Mae,
    What a great story. I gave in to the contractor about not putting in a bay window that he insisted wouldn’t look good but I refused to compromise on the size. Now if I could just get it in. 🙁

  33. Your writing reminds me of Lyvrle Spencer’s writing.

    Anon1001, You have just made my day. Lyvrle is one of my favorite authors. I might just take one of her books and go sit on my patio and read one now.

  34. Thanks for being our guest in Wildflower Junction, Linda! You answered the question that you only teased us about before — regarding the 14 kids. What a blessing that you made a difference in all those lives.

    Enjoy your weekend. Aren’t our readers the best!?

    Now back to the Olympics. Felicia’s hogging all the popcorn.

  35. Hi, Linda! What a full life you lead! Thanks for taking the time to share a bit of it with us 🙂

    Can you share the story of your first sale?

    And I agree that walking’s a great way to get exercise AND to clear your head and do some thinking and all kinds of good stuff!

  36. What a wonderful post! I think it is wonderful that you blessed all those children with happy homes. I have read your Heartsong Presents books and enjoyed them. I am looking forward to reading this series. Such a fascinating time period.

  37. What a houseful! Bless you for being such a giving
    and caring couple! I know your family must be a
    very happy group ! I’m going to look for your
    series when I’m in the bookstore!

    Pat Cochran

  38. Fedora,
    My very first sale was with Heartsong Presents in 1997. I remember getting the call and being so stunned I don’t think I said an intelligent word. I was a real newby. Then it hit me. But I was still stunned and shocked.

    I also remember the call I got in 2007 from LIH when they bought The Road To Love. I was higher than a kite. The editor called at noon and I was so excited afterwards I couldn’t eat. And believe me, that doesn’t happen often. (Like never).

    I have written a lot of ms that didn’t and won’t get published. I am a very slow learner so it’s taken me a long time to get this far and I still have so much to learn.

  39. I so admire your life and would love one day to visit your area of the mountains. Have added your book to my wish list.

  40. Hi Linda!

    I enjoy walking around outside, in particular parks and country spots, too! It always helps me to relax and think w/o chaos around me!

  41. Kathleen,
    I wish I could use my computer outside but I need my ergonic keyboard. However, I love brainstorming and working on ideas with a notebook while sitting outside and enjoying nature. It’s wonderful.

  42. Hi Linda! What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing some of your life with us. I look forward to reading your books.

  43. Linda, I’m tired just thinking about caring for and feeding your family! I truly admire how you’ve lived your life. Your experiences have been fodder for wonderful stories. I’m reading Journey Home and loving it! I felt the same for The Road to Love. I’m thrilled to write for the LI Historical line and be in the company of such excellent authors as yourself.


  44. Janet,
    I too love writing for LIH and being in such good company. Thank you for reading my books and enjoying them. The next one is out in Jan. I just did the line edits on it.

  45. Hi Linda,

    I’m sorry I’m late. Your life sounds amazing. 14 children and all the ‘excitement’ of that just boggles my mind. lol

    I love that a signed contract and deadline inspire your creativity. That one made me giggle. Love it.

  46. howdy neighbor; I live in Sask. and just came back from a trip to Calgary, Ab. and Kananaskis. What beautiful scenery.

    You have lived a FULL life, my dear. I’m amazed.

    The Journey Home sounds like an absolute must read for me; I heard many stories from my parents about the Depression era and would love to read more about them.

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